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Montreal International Black Film Festival: revamped fest confronts Condolezza and Uganda's child soldier trade


With everything that’s gone down in Haiti since the catastrophic January earthquake, the team behind the Montreal International Haitian Film Fest would be completely justified in laying low for their 6th edition. But in a classic case of showing-the-world-what-we’remade-of resilience, the festival isn’t just going on as planned; it’s expanding to become the Montreal International Black Film Festival!

With a record 120 films hailing from 24 countries (think Croatia, Ivory Coast, Belgium and Guadeloupe), the Montreal fest now rivals big international Black film gatherings in Miami, L.A. and Berlin. And don’t fool yourself into thinking that every movie on the bill has to do with identity politics. That’s obviously a given, but dominant themes among this year’s crop also include, immigration, voodoo, music, homosexuality and poetry. Among the many noteworthy titles to unspool, here are three that caught our attention.



Bouncing Cats: The story of how a Ugandan b-boy and AIDS orphan empowered youth – from the chronically poor to former child soldiers – through hip-hop and his Breakdance Project Uganda.

Skin
: Imagine being a Black girl (played by Hotel Rwanda standout Sophie Okonedo) born to two White Afrikaner parents in South Africa, during apartheid. Needless to say, it’s an uphill battle in this based-ona-true-story festival prize magnet.



American Faust: From Condi to Neo-Condi
: A particularly relevant selection for this year’s expanded fest. This hard-hitting portrait of a top Bush-era crony (as well as one of the most influential Black leaders in recent years) reveals how a brilliant gal raised in segregated Alabama abandoned her principles on a very dark (no pun intended) quest for power.



Montreal International Black Film Festival
September 22 to October 3
Cinéma du Parc, Cinéma ONF and Imperial Theatre | festivalfilmhaitien.com