a film by Chris Frey & Patrick Pittman

Loosely inspired by Chris Marker’s 1963 film Le joli mai, award-winning journalists and first-time filmmakers Chris Frey and Patrick Pittman set out to capture one month in the life of Toronto during pandemic times through a moving collection of interviews and street encounters with a cross-section of its residents. Out of the telling of their stories and strategies for coping a portrait of the city at a turning point emerges—a city, like so many others, riven with growing inequality, uncertainty about the future, and a fraying sense of trust in both institutions and our neighbours. 

Filmed in May 2021, amidst the pandemic’s third and deadliest wave, May Flowers charts an emotional geography of the city after a period of maddening isolation, and one of the longest emergency lockdowns in the world. Its inhabitants wrestle with grief and the inability to mourn; anxiety, boredom, and the distractions of technology; confusion and conspiracy; strained friendships and family relations; the dangers of working at the pandemic’s front line; and the spectre of still greater worries, like climate change.

By turns sad and funny, peculiar and melancholy, while reflecting on the strangeness of how we experienced time and memory during the pandemic, May Flowers is a capsule of a moment not so long ago that can already seem like some distant epoch. Will the most memorable period in most of our lives somehow elude remembering?

May Flowers 
Directed, written, and produced by Chris Frey and Patrick Pittman
106 mins / 2023 / Canada

Camera + editing: Chris Frey
Sound recording + mixing: Patrick Pittman
Narration: Naomi Skwarna
Music: Bram Gielen
Colour: Zach Cox
Graphic art: Michèle Champagne
Editing: Chris Frey