In the Shadow of Gold Mountain is a moving, 2004 National Film Board documentary by Karen Cho on the Chinese-Canadian community’s long struggle for redress over the odious head tax forced on all Chinese immigrants until 1923, when the policy was replaced by the even worse Exclusion Act. That banned immigration from China completely for the next 24 years. Immigrants from no other country were treated this way by Canada. The campaign finally succeeded in 2006, tho few head tax payers or their spouses remained to receive the government’s long-denied compensation.
Los Canadienses is a terrific documentary, also produced by the National Film Board, on the Canadians who volunteered to fight for the Spanish Republic against Franco’s fascist forces, which were supported by Mussolini and Hitler, while western democracies did nothing. The documentary was directed by Albert Kish and released by the NFB in 1975, when the Canadian brigadistas were still relatively young and full of piss and vinegar. It’s narrated in his usual immaculate manner by the legendary Donald Brittain. This in commemoration of Jules Paivio, last surviving member of the Mackenzie Papineau Battalion (the Mac Paps), who has died at the age of 96.