Saturday, April 28, 2012
And We Knew How to Dance (1994)
Set your sights on this fantastic Canadian documentary.
This 55-minute release from the National Film Board of Canada is an absolute gem of social history from 1994.
A DOZEN WOMEN SHARE THEIR STORIES
Director Maureen Judge's film features interviews with 12 women, aged 86 to 101, who helped on the homefront during the First World War.
They worked in munitions factories, on farms and in hospitals.
These women signed on for various reasons. Their brothers, fathers or men they knew enlisted. Or, they saw recruitment ads. Some, just like teenaged boys, lied about their ages so they could participate in the Great War.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
They experienced homesickness, sexism and hostility, but also enjoyed great camaraderie, independence and, in 1918, the vote.
The ladies relate some social mores of the day. Some may leave today's women under 20 scratching their heads. Money earned was turned over to parents. It'd be "vulgar" for a woman to wear slacks. Adultery was considered as serious a wrong-doing as murder. Now, websites offer wives a chance to find men for an affair. Times sure have changed.
The documentary features contemporary performances of war-time songs by Canadian musical group, The Holly Cole Trio. The choice is fitting since Cole is known for reimagining older songs.
STORIES THAT NEED TO BE HEARD
There was plenty of media coverage when Canada's last First World War veteran, John Babcock, died in February 2010 at age 109. And We Knew How to Dance was made just in time. Many of the women interviewed in this film are seen in wheelchairs, using walkers or moving slowly with the assistance of others. Their time would soon come to an end too. "I guess they're all gone now," one woman suggests about her former co-workers.
And We Knew How to Dance isn't for sale on Amazon in Canada or the United States, but can be viewed on the NFB's website at www.onf-nfb.gc.ca
Reel Popcorn Junkie is a reporter with a newspaper in the province of Ontario in Canada. He began writing film reviews when he was a student at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. Reel Popcorn Junkie continues to write entertainment copy for a daily newspaper, but not film reviews. Reel Popcorn Junkie always orders a regular popcorn, with no butter, when he attends the cinema.