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Christmas at Moose Factory

Directed by Alanis Obomsawin
Canada, 1971 (documentary / children's, 13 minutes, colour, English)
Christmas at Moose Factory
Image: © National Film Board of Canada

Film Description:
"Children's crayon drawings, and the voice of a little girl telling what the pictures are about, create a charming study of life at Christmas time in Moose Factory, an old settlement, mainly of Indian families, on the shore of James Bay. Incidents big and small are illustrated and described with childish candor, conveying to the viewer a strong sense of being there."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Alanis Obomsawin
Produced by: Wolf Koenig, Robert Verrall
Cinematography: Ben Low
Music: Sinclair Cheecho, Jane Cheecho, Arthur Cheecho
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada

Notes about Christmas at Moose Factory


Quotes about Christmas at Moose Factory

"[Christmas at Moose Factory] features a fluid montage of children's drawings made by the Swampy Cree children at a residential school on the shore of the James Bay in Northern Ontario. In poignant voiceover, the children narrate their drawings about Christmas. The narration is accompanied by haunting sound effects and music, such as the wind blowing, dogs howling, and 'Jesus Loves Me' sung in Cree. While not technically animated, the camera moves over the drawings with loving attention, bringing them to life for the viewer. [Alanis] Obomsawin's film calls attention to one of the most shameful aspects of Canada's history in a moving and subtle way. It is heartbreaking to think of the children isolated from their parents by the residential school system, particularly during the Christmas season."
-- Jennifer Gauthier (source)

"In rapid succession, [Alanis] Obomsawin shows us several drawings of a conventional Christmas star, before she mixes in cultural difference, suddenly but unthreateningly, through peals of laughter and two-dimensional images familiar to every parent, uncle, or aunt. As a drawing of an angel appears on-screen, several young voices are quick to tell us that it is no ordinary angel—it is an 'Indian angel,' we learn."
-- Randolph Lewis (source)

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