This documentary is a portrait of modern-day Pondicherry, an ancient city near the southern tip of India. For several centuries an outpost of France, the city is now home to Auroville, a spiritual community growing on its periphery. There, European and North American devotees of Sri Aurobindo, a Bengali poet and mystic, come to live the contemplative life. Their guru is a 94-year-old woman from France. This mecca of sorts is seen through the eyes of Albert Jordan, a professor from Concordia University, in Montreal, who spent a year there with his family in 1971.
Filmed in the Indian Himalayas and in Canada, A Song for Tibet tells the dramatic story of the efforts by Tibetans in exile, including the Dalai Lama, to save their homeland and preserve their heritage against overwhelming odds. Since the invasion of their territory by China in the late 1950s, Tibetans have been struggling for cultural and political survival.
This documentary introduces us to Mark Rowswell, a Canadian comedian virtually unknown in his own country who has an enormous following in mainland China, where he is known as Dashan.
The film provides a unique look at China through the eyes of a man who has become fully at home in Chinese culture—his appearances on national television have been known to draw up to 600 million viewers. It shows Rowswell performing, talking about his art and popularity, and discussing the West’s role in the development of the new China.
An exotic view of Pondicherry, former French colony on India's southeastern coast. This is a film of observation, made without commentary, but replete with impressions of this colourful old French-Indian port where life begins and ends in the streets. Life here is like a river, and only the camera can catch and hold the thousand-and-one sights that pour by the awed spectator. Film without words.
This feature documentary is a biography of Dr. Norman Bethune, the Canadian doctor who served with the loyalists during the Spanish Civil War and with the North Chinese Army during the Sino-Japanese War. In Spain he pioneered the world's first mobile blood-transfusion service; in China his work behind battle lines to save the wounded has made him a legendary figure.
Filmmaker Paul Émile d'Entremont's documentary presents Reema, a lively and sensitive young girl confronted with difficult questions about her identity. After spending the first 16 years of her life with her Canadian mother, Reema re-connects with her Iraqi father by spending 2 months with him in Jordan. On returning home to Nova Scotia, she realizes she will always have a double identity, and that it is both a burden and a treasure.
The NFB's 63rd Oscar®-nominated film.
Shui-Bo Wang's feature documentary is a visual autobiography of an artist who grew up in China during the historic upheavals of the ‘60s, '70s and '80s. A rich collage of original artwork and family and archival photos presents a personal perspective on the turbulent Cultural Revolution and the years that followed. For Shui-Bo Wang and others of his generation, Tiananmen Square was the central symbol of the new China – a society to be based on equality and cooperation. This animated documentary artfully traces Shui-Bo's roots and his own life journey as he struggles to sort through ideology and arrive at truth.
This full-length documentary tells the story of modern Korea, a nation divided in half. The psychic scar shared by families divided during the Korean War in the 1950s is symbolized by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing communist North from capitalist South. Along this infamous border, filmmaker Min Sook Lee begins an emotion-charged journey into Korea’s broken heart, exploring the rhetoric and realism of reunification through the extraordinary stories of ordinary people. An eloquent tale of longing and hope,
Scared Sacred is a feature documentary that asks the question: Can we be Scared into the Sacred? The film takes us on a journey to the pivotal ground zeros of the world, places like Bosnia, Hiroshima, New York City and Afghanistan in search of stories of hope and meaning.
This animated short, based on the book by Rachna Gilmore, is the story of Gita, an 8-year-old girl who can't wait to celebrate Divali - the Hindu festival of lights - in her new home in Canada. But it's nothing like New Delhi, where she comes from. The weather is cold and grey and a terrible ice storm cuts off the power, ruining her plans for a party. Obviously, a Divali celebration now is impossible. Or is it? As Gita experiences the glittering beauty of the icy streets outside, the traditional festival of lights comes alive in a sparkling new way.
Part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children’s stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.
This full-length documentary tells the story of 2 Afghans who return to Afghanistan in search of their families after a 16-year exile. Like many Afghan children, Soorgul and Amir were sent to Tajikistan during the Soviet occupation of their country. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the civil wars that broke out on both sides of the border left the children stranded, unable to leave the country until Canada accepted them as refugees.
The Sweetest Embrace tells an intimate story set against one of the world's most harsh and yet beautiful landscapes, in a land where life has been shaped by war and hardship but where spirit remains resilient.
This documentary follows a convoy carrying a calandria, the 70-ton heart of a Canadian nuclear reactor, to Rajasthan, in India, in 1968. Even the biggest traditional juggernauts could not match this one, passing over roads specially strengthened and through city walls torn down to make way.
Ages 15 to 16
English Language Arts - CanLit
Ethics and Religious Culture - Religious Diversity/Heritage
History - World History
History and Citizenship Education - Imperialism and Colonization (1800s-1900s)
Students research eastern religions, meditation, yoga, ashrams, views of spirituality, utopian societies, etc., and report or present to class. Students can debate colonialism/expatriation impacts in India and other communities, and make a comparison: ex. French colonialism in Vietnam vs. India vs. Africa, history/research/today. Students research colonial history in India, Pondicherry in the 1870s and now. Students can compare Euro-centric colonial views in Asia, documentary vs. Somerset Maugham writings. Pick one teaching from film and further research- compare film (70s) to now.