Go to the cinema up the street some time and look at what’s playing. Montreal has a huge selection of movies but right now there’s a semi-slump in the film calendar. So unless you feel like seeing The Dark Knight Rises again, you’re probably giving the cinemas a wide birth. Have no fear however, there are other options.
The 8th annual Montreal International Black Film Festival begins on September 19 and runs until September 30. During this time, people from all walks of life can treat themselves to an incredible selection of films unavailable anywhere else. There are two films in particular being highlighted by this year’s festival, and they do an excellent job showcasing the diverse styles of filmmaking on display.
First there is the opening film, Winnie, which stars Terrence Howard and Jennifer Hudson. This emotional drama chronicles the life of Winnie Mandela, an extraordinary activist as well as the wife of Nelson Mandela. Those who saw Invictus a couple years ago will remember the incredible job that Morgan Freeman did playing the South African political hero. Winnie, however focuses on the time Mandela spent in prison and deals primarily with how his wife continued the fight and threw her own spirit and tenacity into the battle for South African freedom. For those film buffs out there, you may want to note that director Darrell Roodt will be on hand for the premiere.
The closing film of the festival is a much darker piece. The Central Park Five is a documentary about the lives of five black and Latino individuals who were wrongfully imprisoned for a series of rapes which took place in New York City. This film showcases the failure of police, media and society as a whole to ensure that justice was done. It paints the stark and brutal reality of prejudice that still exists in the first world.
Activist and musician Harry Belafonte, who will be receiving the 2012 Humanitarian award at this year’s festival, will be there opening night for a screening of his biopic film Sing your Song as well as an in-depth Q & A session. Also speaking at this year’s festival is best selling author Stedman Graham.
There are over a hundred films on display, one for every type of moviegoer. For more information on showtimes and tickets visit www.montrealblackfilm.com