The Ottawa Journal from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on July 22, 1967 · Page 62
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The Ottawa Journal from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Page 62

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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Saturday, July 22, 1967
Page:
Page 62
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maon,aim(al 1 DOS A world-wide contest for movies on the Expo theme drew 870 entries ONLY1 A MAN as accustomed to controversy as Patrick Watson, host of the late and muchdebated television program. This Hour Has Seven Days, and executive producer of the prize-winning film War-rendale a fUm about emotionally disturbed children which the CBC decided was too shocking to screen, would have taken on such a Job. What he was asked to do was head up a jury to pick the world's best 50-second movie. The whole thing came about because of Expo 67 The Montreal International Film Festival, in conjunction with Expo, launched a world-wide contest to see who could make the best 50-second film on A LITHE node woman with a baby in the crook of bar arm moves softly in the forest The light is green; her body is golden. The child-is enchanted; the world is perfect. But suddenly as she sits in the glade and gently draws the baby to her breast there is a subtle cue to panic. She looks up, stricken. In the distance a huge rocket lifts off, engulfing in Hs fine afl die perfect Eden of the opening images. Is this a vision of man and bis world? - It seemed to be as we the jury sat in the darkened, nearly empty cinema on Montreal's Milton street to see what the world's film makers had to say to us about that theme. ' FUm after film seemed to testify that man's world is a world of violence; that every time we approach a moment of beauty or a vision of peace we have to shatter it in some compulsive spasm of hatred or ignorant fear. There were more than 250, of these minifiuns. We watched them in clusters of fives, breaking after each cluster to make notes, share thoughts and occasionally to change seats so that everybody got to sit with Genevieve Bujold at least once. "- Genevieve, sitting beside me as we watched yet another nuclear explosion interrupt a moment of love or saw the best imagination, of mankind perverted into war, used to sigh. They were little soft shuddering sighs like those of a child who has been crying for some time and finally lias stopped crying,' but not stopped feeling tragic. T. We watched the animated cartoon from Bulgaria: We Forget Too Soon. A little naked man, Homun-culus, stepped ashore Joto another world of paradise, but as he strides across it the bow and arrow that he holds becomes a rifle that fires and then a . Sten gun and men a cannon and then a rocket launcher. And before he has lived bis brief few seconds of life upon the screen, he has destroyed the . world and nothing is left but smoking rock arid chaos. the theme, Man and His World. The competition really caught on.. Eight hundred and seventy amateur and professional film makers in 37 countries asked to enter. One reason, of course, was that the winner would walk away with $10,000 or $200 a. second. To pick this winner a jury was needed. And Pat- rick Watson, who now teaches political science at 'the University of Waterloo, got the chairman's spot. With him -were film makers Claude Jutra and Wolf Koenig, architect Moshe Safdie and actress Genevieve Bujold. The first prize, and the $10,000, went to Czecho -- By Patrick Watson But just a moment!. Homunculus sits and weeps at what he has done and the tear that falls from his eyes bursts up again as a flower of redemptive hope out of the blackened wreck of the world: Only, of course, to be crushed under the war maker's heel as the film fades out on a scene and begins it all over again. This was the theme that dominated the concours Terre D'es- Hommes, and I suppose it might have been a cue for depression if I had given myself over entirely to the emotional impact of the films themselves. But (besides the few moving, honest and upbeat films like the superb Japanese heart operation in which the heartbeat of the patient becomes the heartbeat of the world), there were two facts that kept me cheerful. One was that very universality of the theme of violence. It cropped up in films from Russia, it inspired directors in America, in England, in France,. in South America, and even, as I have said, in Bulgaria. flu Expo Commissioner-General Pierre Dupuy with Watson, Miss Bujold and winner Pavel Prochazka. slovakia's Pavel Prochazka,. whose satirical cartoon,' Health Of Man, is shown here. The rest of the film excerpts on these pages, along with 94 others picked from the contest, will be shown at the eighth annual Montreal International Film Festival opening at Expo Theatre Aug.4. - After looking at a sampling of these cartoons, the editors of Weekend Magazine came to the conclusion that the general view taken ' by the film makers was that Man had made a mess of his World. So we asked the expert, jury head Patrick -Watson, to sum up his feelings about what impression those who attend the International Film Festival will get.' And I thought if they all see it that way there is hope. Better, if they are all able to say it that way, there is hope. Because, in fact, this collection of films from almost as many Iron Curtain Countries as so-called free-world countries comprised a powerful and persistent and insistent statement against war. And the second fact is that although the anti-war statement of these films was not made in terms of faith in mankind (for man is portrayed in the best of them as foolish, thoughtless and violent) it is made in terms of affection for mankind, or maybe love is not too strong a word. There is the little soldier here of the Chechoslovakian grand-prize winner. He climbs off the operating table, a successful result of the world's most brilliant medical science. He goes' back to war, he is shot, and though he is a fool to do it and we are fools to let him, we like him and we care for him. Many of the lesser films in the competition were simply angry. Angry at man's folly and angry at man. But the better ones hate the folly and love the fools. And so even the most powerfully cynical views of our future history on this earth came at us out of the screen with such a depth of concern, affection and amusement that among their other messages is a unifying theme of respect for human persons, and it is a theme that stays rich and reassuring no matter whether it comes from East or West It is not comfortably reassuring; in every violent act you have to recognize yourself. But it is communication across the barriers of language and race. It does bring the world community together in a common understanding. Japanese and German, Indian and American, Pole and Briton, Czech and Canadian, we nod together as we watch, saying, "Yes, that's how it is, that's how it is." And that for me is what film can be for.

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