With its 16mm cinematography lending it an uncanny air, Miryam Charles’ haunting nonfiction work examines the mysterious circumstances surrounding her teenage cousin’s death, while speculating on the life that this young woman might’ve led had she survived. “My story is both tragic and hopeful,” incants cousin Tessa (brought to life by Schelby Jean-Baptiste). Through the graces of Charles’ direction, her tale is also equal measures puzzle and poetry. Transporting us between New England, Haiti, and Montreal, This House allows a speculative future incarnation of Tessa to commune with her bereaved mother (Florence Blain Mbaye) and retrace her family’s immigration odyssey.
“I refuse reality and try to understand it through art,” professes Charles in her director’s statement for her first feature-length work. While abstraction and experimental techniques are undeniably key to this enigmatic piece, there’s also a sense of anguish that serves as its emotional core. It’s a lyrical yet potent reminder of violence’s capacity to rupture reality and shake the foundations of family.
Silvestre Award for Best Feature Film, IndieLisboa 2022
Q&A Oct 1 & Oct 5
Schelby Jean-Baptiste, Florence Blain Mbaye, Eve Duranceau, Matthew Rankin, Yardly Kavanagh
In French and Haitian Creole with English subtitles
Wednesday October 05
More Films in this Series
Miryam Charles’ haunting work examines the circumstances surrounding her cousin Tessa’s death, while speculating on the life that she might've had. A lyrical reminder of violence’s capacity to rupture reality and shake the foundations of family.
A Syrian doctor struggles to hold on to his identity as his family adjusts to life in Canada. Director Antoine Bourges (Fail to Appear) continues his social realist project, turning a lens this time to struggles faced by new immigrants to Canada.
Something You Said Last Night
Having already suffered the humiliation of losing her job, Ren must now endure a week of summer vacation with her overbearing parents and extroverted, overachieving younger sister. A disarmingly intimate debut feature by Luis de Filippis.
North of Normal
Having spent her early years in a wilderness commune founded by her anti-establishment grandfather, Cea must shed her alternative upbringing and acclimatize to civilization when her mother, Michelle, desires even greater freedom.
Until Branches Bend
Discovering a potentially invasive insect inside a peach, fruit packer Robin immediately reports it. When management refuses to take action, she goes public with her concerns and precipitates a widescale shutdown in her Okanagan town.
You Can Live Forever
Set in a Jehovah’s Witness congregation, the film follows queer teenager Jamie as she resists the tight community hold while falling in love with Marike, a charming young Witness tasked with welcoming Jamie into the fold.
Golden Delicious is a coming-of-age story about an Asian-Canadian teenager who is torn between his girlfriend’s dreams of their future and his father’s ambition, all the while struggling with finding himself and his feelings for the boy next door.
When Time Got Louder
Leaving home for university, Abbie (Willow Shields) thrives and experiences self-actualization. However, she’s tormented by the knowledge that her brother Kayden (Jonathan Simao), who has autism and is non-verbal, is reeling in her absence.
I Like Movies
Intent on earning his film school tuition, a teenage cinephile lands a video store job. This humane comedy traces this pretentious curmudgeon’s path from practically sociopathic self-involvement to his first fraught encounters with self-awareness
Isabelle Stachtchenko, Miryam Charles
Georges Michael FanfanAnnick Marion
Miryam Charles is a Haitian-born director, producer, and cinematographer living in Montreal. She has produced several short and feature films, and directed several short films. Her films have been presented at various festivals in Quebec and internationally. This House, her feature film combining documentary and fiction elements, had its world premiere at the Berlinale this winter and won the Silvestre Award at the IndieLisboa.
Filmography: Mosaic (2017)