TËNK: Layover on mental health, Fragments of the filmography of Jean-François Lesage, and a film portrait of Ousmane Sembène

Tënk is happy to unveil its upcoming programming. Available online for eight weeks, the proposed documentaries invite reflection on questions that oscillate between the universal and the intimate.


From November 26 to January 22, Tënk presents a layover on mental health, on the occasion of the theatrical release of Upstairs (Dehors Serge Dehors). Curated by producer Virginie Dubois, this five film-spotlight highlights the many faces of mental health issues as well as their representation in documentary cinema. In it, we discover a multitude of characters in their respective environments: a clinic, a mansion, a series of illusions, a “block for madmen and artists.”

●● Alexandre the Fool by Pedro Pires (Quebec, 2019, 64 min)

The director’s aesthetic skill in visual effects is in the spotlight in this film about Alexandre, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia for more than 15 years.

●● Manoir by Pier-Luc Latulippe et Alain Fournier (Quebec, 2016, 70 min)

In this earlier film, the directors of Upstairs (Dehors Serge Dehors) present a living space that resembles a motel and that accommodates former residents of the Saint-Hyacinthe psychiatric hospital. Prix collégial du cinéma québécois (PCCQ) – 2017.

●● Le Sous-bois des insensés by Martine Deyres (France, 2015, 89 min)

A precious testimony from a major player in 20th century psychiatry, Jean Oury, who tells of a life spent observing madness.

●● Pinocchio by André-Line Beauparlant (Quebec, 2015, 72 min)

The portrait of a man with a prodigious imagination, but a cloudy sense of truth, both charming and manipulative: a sinuous quest in which the director gets to know her own brother.

●● Tarnation by Jonathan Caouette (USA, 2003, 91 min)

In his autobiographical documentary, Caouette offers an intimate look at his relationship with his mother, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. The work is constructed from material he has collected since the age of 11.


On the occasion of the December release of Jean-François Lesage‘s next film, Prayer for a Lost Mitten, Tënk is showing a fragment of the filmmaker’s work from December 3 to January 29. Three films will be presented, where the camera is used as a pretext for fortuitous encounters. A Mile End Tale (2013) follows the twists and turns of a broken heart in this motley neighborhood of Montreal; A Summer Love (2015) captures nocturnal discussions in Mount Royal Park; and The Hidden River (2017) takes us to a remote corner of Gaspésie where nature reigns. Works of meditative vigour that sail on the waves of romantic questions, self-discovery, and fidelity. The director delicately captures fragments of intimacy to remind us that all the poetry in the world hides behind the simplest things.


Among the novelties of December 10, Tënk will make available Sembène! (2015) by Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo, a film honouring the memory of Ousmane Sembène, the Senegalese novelist and filmmaker known as the “father of African cinema.” In his astonishing career, he pursued against all odds his goal of becoming a “storyteller for a new Africa.”



Tënk.ca is an independent subscription-based documentary streaming platform available online across Canada. It was launched in Quebec in February 2020 by a team of enthusiasts and documentary professionals. Tënk is a year-round film festival whose mission is to renew the way we look at the world through the broadcast of strong and unique films. Tënk was first created in Lussas, France, in what is affectionately known as The Documentary Village. With the arrival of Tënk in Canada, a real network is being created to ensure the broadcasting of the best of documentary cinema.

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