Education

November Film List

Remembrance Day

In honour of Remembrance Day, this mix of documentary, biography, fiction and historical fiction films provide a powerful way of opening a discussion about the realities and consequences of war.

Black Liberators WWII

(66 Min)

Black Liberators WWII tells the heroic stories of Black Canadian and Caribbean soldiers who served in the Canadian Army during World War II. These little-known war stories reveal the amazing acts of bravery and patriotism of these soldiers, all while they faced the harsh realities of racism both at home and on the battlefield.

Director Adrian Callender invites audiences to uncover this history while paying homage to the individuals who fought for their country and their freedom. This ground-breaking documentary is an essential piece of Canadian history, ensuring that the sacrifices of these veterans are never forgotten.

Forgotten Warriors

(51 Min)

Thousands of Indigenous people enlisted and fought for Canada in World War II, even though they could not be conscripted. While they fought for the freedom of others, they were being denied their rights back home. 

As a reward for service, veterans were allowed to buy land at a cheap price. However, many Indigenous soldiers were never told about the land entitlement, and some returned home to find the government had seized parts of their reserve lands to compensate non-Indigenous veterans.

Narrator Tootoosis gives a historical overview, while Indigenous veterans share their poignant and unforgettable war memories, and the ways in which they have healed.

Inside Hana’s Suitcase

(88 Min)

Based on the internationally acclaimed book Hana’s Suitcase, this poignant documentary tells the tale of George and Hana Brady, two young children who grew up in pre-WWII Czechoslovakia, and the terrible hardships they endured because they were Jewish.

When Fumiko Ishioka, a teacher in Japan, requests artifacts from a Holocaust museum to illustrate the history of WWII to her students, one item she receives is a suitcase labelled “Hana Brady.” As she and her students unravel Hana’s story, the film seamlessly transports audiences through 70 years of history, back and forth across three continents.

“Larry Weinstein’s deft, unique balance of documentary and narrative techniques helps…convey the combination of deep personal trauma and epic atrocity at the heart of Inside Hana’s Suitcase…a lovely, accessible and moving work.” — Kieran Grant, EYE Weekly

Passchendaele

(114 Min)

Set during the height of WWI, Passchendaele tells the moving story of an important event in Canadian history through the eyes of Sergeant Michael Dunne (Gross), a soldier who is wounded in France and returns to Calgary emotionally and physically scarred.

While recovering, Dunne meets Sarah (Dhavernas) and becomes determined to win her heart. When Sarah’s asthmatic younger brother David (Dinicol) enlists to fight in the war, Michael returns to the battlefield in order to protect him. The two men are sent to fight against impossible odds in the battle of Passchendaele.

The film won six Genies, including Best Picture and Best Actor, for Paul Gross.

Red Snow

(100 Min)

This powerful drama follows Dylan (Asivak Koostachin), a Gwich’in soldier from the Canadian Arctic, who is caught in an ambush while serving in Afghanistan. His capture and interrogation by a Taliban Commander releases a cache of memories connected to the love and death of his Inuit cousin, Asana (Miika Bryce Whiskeyjack), and binds him closer to a Pashtun family as they attempt to escape across treacherous landscapes.

Remember

(94 Min)

Thrilling yet emotionally powerful, Remember follows retired veteran Zev Guttman (Plummer), who is asked to fulfill his friend’s dying wish: to hunt down a Nazi that has escaped capture for decades following World War II, and thus close their painful, personal chapter of the Holocaust. But as Guttman suffers from memory loss, shining light on this history reveals secrets even darker than he could have expected.

A riveting journey that will keep you guessing until the very end, Remember’s engrossing twists and incredible performances are simply unforgettable.

“This is one of those rare mainstream releases that gets everything right, right down to its knockout ending.”
— Scott Marks, San Diego Reader

Un sac de billes (A Bag of Marbles)

(110 Min)

A heartwarming adaptation of Joseph Joffo’s novel, Un Sac de Billes follows 10-year-old Joseph (Le Clech), who is forced to leave his home in 1941 when Paris is invaded and occupied by German troops. Separated from his parents and with only his older brother to help him, Joseph must find a way to survive in the devastated French landscape in the Second World War. Joseph’s story is fraught with dangers, as he must disguise both his name and religion in order to have a chance of seeing his family again. Through his eyes, this emotional film shows the progression of the Second World War and its effect on the average citizen.

“Makes such a barbaric and bewildering chapter in human history comprehensible for young audiences.” – Matt Fagerholm, RogerEbert.com

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire

(90 Min)

Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire was in command of the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission to Rwanda in 1994 when a bloody genocide erupted. Over the course of 100 days, more than 800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutus, the rival tribe in their country.

Dallaire attempted to stop the killing by alerting the world through the United Nations and the international media. Though his attempts were unsuccessful, Dallaire emerged as a hero. Ten years later, Dallaire returns to Rwanda to personally commemorate the anniversary of that holocaust.

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005.

“Dallaire is not only the protagonist of Shake Hands with the Devil, he is a compelling reason to see it.” — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Bullying Awareness & Prevention Week

This week provides an opportunity to raise awareness about bullying and promote positive relationships and real-life solutions for youth. Broach this sensitive and highly relevant topic with your students by showing one of these films.

C.R.A.Z.Y.

(127 Min)

A box office blockbuster and the winner of a whopping 11 Genies, C.R.A.Z.Y. is an infectious, entertaining coming-of-age drama. When Zac Beaulieu (Grondin) is born on December 25, 1960, it becomes clear that he is different from his four brothers. He vies desperately for attention and acceptance from both of his parents, but in particular from his loving and old-fashioned father, Gervais (Côté).

The film follows Zac as life takes him on an epic journey to come to grips with his sexual identity. Buoyed by a vibrant soundtrack, C.R.A.Z.Y. boasts countless moments of true movie magic. It is at once a crowd pleaser and a poignant auteur film.

Citizen Duane

(90 Min)

A quirky comedy with a lot of heart, Citizen Duane tells the tale of Duane Balfour (Smith), a teenager with big dreams born into a family of spectacular failures. What starts out as a simple schoolyard rivalry snowballs out of control when Duane decides to run for mayor of his tiny town of Ridgeway. To succeed, he must overcome not only powerful political opponents, but also his own insecurities. 

Duane's favourite teacher (Fox), his girlfriend and even his mom try to dissuade him from his goal, but Duane's irrepressible desire to challenge the powers that be is too strong. With the help of his misfit uncle (Logue), he just might stand a chance of becoming a credible candidate! 

Napoleon Dynamite — Canuck style!” — Jim Slotek, Sun Media

Jeune Juliette (Young Juliet)

(97 Min)

Adolescence is a tough time for a lot of people. Take Juliette (Jamieson); on top of feeling misunderstood by her peers and her own family, she has to deal with her dad’s new bohemian girlfriend, her first crush, and an increasing awareness that people see her as overweight. Good thing she has her best friend (Désilets), and a precocious young boy (Beaudet) whom she babysits to help her sort through the tumult of coming of age.

This humorous and heartfelt fourth film from writer/director Anne Émond wonderfully captures the awkwardness and the pain of growing up, letting go, and learning to love yourself no matter what other people think.

“It’s remarkable… Beautifully written, and sprinkled with laughter.” — MarcAndré Lussier, La Presse (Translated from French)

Riceboy Sleeps

(118 Min)

This stunning second feature from Anthony Shim follows a Korean single mother who moves to Canada with her young son in the early 1990s, following the death of her husband. As she struggles to make ends meet and provide the best life possible for her son, she has to contend with his changing attitudes towards her, and towards their Korean culture. 

A profoundly affecting drama about the immigrant experience, Riceboy Sleeps premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won the Platform Prize, and was named to their 2022 Canada’s Top Ten list. It also won the award for Best Original Screenplay at the Canadian Screen Awards.

The Trotsky

(120 Min)

Leon Bronstein (Baruchel) isn’t an average Montreal high school student. For one thing, he’s convinced that he is the reincarnation of early-20th-century Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. When Leon starts a hunger strike in his father’s (Rubinek’s) clothing factory, he is sent to public school as punishment.

Leon sets out to change the world, immediately butting heads with his new principal (Feore). Getting his apathetic peers to stand up to the school’s repressive administration proves more difficult than Leon first imagines, leading him to resort to some extreme and often hilarious tactics.

“The most genuine, authentic, legitimately funny teen movie since Heathers or John Hughes’ movies.” — Jane Stevenson, Sun Media