Many Black, racialized and immigrant women work with elderly patients as healthcare providers. Their jobs, already arduous and underpaid as it is, have become even more exhausting during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some public commentators have described them as overrepresented in this sector because of their culture, and hailed them as “guardian angels,” what do they themselves have to say? This cross-sectional portrait of some of these women takes the form of a meditative essay.
Marguerite Paquin lives in a seniors’ home where 14 nuns from her religious congregation have succumbed to COVID-19. The film takes us from the grandeur of the landscapes of Côte-Nord, Quebec, where Marguerite has worked for 47 years, into the room where she sits confined today, finding a sort of liberation through prayer and unshakeable solidarity with her sisters who are suffering.
The shore of a lake. A dam. Myriad testimonials that go right over our heads, just like everything else. Camped out in his car, a filmmaker stares out at the landscape through the raindrops coating the windows. Encounters emerge one by one. Voices multiply, at times validating each other, later contradictory. The filmmaker moves from worry to optimism. Only one question remains: Is there a right answer?
Shot in Montreal over a four-month period, from May to September 2020, Jules’ Impossible Summer charts the evolving relationship between the filmmaker and her 19-year-old son through 15 redundant conversations about the importance—or the impossibility, depending on the point of view—of following the health restrictions imposed during the pandemic.
An investigation into how language is changing in the age of COVID-19. The complete upheaval of social relationships today is leading to the reinterpretation of certain terms, which have suddenly taken on a fatal connotation. This film is a funeral mass in memory of the word “contact.”
As the world learns to live again in the midst of the pandemic, for many Arabic-speaking LGBTQ+ people living in Montreal, this is just a period of time like any other. When you’ve fled homophobic violence in your home country and endured a painful migratory journey, or you still face social prejudices stemming from intercultural and intergenerational conflicts, surviving social isolation is nothing new.
In conversations with passionate sociologist and political thinker Jean Pichette, the filmmaker views the forced downtime stemming from the current crisis as an opportunity to rethink our modes of existence and our relationship to others, nature, science, the economy, art, politics—in short, everything that makes us human.
This documentary features Black women active in politics as well as community, labour and feminist organizing. They share their insights and personal testimonies on the double legacy of racism and sexism, linking their personal struggles with the ongoing battle to end systemic discrimination and violence against women and people of colour.
Please note: This film contains explicit language. Viewer discretion is advised.
John Ware Reclaimed follows filmmaker Cheryl Foggo on her quest to re-examine the mythology surrounding John Ware, the Black cowboy who settled in Alberta, Canada, before the turn of the 20th century. Foggo’s research uncovers who this iconic figure might have been, and what his legacy means in terms of anti-Black racism, both past and present.
This feature documentary takes us to the heart of the Jane-Finch "Corridor" in the early 1980s. Covering six square blocks in Toronto's North York, the area readily evokes images of vandalism, high-density subsidized housing, racial tension, despair and crime. By focusing on the lives of several of the residents, many of them black or members of other visible minorities, the film provides a powerful view of a community that, contrary to its popular image, is working towards a more positive future.
Renee Thompson is trying to make it as a top fashion model in New York. She's got the looks, the walk and the drive. But she’s a black model in a world where white women represent the standard of beauty. Agencies rarely hire black models. And when they do, they want them to look “like white girls dipped in chocolate.”
The Colour of Beauty is a shocking short documentary that examines racism in the fashion industry. Is a black model less attractive to designers, casting directors and consumers? What is the colour of beauty?
This film is part of the Work For All series, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, with the participation of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
This 1996 documentary takes a nostalgic ride through history to present the experiences of Black sleeping-car porters who worked on Canada's railways from the early 1900s through the 1960s. There was a strong sense of pride among these men and they were well-respected by their community. Yet, harsh working conditions prevented them from being promoted to other railway jobs until finally, in 1955, porter Lee Williams took his fight to the union.
Claiming discrimination under the Canada Fair Employment Act, the Black workers won their right to work in other areas. Interviews, archival footage and the music of noted jazz musician Joe Sealy (whose father was a porter) combine to portray a fascinating history that might otherwise have been forgotten.
Ages 13 to 18
Diversity - Black Studies
Ethics and Religious Culture - Ethical Values
Family Studies/Home Economics - Aging/Death and Dying
Social Studies - Contemporary Issues
Short documentary that’s part of The Curve, a series about life during the pandemic. A moving, meditative essay that features the voices of Black women who work tirelessly to care for elderly patients as healthcare providers, and yet still face racism. A very personal and compelling account of how hurtful racism is. If class is properly prepared for a respectful discussion, could be used as a conversation starter about racism. How do you feel about the nurse not giving the nun she cared for forgiveness?