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Canadian Living magazine. 1987. 30 minute video available on VHS or Betamax. $84.45 (includes postage and handling), B.C. and Ontario residents add 7% sales tax, Quebec 9%, to total amount. Distributed by Canadian Living, P.O. Box 220, Oakville. Ontario, L6J 5A2.

Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by donalee Moulton-Barrett

Volume 15 Number 5
1987 November

Psychologists often tell patients not to imagine what "might have been." That's also good advice for reviewers — especially if your hopes are high. Reason To Live, a 27-miniite documentary on teenage suicide in Canada, could have been an important, informative, poignant, and compelling video. It isn't. What it is is predictable, superficial, clichéd, and simplistic. It is a disappointment. The opening of the film, a series of houses and buildings at awkward angles, doesn't work. The symbol is embarrassingly obvious and regrettably over-used. This is unfortunately coupled with what is apparently "sombre" music befitting the subject matter, but which drags the pace of the film down to a crawl — and the film hasn't really even started.

Most of the "interviewees" — professionals in the field, "survivors of suicide" (the families and friends suicide victims leave behind), teen hot-line workers, and young people who've attempted suicide — are knowledgeable and their advice is helpful. However, the host, a member of Canadian Living's editorial staff, is less convincing, She is not a professional broadcaster and, at times, speaks in a monotone. Also, much of the information she delivers is too basic to hold the viewer's attention.

The film is based on an article that appeared in Canadian Living; indeed at times it seems to be word for word. But film and print journalism are different media that require different strategies for keeping the audience intent. Those differences have not been successfully mastered in Reason To Live.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, N.S.
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