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.
This documentary tells the personal story of filmmaker Jari Osborne's father, a Chinese-Canadian veteran. She describes her father's involvement in World War II and uncovers a legacy of discrimination and racism against British Columbia's Chinese-Canadian community. Sworn to secrecy for decades, Osborne's father and his war buddies now vividly recall their top-secret missions behind enemy lines in Southeast Asia. Theirs is a tale of young men proudly fighting for a country that had mistreated them. This film does more than reveal an important period in Canadian history. It pays moving tribute to a father's quiet heroism.
This 1964 documentary returns to the battlefields where over 100,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars. The film also visits cemeteries where servicemen are buried. Filmed from Hong Kong to Sicily, this documentary is designed to show Canadians places they have reason to know but may not be able to visit. Produced for the Canadian Department of Veteran Affairs by the renowned documentary filmmaker Donald Brittain.
This short documentary made in 2008 looks at life in the trenches in the First World War. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 2008, 90 years will have passed since the signing of the Armistice ending the Great War in Europe. More than 600,000 men and women crossed the Atlantic with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and more than 60,000 of them never returned. Front Lines features veterans' letters to their families and images from the NFB archives, the Canadian War Museum and Library and Archives Canada.
This documentary celebrates the vibrant culture and tenacious struggle of the Canadian Gypsy and introduces a new generation of Roma who claim their roots with pride. They call themselves by their rightful name, the Roma. Almost 80,000 call Canada home. Meet Julia Lovell, a passionate defender of Roma human rights, whose father is slowly gaining the confidence to reveal his heritage; and Karen Gray Boothroyd, a flamenco dancer just beginning to reclaim her Gypsy roots.
This short documentary looks at Governor General Georges Vanier: his military service in two world wars, his diplomatic service between the wars and his investiture as Canada's 19th Governor General.
In this short film, a young woman visits the Vimy Memorial to make a charcoal imprint of the engraved name of her great-grandfather who was lost in battle. She brings with her a notebook of sketches and diary entries that he made during his preparation for battle. The sketches transform into colourized archive footage and take us back in time to revisit the daily lives of the Canadian Corps soldiers.This project marks the first time the NFB has colourized its own archives for a film project.
An award-winning actor, writer, producer and director, Paul Gross has struggled to find the right balance between the heart and the head, between intellect and emotions. But sometimes a story comes along, captivates a filmmaker and simply won't leave. For Gross, this story was Passchendaele, a film based on his grandfather's experiences in a WWI battle that became synonymous with Canada's courage and resolution in the face of epic tragedy. This film was produced for the 2009 Governor General's Performing Arts Award.
This provocative documentary uncovers a lost chapter in Canadian military history: how the Armed Forces dealt with homosexual behaviour among soldiers, during and after World War II. More than 60 years later, a group of five veterans, barely adults when they enlisted, break the silence to talk about how homosexual behaviour "was even more unmentionable than cancer." Yet amidst the brutality of war, instances of sexual awakening among soldiers and officers were occuring. Initially, the Army overlooked it, but as the war advanced, they began to crack down: military tribunals, threats of imprisonment, discharge and public exposure. After the war, officers accused of homosexuality were discharged. Back home in Canada, reputations and careers were ruined. For the young men who had served their country with valour, this final chapter was often too much to bear. Based on the book Courting Homosexuals in the Military by Paul Jackson.
This feature documentary profiles poet John McCrae, from his childhood in Ontario to his years in medicine at McGill University and the WWI battlefields of Belgium, where he cared for wounded soldiers. Generations of schoolchildren have recited McCrae’s iconic poem “In Flanders Fields,” but McCrae and Alexis Helmer—the young man whose death inspired the poem—have faded from memory. This film seeks to revive their stories through a vivid portrait of a great man in Canadian history.
This documentary introduces us to thousands of Indigenous Canadians who enlisted and fought alongside their countrymen and women during World War II, even though they could not be conscripted. Ironically, while they fought for the freedom of others, they were being denied equality in their own country and returned home to find their land seized.Loretta Todd's poignant film offers forth the testimony of those who were there, and how they managed to heal.
Cavalry detachments come and go at a staging post, while in the background, men feed the horses. Various types of armoured vehicles travel along a country road. They are carrying provisions, soldiers and a heavy piece of metal. The armoured vehicles are also engaged in combat. From inside a bunker, a soldier fires on a tank with a machine gun.
Ages 15 to 17
Civics/Citizenship - Citizen Responsibilities
Diversity - Diversity in Communities
Diversity - Identity
Ethics and Religious Culture - Religious Diversity/Heritage
History - World War II
Social Studies - Communities in Canada/World
Have students name famous pacifists throughout history. Explain to the class who the Mennonites are and why it is that war especially impacts their lives. Hold a class debate on whether young men and women should be exempted from military service in the time of war because of their religious beliefs. Read the poem ."The Pacifist" by Hilaire Belloc.