Back in 1934, Elzire Dionne delivered five identical girls. The Dionne Quintuplets follows Cecile, Emilie, Marie, Yvonne and Annette through twenty-one years of strange upbringing. When the girls were just infants, the premier of Ontario issued a court order removing them from parental care. Cut off from the world and their family, over-publicized, viewed twice daily in a special viewing compound, they grew up as prize exhibits. Director Donald Brittain uses old newsreel footage, home-movie sequences and interviews to depict a historic event that became a tragic exploitation of a family. Based on the book The Dionne Years by Pierre Berton.
This short film from WWII focuses on the increasingly important roles women occupy on the various war fronts. In England, their more active jobs include ferrying planes from factory to airfield and operating anti-aircraft guns. In Russia, they are fighting on the front lines as well as acting as parachute nurses, army doctors and technicians. In Canada women have joined active service auxiliaries, and thousands labour day and night in factories turning out the tools of war. From the Canada Carries On series.
From the Canada Carries On series, this is a tribute to the women of Canada for their part in the World War II effort. The Canadian Women's Army Corps and homemakers alike were called upon to do their part. From careful budgeting in the home to services rendered overseas, women's work was integral to the well-being of all.
This feature documentary studies the automobile and its pervasive effect on the history of North America. Focusing on the Ford dynasty, from the original Henry car through to Henry II, the film demonstrates how society has adapted to fit the needs of the automobile.
This 1964 documentary returns to the battlefields where over 100,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars. The film also visits cemeteries where servicemen are buried. Filmed from Hong Kong to Sicily, this documentary is designed to show Canadians places they have reason to know but may not be able to visit. Produced for the Canadian Department of Veteran Affairs by the renowned documentary filmmaker Donald Brittain.
Through the coming of age of a twenty-year-old man, this film symbolizes the political coming of age of the people of Québec. In French with English subtitles.
Soundtrack album, John's Coltrane's Blue World, available from Impulse! / Universal Music Enterprises.
This feature film uses Michael Crummey’s seminal piece of Newfoundland literature to examine cultural change and modern relationships. As in Crummey’s collection of poems and stories, there is a decisive theme of the artist investigating his ancestors to discover himself. Filmmaker Justin Simms offers viewers a timely reflection on compassion, storytelling and identity.
Richard Cardinal died by his own hand at the age of 17, having spent most of his life in a string of foster homes and shelters across Alberta. In this short documentary, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin weaves excerpts from Richard’s diary into a powerful tribute to his short life. Released in 1984—decades before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—the film exposed the systemic neglect and mistreatment of Indigenous children in Canada’s child welfare system. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 1986 American Indian Film Festival, the film screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2008 as part of an Obomsawin retrospective, and continues to be shown around the world.
This short documentary tells the intensely personal story of Namrata Gill – one of the many real-life inspirations for Deepa Mehta’s Heaven on Earth – in her own words. After six years, Gill courageously leaves an abusive relationship and launches a surprising new career.
This documentary follows a mission into the Burmese jungle to recover the remains of a RCAF crew of six young Canadians lost during World War II. Their lives and wartime experiences are recalled through the memories of colleagues and families, who attend the emotion-laden funeral near Rangoon, where the men have finally been laid to rest with full military honours.
This feature documentary is considered to be the forerunner of the NFB's Challenge for Change Program. The film offers in inside look at 3 weeks in the life of the Bailey family. Trouble with the police, begging for stale bread, and the birth of another child are just some of the issues they face. Through it all, the father tries to explain his family's predicament. Although filmed in Montreal, the film offers an anatomy of poverty as it occurs throughout North America.
This documentary recounts filmmaker Pierre Sidaoui’s immigration journey from the small Lebanese town of Abey to Montreal, the city he now calls home. Sidaoui had a carefree childhood, but civil war forced him and his family to flee Lebanon in 1982, the first in a series of moves that would ultimately separate him from his parents, brother and sisters. Two decades later, Sidaoui pauses to reflect. His precious family photos, carefully kept in a shoebox, bring forth a flood of memories - of family, landscapes, music and war. A touching meditation on the pursuit of happiness and the immigrant experience.