This extraordinary film introduces us to the Reutov family, part of an isolated northern Alberta community called the Old Believers. Adhering to the original Orthodox Christian dogma and rituals introduced to ancient Rus (present-day Ukraine, Byelorussia and Russia) by the Greeks of Byzantium, the Old Believers see themselves as the last Christians left on the face of the Earth. Here in North America, for the first time in their history, they are threatened not by persecution, but by economic bounty and the western notion of personal freedom. Shot over the four seasons, the film is both a beautiful rendering of timeless rituals and a fascinating exploration of the Old Believers' turbulent history.
This feature documentary records the turbulent history and remarkable achievements of women in religion, from pre-Christian Celtic communities to the radical sisters of the 1980s. The history of nuns mirrors that of all women - in what we are taught about the past, women are almost invisible. Although today's one million nuns outnumber priests two to one, they still struggle to be heard by the all-male Roman Catholic hierarchy from which they are excluded. In Behind the Veil: Nuns, contemporary nuns speak candidly of their lives, their challenges, and their predecessors.
Alanis Obomsawin turns her lens to Le Patro Le Prévost, a recreational centre in the Villeray quarter of Montreal. On the eve of its 80th anniversary in 1989, Le Patro is a vital focal point in the predominantly working-class neighbourhood. Beloved by the many generations who use the facilities and partake in activities daily, Le Patro encourages a strong sense of togetherness through principles of cooperation, respect and sharing. Obomsawin presents a tender portrait of a neighbourhood of diverse residents and the community centre many of them consider a second home.
This feature-length film tells the story of the passion between Marie de l’Incarnation, a mid-seventeenth-century nun and God, her "divine spouse." Fusing documentary and acting by Marie Tifo, whom we follow as she rehearses for this demanding role, the film paints an astonishing portrait of this mystic who abandoned her son and left France to build a convent in Canada, where she became the first female writer in New France.
This short documentary by Terence Macartney-Filgate focuses on the never-ending pilgrimage to Montreal's St. Joseph's Oratory. A beautiful shrine set against Mount Royal, the Oratory draws pilgrims by the thousands every year – by plane, by bus, and on foot. What's the draw? Watch this film, and listen to Brother Placide Vermandère tell you all about it.
This short documentary offers a privileged view of convent life at Les Servantes de Jesus-Mariet, in Hull, Quebec. The film focuses on Micheline Robert, who, while all her friends were thinking about marriage, turned her back on that world for a life of obedience, chastity, and poverty. We follow her progress, right up to her final vows.
This very short film from the Canada Vignettes series documents the annual pilgrimage that members of Saskatchewan’s Métis Catholic community make to St. Laurent, a village in the Duck Lake area that became the Métis nation’s spiritual centre at the time of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion.
This feature documentary tells the story of the Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Cœur Congregation which was formed in 1924 when 53 French-speaking nuns separated from their unilingual English community, forming a new religious community that immediately began to campaign for the preservation of Acadian language, faith and culture. Convinced that education was essential for Acadian women, in 1943 the Congregation founded Collège Notre-Dame d’Acadie, where young women were able to study in French for the first time in New Brunswick.
This documentary is a salute to 35,000 years of the goddess-worshipping religions of the ancient past. The film features Merlin Stone, Carol Christ, Luisah Teish and Jean Bolen, all of whom link the loss of goddess-centric societies with today's environmental crisis. This is the first part of a 3-part series that includes The Burning Times and Full Circle.
In a documentary that spans two continents and several generations, acclaimed director John Paskievich delves into the experience of exile and its impact on the human spirit.
Almost fifty years after his family fled Ukraine for freedom in Canada, the filmmaker visits his parents' homeland. It's a place both familiar and foreign. Drawing on his years growing up in Winnipeg, Paskievich explores how children of refugees and immigrants are caught between two worlds. While they struggle to put down roots in a new country, they must also preserve traditions of a distant land they have never known.
Paskievich's journey through Ukraine is interwoven with stories of displacement from other prominent Ukrainian Canadians--authors George Melnyk and Fran Ponomarenko, filmmaker Bohdana Bashuk, director Halya Kuchmij and dancer Lecia Polujan. A rich tapestry of memory and history, My Mother's Village brings to light the humour, anger, joy and complexity of living between borders.
In a quest to rediscover the spiritual values of his own people, an African filmmaker from the Gourmantche tribe of Burkina Faso visits the Atikamekw of Northern Quebec. The resulting documentary is a dialogue between those who divine the future in the sand with those who use snow-encased sweat lodges to reconnect with the spiritual world.
This documentary is the story of two Mennonite brothers from Manitoba who were forced to make a decision in 1939, as Canada joined World War II. In the face of 400 years of pacifist tradition, should they now go to war? Ted became a conscientious objector while his brother went into military service. Fifty years later, the town of Winkler dedicates its first war memorial and John begins to share his war experiences with Ted.