What we’re watching | Ce que nous regardons

These selections are drawn from our longer Confront Racism Bibliography. Have suggestions? Use our Contact page to get in touch.

Ces sélections sont tirées de notre bibliographie Lutte contre le racisme. Avez-vous des suggestions? Partagez-les en vous servant de notre page Contactez-nous.

Atlantique | Atlantics, directed by Mati Diop, 2019.

Atlantique | Atlantics — Mati Diop

La sortie du film au Festival de Cannes en 2019 marque la première fois qu’un film réalisé par une femme noire est selectionné pour faire partie de cette compétition cinématique internationale presitigieuse.

L’action se déroule à Dakar où, au travers d’une relation amoureuse entre deux jeunes amants, Ada et Souleiman, Diop aborde les thèmes d’emploi, de criminalité, de migration, des tensions familiales, et des fantômes.

When the film was screened at the 2019 Cannes festival in France, Diop became the first black woman ever to direct a film that appeared in the competition.

Set in Dakar, the film focuses on the romantic entanglement of Ada and Souleiman, and through their relationship, addresses issues of employment, crime, migration, gender and family struggles, and ghosts.

Capernaum, directed by Nadine Labaki, 2018.

Nadine Labaki, réalisatrice libanaise, met en scène ce film basé en banlieue de Beirut. A travers la vie d’une jeune garçon de 12 ans, Zaid, Labaki interroge de manière poignante des questions de déplacement, de classe économique, d’identité, et des droits des enfants. 

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s film recounts the life of a twelve year-old boy, Zaid, in Beirut to poignantly address questions of displacement, identity and children’s rights.

When They See Us, directed by Ava du Vernay, 2019

When They See Us — A series by Ava DuVernay

“When They See Us (which premiered on Netflix on May 31) richly understands that in America — a country that makes sense of itself through images on screens — who you appear to be matters far more than who you actually are.

The “us” of the title is the five young teens (four black, one Latino) with whom the story is chiefly concerned, who came to be known as the Central Park Five: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise. … They were between the ages of 14 and 16 in 1989, when they were accused, coerced into confessing, and convicted of beating and raping a woman jogging in Central Park.

In When They See Us, people are always being watched — especially the five teenagers caught in the crosshairs of a media storm, fanned by a news media that chose loaded words like “pack” when referring to the group. What the series makes clear is that the way the boys were perceived during their trials mattered, because it was easy for the media circus, or people like Donald Trump, to paint a group of black and brown teenage boys as predators who targeted an innocent white woman.What happened where they couldn’t be seen — the rooms in which they were interrogated, the prisons where they were kept — wasn’t in the public eye, and thus wasn’t part of how they were viewed by the watching world. Nothing fit the predetermined narrative, and the narrative is what mattered, more than justice.” –From Ava DuVernay uses real history to damn the present in Netflix’s When They See Us by Alissa Wilkinson for Vox.

Women Who Loved Cinema, directed by Marianne Khoury, 2002.

“Featuring rare film footage and interviews with scholars and directors such as Youssef Chahine, WOMEN WHO LOVED CINEMA, PART ONE chronicles the achievements of women filmmakers whose adventurous spirits changed the face of the Egyptian film industry in the 1920s and 30s. At a time when their country was steeped in conservative tradition, these strong-willed women broke cultural taboos and dismissed conventional wisdom to pursue their passion for filmmaking.” — Alex Williams for IMDb

“Without a Whisper: Konnon:kwe,” Katsitsionni Fox, 2020

Katsitsionni Fox from https://www.wmm.com/catalog/film/without-a-whisper/

Quote from Katsitsionni Fox: “It was important for me to make this film to honor my grandmothers that inspired a movement and were never acknowledged. It is time for Indigenous filmmakers to share our stories and break through the silence and the stereotypes. In my films, I focus on the resilience and the wisdom of our women.”

Synopsis: “Without a Whisper: Konnon:kwe” uncovers the hidden history of the profound influence Indigenous women had on the beginnings of the women’s rights movement in the United States. Before the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, European colonial women lacked even the most basic rights, while Haudenosaunee women had a potent political and spiritual voice and authority in all aspects of their lives. The contact that the early suffragists had with Haudenosaunee women in New York state shaped their thinking and had a vital impact on their struggle for equality that is taken for granted today. The film follows Mohawk Bear Clan Mother Louise Herne and Professor Sally Roesch Wagner as they seek to correct the historical narrative about the origins of women’s rights in the United States. –Vincent Schilling, “New Indigenous Films by and about Native Women,” Nov 2020.