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Children of Soldiers (Enfants de Soldats) 2010

Highly Recommended

Distributed by National Film Board of Canada, 1123 Broadway, Suite 307, New York, NY 10010; 800-542-2164
Produced by National Film Board of Canada /Anne-Marie Rocher
Directed by Claire Corriveau
DVD, color, 88 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Afghan War, Canadian Studies, Military Studies, Adolescence

Date Entered: 11/06/2012

Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA

This film is a candid and intimate portrait of the daily lives of the wives and children of Canadian troops deployed to Afghanistan. Filmed at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa (Ontario) in 2008-2009 we see how the wives and children deal with the uncertainty of their husbands/fathers coming home and how to express such feelings and thoughts. The film begins with a soldier suffering from PTSD describing his pride in service but also his fears and how he deals with the effects of being in combat. Such circumstances would have been known in this country even a generation ago, but with such a small percentage of the population actually serving in the military, only the immediate families of those serving or those who reside in military towns, have any experience with such circumstances. Perhaps the most touching scenes are those revolving around Sergeant Gregory John Kruse’s family who have the joy of speaking to him on Christmas day and the heartache, pain, and grief of receiving word of his death in action just two days later. We follow his widow and family through the funeral and the early stages of grief as they prepare to move back to their home in the province of New Brunswick. When the unit returns from Afghanistan the following spring it is a time of great joy for most, but bitter sweetness for the Kruses and their close friends. You may wish to have a Kleenex/handkerchief ready when watching the scenes of the Kruses.

Technically, the film is flawless with picture and sound being crisp, clear, and easy to see and hear. There are three versions of the film: English, French, and multi-lingual. This reviewer only watched through the English version completely. The subtitles for French/English dialogue are perfectly readable.

For those who wish to know more about the Afghan War this would be a worthy addition. Military science, sociology, and child development collections would find this useful. Also, those who work in family support to the military should at least take a look at this and consider whether it would be a good tool in showing military families of the struggles that they may face while their loved one is deployed.

Note: This film is dedicated to the memory of Sergeant Gregory John Kruse.