World War I Armistice - A selection by Albert Ohayon

Fields of Sacrifice

| 38 min

This 1964 documentary returns to the battlefields where over 100,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars. The film also visits cemeteries where servicemen are buried. Filmed from Hong Kong to Sicily, this documentary is designed to show Canadians places they have reason to know but may not be able to visit. Produced for the Canadian Department of Veteran Affairs by the renowned documentary filmmaker Donald Brittain.

When the Department of Veterans Affairs approached the NFB to make a film about the Canadian war dead of the First and Second World Wars, nobody was quite sure how to proceed. Filmmaker Donald Brittain, who had just finished working on the Canada at War series, was assigned to the project. Convinced that just showing cemeteries would be counterproductive, Brittain filmed the sites of famous battles as they appeared in the 1960s, with people having moved on and enjoying their lives. Yet the sacrifices made by Canadians on the battlefields are not forgotten by the people of these countries. Shot on 35 mm, the film would premiere in Ottawa in October 1963 with Governor General Georges Vanier present and play theatrically for the next two years. It would also be broadcast on Remembrance Day 1965 on the full CBC network.