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WWII: An Overview in Moving PicturesWWII: An Overview in Moving PicturesMany Voices, Many StoriesMany Voices, Many StoriesThe Home FrontThe Home FrontCritical PerspectivesCritical PerspectivesSee Everything, Hear Everything
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See Everything, Hear Everything
Watch films, excerpts and view archival artefacts—all chosen by
NFB experts—plus much more!
 
 
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Excerpt (4:26)
Letters from Karelia
2005, director: Kelly Saxberg
Canada's "Red Finns," who immigrated to the Soviet Union as...
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Excerpt (4:26)
Letters from Karelia
2005, director: Kelly Saxberg
A young Finnish-Canadian, Aate Pitkanen, found himself...
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Excerpt (4:28)
Open Secrets
2003, director: José Torrealba
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Excerpt (3:18)
Open Secrets
2003, director: José Torrealba
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Excerpt (5:32)
Through My Thick Glasses
2003, director: Pjotr Sapegin
The Norwegian resistance to Nazi occupation is commemorated...
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Excerpt (3:21)
The Pacifist Who Went to War
2002, director: David Neufeld
WWII veterans within Canada's Mennonite communities find...
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Excerpt (3:23)
The Pacifist Who Went to War
2002, director: David Neufeld
Over 10,000 Canadians were conscientious objectors during...
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Excerpt (2:15)
The Pacifist Who Went to War
2002, director: David Neufeld
Veterans returning to Mennonite communities after WWII often...
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Open Secrets
 

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Excerpt  (4:28) 2003, director: José Torrealba
The film

This provocative documentary uncovers a lost chapter in Canadian military history: how the Armed Forces dealt with homosexual behaviour among soldiers, during and after World War II. A group of veterans break their silence after more than 60 years.

We hear from five men, barely adults when they enlisted. From the sexual timidity of the 1930s, when homosexual behaviour 'was even more unmentionable than cancer,' spring these stories of sexual awakening amidst the brutality of war.

Soldiers and officers who depended upon one another for survival accepted each other's differences. Initially, the Army overlooked homosexual activity, but as the war advanced, they began to crack down: military tribunals, threats of imprisonment, discharge and public exposure.

After the war, officers accused of homosexuality were discharged. Back home in Canada, reputations and careers were ruined. For the young men who had served their country with valour, this final chapter was often too much to bear.

Interviews are skilfully woven with archival footage and rare photographs. Open Secrets is based on the Paul Jackson book, Courting Homosexuals in the Military.

Open Secrets
was produced as part of the Reel Diversity Competition for emerging filmmakers of colour. Reel Diversity is a National Film Board of Canada initiative in partnership with CBC Newsworld.