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.
Things I Cannot Change is not, strictly speaking, part of the CFC/SN program. While it is often held-up as the first film under the Challenge for Change banner and discussed as key component of the program's legacy, the film was completed as a pilot project and broadcast on CBC prior to the formal launch of CFC. It stirred a great deal of controversy with regards to the treatment of the poverty-stricken family at the centre of the film. According to contributor Marit Kathryn Corneil, "the outrage this caused at the NFB inspired some producers and filmmakers to rethink the ethics of documentary filmmaking in the context of community development, and this became the agenda for the experimental program in ethical documentary at CFC/SN."Thomas Waugh, Ezra Winton, Michael Baker
From the playlist: Challenge for Change
Pedagogical evaluations and study guides are only available to CAMPUS subscribers.
Features designed specifically for teachers. Learn more
Already subscribed? Sign in
The Things I Cannot Change, Tanya Ballantyne, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
Show all comments