Screening Nature and Nation

The Environmental Documentaries of the National Film Board, 1939-1974

La description

The documentaries produced by the National Film Board of Canada, an institution profoundly woven into Canada’s cultural fabric, not only influenced cinematic language, but their stunning portrayals of the landscape shaped our perception of the environment and our place in it. Screening Nature and Nation examines how Canadians have engaged with these films and how the depictions of the land and its people have reflected the prevailing attitudes of the times. In the years following the establishment of the NFB in 1939, author Michael Clemens demonstrates how production practices often supported the views of the government regarding the uses and limits of the environment. But, like most institutions, the films evolved, and by the beginning of the 1960s NFB documentaries began to express much broader social concerns. Certain filmmakers began to use their cameras as a means of challenging the dominant modes of thinking about the environment—not as a resource to be exploited but as a dynamic ecosystem. Films were produced that privileged Indigenous perspectives by focusing on the physical, cultural, and spiritual lives of the nation’s first people, offering audiences a glimpse into a social history they may have known little about.  Many of the seminal films created in the 1960s and 1970s by the National Film Board of Canada would go on to be adored by audiences world-wide for their portrayal of the landscape and indigenous culture, as well as inspiring a burgeoning environmental activist movement.