Allan King – Come on Children (1973)
For Come on Children, from 1972, King returns to the lives of troubled Toronto youths, but this time he creates the environment of study himself. After doing extensive interviews with local teenagers, King sent 10 of his subjects on a country retreat to a farmhouse where they could live collectively without the interference of adults, hierarchies, or rules. Each of the teens, ranging in age from 13 to 18, gets a musical introduction from one of the more charismatic subjects, a pimply ex-drug addict named John. His Dylan-esque folk narration gives Come on Children a reflexive identity, the best example his last lyric, “I’m not sure what the film’s about, but I hope the movie makes you feel that you wished you were here.” These kids understand the camera’s perspective, but that doesn’t stop them from unveiling a disturbing mixture of naiveté and hardnosed cynicism at the adult life waiting around the corner. Once again, King uses a collective set piece—a visit from everyone’s parents to the farmhouse—to show the dynamic drama breathing through the core of every conversation. If Come on Children is less successful at engaging the viewer’s sympathies, it’s because the Vietnam-era teens don’t see much to look forward to, an ideology King never sugarcoats.