This short documentary profiles Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day parade in Montreal in 1959. The annual parade takes place every June 24th in memory of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the patron saint of Québec. Candid shots of youngsters preparing their costumes for the festivities are partnered with a lively jazz soundtrack. All the Montrealers and out-of-town tourists featured in this film avidly participate in a public festivity that is dear to their hearts.
This feature documentary is a portrait of Adélard Godbout, the largely forgotten man who was Premier of Quebec from 1939 to 1944. During his office, Godbout helped lay the groundwork for the Quiet Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s: instituting compulsory education, giving women the vote, creating Hydro-Québec and trying to free the province from domination by the clergy. Yet, during the conscription crisis, he favoured sending volunteers to fight Hitler: a sin for which many would never forgive him. Filmmaker Jacques Godbout takes a fresh look at his great-uncle's legacy.
Four people who were struggling for a separate Quebec in the early '70s offer us an insight into their social and political engagement. Discussions, archival footage and the songs of Plume Latraverse provide a deeper understanding of Pierre Vallières, Charles Gagnon, Francis Simard and Robert Comeau. In French with English subtitles.
This documentary short is a portrait of Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and 13th prime minister of Canada, John George Diefenbaker (1895-1979). Diefenbaker's political career spanned 6 decades. When he died in 1979, his state funeral and final train trip west became more a celebration of life than a victory for death. Interweaving scenes from past and present, the film crafts a tribute to an illustrious Canadian and records how a nation paused to pay homage to "The Chief."
This feature documentary is a portrait of Herbert Norman, the Canadian ambassador to Egypt who leapt to his death in 1957. During his remarkable career, Norman had been a trusted aide of General MacArthur in post-war Japan and later played a key role in the Suez crisis. But for years, a US Senate subcommittee probed his past while the FBI accumulated a huge file on him, refusing to accept an RCMP investigation that cleared him of being a communist spy. Interviews with key players and dramatizations help reconstruct Herbert Norman's life.
This short documentary profiles Sophie Wollock and the newspaper she founded for the western suburbs of Montreal in l963, The Suburban. A weekly paper distributed free to some 45,000 homes, most of them anglophone, The Suburban became famous for the strongly worded editorials written by Wollock, mainly on the subject of Québec nationalism. The film looks at the paper, then under the guidance of her son, and sums up some of Wollock's more impassioned editorials.
After the Ballot is a full-length documentary portraying the gruelling everyday life of two Members of Quebec's National Assembly who, although at opposite ends of the political spectrum, share the fact that their sole power lies in their convictions. One is Daniel Turp, the PQ Member for Mercier. The other is Charlotte L'Écuyer, Liberal MNA for Pontiac. The film aptly illustrates that ordinary MNAs have very little authority since the real power is held by ministers who are subject to the ups and downs of a globalized economy. Meanwhile, their fellow citizens keep asking for the impossible…
This feature documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at political decision-making in Ontario, the most populated Canadian province. A candid study of Ontario Premier Bill Davis and his Cabinet profiles the political process—a daily round of committee meetings, budget tabling, and media relations initiatives. Born into a political dynasty, Davis has the power and resources of the “big blue machine” behind him as he initiates political manoeuvres that tackle everything from unemployment to provincial-federal relations. The film reveals key aspects of Davis's political philosophy, one that kept the Conservatives in power in Ontario for 36 consecutive years.
This feature-length documentary looks at those desperate days of October 1970 when Montreal awaited the outcome of FLQ terrorist acts. Using news reports and clips from the time, the film reflects upon the October Crisis and reveals the relief, dismay and defiance people felt when the Canadian army stepped in.
This feature documentary retraces the century of haggling by successive federal and provincial governments to agree on a formula to bring home the Canadian Constitution from England. This film concentrates on the politicking and lobbying that finally led to its patriation in 1982. Five prime ministers had failed before Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau took up the challenge in the early 1970s. Principal players in this documentary are federal Minister of Justice Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister Trudeau, 10 provincial premiers and a host of journalists, politicians, lawyers, and diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic.
The final instalment of this 3-part documentary series about Pierre Elliott Trudeau and René Lévesque spans the decade between 1976 and 1986. The film reveals the turbulent, behind-the-scenes drama during the Quebec referendum and the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution. In doing so, it also traces both Trudeau's and Lévesque's fall from power.
Part 2 of this 3-part documentary series about Pierre Elliott Trudeau and René Lévesque covers the years between 1967 and 1977, a colourful decade that saw Trudeau win three federal elections, the 1970 October Crisis and the sweeping rise to power of the Parti Québécois.