B.C. film history series: from First Nations and Black History Month to road movies and Vancouver-made propaganda

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      It's year five for an annual historical look at B.C. film.

      This year's lineup of The Image Before Us: A History of Film in British Columbia delves into subjects such as repatriation, black history, and cross-cultural issues while including the likes of road movies and thrillers in the mix.

      Tonight (January 14), the series launches at the Cinemathque (1131 Howe Street) at 6:30 p.m. with a collection of short films that span from poetic images to promotion to propaganda.

      While "City Song" (1961) and the Chinatown-focussed "Summer Afternoon" (1956) both offer poetic reflections upon the city (made from Vancouver-produced CBC content), the B.C. government-commissioned "The Good Life" (1968) is a promotional travelogue piece about the economy and industrial development.

      Meanwhile, the Vancouver-made National Film Board of Canada's "Of Japanese Descent: An Interim Report" was created to justify the removal and internment of Japanese Canadians from the B.C. coast during the Second World War.  

      This selection of short films will be followed by a screening at 8:40 p.m. of Waiting for Caroline (1967), about a young woman torn between her lovers in anglophone Vancouver and francophone Quebec.

      Later on in the program, I Heard the Owl Call My Name (1973), about an Anglican priest assigned to a Kwakwaka’wakw (formerly Kwakiutl) community in B.C., and the Toronto-set bank heist thriller The Silent Partner (1978) will be screened as a tribute to B.C. filmmaker Daryl Duke.

      For Black History Month, there's the 2010 NFB documentary Mighty Jerome, about African-Canadian track star Harry Jerome from North Vancouver, and the 1994 documentary "Hogan's Alley", about the history of the local black community in Strathcona.

      The series runs once a week on Monday evenings until February 11, with a special matinée of Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog on February 17.

      For a full list of films and screening details, visit the Cinematheque website.

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