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The House on the Prairie

Production year: 2010 | 1*58 | Genres: Lifestyle / Travel, Nature
The House on the Prairie
Origin country: Norway
Production company: NRK Norsk Rikskringkasting AS
Original title: Huset på prærien
Original language: Norwegian
Formats: HD

A documentary about life, yearning and love.

One day in Norway in 1989 a twelve year old boy finds an old suitcase hidden in an attic.
Twelve-year-old Hans Olav Brenner finds his grandfather's old travelling bag from Canada in a dark corner of the attic. The contents, documents and photographs from a life on the Canadian prairie in the 1920s and 30s, a life he knew nothing about, fascinate him. Twenty years later he makes his way to Canada, taking the bag and its intriguing contents with him. Is the house in the photograph still there? Are any of the people pictured before it still alive?

In September 2010 Hans Olav and film cameraman Jan Palmers journey to Alberta. Their encounters with men and women from a bygone age who helped to transform Canada into the modern country it now is, are both poignant and entertaining. The House on the Prairie includes interviews with pioneers from the Canadian prairie, a 94-year-old war veteran who demonstrates his daily workout routine and 96-year-old Lotte Fjordbotten, who does her best to recall the dimly remembered Norwegian of her childhood. Hans Olav is in for a big surprise when he sets out to discover who wrote a letter to his grandfather in 1938; the letter is not at all what it appears to be.

The programme revolved around Hans Olav's search for a particular house. But what chance does he have of finding, on the strength of a photograph, an isolated house, with no distinguishing surrounding features, in the vastness of the Canadian prairie, eighty years after it was built? Will wind and weather have erased all traces?

The wave of emigration from Norway to Canada in the 1920s was the result of mass unemployment at home, coupled with the United States' virtual closure of its borders, making Canada the new Land of Opportunity. But why is so little known about the many Norwegians who left their native land for Canada in what historians refer to as the Unknown Migration? In the course of only a few years between the two world wars, more than 20,000 Norwegians sailed direct from Norway to Canada, and to this figure must be added the many who moved there from the USA?

Still images

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