Cinéma Moderne will present La vie après la vie, après la mort (Life After Life, After Death), a program of four feature films directed by Black artists, programmed by filmmaker Miryam Charles. The original series, co-presented by 24 images, will be available from December 11 to January 11 via Cinéma Moderne’s online platform. Each film will be accompanied by a conversation between the programmer and Black guest artists, discussing the themes addressed in the films.

The program includes one of the first feature films directed by an African American woman since the 1920s, Losing Ground, made in 1984 by pioneering director Kathleen Collins. Also showing: The Watermelon Woman by Cheryl Dunye, in which the filmmaker looks back at the Black actresses of the 1930s and 1940s, who were rarely credited for their film roles. Two Canadian first features screened at the TIFF complete the selection: Jean of Joneses by Stella Meghie, a smart comedy about a Caribbean diaspora family, and Black Cop by Cory Bowles, about a Black policeman who questions his occupation when he is racially profiled.

“See yourself. Finally see yourself, living! To see on the screen what we have always known: Black lives matter. Beyond the struggles, simple, sweet, loving, joyful and sometimes tragic lives. In movies, freedom and equality can exist. In movies, we can create a New World. It’s about letting people speak for themselves. And listening. To see.” – Miryam Charles


Losing Ground by Kathleen Collins (United States. 1982. English. 86 minutes)

Director Kathleen Collins’ second feature film is a work with many different layers. Through the story of a couple tearing each other apart, Collins directs a film that reveals a nuanced criticism of society. Losing Ground captures the beauty and complexity of the human experience in a way that few films manage to do.

Available online from December 11 to 18.*

Accompanied by an online conversation with Nina Collins, writer and daughter of Kathleen Collins.

The Watermelon Woman by Cheryl Dunye (United States. 1996. English. 90 minutes)

Considered a cult film in queer cinema, Cheryl Dunye’s first feature film tells the story of Cheryl (played by the director), a young woman working in a video club while trying to make it as an actress. With this film, Dunye has found the perfect balance between satire, humour, criticism and poetry. The Watermelon Woman is an exceptional romantic comedy. The film takes the liberty of criticizing the contradictions and hypocrisies of society, but also those of the film industry. A lucid vision sprinkled with humour about a world that should be more open.

Available online from December 11 to January 11.

Accompanied by an online conversation with Valérie Bah, writer and filmmaker.

Black Cop by Cory Bowles (Canada. 2017. English. 91 minutes)

A Black police officer, the victim of yet another injustice, decides to take revenge on the wealthy community he is supposed to protect. Black Cop is a film that manages, despite the violence, to present us with a character in all his complexity. Just like the protagonist, the audience is confronted with its own mechanisms for dealing with racism. On first viewing, the film may seem harsh. It is more like a warning and, above all, a call for hope. Bowles reminds us that we can all aspire to be better. To ourselves and to others.

Available online from December 11 to January 11.

Accompanied by an online conversation with Justice Rustikara, filmmaker.

Jean of the Joneses by Stella Meghie (Canada / United States. 2016. English. 82 minutes)

Stella Meghie’s first feature film had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Festival. The film follows Jean, a young woman struggling to find her place in the world and especially in her family. The death of a family member changes everything. The multi-dimensional characters and delightful dialogue make this film a pure delight. Jean of the Joneses rightly launched Meghie’s career. She also directed the equally outstanding film The Weekend.

Available online from December 11 to January 11.

Accompanied by an online conversation with Carmine Pierre-Dufour, filmmaker and scriptwriter.

Life After Life, After Death is co-presented by 24 images, thanks to the support of the Conseil des arts de Montréal. Each film can be rented for $5, or all four for $15.


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