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The Things I Cannot Change

The Things I Cannot Change

| 55 min

This feature documentary is considered to be the forerunner of the NFB's Challenge for Change Program. The film offers in inside look at 3 weeks in the life of the Bailey family. Trouble with the police, begging for stale bread, and the birth of another child are just some of the issues they face. Through it all, the father tries to explain his family's predicament. Although filmed in Montreal, the film offers an anatomy of poverty as it occurs throughout North America.

  • director
    Tanya Ballantyne
  • producer
    John Kemeny
  • photography
    Paul Leach
  • sound
    Roger Hart
  • editing
    William Brind
  • sound editing
    Bernard Bordeleau
  • re-recording
    Ron Alexander
    Roger Lamoureux


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Ages 12 to 17

Study Guide - Guide 1

Civics/Citizenship - Human Rights
Family Studies/Home Economics - Family Diversity and Challenges
Social Studies - Social Policies and Programs

Ask the class for their thoughts on Mr. Bailey as a father and as a man. Consider his upbringing. Ask the class to think about why Mr. Bailey did not use the film to help him prove that he was innocent when he got into the fight about his pay. What does the class think about the Baileys having more children? Organize a project in which students get into groups of two and are responsible for ten items (could be plant seeds) that they have to nourish and care for. Read the following article about Canadian children living in poverty. Using the Internet, find out what income is considered to be on the poverty line.

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