Canada Remembers: I’m not ‘an environmental zealot’ | Kavi Chong

The moral of the story – the United Arab Emirates-Canada Charter is one we’d like other nations to adopt My thoughts went straight to the past, along a lonely road. Once there, my mind…

Canada Remembers: I’m not ‘an environmental zealot’ | Kavi Chong

The moral of the story – the United Arab Emirates-Canada Charter is one we’d like other nations to adopt

My thoughts went straight to the past, along a lonely road. Once there, my mind landed on a group of barely believable and tragic photographs. In the first photograph a man with a missing arm awaits treatment; at the next there is a bloodied woman. Others found along the way were suffocated; others lost their lives and their families all in one picture.

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They are not recreations of the apocalypse. On the contrary, they are real. They are representative of human suffering; individual stories of despair and hope; an attempt to reconcile with the past that see what we cannot overcome in the present, but hope there will be a future.

These photographs are what drove me to create Canada Remembers: a human action film that breaks out of the cinema to tell the story of Canada’s power struggles, middle class vulnerability and power brokers.

The picture is of a group of people, gathered in a forest, who ultimately defeat evil. These men, women and children formed an alliance, one that rose up like an army of necessity. The story is told through a series of interviews and vignettes, each expertly interspersed with expert cinematography. This is a human action film that breaks out of the cinema to tell the story of Canada’s power struggles, middle class vulnerability and power brokers.

We had four actors in each scene. In one scene, the “willow men” organised themselves into an armed fighting unit, which the conventional wisdom would have told us has to be a reaction to the adversity we face as a nation today.

Instead, these men show how ideas and collective action can be effective without arms and violence. In a word, they all act in their non-verbal selves to get what they want. The film brings out not only the fierce wills in these people, but also their skills in tackling problems that lurk on the periphery.

In another scene, we see a man who wakes up after a night of casual sex. He wakes up with a wife who is cheating on him with another man, one that he has met in a drug den, in a neighbourhood where he has no friends. He moves out, walks past a number of abandoned houses, and wakes up one morning in a good neighbourhood. This is our everyday struggles today: power as a metaphor for “what you can get for nothing” and “exemption” as represented by the very definition of democracy.

All four scenes talk about “and what we can get for nothing”. Yes, the phrase is dangerously clichéd, but it speaks to the underlying theme: we cannot get what we want, but together we can!

And speaking of power, the movie explores two of our most sensitive political issues – Indigenous rights and the power of the scientific and social sciences. Canada Remembers captures the truth and the fiction in these issues, showing that real political power is not proportional to the size of a society’s population but to the capacity of its people to create solutions.

As with all well-made human action films, we start in darkness, a common refrain for activists against injustice. This begins with a group of Indigenous men, women and children, marching on a remote prairie, singing a song that honors their ancestors. In the bleat of protest their voices, the air and the land, becomes unearthly but undeniably human.

It then moves to a detailed portrayal of Indigenous life on the Prairies, where people are working hard to preserve their culture, identity and land. We see homes, children, towns and communities that are facing real challenges in what will become the future. The film is in this arc, with its actors making noise in their own way, to their own capacities.

Finally, we are in a place of extreme excess and despair. A science reporter rants and makes nonsense of the science of climate change. The environmental interests du jour sweep in for a photo-op, challenging people to do everything in their power to save the planet, from fracking to cutting taxes for fossil fuel companies.

This section is meant to be terrifying, a horror story, to really drive home the urgency of what is happening. It is shot brilliantly, with lot of grainy closeups to shine a light on the darkness. It is a scary movie.

No men play evil. No feminists go after monsters. That is not politics. Those roles are played by

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