I just finished watching a short documentary, The Children of Fogo Island, that consists mainly of observing children going about their daily play activities on this major island off the northern coast of Newfoundland. Directed by Colin Low in 1967 in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, the film dispenses with narration in favor of a simple and melodic music track, which gives the black and white images an elegiac feel. Aside from the nostalgia that the film evokes, there is also a sense of sadness in contemplating the tenuous hold on survival managed by the people living on this outport island. Several years ago I had the good fortune to meet a businessman about my age in St. John’s, Newfoundland who had grown up on Fogo Island and who still held great affection for the place. He spoke wistfully about his childhood there and how so many young people have left due to their inability to make a living in that remote place. This film brings me back to that conversation as well as the simpler times of a generation or so ago — which all children amazingly reinvent in their own way.
Link to video: http://www.nfb.ca/film/children_of_fogo_island