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WWII: An Overview in Moving PicturesWWII: An Overview in Moving PicturesMany Voices, Many StoriesMany Voices, Many StoriesThe Home FrontThe Home FrontCritical PerspectivesCritical PerspectivesSee Everything, Hear Everything
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See Everything, Hear Everything
Watch films, excerpts and view archival artefacts—all chosen by
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Film (48:06)
Letters from Karelia
2005, director: Kelly Saxberg
Taimi Pitkanen last saw her brother Aate (AH-tay) in a...
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Film (52:04)
The Enemy Within
2003, director: Eva Colmers
During World War II, a war-ravaged Britain realized it could...
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Film (52:00)
Open Secrets
2003, director: José Torrealba
This provocative documentary uncovers a lost chapter in...
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Film (12:31)
Through My Thick Glasses
2003, director: Pjotr Sapegin
An old man tells his granddaughter his personal story of the...
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Film (51:59)
The Pacifist Who Went to War
2002, director: David Neufeld
In 1939, as Canada joined World War II, a social crisis...
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Film (50:47)
Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story
2002, director: Jari Osborne
In pre-World War II Vancouver the Asahi baseball team was...
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Film (56:30)
Aftermath: The Remnants of War
2001, director: Daniel Sekulich
War has a dirty secret: it never really ends....
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Film (46:40)
Rosies of the North
1999, director: Kelly Saxberg
They raised children, baked cakes... and built world-class...
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Open Secrets
Film  (52:00) 2003, director: José Torrealba
Description
This provocative documentary uncovers a lost chapter in Canadian military history: how the Armed Forces dealt with homosexual behaviour among soldiers, during and after World War II. A group of veterans break their silence after more than 60 years.

We hear from five men, barely adults when they enlisted. From the sexual timidity of the 1930s, when homosexual behaviour 'was even more unmentionable than cancer,' spring these stories of sexual awakening amidst the brutality of war.

Soldiers and officers who depended upon one another for survival accepted each other's differences. Initially, the Army overlooked homosexual activity, but as the war advanced, they began to crack down: military tribunals, threats of imprisonment, discharge and public exposure.

After the war, officers accused of homosexuality were discharged. Back home in Canada, reputations and careers were ruined. For the young men who had served their country with valour, this final chapter was often too much to bear.

Interviews are skilfully woven with archival footage and rare photographs. Open Secrets is based on the Paul Jackson book, Courting Homosexuals in the Military.

Open Secrets
was produced as part of the Reel Diversity Competition for emerging filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a National Film Board of Canada initiative in partnership with CBC Newsworld.





More info on this film in NFB catalogue »»