Black History Month on screen in Vancouver: From Canadian history to Brazilian and queer cinema

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      Although Black History Month is entering in its last week, there are still several offerings for home screens that can serve as inspiration for learning more throughout the year.

      Here are some cinematic selections that range from Brazilian and LGBTQ cinema to a curated series with titles from Canada and beyond.

      Brazilian films

      The Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (VLAFF) is presenting Joy and Resilience in Black Brazilian Lives, a collection of four short films by Black Brazilian filmmakers.

      It’s curated by Brazilian film programmer, critic, lecturer, and researcher Heitor Augusto, who is based in São Paulo, Brazil, and it continues screening online until Sunday (February 28). Tickets are on a sliding scale (from $5 to $15).

      The selections include:

      • Renata Martins’ "Sem asas (Wingless)", about familial resilience and why a trip to the grocery store is a risk;
      • Vinícius Silva’s "Galho de arruda (A Ruta Branch)", about a boy reflecting upon Childish Gambino’s “This is America” music video;
      • Rodrigo Ribeiro’s “A morte branca do feiticeiro negro (The White Death of the Black Wizard)”, an experimental cinematic poem about Brazilian slavery and the silencing of Black diasporas;
      • Nay Mendl, Rosa Caldeira, Stheffany Fernanda, and Vita Pereira’s ”Perifericu“, which explores the bonds between the queer members of a chosen family in São Paolo.

      In addition, Augusto and the filmmakers will participate in a live Q&A session on Facebook at 2 p.m. Vancouver time (7 p.m. São Paulo) on Thursday (February 25).

      For more information and to view the films, visit the VLAFF website.

      “Difficult Love”

      Queer cinema

      Out on Screen, which runs the annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF), is presenting two films for Black History Month that are streaming online until Sunday (February 28).

      “Difficult Love” is a portrait of the art and life of South African photographer Zanele Muholi, and what it means to be a Black lesbian in South Africa.

      Rodney Evans’ Brother to Brother follows a friendship that develops between a Black art student whose parents reject him for being gay and an elderly homeless man who was a part of the Harlem Renaissance.

      Tickets range from $5 to $21 and full details are available at the VQFF website

      Kenbe la, Until We Win

      VIFF series

      The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is presenting Everywhere We Are, a Black History Month series curated by Nya Lewis, who is a founder and director of BlackArt Gastown, a Vancouver Queer Film Festival programmer, and a contributing curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery and UBC Museum of Anthropology.

      The streaming lineup, consisting of seven features and a short film collection, is available online until March 4 at VIFF Connect.

      The documentary 70: Remembering a Revolution explores how the relationship between Canada and the Commonwealth Caribbean influenced Black activism in Canada in the 1960s and Black uprisings in the West Indies against the Anglophone Caribbean.

      Meanwhile, three shorts in the Canadian Resistance program examine anti-Black discrimination in Canada, with films that highlight communities in Victoria and Toronto.

      Other selections provide profiles of significant figures such as Haitian artist and activist Alain Philoctète from Quebec (Kenbe la, Until We Win), transgender musical pioneer Beverly Glenn-Copeland (Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story), and speakers at the 1972 National Black Political Convention (Nationtime), and Kenyan political activist Boniface Mwangi (Softie).

      Full details are available at VIFF Connect

      Test Pattern

      The Cinematheque

      The Cinematheque has two selections—one looking at the past, and one exploring issues in the present.

      Mauritanian director Med Hondo’s 1970 feature Soleil Ô (available to stream until February 25) follows an immigrant as he leaves West Africa in pursuit of employment and cultural dreams, only to encounter barriers and discrimination on the streets of Paris.

      Shatara Michelle Ford’s Test Pattern (available to stream until March 4) depicts what happens when a Black woman is raped and her white boyfriend’s struggles to find her adequate healthcare resources expose imbalances in the medical system, their relationship, and sexual assault.

      For full details, visit the Cinematheque website.

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