Deep within the jungles of Mexico and Guatemala and extending into the limestone shelf of the Yucatan peninsula lie the fabled pyramids, temples and palaces of the Maya. While Europe still slumbered in the Dark Ages, these innovative people had charted the heavens, evolved the only true writing system native to the Americas and had made tremendous strides in mathematics and calendrics.
Without metal tools, beasts of burden or even the wheel, the Maya were able to construct vast cities. Filmed at numerous sacred sites throughout Central America, Mystery of the Maya explores the culture, science and history of this fascinating people.
This historical drama tells the story of Qin Shihuang, who unified China’s vast territory and declared himself emperor in 221 B.C. During his reign, he introduced sweeping reforms, built a vast network of roads and connected the Great Wall of China. From the grandiose inner sanctum of Emperor Qin's royal palace, to fierce battles with feudal kings, this film re-creates the glory and the terror of the Qin Dynasty, including footage of Qin's life-sized terra cotta army, constructed 2,200 years ago for his tomb. The First Emperor of China was shot entirely in IMAX.
This short documentary depicts the search, discovery and authentication of the only known Norse settlement in North America - Vinland the Good. Mentioned in Icelandic manuscripts and speculated about for over two centuries, Vinland is known as "the place where the wild grapes grow" and was thought to be on the eastern coast between Virginia and Newfoundland. In 1960 a curious group of house mounds was uncovered at l'Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland by Drs. Helge Ingstad and Anne Stine Ingstad of Norway. Added to the United Nations World Heritage List, l'Anse aux Meadows is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.
In this feature documentary, a Chilean filmmaker returns to the motherland for the first time in 23 years. Time is passing. A generation of young Chileans has grown up with no knowledge of the facts surrounding the military coup of September 11, 1973. In his suitcase, The Battle of Chile his 3-part cinéma vérité chronicle of the political tensions in Chile in 1973 and of the violent counterrevolution against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. His documentary toured the world but was never seen in Chile. Discreetly, he shows it to his friends and a small group of students. After the screening, the young people are in a state of shock. They have an urgent need to know the truth, for it is they who must build the Chile of tomorrow. In Spanish with English subtitles
This documentary reveals some of the hidden history of Blacks in Canada. In the 1930s in rural Ontario, a farmer buried the tombstones of a Black cemetery to make way for a potato patch. In the 1980s, descendants of the original settlers, Black and White, came together to restore the cemetery, but there were hidden truths no one wanted to discuss. Deep racial wounds were opened. Scenes of the cemetery excavation, interviews with residents and re-enactments—including one of a baseball game where a broken headstone is used for home plate—add to the film's emotional intensity.
With the distance between Canada and Russia, China and India cut by high-speed planes, new international links are being forged. In this Pacific world, British Columbia is a unit of growing importance. In a brief survey of the province, this film covers the people, natural resources, industries, and some of the social problems of British Columbia - specifically the imprisonment of Japanese citizens and brief references to the lives of Chinese and Indian migrants. Located on the Pacific Coast, it is the jumping-off place for planes bound for East Asia, and a vital link between the rest of Canada and her neighbours across the Pacific.
This short documentary is a portrait of Martine Duviella, whose parents were forced to flee Haiti during the Duvalier regime. Here, Duviella recounts the story of her activist father and through him seeks to retrieve the forgotten past of a generation that sacrificed itself trying to free Haiti. In French with English subtitles.
This documentary was made as part of the Tremplin program, with the collaboration of Radio-Canada.
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.
In this feature-length documentary, filmmaker Patricio Henriquez seeks to untangle the web of lies surrounding the Chilean navy's training vessel, the Esmeralda. Heralded as a symbol of national pride, a dark secret lies behind the facade of the ship the Chileans call The White Lady: Following the 1973 coup d'état, it was used as a floating prison. Thirty years later, the victims of the dictatorship are demanding justice. The Dark Side of the White Lady is a fascinating journey to uncover the truth.
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 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.
This feature documentary tells the story of Akhenaten, an ancient pharaoh who was almost lost to history. The film follows Canadian archaeologist Dr. Donald Redford, who uncovered the foundation of one of the pharaoh’s many temples, in his attempt to finally piece together this great Egyptian ruler’s enigmatic story.
Viewer Advisory: This film contains scenes of animal slaughter.