Watching the current trends in Canadian TV can be hazardous to the health of a veteran TV critic
I started my career in 1970 when CBC was fairly bursting with arts specials, dance profiles directed by the great Norman Campbell, Canadian TV movies and those ward winning "Raskeymentaries".
All are gone these days as the "Canadianness" of Canadian TV palpably recedes.
And then along comes a brilliant special A Place Of Tide And Time which is all about what it really means to be a Canadian.Titled A Place Of Tide And Time takes us to the Quebec village of St. Paul's River which has been around since the days of Jacques Cartier.
But the whole English speaking community has been in retreat ever since limitations on cod fishing were imposed on the community more than two decades ago.
This brilliant profile of a people who simply refuse to retreat is amazing --the images are so stark and imposing, the citizens refusing to give over to self py.
There is real concern the village may eventually have to be abandoned.
We visit with the few teenagers --the high school only has seven graduates this year and these young people can sense there's no future for them.
They also know how special their environment is.
We get to know their parents and the other "oldsters" who have never known any other way of life.
There's fishing for crab but that is highly seasonal.
Tourists come through in the summer but the town's museum is no longer being funded by the provincial government.
By the film's end, we come to care for these special people;e and understand the reluctance to leave a community where everyone helps each other and there is no crime.
There are two directors listed: Aude Heroux-Levesque and Sebastien Rist and they have managed to gain the confidence of their subjects who emerge as charming, brave and determined to stay just as long as possible in their own homes.
One Bonus: There's a first class salmon river that could be exploited for fishing parties.
We see them gathering at the convenience store, trying to think of new ways to exploit this unique way of life. I have a feeling there's absolutely no crime here which seems amazing these days.
We see how the high school has diminished to just a handful of kids who all say they'll have to move just to survive. And, yet, there still is a graduation ceremony.
We get inside these wonderful people, become involved at this collective show of courage, hope that against all odds they'll not only survive but somehow prevail.
And all of a sudden I'm feeling less bleak about Canadian TV's future .
A PLACE OF TIDE AND TIME PREMIERES ON CBC DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL SUNDAY NIGHT AT 9.
MY RATING: *****.