This feature documentary records the turbulent history and remarkable achievements of women in religion, from pre-Christian Celtic communities to the radical sisters of the 1980s. The history of nuns mirrors that of all women - in what we are taught about the past, women are almost invisible. Although today's one million nuns outnumber priests two to one, they still struggle to be heard by the all-male Roman Catholic hierarchy from which they are excluded. In Behind the Veil: Nuns, contemporary nuns speak candidly of their lives, their challenges, and their predecessors.
This feature-length film tells the story of the passion between Marie de l’Incarnation, a mid-seventeenth-century nun and God, her "divine spouse." Fusing documentary and acting by Marie Tifo, whom we follow as she rehearses for this demanding role, the film paints an astonishing portrait of this mystic who abandoned her son and left France to build a convent in Canada, where she became the first female writer in New France.
This documentary is a salute to 35,000 years of the goddess-worshipping religions of the ancient past. The film features Merlin Stone, Carol Christ, Luisah Teish and Jean Bolen, all of whom link the loss of goddess-centric societies with today's environmental crisis. This is the first part of a 3-part series that includes The Burning Times and Full Circle.
This short documentary offers a privileged view of convent life at Les Servantes de Jesus-Mariet, in Hull, Quebec. The film focuses on Micheline Robert, who, while all her friends were thinking about marriage, turned her back on that world for a life of obedience, chastity, and poverty. We follow her progress, right up to her final vows.
This short documentary by Terence Macartney-Filgate focuses on the never-ending pilgrimage to Montreal's St. Joseph's Oratory. A beautiful shrine set against Mount Royal, the Oratory draws pilgrims by the thousands every year – by plane, by bus, and on foot. What's the draw? Watch this film, and listen to Brother Placide Vermandère tell you all about it.
Alanis Obomsawin turns her lens to Le Patro Le Prévost, a recreational centre in the Villeray quarter of Montreal. On the eve of its 80th anniversary in 1989, Le Patro is a vital focal point in the predominantly working-class neighbourhood. Beloved by the many generations who use the facilities and partake in activities daily, Le Patro encourages a strong sense of togetherness through principles of cooperation, respect and sharing. Obomsawin presents a tender portrait of a neighbourhood of diverse residents and the community centre many of them consider a second home.
This extraordinary film introduces us to the Reutov family, part of an isolated northern Alberta community called the Old Believers. Adhering to the original Orthodox Christian dogma and rituals introduced to ancient Rus (present-day Ukraine, Byelorussia and Russia) by the Greeks of Byzantium, the Old Believers see themselves as the last Christians left on the face of the Earth. Here in North America, for the first time in their history, they are threatened not by persecution, but by economic bounty and the western notion of personal freedom. Shot over the four seasons, the film is both a beautiful rendering of timeless rituals and a fascinating exploration of the Old Believers' turbulent history.
In the chaos of the post-modern world we still need the village psychic. Throughout the Maritime provinces of eastern Canada, neighbourhood fortune-tellers and village wise-women are alive and well, and their practices have survived intact. These women often work at the kitchen table--and today, they're more sought-after than ever. They're seemingly average people who don't put on airs and affectations, but who go about doing some rather extraordinary things with very little fuss. Using herbal preparations, spells, astrology, or tools as simple as tea leaves and tap water, they look into the past, present and future -- and offer tips on coping with what life throws our way. It's a fascinating tradition--and director Donna Davies has been immersed in it since childhood. Join her in The Kitchen Goddess as she takes you on a personal visit into the worlds of seven Maritime psychics.
This documentary takes an in-depth look at the witch hunts that swept Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the stake and ultimately to the destruction of an organic way of life. The film questions whether the widespread violence against women and the neglect of our environment today can be traced back to those times. Part two of a series of three films on women and spirituality, which includes Goddess Remembered and Full Circle.
This feature documentary tells the story of the Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Cœur Congregation which was formed in 1924 when 53 French-speaking nuns separated from their unilingual English community, forming a new religious community that immediately began to campaign for the preservation of Acadian language, faith and culture. Convinced that education was essential for Acadian women, in 1943 the Congregation founded Collège Notre-Dame d’Acadie, where young women were able to study in French for the first time in New Brunswick.
This very short film from the Canada Vignettes series documents the annual pilgrimage that members of Saskatchewan’s Métis Catholic community make to St. Laurent, a village in the Duck Lake area that became the Métis nation’s spiritual centre at the time of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion.
This animated short challenges enduring myths, spawned by fairy tales and romances, about women in medieval society. It explores the differences and similarities between that distant period and our own, and shows what medieval women’s lives were really like.