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Helen's War: Portrait of a Dissident


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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: Real to Reel
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 52 mins
Country of Origin: Canada
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2004
Available in French: No

What do you call someone who believes in the possibility of permanent peace? Optimistic. What do you call a woman who sacrificed her marriage to fight the nuclear threat? Obsessive. What do you call a Doctor who has taken on the Hippocratic oath for the entire planet? Ambitious. And what do you call an activist who states that this is “the most dangerous time in the history of the world“, who has launched a full scale attack on George W. Bush's increased military interventionism post 9/11, swearing “not to die until all the weapons are destroyed?” Naive? Insane? A doom saying heretic on the margins of credibility? Or a new millennial Cassandra...? Meet Helen Caldicott, a charismatic, emotive and pugnacious woman who has always believed that she can change the world. Her family calls her ‘Henny Penny', after the chicken who ran to tell the King that the sky was falling down. The world knows of her as Dr. Caldicott, the anti-nuclear firebrand who quit her job in 1978 to stop The Bomb. Two decades on, the Nuclear Cowboys are talking star wars, mini nukes and pre-emptive strikes. At 63, Henny's determined to stop them. Intercutting Caldicott's ongoing campaign to “end the nuclear age in five years” with archival snapshots from her three decades in the anti-nuclear spotlight, HELEN'S WAR is a contemporary portrait based on a universal theme: David versus Goliath.

Awards: Finalist in the prestigious 2004 Dendy Awards at the Sydney Film Festival