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‘Citizen Marc’ documentary examines the politics of Prince of Pot Marc Emery

Movie review: Citizen Marc examines the ‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery

Marc Emery documentary doesn’t pull any punches


Citizen Marc is no pot puff piece.Citizen Marc is no pot puff piece.The documentary on marijuana activist Marc Emery, written and produced by Canadian filmmaking couple Roger Evan Larry and Sandra Tomc, is being released Friday in 13 Canadian cities, including London at Landmark Cinemas.While Emery is known for his public crusade to legalize marijuana, don’t write this documentary off as a made-for-stoners special.The well-researched film traces Emery’s activism roots back to his days operating City Lights Bookshop on Richmond St. in London.It was there Emery frequently clashed with authorities over everything from refusing to close on Sundays to selling a raunchy rap album that was banned in Canada.He was fined, jailed and spent thousands of dollars in legal battles defending his beliefs.“The extent and depth and commitment of his activism before he even begins on the marijuana fight is astonishing,” Tomc said.

Larry and Tomc, who live in Vancouver, had been searching for the perfect long-form documentary subject, someone who would face challenges over the years and generate a debate.

“In Marc we found our ideal subject,” Larry said. “We always knew that we had something that wouldn’t be boring in five years.”

Filming for Citizen Marc started in 2006, one year after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency requested Emery’s extradition for selling marijuana seeds to Americans from his Vancouver-based head shop.

After a lengthy and highly-publicized legal battle, Emery would ultimately serve a 4 1/2-year prison sentence in the U.S. before returning to Canada on Aug. 12.

“We have to remember that the reason Marc became a target for the Americans was not because he was selling seeds to the Americans . . . It’s that he was using the profits from those sales and reinvesting in the legalization efforts in America,” Larry said.

The 93-minute film doesn’t pull any punches.

It delves into Emery’s messiah complex (he has compared himself to both Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.) and explores how Emery used his celebrity status to bed a slew of young women drawn to his cause, including his wife, Jodie, who is more than 25 years his junior.

“It’s a critical biography, it’s not a sort of puff piece or a celebration of him for his own sake or anything like that,” Tomc said.

Emery, now 56, was an active participant in the documentary, which debuted at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2013.

Larry will be at Landmark Cinemas Saturday to host a question-and-answer segment following the film.

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What: Documentary directed by Roger Evan Larry

When: Opening Friday

Where: Landmark Cinemas 8

Article source London Free Press

Citizen Marc: A vexingly fascinating look at the life of pot activist Marc Emery

Special to The Globe and Mail

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