A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
Episodes Search Site Map The Series Partners White Pine White Pine Home

THE IMPOSSIBLE HOME: Robert Kroetsch and his German Roots

For Teachers


Es ist die Fähigkeit von Einwanderern, sich neu zu erfinden, ihre Bereitschaft, auf einen Traum hinzuarbeiten, die ein Land bereichern und erneuern. Diesem Mut widmet Carl Bessai seinen Film über den kanadischen Schriftsteller Robert Kroetsch und dessen deutsche Abstammung.

It is the ability of an immigrant to re-invent themselves; the willingness to pursue a dream, that enriches and renews a nation. This is the courage that Carl Bessai explores in his film about Canadian writer, Robert Kroetsch and his German roots. Robert Kroetsch is a prominent Canadian novelist and poet. He was born in his grandparent's homestead shack in Heisler, Alberta. The town was settled by ethnic Germans whose descendants farm the region to this day. Kroetsch's paternal great-great-grandfather emigrated from Germany in 1841, pushed out by the industrial revolution. He settled in Ontario and built a watermill. When new technologies and diminishing forests killed that dream, Kroetsch moved his family West, to homestead.

The Kroetsch family history mirrors the efforts of so many pioneers who carved out lives through hardship and adversity. As Robert Kroetsch so eloquently puts it, "I am no different from my grandfather who first came to Canada -- like so many new Canadians, I have kept moving, exploring and redefining myself in the geography of the land."

Kroetsch draws heavily on his early life as inspiration for his poetry and prose. In Field Notes, he documents family history in poetic fragments which describe the struggle to adjust to a new life in Canada. His novel, The Studhorse Man has been honoured with a Governor General's Award.

Filmmaker/cinematographer Carl Bessai's late father was a close friend and colleague of Robert Kroetsch. They share these German prairie roots. "THE IMPOSSIBLE HOME" is a poetic tribute to these origins, which have shaped the landscape and the literary culture of Canada.

Top of Page