In this short film, internationally acclaimed author Margaret Laurence passionately addresses several issues related to peace: the social responsibility of the writer; language usage and reality; jargon and "newspeak"; imagination, meaning and understanding; the nuclear threat; world leadership; the role of empathy in communication; the distinctions between fiction and didactic writing; and the power of "ordinary" people to influence events. The film's scope makes this an excellent discussion starter in diverse subject areas.
The nation, the country, where do we belong in it? In this film through conversation and poetry two poets meet for the telling and the listening. Adrienne Rich is a distinguished American feminist poet, and author of numerous books of prose, poetry, essays and speeches. Dionne Brand is a Trinidadian-Canadian femininst poet, writer and filmmaker. Incisive and inquisitive, the two women meet to discuss the world as they each see it. Claiming any subject, they talk about events as they see them, analytic, contemplative, honest and open ended. Topics include political issues, feminism, racism and lesbianism, among others. The viewer is invited into the exchange by the familiar images of two women talking intimately around a kitchen table, in corridors, or casually outdoors in the United States, Tobago and Canada. Shot in black and white and in colour, the conversation takes us over the territories of their poetry.
In Margaret Atwood: Once in August, filmmaker Michael Rubbo attempts to discover what shapes the celebrated writer's fiction and what motivates her characters. As one of Canada's most distinguished poets and novelists, Atwood is also one of this country's most elusive literary figures.
This feature documentary offers an intimate glimpse of three respected yet controversial Quebec writers. Now recognized at home and abroad, Louky Bersianik, Jovette Marchessault and Nicole Brossard have contributed greatly to the creation of a distinctive women’s literature. Confirming that fresh approaches to literature are still possible, they have helped to heighten awareness of the politics of language. Excerpts from their works vividly convey each woman’s style, concerns and rhythms. They examine personal and global issues from a feminist perspective: human relationships, work, justice, poverty, loneliness, women’s spirituality, and the future.
This feature documentary is a portrait of one of Canada's most celebrated authors, Margaret Laurence. Born in a small Prairie town in Manitoba, Laurence remained haunted by the images of this small Presbyterian home town. This film traces her life from the early days and introduces us to her characters, whom we meet through readings from her work by Canadian actress Jayne Eastwood. The film blends fact with fiction to give its audience a strong impression of who this very private person really was.
This short film encapsulates the life of P.K. Page, a Canadian woman who has reached international stature as both a painter and a poet. Through an exploration of her life and art, the film shows how her powerful works have extended beyond their inherent confines into the realms of anthropology and ecology.
The NFB’s 7th Academy-Award winning film. This short film is comprised of a lecture given to students by outspoken nuclear critic Dr. Helen Caldicott, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility in the USA. Her message is clear: disarmament cannot be postponed. Archival footage of the bombing of Hiroshima and images of its survivors seven months after the attack heighten the urgency of her message.
This feature documentary is a portrait of the life and work of Canadian poet Irving Layton. Here, the artist who long masked himself in controversy, unexpectedly agrees to be unmasked in front of the camera. The 1981 Nobel nominee not only reads and explicates his own writings, but also speaks incisively about Canadian literature itself, defining it metaphorically as a "double hook" that combines "beauty and terror."
For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
A portrait of and tribute to the author who, with the publication of Barometer Rising in 1941, set a precedent in Canadian literature by writing about Canadian topics and places and, in so doing, paved the way for a thriving national literary movement. Through the use of still photographs, archival footage and interviews, this documentary traces seven decades of MacLennan's public and private life--as a young boy in Nova Scotia, brought up in a strict Presbyterian family of Scottish descent, as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, as a professor at McGill University, and as the author of seven novels and numerous essays. Also featured in the film are several readings from MacLennan's work.
This short film brings together animated interpretations of four poems by great Canadian wordsmiths: "Riverdale Lion" by John Robert Colombo, "A Kite Is a Victim" by Leonard Cohen, "Klaxon" by James Reaney and George Johnston’s "The Bulge."
This short documentary introduces us to Alden Nowlan, winner of Canada’s 1967 Governor General’s Award for poetry. His empathy for ordinary people was evident in his work as a poet, journalist, short-story writer, novelist and playwright. Nowlan’s writing is admired far beyond his native Maritimes, but he never forgot his roots, which he drew on for inspiration. This film, shot just before his death in 1983, records him reminiscing and reading from his work.
This feature documentary profiles poet Milton Acorn, who left his home in Prince Edward Island in the late 1940s to earn his living as an itinerant carpenter, and wound up in Toronto as one of Canada's most highly regarded poets and one of its most outrageous literary figures. Dubbed "The People's Poet" by fellow poets, he won the Governor General's Literary Award in 1975. Burned out by personal crises, Acorn moved back to Charlottetown in 1981. This film, directed by a P.E.I. filmmaker, brings out Acorn's wit, love of nature, unorthodox political views, and sometimes infuriating personal contradictions.