Tricks of The Dead: The Story of The Labour Corps in WW1
by westgatehall | 21st June 2017
A Film by Rare Earth Media. Directed by Jordan Paterson.
Doors open at 18:45. Cash Bar. Film Screening 19:30
Screening supported by Gateways to the First World War
Westgate Hall, Westgate Hall Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2BT
History is nothing but a pack of tricks we play on the dead.’ – Voltaire
China first emerged into international affairs on its road to becoming a world power in the First World War.
However its emergence is in the forgotten story of an unlikely group of Chinese peasants who were sent to an imperialist war they didn’t understand.
Zhang Yan, a Chinese history student from the same Shandong villages as the Chinese labourers in WWI, travels three continents to restore the collective memory of those in China and around the world who have forgotten about the 140,000 men who made this journey with British, Canadian and French forces.
Tracing the journey of the Chinese labourers Zhang Yan uncovers the largest mass migration cover up in Canadian history.
In 1917, 85,000 Chinese labourers were secretly shipped across Canada by locked and guarded train during the Chinese Head Tax period.
These men were then shipped to Europe where thousands died in labour on the Western Front: working in shipping yards, digging trenches and clearing the dead.
Jordan Paterson is a Vancouver based filmmaker whose documentary films often focus on stories of migration and the social dynamics of communities through history.
Paterson has written, produced and directed many award-winning documentaries for festivals and broadcast.
Broadcasts include CBC, Knowledge Network, TVO, Bravo! Canada, Fairchild TV, Omni TV Rogers, Guangdong Television (GDTV China), CCTV 10 (China), and TV5.
In 2013 Paterson received four Canadian Screen Award nominations for the documentary From C to C: Chinese Canadian.
Stories of Migration. The film was also awarded a Leo award for best one hour documentary program.