________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 10 . . . . January 15, 1999

cover Referendum: Take Two / Prise 2.

Stéphan Drolet (Director); Adam Symansky & Jacques Vallée (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1996.
76 min. 35 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order number 9196 105.
Available in French under the title Référendum: Prise deux/Take 2

Subject Headings:
Referendum-Quebec (Province).
Quebec (Province)-History-Autonomy and independence movements.
Quebec (Province)-Politics and government-1994-

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.
Review by Tom Dercola.

**** /4

October 30, 1995 -the date Canada almost broke up and Quebec declared its sovereignty.

      During the tense days leading up to the referendum on sovereignty, two dozen film makers from the NFB's French and English documentary studios took their cameras into the streets and homes of Quebecers. Referendum: Take Two/Prise 2 is a passionate portrait of a deeply divided society. This is a powerful video that crackles with emotion for all Canadians - French, English or Aboriginal.

      The video mingles among anglophones, francophones and allophones. It takes us up close with leading figures of the Yes and No campaigns, and allows us to hear the passionate voices of ordinary people. A philosophical Montreal cabby empathizes with both sides. A woman struggles with her own identity as a Quebecer and a Canadian, the thought of having to choose. On a street in downtown Montreal, a Yes voter tells a young Albertan that his intentions are misplaced.

"Well, I'll invite you to home to dinner.... Maybe then you'll understand. 'But don't write that stuff. I hate it what you've written. It's nice, touching....You told the Québécois you love them. And after?"
As the campaign progresses, the Cree of northern Quebec hold their own referendum, voting overwhelmingly (96%) to remain in Canada even if Quebecers vote Yes. On referendum night, a Radio-Canada anchorman allows his emotions to show momentarily as the vote slowly swings to No.

      On election night, the video takes the viewer on a roller coaster of emotions from the headquarters of the two sides to stores, apartments, and even to the branch of a Toronto investment brokerage. OUI voters are ecstatic as early results give their side 55.4% of the vote. (Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar has dropped 100 basis points in a five minute span.) An hour later the NON side takes a slight lead. At 10:20, the CBC declares a NO victory. (The dollar rises 150 basis points).

      Filmed on street-corners, and in corner stores, newsrooms and taxis, Referendum: Take Two/Prise 2 reveals the people behind the politics in a collage of powerful moments. The arguments on both sides are strong, persuasive, reasoned, but also seemingly unchangeable. The film left this western Anglophone with a chilling sense of inevitability.

      This video is an excellent video for any high school, university, community group or individual Canadian.

Highly recommended.

Tom Dercola, who has had 30 years experience as a high school teacher, is the Humanities Department Head for St. James Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364