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The Strength of Peace (Ages 15-17)

The Strength of Peace (Ages 15-17)

The best, if not only way, to bring about peace is through education. This playlist includes carefully selected works which are graceful and lucid in their depiction of what a culture of peace looks like.

Pour visionner cette sélection en français, cliquez ici.

Films in This Playlist Include
The Strangest Dream
If You Love This Planet
Scared Sacred
Return to Dresden

The best films last far beyond their initial showing and, in capturing enduring values, acquire a timeless quality. The NFB Playlist on War and Peace that I have chosen contains films produced over the past few decades, but all of them speak to the issues underneath today’s headlines. Whether a graphic depiction of the horrors of nuclear war, a journey around the world to find “the other way,” or a heartfelt examination of the reasons to oppose war, these films are graceful and lucid in their depiction of what a culture of peace is all about.

It is a great paradox that, while most people now reject war as a means to resolve conflict, they are reluctant, perhaps even afraid, to embrace wholeheartedly the means to peace. Every year, the public pays tribute to fallen warriors of past conflicts. From time to time, some march against the idea of a new war. But we do not inculcate into our daily lives the very essence of peace so that it is constantly reflected in all the pageantry and policies of society. Although we honour the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, we shun the idea of making peace education compulsory for all children.

Advocates of a culture of peace hope to change this so that the operational norms of modern life become a respect for all life, rejection of violence, sharing with others, preservation of the planet, and acceptance of the common ground we all live on. The best, if not the only, way to bring this about is through education. Films are, of course, a blend of entertainment and education, and the films here vibrantly project the culture of peace.

You will meet many fascinating individuals who have faced up to the demands of peace: Helen Caldicott, the indefatigable physician who campaigns against the horrors of nuclear war; Velcrow Ripper, armed with only a camera, who peers into the heart and soul of cultures around the world; Ted and John Friesen, two Mennonite brothers from Winkler, Manitoba, who agonize over conscientious objection to participating in war. The towering figure of Jo Rotblat, the Polish nuclear scientist who turned his back on nuclear weapons, founded the Pugwash movement and won the Nobel Peace Prize, looms over this collection. The new NFB film on his life, The Strangest Dream, graphically captures his joyful strength and essential message: If you want peace, prepare for peace. With a probing boldness and artistic flair, that is exactly what these films do.

Douglas Roche

Au cours de ses 35 ans de carrière, l’honorable Douglas Roche, O.C., auteur, parlementaire et diplomate, s’est spécialisé dans les questions entourant la paix et la sécurité humaine. Il prononce en divers points du globe des conférences sur le thème de la paix et du désarmement nucléaire. Monsieur Roche a été sénateur, membre du parlement, ambassadeur du Canada au désarmement et professeur invité à l’Université de l’Alberta. On l’a élu président du Comité du désarmement des Nations Unies dans le cadre de la 43e Assemblée générale en 1988. Il est l’auteur de dix-neuf ouvrages. Le plus récent, Creative Dissent: A Politician’s Struggle for Peace, renferme ses mémoires et a été publié chez Novalis en 2008. Titulaire de sept doctorats honorifiques que lui ont décernés des universités canadiennes et américaines, Monsieur Roche s’est vu attribuer de nombreuses distinctions pour ses travaux sur la paix et la non-violence, notamment le prix de la Mahatma Gandhi Foundation pour la paix mondiale.

  • The Strangest Dream
    2008|1 h 29 min

    This is a documentary on the life of Jo Rotblat, who mobilized the world’s leading scientists to save the world from nuclear annihilation and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his life-long dedication. Rotblat and the Pugwash movement have inspired thoughtful people everywhere.

  • If You Love This Planet
    1982|25 min

    “It’s appropriate to be passionate” about ridding the world of nuclear weapons. That’s what world-renowned nuclear disarmament activist Helen Caldicott says in this film. It’s interesting that U.S. President Ronald Reagan said the same thing. But Helen means it.

  • Scared Sacred
    2004|1 h 44 min

    Award-winning filmmaker Velcrow Ripper searches in a multitude of ground zeros around the world for hope in the darkest places. Whether in Kabul, Palestine, Hiroshima or New York, he finds hope for peace when a decision has been made to choose “the other way” from violence. An appropriate title for a beautiful film.

  • Return to Dresden
    1986|27 min

    The carpet bombing of Dresden, Germany in 1945 was a prelude to the massive destruction wrought by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Forty years later, the city celebrated its renaissance with the opening of a new opera house. One of the guests was a Canadian navigator of one of the bomber planes. Now an ardent peace activist, he discovers the humanity that rose from the rubble.

  • Uranium
    1990|47 min

    Buffy Sainte-Marie and Rosalie Bertell in the same film? The Native American singer and the scientist nun expose the risks of mining uranium in the Canadian heartland. The nuclear power defenders get their say, but it’s clear that the cost of mining uranium is too high: it’s the same material that is used to produce nuclear weapons. And the nuclear waste is immensely dangerous.