________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 9 . . . .January 7, 2005


For Jackson: A Time Capsule from His Two Grandmothers.

Leila Sujir (Writer and Director). Leila Sujir (LRS Producer). Germaine Ying Gee Wong. (NFB Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2003.
49 min., VHS, $99.95.
Order Number: C9103 059.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.

Review by Susan Rose.

** /4



For Jackson is a video reviewing the lives of Rosemary Brown and Ruth Horricks-Sujir for the benefit of their young grandson, Jackson. These accomplished women share details of their past primarily through oral storytelling with the aid of some photographs and satellite image maps. Film clips about World War II, Rosemary Brown's political career, a visit to Jamaica and a family wedding help to bring some excitement to the video. Some contemporary video clips give us a glimpse of Jackson and his family. Rosemary Brown was born in Jamaica and completed her education in Montreal. In 1972, she became the first black woman to be elected to a legislature in Canada. In 1975, Rosemary ran against Ed Broadbent in the NDP leadership convention. Rosemary is an engaging storyteller, often reading from her autobiography, Being Brown. In her narrative, Rosemary tries to connect her life story to larger world events and issues such as slavery, human rights and racism. Ruth Horricks-Sujir grew up on the prairies as the daughter of an United Church minister. In 1948, she moved to India where she married Raghu Sujir. In India and later in Canada, they endured some negative attitudes toward their mixed marriage. When their children were young, Raghu was killed in a plane accident. With the help of her parents, Ruth became educated as a teacher and taught in the Alberta school system for many years while raising her three children. Both of these admirable women have led interesting lives, and so this video is a wonderful document to assemble for their grandchild. Unfortunately, the poor editing gives most of it the feel of a home video. Like a home video, there are personal details and amusing anecdotes but very little plot line to hold the film together as a piece of entertainment or information. All in all, this slow paced video will not hold the attention of most students. It would be of more interest to adults and older teens (grade 11 or 12) who have an understanding of the historical context of these women's lives. Small sections of For Jackson could be used with younger students to illustrate specific subjects such as Canadian politics, seniors, schooling in Jamaica, or multi-racial families.

Recommended with Reservations.

Susan Rose, a recent graduate of the University of Manitoba Weekend College B.Ed. Program, teaches at Pinkham School in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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