How can refugee children integrate into Quebec’s school system, given the unspeakable violence they’ve experienced? Following a psychologist specializing in conflict-related trauma, Unspoken Tears pays tribute to the admirable resilience and survival strategies of these “small adults,” whose spirit the bombs and camps have not completely crushed, at a time when it is vital to raise awareness in Western societies of migration-related issues and children’s rights.
Several years ago, after taking part in the mass uprisings against Bashar al-Assad, Adnan al-Mhamied had to flee Syria with his wife, Basmah, and their four children. Now settled in Montreal, the family opens their door to filmmaker Pascal Sanchez. They’ve adjusted to life in a peaceful city, but Adnan and Basmah still fear for loved ones back in Syria whose status and whereabouts remain unknown. The war that’s thousands of kilometres away continues to haunt them, surging suddenly to the fore in a conversation, Skype call or Facebook feed. Far from Bashar chronicles an endearing family as they go about their lives, tormented by a distant and seemingly interminable conflict.
Raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank while her mother was in prison, Walaa dreams of becoming a policewoman in the Palestinian Security Forces (PSF). Despite discouragement from her family, even her beloved brother Mohammed, Walaa applies and gets in. But her own rebellious behaviour and complicated relationship with her mother are challenging, as are the circumstances under which she lives.
Following Walaa from 15-21, with an intimate POV, What Walaa Wants is the compelling story of a defiant young girl navigating formidable obstacles, learning which rules to break and follow, and disproving the negative predictions from her surroundings and the world at large.
In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army on the basis of anti-black racism. Fast-forward to 2013: the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless. Director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary follows the grassroots campaign of a young attorney named Rosa Iris, as she challenges electoral corruption and fights to protect the right to citizenship for all people.
Celebrate Black Canadian cinema with the NFB. Explore our collection of films from Black filmmakers across Canada.
In 2013, an ancient statue of Apollo was found in the waters off Gaza—before disappearing under mysterious circumstances. Is it the work of forgers, or a gift from the gods to a Palestinian people desperately in need of hope? Soon the rumours start to swirl, while behind the scenes local and international players start jostling—some driven by historical preservation and others by purely commercial interests. Filmed in Gaza and Jerusalem, The Apollo of Gaza plays out like a mystery built around a national treasure that is the stuff of dreams. The Apollo of Gaza is an engaging reflection on the passage of time and the fragility of civilizations, as well as a poetic and philosophical meditation that immerses us in the often-misunderstood realities of life in a place that continues to pay a heavy price for the seemingly endless Israeli-Palestinian conflict—a place where life doggedly carries on, resisting. Like a meteor streaking across the sky, the statue of Apollo brings a moment of light and beauty to Gaza. Can it help restore dignity to a people, revealing a glorious history and fostering pride in a nation often misrepresented and demeaned?
In community archives across British Columbia, local knowledge keepers are hand-fashioning a more inclusive history. Through a collage of personal interviews, archival footage and deeply rooted memories, the past, present and future come together, fighting for a space where everyone is seen and everyone belongs. History is what we all make of it.
TRIGGER WARNING: This film contains scenes depicting homophobia and violence, which may be disturbing to some viewers.
Someone Like Me follows the parallel journeys of Drake, a gay asylum seeker from Uganda, and a group of strangers from Vancouver’s queer community who are tasked with supporting his resettlement in Canada. Together, they embark on a year-long quest for personal freedom, revealing how in a world where one must constantly fight for the right to exist, survival itself becomes a victory.
Even at a frail 90, Martha Katz has an impish energy that remains undiminished. She chides grandson-filmmaker Daniel Schubert over his choice of shirt during a visit to her Los Angeles home, but there’s trauma beneath the humour. At 14, Martha and her family were torn from their village in Czechoslovakia and shipped to Auschwitz. A visit to a Holocaust museum ignites painful memories, including a haunting personal encounter with one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious figures. For Martha, however, the emphasis is on a tough but rewarding postwar life in Winnipeg, which she fondly recalls in this warm, intimate portrait of an unrelenting survivor.
High Wire examines the reasons that Canada declined to take part in the 2003 US-led military mission in Iraq, shining a spotlight on the diplomatic tug of war that took place behind the scenes with our neighbours to the south, who have often adopted an interventionist foreign policy to serve their own economic and geopolitical interests. Canada’s historic refusal could have had disastrous consequences, but a number of key players and other analysts remind us of the terrible price we pay when diplomacy fails.
Two sisters grow up in Vietnam and are separated by the war between North and South. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, Thao, in her teens, must leave the country with her uncle. Her sister Sao Maï, only a little older, remains with their parents, hoping they will soon be reunited. But their separation will last nearly 20 years, and the letters they exchange are their only way to connect and relieve their loneliness. Thao and Sao Maï write about their everyday lives, their memories, the war, and its ghosts.
WARNING: This film discusses the topic of childhood sexual assault. Viewer discretion is advised.
Why be silent about the most serious matters? Doesn’t silence perpetuate suffering? From the 1950s to the 1980s, Catholic priests sexually abused many young boys in the francophone towns of New Brunswick. These scandals only came to light when the victims were in their fifties, provoking shock and outrage in the media and the public. Why did the affected communities keep silent so long, preferring secrecy to justice and truth? Profiting from their positions of influence to impose a “pious silence” on their parishioners, authority figures built an abusive system that tells us as much about the type of oppression specific to the Acadian population as it does about the blanket denials issued by the Catholic Church. Called to confront the power of this collective silence, veteran filmmaker Renée Blanchar meets with survivors in an attempt to untangle the deeply rooted reasons for this secrecy. With The Silence, she takes us as close as she can to the humanity of these broken men, revealing the forces that, today as in the past, have the power to unite or divide Acadian communities.
Ages 16 to 18
Civics/Citizenship - Human Rights
Diversity - Diversity in Communities
Health/Personal Development - Problem Solving/Conflict Resolution