Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Culture’

The Whole Wide World

May 2, 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Yet another delicious National Film Board archive piece for you.  I have exactly 1 Expo ’67 story, and it isn’t exactly mine since I wasn’t alive.  My mother attended the Expo with her grade 8 class, and I’m sure she was very excited to check out this amazing event. Unfortunately, she collapsed at the front gates and spent the entire trip in a Montreal Hospital.  Her doctors and nurses only spoke French, so they could not explain to her what was wrong (I’m not sure if they even knew).  So you and I have now seen more of Expo ’67 than my mom, who was there.

The World’s Fair movement continues to this day, but many argue that Expo ’67 was the Zenith.  This remarkable effort in Canada’s centennial year exceeded all expectations. Over 50 million people visited Montreal that summer including a record 590 000 in one day.  It is even more remarkable that many observers at the time believed the Expo was unfeasible.  Instead people from around the world were treated to a marvelous experience.

This film captures much of the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of the Expo.  It is a cultural milestone for Canada that may never be matched. The film itself lacks narration, which is fine for this kind of documentary/commercial.  The images speak for themselves.

A Feeling And A Definition

March 25, 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Another day, another incredible Canadian short film.  This Oscar nominated (1968) piece by Ryan Larkin captures the variety and majesty of human walking in a variety of animation/art techniques.  I am posting this video not only for its visual content, but also for the phenomenal music that accompanies it.  It’s fascinating to me that an artist can take an ordinary action and transform it into a compelling presentation. On the surface there is nothing remarkable about walking, or the many people presented in the film.  But on closer inspection, I see the complexity of bipedal transportation being explored through whimsical eyes.

In my intial post about the National Film Board, I noted that many Canadian shorts have received Oscar nominations.  I think it is a testament to the creative visionaries who have pushed the boundaries of film over the years.  While most elements of creative endeavour battle the move towards popular conformity (see yesterday’s post) I think it is important that as a nation we encourage dynamic activity in the Arts.  If Canada is to truly have it’s own culture defined, then we must invent our own way to express that meaning.

Much of this blog has dealt with elements of that cultural definition, by highlighting movements and creations that I see has significant to the conversation. Certainly there has been a great deal of other material on here, but at the core of The Alder Fork is a quest for meaning.  One of the main elements of that is the hope for a Canadian identity.  Perhaps it should not be quantified in a standard way, but I think it should be sketched. If we can see it, we can touch it, and by feeling our way through Canadian culture we will come to a greater understanding of the nation and its people.

Please enjoy Walking by Ryan Larkin.