2019, Cinema Libre Studio, 109 min, Canada, Dir: Sophie Deraspe

Writer-director Sophie Deraspe’s liberal adaptation of the Greek tragedy by Sophocles is the daring story of one young woman’s commitment to make the world a better place, even if it means sacrificing herself. Antigone (Nahéma Ricci, in a luminous performance) is an Algerian-born teenager growing up with her immigrant family in Montréal when her oldest brother is killed by police and her other brother arrested and threatened with deportation. Antigone invents a dangerous plan to free him - but the consequences of her actions spiral out of control. As Antigone’s predicament intensifies, the film deftly addresses urgent questions of immigration and belonging, social media and identity and the possibilities of idealism. Winner of Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

1965, Janus Films, 160 min, Japan, Dir: Masaki Kobayashi

After more than a decade of sober political dramas and socially minded period pieces, the great Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi shifted gears dramatically for this rapturously stylized quartet of ghost stories. Featuring colorfully surreal sets and luminous cinematography, these haunting tales of demonic comeuppance and spiritual trials, adapted from writer Lafcadio Hearn’s collections of Japanese folklore, are existentially frightening and meticulously crafted.

1991, Cohen Media, 112 min, UK/USA, Dir: Julie Dash

At the dawn of the 20th century, a multigenerational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina - former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions - struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots. This landmark film was the first wide release by a black female filmmaker, and has been named to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. “In the hands of director Julie Dash and photographer Arthur Jafa, this nonlinear film becomes visual poetry, a wedding of imagery and rhythm that connects oral tradition with the music video. It is an astonishing, vivid portrait not only of a time and place but of an era’s spirit.” - Rita Kempley, The Washington Post.

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