A FREE screening to kickstart our Black History Month Dispatches series, which also includes Our Dance of Revolution, James Baldwin Abroad, and 4 Films by Camille Billops & James Hatch (Programme 1 and Programme 2), Dear Jackie is a cinematic letter to Jackie Robinson, the first African American player in Major League Baseball and a civil rights activist who broke the colour barrier when he joined the minor-league Montreal Royals in 1946. For a short time, the impossible seemed possible in a segregated North America. But did Montrealers use this historic moment to perpetuate a myth of a post-racial society?
Through eloquent interviews, archival footage, and powerful vérité moments shot in lustrous black and white, director Henri Pardo masterfully threads together fragments of the past with the present-day realities of Little Burgundy, once known as the “Harlem of the North”. Dear Jackie unfolds as an intimate correspondence with Robinson that unravels the myth of a post-racial society, and is a testament to the triumphs and resilience of a community whose stories reveal the insidious racial inequalities in Montreal and Quebec as a whole.
See also: The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, with James Earl Jones, Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor, for a lighter look at baseball’s Negro League history, circa 1939 (screening Sunday Feb 12 in our Black History Month Icons series).
Through these Black voices — expressed truthfully, articulately, with dignity and from the heart — that Canadians can learn the true history of their country.
Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight
Both a searing and stirring look at life and racism in the city, past and present.
Bill Brownstein, The Montreal Gazette
In English and French with English subtitles
Recontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM), Magnus Isacsson Award
Thursday February 09
Alex Margineanu, Vanessa Abhadir
Catch More Black History Month Programming
Also in Dispatches
James Baldwin Abroad: Istanbul - Paris - London
These three short docs, from 1968 - 1973, offer sharp, piercing glimpses of Baldwin in private and public, sometimes in repose and relaxed but more often holding forth, embroiled in the thorny discourse of racial politics, identity and self expression.
"This Time It's Personal" Films by Camille Billops & James Hatch (Programme 1)
Trailblazing artist and polymath Camille Billops and her partner James Hatch were courageous independent filmmakers who chronicled the ups and downs of their personal lives and family histories, and found in them the temperature of their times.
"This Time It's Personal" Films by Camille Billops & James Hatch (Programme 2)
The second programme in our short selection of independent films by Camille Bishops and James Hatch includes what is probably their masterpiece, Finding Christa, a deeply personal film about Camille's relationship with the daughter she gave up for adoption as a child.
Our Dance of Revolution
Award-winning documentary on the history of Black queer activism in Toronto, on communities that have faced every adversity from invisibility to police brutality.
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings
This boisterous comedy about a breakaway barnstorming Black baseball team in the 1930s should be better known. It's an entertaining gloss on one enterprising ball player's resourceful response to segregated leagues, with Star Wars' Billy Dee Williams.
Under the Cherry Moon (35mm)
Prince is Christopher Tracy, a gigolo on the French Riviera, determined to seduce $50 million heiress Kristin Scott Thomas (!). The pop star's directorial debut is a quirky, fun throwback to old school Hollywood glamour, with knobs on.
The most important movie Marvel has made to date, this Black blockbuster is a triumph for Creed director Ryan Coogler and star Chadwick Boseman. After the death of his father, T'Challa returns to the African nation of Wakanda to take his place as king.
Brown's moving film zeroes in on the descendants of the 110 slaves brought in on the last known slave ship to transport kidnapped Africans to America as human cargo, an illegal shipment undertaken as a bet by a local landowner, Timothy Meaher.
Alice Diop’s superb film, based on a notorious case of infanticide from a few years ago, subtly, almost surreptitiously evokes complex ideas and emotions around motherhood, gender, and marginalized communities.
Living in LA in 1968, French novelist Romain Gary adopts a stray Alsation, but to his horror discovers it has been trained to attack Blacks. His wife, the actress Jean Seberg argues it must be put down, but Gary insists it can be retrained...