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Distributed for Athabasca University Press

Screening Nature and Nation

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

Describes the cultural and environmental legacy of Canada’s National Film Board.

The documentaries produced by the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada, an institution profoundly woven into the country’s cultural fabric, not only influenced cinematic language but also shaped Canadians’ perspective of the environment and their 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, 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. 
 


240 pages | 26 color plates, 10 line drawings | 6 x 9

Film Studies


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