Dark Pines: a documentary investigation of into the death of Tom Thomson 2005
Directed by David Vaisbord
On a rainy summer day in 1917, beloved Canadian painter Tom Thomson paddled alone onto Canoe Lake in Ontario's Algonquin Park and was never again seen alive. He was just 39 and had painted only 50 major works. In the decades following, this small but extraordinary body of work became the single most influential in Canadian landscape painting, and Thomson grew into a figure of mythical proportions. For 50 years, new evidence and testimony continued to surface in his mysterious death.
Most people familiar with the story think Thomson drowned accidentally, but this richly crafted docudrama reconsiders events surrounding his untimely end. The details—a summer love affair that may have spawned bitter rivalry and unwanted consequences, a rumoured political debate that took a violent turn, secret gambling debts, a haphazard investigation, even an exhumed body from Thomson's casket that proved to be the remains of another man—come vividly to life with performances from some of Canada's best actors. In the end, the only certainty is that Thomson's strange death has added to the enduring appeal of this Canadian icon, whose powerful paintings inspired the Group of Seven. Moving Images