:themeCode = CUL

:lg = en

Documentary Lens

Cultural Diversity

People from many national backgrounds meet in Canada. This gives us a remarkable cultural richness but sometimes creates problems in communication and coexistence.


Encounter at Kwacha House-Halifax

Encounter at Kwacha House-Halifax 1

Encounter at Kwacha House-Halifax 2

The Newcomers

The Newcomers 1

The films under Cultural Diversity are Encounter at Kwacha House - Halifax (1967) and The Newcomers (1953). Refer to What to Watch For (in About the Film) for questions on individual excerpts.

1. The two documentaries in this section reflect different times in Canadian history.

  • What are the cultural groups being portrayed? What is the relation between the group and 'mainstream' Canadian society?
  • Try to describe the message that the filmmaker is making about minority groups and Canadian society in each film. What do the messages tell us about the issues that were important in the 1950s and late 1960s?
  • How do the styles and techniques of the films reinforce the differences in the two eras? How has filmmaking changed, and how has the society changed in the fourteen years between the films? For a broader range of examples, add Mother of Many Children (1977), located under the Aboriginal Perspectives Web site, as another film for comparison.

2. As a classroom activity, have students describe documentaries they might make for the theme of Cultural Diversity today.

  • Brainstorm a list of cultural minorities in your region.
  • List possible topics or issues connected to the groups that would be worth filming for a documentary.
  • List locations, events, and/or people that would be interesting and useful to include within the topics.
  • What 'messages' might the documentaries deliver?
  • If you are interested, the activity may lead to a film unit, as described in Behind the Camera.

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