Le temps s’arrête, les couleurs s’estompent, c’est l’hiver sur le mont Royal.
Shark Hunt: Canadian Fisheries Patrol in the Pacific brings in a huge basking shark. Stringing a Line: A power line is strung by helicopter over mountains in Banff National Park. Arctic Town: Inuvik, a new town built on stilts inside the Arctic Circle.
More than buildings, more than people, a city is a total expression of purpose and aspiration, past and present. This is a multi-image look at the conglomerate city, composed of a whole stream of visual and auditory impressions presented without commentary. Often the screen subdivides--two, three, a dozen images appear at the same time, creating a counterpoint of the turbulence and discord, the harmony and sophistication of the big city.
Filmed in a squatter community of Labangon in Cebu, Philippines, Holding Our Ground is the inspiring story of a group of women who have organized collectively to pressure their government for land reform, to establish their own money-lending system and to create shelters for street kids. A story of grassroots organizing that can be a model in both hemispheres.
The Eye Witness series is a collection of short documentaries featuring Canadian news stories from the 1940s and '50s. This segment includes Prairie Harbour: The Port of Flowing Grain, a look at the lakehead cities of Fort William and Port Arthur, funnelling centres for western grain on its way to world markets. In Modern Miracle: Surgery is Safe, the appendectomy of patient Henry Brown demonstrates the advances in modern medicine. Co-Op Carpenters: Home-Made Community illustrates the principles behind the cooperative housing program for veterans in Carleton Heights near Ottawa.
In this experimental animated short, Ryan Larkin (Walking) creates a series of figures who move across the screen and disappear into a hole. Eventually, the hole metamorphoses into a bridge, on top of which stands the young man from whom the others figures originated.
This feature documentary takes us to the heart of the Jane-Finch "Corridor" in the early 1980s. Covering six square blocks in Toronto's North York, the area readily evokes images of vandalism, high-density subsidized housing, racial tension, despair and crime. By focusing on the lives of several of the residents, many of them black or members of other visible minorities, the film provides a powerful view of a community that, contrary to its popular image, is working towards a more positive future.
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. This episode explores the tension and mutual dependence of urban and rural areas. History shows that cities thrive best when they live in harmony and balance with the countryside. How can this balance be maintained or restored in sprawling metropolitan regions? The film is a revealing portrait of the discourses of urbanization that were circulating in the middle of the 20th century, including the development of what we know today as the suburbs.
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. In this episode, Mumford meditates on the “ugly and savagely debased surroundings” of the industrial cities that sprung up in formerly empty rural areas during the Industrial Revolution. Mumford juxtaposes the squalor of the working poor with the relative safety and security of the wealthy. He asks what can be done to address “the spirit of social hopelessness” that thrives in the overcrowded slums where a city’s poorest residents live.
This documentary is a portrait of Point St. Charles, one of Montreal’s notoriously bleak neighbourhoods. Many of the residents are English-speaking and of Irish origin; many of them are also on welfare. Considered to be one of the toughest districts in all of Canada, Point St. Charles is poor in terms of community facilities, but still full of rich contrasts and high spirits – that is, most of the time.
The people of the Attawapiskat First Nation, a Cree community in northern Ontario, were thrust into the national spotlight in 2012 when the impoverished living conditions on their reserve became an issue of national debate. With The People of the Kattawapiskak River, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin quietly attends as community members tell their own story, shedding light on a history of dispossession and official indifference. “Obomsawin’s main objective is to make us see the people of Attawapiskat differently,” said Robert Everett-Green in The Globe & Mail. “The emphasis, ultimately, is not so much on looking as on listening—the first stage in changing the conversation, or in making one possible.” Winner of the 2013 Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, the film is part of a cycle of films that Obomsawin has made on children’s welfare and rights.
Also available on the Alanis Obomsawin: A Legacy DVD box set