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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
TRIGGER WARNING: This film contains the following subject matter: Suicide and self harm.
In both amateur and professional sports, being gay remains taboo. Few dare to come out of the closet for fear of being stigmatized, and for many, the pressure to perform is compounded by a further strain: whether or not to affirm their sexual orientation.
Breaking the code of silence that prevails on the field, on the ice and in the locker room, this film takes a fresh and often moving look at some of our gay and lesbian athletes, who share their experiences with the camera. They’ve set out to overcome prejudice in the hopes of changing things for the athletes of tomorrow.
The nation, the country, where do we belong in it? In this film through conversation and poetry two poets meet for the telling and the listening. Adrienne Rich is a distinguished American feminist poet, and author of numerous books of prose, poetry, essays and speeches. Dionne Brand is a Trinidadian-Canadian femininst poet, writer and filmmaker. Incisive and inquisitive, the two women meet to discuss the world as they each see it. Claiming any subject, they talk about events as they see them, analytic, contemplative, honest and open ended. Topics include political issues, feminism, racism and lesbianism, among others. The viewer is invited into the exchange by the familiar images of two women talking intimately around a kitchen table, in corridors, or casually outdoors in the United States, Tobago and Canada. Shot in black and white and in colour, the conversation takes us over the territories of their poetry.
When a vintage bassinet appears at filmmaker Tiffany Hsiung and long-time fiancée Victoria Mata’s home, it sets off a chain reaction of emotions. The Bassinet is a gentle and affecting story about Tiffany’s personal struggle with the intersection of her sexual orientation and cultural identity, and the cross-generational burden of having a baby in the context of rigid social constructs of marriage and family.
This feature documentary tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever.
In Handmade Mountain, Michèle Pearson Clarke explores the emotional fallout of being both early to gay marriage and early to gay divorce. Fifteen years after same-sex marriage became legal, she and friends reflect on its personal and political meaning in this experimental film.
Ages 18 to 18
French, Arabic and English with English subtitles
Warnings: Adult content, Sexuality, reference to Pornography
Not recommended for high school
Part of The Curve, this is a short documentary featuring Arabic-speaking LGBTQ2+ men living in Montreal who are feeling a particular brand of isolation as COVID-19 affects their community.