There was a time when the general store was the crossroads of life, a place where a boy could learn all he needed for the way ahead--especially when his uncle was the storekeeper, and also the undertaker, and the nephew often called upon to lend a hand. This film recalls such a store in a village in the asbestos mining area of Quebec in the early 1940s. The film presents a hundred-and-one vignettes of village life--all the bitter-sweet nostalgia with which a man might remember the events that thrust him into manhood. The action takes place on Christmas Eve--the one time of the year when the mine closed its doors, and the store bustled with humanity. For a few hours the villagers could forget their poverty and converge on the store for gossip and revelry. In the midst of it all was Uncle Antoine, customary ebullience and ribald humour whetted by occasional recourse to the gin bottle, and always somewhere in the background, his nephew Jacques taking it all in. But for Jacques this night was to bring sudden initiation into some of the harsher, cruder realities of life, even acquaintance with tragedy and death. Mon oncle Antoine is about a Quebec that makes no headlines but reflects the whole of life, the ebb and flow of hope and despair that might be in anyone's memory.
Claude Jutra's sweeping portrait of village life in 1940s Quebec has been called one of the greatest Canadian films of all time. Recalling a time when the local general store was the crossroads of life, the film illustrates the way a young boy sees the world and those closest to him – first through the eyes of a teenager, and later, as events change him, through the eyes of an adult. In French with English subtitles.
This feature film by Gilles Carle is a classic of French-Canadian cinema. During the year's worst storm, a humble snow-plow operator is forced to perform miracles, from clearing the streets to making his wife happy. Not to mention the multitude of errands in between. But Léopold is a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, and things usually tend to go his way. Will his good fortune continue on this snowy Christmas Eve in Montreal?
In this feature drama, a wife takes the courageous decision to leave her 5 children at home and accompany her husband on his yearly summer tour as an itinerant photographer. This despite housework, routine and 14 years of marriage having created a mutual indifference. They travel through a turn-of-the-century countryside of narrow lanes and old-time weddings, but most importantly, to an eventual rediscovery of each other.
A feature drama about a girl torn between two cultures, the English-speaking community of Vancouver where she grew up and the French-speaking Québec where the film opens. Her uncertainty extends to her lovers, one from Vancouver who wants to take her home and the other from Québec who would like to continue their pleasant, if inconclusive affair. The settings show a Québec winter and British Columbia spring.
In this feature film, 7 elderly women find themselves stranded when their bus breaks down in the wilderness. With only their wits, memories and some roasted frogs' legs to sustain them, this remarkable group of strangers share their life stories and turn a potential crisis into a magical time of humour, spirit and camaraderie. Featuring non-professional actors and unscripted dialogue, this film dissolves the barrier between fiction and reality, weaving a heart-warming tale of friendship and courage.
In this feature film, an engineer from Paris flies to Montreal (on Air Canada Flight YUL 871), partly on business, partly in search of parents displaced by World War II, and partly because of the prevailing restlessness of the age. He achieves little that is conclusive, but in the short time between his arrival and departure he has a love affair, enjoys a flight over Montreal and the Expo pavillions, and is adopted by a little girl.
For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
This epic drama looks at the opening of the Canadian West and the drought that led to the Depression in the Thirties. It is the saga of a family who left Eastern Canada to stake their future in the Prairies. Principle roles are played by Frances Hyland and James Douglas.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
The film reflects the dilemma of an urban family whose private world is no longer proof against strains from outside. The head of the family, a Montréal businessman tormented by a sense of failure, seeks a new self-image in an out-of-town affair. His college son is drawn to student causes and a night-club singer. The youngest boy, confused and insecure, wants to run away from it all; and the mother, caught in the middle, no longer feels adequate as everyone's guide and protector. It is a familiar theme portrayed in moving, human terms.
Prompted by the filmmaker, nine teenagers individually act out their secret dreams and, between times, talk about their world as they see it. Babette conceives of herself as an abbess defending her fortress, a convent; Michelle is transported in a dream of love where all time ceases; Philippe is the revolutionary, defeating all the institutions that plague him, and so on, through all their fantasies. All the actual preoccupations of youth are raised: authority, drugs, social conflict, sex. With English subtitles.
This fictional feature follows a twenty-something man who is struggling to define his position in the world in early adulthood. He has left their parents' home but still has not made an home of his own. Our protagonist’s alienation is palpable; for him life is a game, not because he chooses to make it so, but because he is unable to make anything more of it. But for those who befriend him and eventually turn him loose again, his game is not enough. Filmed in Montreal, this classic by Don Owen (Nobody Waved Good-bye) explores the time-worn rite of passage of finding oneself in a world not built for rakish playfulness.
Ages 14 to 17
Family Studies/Home Economics - Adolescent Development
Family Studies/Home Economics - Family Diversity and Challenges
Family Studies/Home Economics - Relationships
Health/Personal Development - Human Growth and Development
Discuss the difference between the lives of the young people in the film and the lives of young people today. Why do you think Carmen and Benoit stay with the Antoines? Why do you think people were unreceptive to the "big boss" giving Christmas stockings? What are some of the limitations identified in the film of living in such isolation?