Film Archive

International Programme 2014
The Lost Highway Derreck Roemer, Neil Graham

Trans-Canada Highway, Ontario. What used to be a job machine is now a multilane track through abandoned towns with a few remaining residents. A poignant elegy on its heyday.

The Lost Highway

Documentary Film
Canada
2013
74 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Derreck Roemer, Neil Graham
Derreck Roemer, Neil Graham
Don Rooke
Derreck Roemer
Michèle Hozer, Derreck Roemer
Neil Graham, Derreck Roemer
Neil Graham
This “Lost Highway” is a 40 kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in Eastern Ontario. It’s also part of Highway 7, which connects Toronto and Ottawa. The street was built during the Great Depression in the 1930s – which may have been an omen.
At first it was a job machine. The first big East-West cut through the forests and swamps attracted motel and restaurant operators and every gas station owner could be sure to be able to feed his family on a modest, but fairly secure level. But the boom lasted only two decades. Today there is a multi-lane freeway that looks like a bypass and makes the former busy highway look like a varicose vein. Everyone who rolls along this asphalt ribbon today sees abandoned houses, businesses and gas stations on the roadside – the slowly crumbling, barely visible traces of former lives, failed plans and disappointed hopes.
Derreck Roemer and Neil Graham portray the lives of a scattered bunch of residents still living in this region, but also the mutations and collateral damage the culture and ideology of automobility likes to sweep under the carpet.
Ralph Eue