Bureaucracy shapes our lives and guides us from the cradle to the grave. This documentary, directed by Donald Brittain, lays bare the idiosyncrasies of bureaucracy, whether in Canada, Austria, Hungary, the Vatican or the Virgin Islands. It also attempts to make the functioning of the public service more comprehensible. The absurdities of bureaucratic behaviour are exposed with humour and irreverence.
A film about the people of Saigon told through the experiences of 3 young American journalists who, in 1970, explored the consequences of war and of the American presence in Vietnam. It is not a film about the Vietnam War, but about the people who lived on the fringe of battle. The views of the city are arresting, but away from the shrines and the open-air markets lies another city, swollen with refugees and war orphans, where every inch of habitable space is coveted.
This feature documentary is a fascinating and spirited portrait of the life and times of the legendary Quebec politician and four-time mayor of Montreal Camillien Houde. Using rare archival footage and interviews with ex-colleagues, aides and friends, the film presents a comprehensive profile of this incredible, and, to some, infamous, man.
This documentary by Michael Rubbo (Waiting for Fidel) offers candid glimpses of Indonesia and its people. Filming in and around the capital of Jakarta, the cameras follow where chance leads, capturing the flavour of life in this fertile crescent of tropical islands. Throughout the film, the focus is on a society caught between the past and the conflicting options for the future - to change or not to change from long-established patterns of life to ones more influenced by western technology.
In this animated short from the Hothouse 5 series, two creatures wonder, What is a hole? They have different points of view. Their debate leads to an idea, an idea that changes the world. This is a story of practical magic.
Produced as part of the 5th edition of the NFB’s Hothouse apprenticeship.
With a meticulous selection of interviews, performances and photos drawn from a vast and rich archival collection, Pauline Julien, Intimate and Political follows the iconic Quebec singer and eternally free spirit on a journey through key moments in the province’s history.
Through the coming of age of a twenty-year-old man, this film symbolizes the political coming of age of the people of Québec. In French with English subtitles.
Soundtrack album, John's Coltrane's Blue World, available from Impulse! / Universal Music Enterprises.
In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army on the basis of anti-black racism. Fast-forward to 2013: the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless. Director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary follows the grassroots campaign of a young attorney named Rosa Iris, as she challenges electoral corruption and fights to protect the right to citizenship for all people.
Celebrate Black Canadian cinema with the NFB. Explore our collection of films from Black filmmakers across Canada.
A film showing how the introduction of jet travel changed traditional ideas of space and time. The jet pilot in this film sped from northern cold to tropical heat in only a few hours. The film is a dramatic illustration of how high speed-travel shrinks the world and brings people together.
This feature documentary is a portrait of Herbert Norman, the Canadian ambassador to Egypt who leapt to his death in 1957. During his remarkable career, Norman had been a trusted aide of General MacArthur in post-war Japan and later played a key role in the Suez crisis. But for years, a US Senate subcommittee probed his past while the FBI accumulated a huge file on him, refusing to accept an RCMP investigation that cleared him of being a communist spy. Interviews with key players and dramatizations help reconstruct Herbert Norman's life.
This short documentary follows several refugee families during their first 19 days in Canada, as they navigate an unfamiliar terrain that has suddenly become their home. Located in the quiet Calgary neighbourhood of Bridgeland, the Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre is the starting point for government-assisted refugees who arrive in the city. During the 19-day timeline established by the federal government, an initial assessment is done and refugees are assisted with everything from airport reception and orientation to referrals, documents, and counselling.
19 Days reveals the human side of the refugee resettlement process. A unique look at the global migration crisis and one particular stage of asylum, it lays plain the realities faced on the difficult road towards integration.
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.
Ages 14 to 17
Civics/Citizenship - Citizen Responsibilities
Civics/Citizenship - Federal/Provincial Government
History and Citizenship Education - Issues in Society Today
The film states that what is often frustrating about a process is also what makes it fair. Write about a personal experience of bureaucracy that exemplifies this. Interview a civil servant or person working in administration and then present the importance of their job and the steps in a process or procedure they must follow.