________________ CM . . . .Volume V Number 16 . . . . April 9, 1999

cover Born Hutterite.

Bryan Smith (Director), Graydon McCrea, Dale Phillips, Bryan Smith, Jim Warner, Jerry Krepakevich (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
48 min., VHS, $39.95.
Order number: 9196 141.

Subject Heading:
Hutterite Brethren-Canada.

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up.
Review by Katie Cook.

**1/2 /4

This video looks at communal life in a Hutterite colony through the eyes of two people who could not continue to live this life. Despite only having a grade 8 education, Sam Hofer is a spiritually rebellious young Canadian writer. Mary Wipf, an outspoken mother of 10, felt that she had no choice but to leave the colony when she could not convince Hutterite authorities to provide assistance for her alcoholic husband and her family.

      The early part of the video shows some aspects of communal Hutterite living, but, just when viewer interest in this type of live is piqued, the video switches to interviews. While Sam and Mary are speaking throughout most of the video, interviews are also held with Hutterite leaders of the Crystal Springs Colony in Alberta.

      This video is very person specific. The focus is on the two stories of unhappiness, and it doesn't contain enough insight into the Hutterite way of life. While the colony's point of view is presented, the focus is on the two people who broke away and why the Hutterite way of life did not work for them. Viewers looking for information on all aspects of Hutterite life will be disappointed.

      The sound quality of this video is erratic. Volume during the interviews rises and falls seemingly at random, a situation which could create some difficulties during classroom use. Because some of the photos of Sam's and Mary's lives on the colonies have been blown up for filming purposes, they are blurry and difficult to interpret.

      For students and teachers interested in learning more about life on a Hutterite colony, there are better resources. However, this video does provide insights into the pain and difficulty in making choices which are in opposition to a person's upbringing.


Katie Cook is a social studies teacher and teacher-librarian at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School in Steinbach, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364