A Decade of Resistance

Cinema Politica Returns for 10th Year at Concordia

Cinema Politica will be screening the 2011 documentary “Bhopali” on Oct. 12.
A screenshot from the 2008 documentary “Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action,” screening in the D.B. Clarke Theatre on Oct. 2.

As university students in the progressive metropolis of Montreal, it’s our responsibility to stay informed and on top of current events both at home in Quebec and abroad—so Cinema Politica is back to make sure the world’s pressing issues stay at the forefront of Concordia’s collective consciousness.

For those new to Concordia, Cinema Politica is a non-profit organization that has been bringing independent political films and documentaries from Canadian and international filmmakers to Concordia since 2003.

Each semester introduces a new theme of films pertaining to “social justice and environmental and cultural identity issues,” according to Cinema Politica co-founder Svetla Turnin.

This semester is all about dreams and defiance.

“We’re focusing on the way that dreaming of the opportunity of having a better world can lead to defiance and radical action [by] victims of oppression,” she says.

The organization has reached its 10th anniversary with this year’s docket of films. While Cinema Politica has grown into a nationally renowned organization, Concordia is where it all began.

“We’re the oldest running series in the network, the mothership of Cinema Politica networks,” Turnin says.

“The mere fact that we’ve been around the longest [means that] we’ve tried and tested almost everything. We’ve managed to build really strong connections with local artists and political organizations, and all of our screenings are aimed at bringing together all these activists, filmmakers and organizers,” she continued.

Whether you’re a full-fledged activist or new to the world of politics, you’re sure to find something to pique your interest this year at Cinema Politica, with films ranging from artistic endeavours to spiritual quests.

“We’re screening films of underrepresented issues […] to make those marginalized stories known to a broader audience,” said Turnin.

“We hope that students will not only learn about issues and struggles around the world but will also find ways to connect to local organizations that are doing work on these issues already.

“Hopefully students will take something away from the screenings that they will bring to their friends, family and classmates and will inspire them to learn more and get involved,” she added.

Here are some of the upcoming films that Cinema Politica will be screening this month.

Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action
Wednesday, Oct. 2
6:30 p.m.
Loyola Chapel
Velcrow Ripper / CA / 2008 / 90’ / English

Media activist and documentary filmmaker Velcrow Ripper usually has his camera focused on angry protestors rising up in war-torn areas, demanding justice from oppressors. But after the murder of a fellow media activist and friend in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2006, Ripper is turning his lens to a whole new subject—spirituality. The filmmaker travelled from India to Vietnam to South Africa to explore spiritual activism in different peoples, and brings breathtaking cinematography and astounding inspirational stories to the table.

All of Us Guinea Pigs Now
Monday, Oct. 7
7 p.m.
D.B. Clarke Theatre
Jean-Paul Jaud / FR / 2012 / 120’ / French / English subtitles

Presented in conjunction with the Festival du nouveau cinéma, All of Us Guinea Pigs Now showcases the disturbing findings of a comprehensive study conducted from 2009 to 2011 that looks at the health consequences of both GMO consumption and nuclear radiation in food from disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima. The film’s scope is global, featuring interviews from scientists worldwide, and reveals that the Earth’s alarming human-caused toxicity is very frightening indeed. All of Us Guinea Pigs Now is a wake-up call if there ever was one.

Saturday, Oct. 12
7 p.m.
J.A. de Seve Cinema
Van Maximilian Carlson / US – IN / 2011 / 89’ / Hindi / English subtitles

More than 30 years after the worst industrial disaster in recorded history, new generations in Bhopal, India are still dealing with the effects of the Union Carbide gas disaster of 1984. Bhopali follows several children and their families as they struggle to deal with ongoing medical and societal issues, which have stemmed from the disaster. This film documents these ailments but also displays the strength of the people of Bhopal, who keep on fighting in the face of corporate injustice.

Born This Way
Monday, Oct. 21
7 p.m.
D.B. Clarke Theatre
Shaun Kadlec & Deb Tullmann / CM – US / 2013 / 82’ / French - Bengali / English subtitles

Born This Way is a documentary that focuses on the incredibly repressive regime currently in place in Cameroon, which outlaws any acts of homosexuality. The film follows the lives of four young gay men as they struggle to keep their personal identities in a culture that seeks to demolish any semblance of free living for them. Born This Way also reaches beyond this topic to offer an unflinching glimpse into the daily lives of modern Africans.

More information on screenings can be found at cinemapolitica.org/concordia.