"History would be an excellent thing if only it were true," claimed Tolstoy, and veteran documentarian John Walker takes us on an epic historical adventure that involves cannibalism, a vengeful woman and an historical cover-up by British authorities that credited the wrong man with the discovery of the Northwest Passage. The film is based on the lives of Dr. John Rae, explorer for the Hudson's Bay Company, and Sir John Franklin, British Royal Navy officer and leader of an ill-fated 1840s Arctic expedition. Stunningly cinematic, the film follows a trail from London to the Orkney Islands to Nunavut, elegantly slipping between past and present, drama and documentary, observational and self-reflexive cinema, to present the forces that made Franklin a hero and banished Rae to the margins of history. A cast of characters, including respected Inuit stateman Tagak Curley and the great great grandson of Charles Dickens, join the director as he unravels a historic fraud and sets the record straight.
"[Passage] is the most revolutionary documentary made in Canada since John Grierson founded the National Film Board nearly 60 years ago." - Stephen Pederson, The Chronicle Herald
"One of the great triumphs in Canadian documentary film history." - Martin Knelman, The Toronto Star
"(An) ambitious and fascinating exercise in postmodernist filmmaking." - The Globe and Mail