This feature documentary vividly recounts Nigeria's history from pre-European times to the mid-20th century. The film explores the political maturing of Africa's most populous country and depicts the various African cultures that make up the Federation of Nigeria.
This 1957 documentary short offers an analysis of South Africa's acute race problem, an issue that causes dissension not only within its borders but within the Commonwealth and beyond. In South Africa, a country of 14 million people, 4 out of 5 people are black. The film gives a dispassionate appraisal of the motivations behind the policy of apartheid and of whether the practice of segregation provides a satisfactory, long-term solution.
This autobiographical documentary revisits the Mau Mau Rebellion of the 1950s. More than 50 years after the conflict, in which the director participated as a young British soldier stationed in Kenya for his national service, he confronts his past with audacity and unflinching self-inquiry.
Combining McWilliams' own photographic record of the times with original animation and archival imagery, A Time There Was crafts a thoughtful account of the Mau Mau Rebellion – one of the most contentious episodes in Britain’s imperial endgame.
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.
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.
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.
Shot in cinema-vérité style, this feature doc immerses us in the sights and sounds of the world's largest field hospital, the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sudan. The ICRC allowed filmmakers David Christensen and Damien Lewis unprecedented access to the surgical hospital and local medical staff as they care for wounded Sudanese soldiers and women and children, all casualties of the civil war.
With no narrator and minimal explanation, War Hospital simply and powerfully captures the joy and sadness of life and death.
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 short documentary demonstrates how international aid works, or fails to work, in the transfer of technology from a more to a less industrialized society. In the late 1970s, the government of Ghana, with the help of the Canadian International Development Agency, drilled wells and installed hand-operated pumps in many of the African country’s villages in an effort to provide a clean and convenient water supply. The film explores the relationships between people, environment, technology and nations of varying levels of industrialization from a decidedly Western perspective.
This short documentary zooms in on the Dinka population of Alek, South Sudan, during a period of famine. The Dinkas are an extremely patient people. With empty stomachs, they await the next harvest. For the last 40 years, an intermittent state of civil war has divided the country in 2. This time, the population has requested aid. Sacks of grain are dropped from planes, but to prevent rioting, distribution is delayed until the arrival of reinforcements. During this week of waiting, we witness the true face of hunger.
In this documentary, Paul Cowan delivers unprecedented access to the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping, and the determined and often desperate manoeuvres to avert another Rwandan disaster, this time in the Democratic Republic of Congo (the DRC). The film cuts back and forth between the United Nations headquarters in New York and events on the ground in the DRC. We are with the peacekeepers in the 'Crisis Room' as they balance the risk of loss of life on the ground with the enormous sums of money required from uncertain donor countries. We are with UN troops as the northeast Congo erupts and the future of the DRC, if not all of central Africa, hangs in the balance. As Secretary General Kofi Annan tells the General Assembly at the conclusion of The Peacekeepers: "History is a harsh judge. The world will not forgive us if we do nothing." Whether the world's peacekeeper did enough remains to be seen.
In 1992 a young Iranian student hanged himself on the outskirts of a small Ontario town. Having escaped the Ayatollah's regime and found a new home in Canada, he could not escape his past. In this film, Masoud Raouf documents the experiences of Iranian-Canadians - former political prisoners like himself - who were active in the Iranian democratic movement and continue to struggle with the past.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
Ages 13 to 18
Geography - Physical Geography/Geology
Social Studies - Communities in Canada/World
Social Studies - Comparative Civilizations
Warnings: Presumes Western civilization is the necessary goal for all, which is reinforced by phrases and images.
What implicit and explicit biases are suggested from the documentary’s Western perspective? For example, consider phrases such as “small and backward” that are used throughout the film. What images are used to reinforce these biases and prejudices? Suggest changes to this film to ensure it tells the history of Nigeria from the perspective of Nigerians. The union of this area as the country of Nigeria is depicted as a positive representation of “development.” Research the history of Nigeria following the time of this documentary (1960) and assess how “successful” they were. Review the role of the slave trade in the history of Nigeria. Describe the physical geographic characteristics of this region. How has this influenced human settlements? Research the different people groups in Niger and summarize their culture, traditions, language, region, etc. Using blank maps (not political) of this area, identify the physical features, religious groups and tribal distinctions of this area. Research the complex past Nigeria has with the British Empire and write an editorial on their relationship (focus in particular on governing, industry and social policies). Identify the myths that are presented in this documentary (for example, Western civilization is the ideal) and present alternative viewpoints with evidence.