Montreal International Black Film Festival: I Am Curious (Black)

I Am Curious (Black)

Thomas Ngijol, Fabrice Éboué and Lionel Steketee's Case départ

The seventh edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival promises great film discoveries and heated debates

While the city is hooked on Pop Montreal, another festival will be attracting the attention of movie lovers at Cinéma Impérial, Cinéma ONF and Cinéma du Parc. Opening this year’s Montreal International Black Film Festival is Thomas Ngijol, Fabrice Éboué and Lionel Steketee’s Case départ (Back to Square One), a French movie that will seduce fans of comedy and also cause them to reflect on issues of racism and integration in France.

While the aforementioned film deals with slavery without sinking deeply into the topic, the closing night selection I Am Slave puts the subject up front and anchors it in today’s reality. Based on Mende Nazer’s life, the movie shocks the audience by confronting our preconceptions about slavery. Director Gabriel Range hopes that people will be touched by his movie and that it will help the 5,000 slaves still working in Great Britain. Don’t think it’s true? Welcome to their world.

Even though the festival focuses mostly on film screenings, parallel activities will draw your attention as well. On September 24, a conference and debate on the role and place of African-American people in the cinema industry might shake things up. Same thing if you attend Maison de l’Afrique’s exhibition Faces of Slavery, which runs to October 2.

Not to be missed is the tribute to Souleymane Cissé at Place Dupuis’s Hotel Gouverneur, where the legendary Malian director will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the hands of writer Dany Laferrière. After moving from Mali to Senegal, then to Moscow and back to Mali, Cissé’s first narrative feature film, Den Muso (The Young Girl), was banned in his own country and led to his imprisonment in 1972. For his movie Yeelen (The Light) he became the first African director to receive a prize (the 1987 Jury Prize) at the Cannes Festival.

With 125 films from over 35 countries (such as Denmark’s Lost in Africa and Canada’s Colour Me) grouped under 10 themes (from poetry to comedy, politics and homosexuality), the seventh edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival takes a step forward in black history and culture awareness. Where do you want to start?

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Montreal International Black Film Festival
September 22 to October 2

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