________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 14 . . . . October 1, 1999

cover Voices of Change.

Lyn Wright & Barbara Doran (Directors). Keith Clarkson & Silva Basmajian (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1996.
92 min., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9195 111.

Subject Headings:
Women social reformers.
Women political activists.
Social change.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.
Review by Stephanie Yamniuk.

**** /4


"Defense is in our spirit"
(Mara Kimele, Latvian theatre director).
This video celebrates five women who have overcome oppression and injustice by stepping forward to make a difference in their communities. They express changing attitudes towards oppression through social activist programs, art and theatre, and in their daily lives. The documentary includes local music and scenes of families and communities interacting with each other. The viewer is left with a feeling of empowerment, seeing concrete evidence that voices used in the right way can make positive changes in their environment.
      The relationship between the five women and their parents and families is significant. The history behind the countries in upheaval is shown, and often two, sometimes three, different generations' reaction towards this chaos is interesting to watch. The older generation talks about the oppression as if it is something to be dealt with by acknowledging it and then accepting it. The younger generation reacts to oppressive governments/peoples by doing something about it. There is much respect between the different generations' opinions and a value put on this respect between people.
      An example of the way each woman is focused upon is seen in the first interview with Barbara Cummings, an Australian aboriginal. She talks about many of the struggles aboriginals have in keeping in touch with their heritage. From the time they were "indoctrinated" in western living habits, their own history was not acknowledged or taught, and, consequently, much has been forgotten. Cummings voices many aboriginal experiences of isolation and emotional abuse. In her role in the community, she reaches out to aboriginal families, women in particular, to listen, to encourage, and to be their advocate in matters of government and land ownership.
      This is an excellent video for senior high students, with a very positive look at women in difficult situations who are making a difference, both personally and politically.

Highly Recommended.

Stephanie Yamniuk, who has taught Grades 1-12, is currently a freelance writer and works at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364