Film on Canadian Hutterites Is Reward Enough
Colleen Scheck, senior producer

It’s hard to watch The Hutterites and not wonder what has changed, and stayed the same, since 1964 for this Anabaptist community. But this is a piece of cultural history worth absorbing without thinking about the present.

Hutterite Colony in Standoff (1920)Colin Low, a Canadian filmmaker who inspired Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed this 28-minute documentary profiling a Hutterite community in Alberta, Canada. Not only is this film very informative about the lifestyle and beliefs of a relatively obscure communal people, this film is beautifully produced and an interesting example of the history of documentary technique. Here’s a taste of the narration:

“The memory of what the world once did to them remains with every Hutterite, and to a large degree they still mistrust the world and what they consider its false values. All Susie Chetter owns is contained in a hope chest. She will never have more money to spend than a child with an allowance. She probably will never see a movie or a television show. She knows nothing of science; little of art. She was baptized at 19 and made her vows, and now she is free to marry. If she should one day have children of her own, despite the sacrifices demanded by her belief, her dearest hope is that their lives will differ in no essential way from her own life.”

Sometimes, researching a book suggestion yields serendipitous rewards in the form of an engaging video “snack” on this Friday morning.

Photo courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

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Growing up in Alberta, I remember the timeless presence of Hutterites. Thanks for sharing this treasure, so beautifully filmed, so thoughtful.

Can't argue with success.

Related book - I am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby.