Title: The Things I Cannot Change (1967)
Director/Writer: Tanya Ballantyne
Cast: Kenneth Bailey, Gertrude Bailey, Tanya Ballantyne, etc.
Duration: 55 minutes
Languages: English; no subtitles.
Description: The Things I Cannot Change was conceived as a pilot project for the Challenge for Change program (1967-1980), an NFB series that had as its mandate the goal of prompting social change. Tanya Ballantyne brings her camera into the lives of a downtrodden welfare family living in a low-rent Montreal apartment. The Baileys, headed by an unemployed father, have nine mouths to feed and a tenth on the way. They are the archetypical poor Catholic family, though never sentimentalized or "ennobled." With its close-up zoom shots and liberated camera style, the film sensitively captures the anguished expressions on the faces of the parents, and succeeds in winning out sympathy. However, the film provides little optimism, and is structured as a series of setbacks heading in a downward social spiral. The spiral hits rock bottom in the scene where the father suffers a pathetic beating at the hands of a bigger man. As an ethical issue, it is unlikely that the father, prone to moments of on-camera social martyrdom, would have behaved as "valiantly" (i.e., stupidly) had the camera not been there. Moments such as these continue until a freeze frame protracts the final moment of destitution (no money, no food, and a newborn baby). The film does not provide a full-fledged criticism on the ravages of capitalism, but it succeeds in its principal goal of exposing the problem of urban poverty. Heated reactions to the film, coupled with the embarrassment it caused for the family after it aired on CBC television, lead the producers to rethink the Challenge for Change series. As a result, it was decided that subjects would have more input into editorial decisions. Ballantyne revisited the Bailey family some twenty years later in the documentary Courage to Change (1985).
There's a cleaner, streamable version over @ the NFB's website.
Source: VHSRip. Taken from polsapene's torrent @ KG.
File size: 456MB | Resolution: 640 x 480 (1.333:1)
Video: 998kbps DivX 23.976fps
Audio: 44.1kHz 128kbps 2-channel Joint stereo MP3
Screenshot Folder @ TinyPic