Weekend Video: The Back-Breaking Leaf

This 1959 documentary, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, follows migrant workers as they harvest tobacco in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Under physically exhausting conditions, men and women pick, load, sort, string, pole, and store the crop. Stompin’ Tom Connors captured the experience in his song “Tillsonburg”. Little has changed since this film was made 57 years ago.

The Back-breaking Leaf, Terence Macartney-Filgate, National Film Board of Canada

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