(Two-Channel Installation) The Last Screening Room: A Valentine and The Contraband Tape

Vera Frenkel

1984, 60:01 minutes, colour, English


In a timeless bureaucratic state known as Canada, the only festival still celebrated is St. Valentine's Day.

This videotape is an electronic valentine made by a woman working for the Province of Ontario as a Privacy Guarantor. Storytelling has been outlawed. The Canada Council has become a branch of the Ministry of Health. Her job is to listen to stories told to her by inmates of Ontario prisons, and immediately to forget them. An old woman is arrested for storytelling. Haunted by her tale, the Privacy Guarantor decides to break the law.

The Contraband Tape is shown together with The Last Screening Room: A Valentine in the two-channel installation of this work. It is a version of the highly mediated videotape referred to in The Last Screening Room: A Valentine on which was recorded the last few stories told in Canada before storytelling was outlawed. This is the same tape that was watched in secret by the old woman with the initials SCL who later was herself imprisoned for storytelling.

(The Contraband Tape is intended as an ambient track so that when the two tapes are looped, the narratives on The Contraband Tape come up differently each time The Last Screening Room is viewed)

Rental and Sales

Single Screening Rental


Educational Purchase DVD (Bluray +$15)


5 Year Educational Streaming License, Digital File with DVD Circulation Copy


Gallery Exhibition and Installation, complete Media Request form for quote

Institutional Archival Acquisition, complete Media Request form for quote

Curators and programmers, please contact to receive a login and password to preview Vtape titles online.

Screening and exhibition rentals and archival acquisitions include public performance rights; educational purchases or licenses include rights for classroom screenings and library circulation. When placing an order the customer agrees to our general online terms and conditions. Payment (or a purchase order number) and a signed licensing agreement must be received before media can be shipped to the client.