Produced in 1967, this black and white film is an inmate's view of Daytop, a drug treatment centre on Staten Island, New York, where addicts learn to get along without drugs. Uncompromising, often brutal group therapy sessions are designed to shake loose the excuses a victim makes for himself. The people and situations shown are authentic; only one actor was employed. The results obtained at Daytop are regarded by some psychiatrists as a breakthrough.
This is a very unusual and original film, breaking new ground in filmmaking methods as well as in ways of viewing things. All the usual facts about Sweden have been given a hundred times over, and often in better forms than film can offer, but in this film the director has launched into a form of cinematic observation and commentary that offers an entirely new experience of things Swedish.
This two-part series explores ancient teachings on death and dying. It was filmed over a four-month period on location in the Himalayas where the original text still yields an essential influence over people's views of life and death. A Way of Life contains footage of the rites and liturgies surrounding and following the death of a Ladakhi elder. The Dalai Lama explains his own feelings about death, while other scenes within a palliative care hospice in San Francisco depicts the use of the texts to counsel dying AIDS patients. This film, by revealing ancient teachings on how to think about death and dying, can be a valuable source of counsel and comfort.
This feature-length documentary is a portrait of eclipse chasers, people for whom solar eclipses - among nature's more spectacular phenomena – are a veritable obsession. The film follows 4 of them as they travel incredible distances to witness the last total eclipse of the millennium as it sweeps eastward across Europe to India. At various points along the way enthusiasts Alain Cirou in France, Paul Houde in Austria, Olivier Staiger in Germany and Debasis Sarkar in India offer their impressions of the historic event.
This documentary introduces us to Stephen Jenkinson, once the leader of a palliative care counselling team at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital. Through his daytime job, he has been at the deathbed of well over 1,000 people. What he sees over and over, he says, is "a wretched anxiety and an existential terror" even when there is no pain. Indicting the practice of palliative care itself, he has made it his life's mission to change the way we die - to turn the act of dying from denial and resistance into an essential part of life.
This feature documentary is a portrait of Luke Melchior (1973-2021) who, at 26, had already lived longer than most people with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive wasting of the muscles. Knowing his life would be relatively short had made Luke feel an urgency about making a lasting contribution. Living independently, with the help of 3 homecare workers, he ran a web-based business selling outdoor gear, and chaired the board of the Disability Resource Centre in Victoria, BC, where he was a passionate advocate for the rights of the disabled.
Bearing Witness consists of 3 films, each approximately one hour long, on people with life-threatening illnesses. The series also profiles Jocelyn Morton, who died of liver cancer at 44, and Robert Coley-Donohue, who died of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) at age 74.
This short documentary follows a group therapy workshop for people who have attempted to end their lives more than once. A hybrid of vérité and animation, the film is a candid portrayal of 12 people who together, for 20 weeks, take on their fears, their behaviours and their ghosts to move towards life and away from suicide.
Drawing from Life is a production of the National Film Board of Canada's Filmmaker-in-Residence project, produced with the creative participation of Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, Animation Arts Centre.
This documentary focuses on John Diabo, a cherished member of a tight-knit family in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake. In 1998, John, tortured by drug addiction for over a decade, ended his life at the age of 31. Through moving testimony and family photographs, this film tells the intimate story of his life… and death.
The phenomenon of perinatal grief has largely gone unrecognized; parents who live through the experience frequently find themselves isolated, with no resources to support them. Co-directed by Samuel-A. Caron and France Gallant, Moments of Life breaks the silence on this sensitive subject. We follow a group of bereaved parents who organize to offer support in their region, driven by a determination to reduce isolation. This film is both a conversation-starter and a source of hope and inspiration.
Cut off from his loved ones due to the pandemic lockdown, a quadriplegic rabbi in a long-term-care facility is filmed remotely by his daughter. Offering powerful meditations on love and hope, Perfecting the Art of Longing shows us what it means to be alive in a state of profound isolation.
This short documentary filmed at Saint Boniface General Hospital, in Manitoba, focuses on the work of 2 women: Gisèle Fontaine, who helps women in childbirth; and Louise Saurette, who attends the dying. Birth and death, moments of transition that involve a transformative journey, have much in common. The midwife and the chaplain offer themselves as guides on the painful and essential path of letting go.
This documentary short was produced as part of the Tremplin program, which enables young Francophone filmmakers to make a first production in a professional context.
This short film is a telling portrait of the discourse about and treatment of alcohol addiction in the middle of the 20th century. In a fictional setting, the film examines the insecurities and inner motivations that cause the protagonist to lean on alcohol. His job and home life are threatened by his addiction, and the doctor to whom he finally turns explains the medical and other resources available to him.