Screening 4 | Ecologies of Resistance

April 12, 2024 at 6:30-9:30pm

La lumière collective
7080 Rue Alexandra #506, Montréal, QC H2S 3J5


Ecologies of Resistance is part of the The Political Aesthetic: Resisting Displacement, Displacing Resistance screening series (October 2023-April 2024), curated by Sanaz Sohrabi and Farah Atoui, and supported by the Feminist Media Studio.

This concluding program—which includes a selection of short, experimental, feature-length films that mix fiction, documentary and archival footage— explores acts of refusal, survival, and anti-colonial resistance in connection to land.

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Mobilize (2015), Caroline Monnet, 3′

This short film, crafted entirely out of NFB archival footage by First Nations filmmaker Caroline Monnet, takes us on an exhilarating journey from the Far North to the urban south, capturing the perpetual negotiation between the traditional and the modern by a people moving ever forward.

Part of the Souvenir series, it’s one of four films by First Nations filmmakers that address Indigenous identity and representation, reframing Canadian history through a contemporary lens.


Sudesha (1983), Yugantar, 30’

A portrait of Sudesha Devi, a woman who is a village activist in the Chipko forest conservation movement in the foothills of the Himalayas. Here people’s livelihoods depend on the forest which is threatened to be destroyed by powerful timber traders. While men work away from home and alcoholism is a problem, women carry out most of the labour. They also became active agents of the Chipko movement. Sudesha navigates family life, the strenuous terrain of the mountains and living her life through protest which also brought her to prison. While scenes of protests have been re-enacted for this film as well and political meetings are followed, the film carries a calmness when attending to the women’s daily routines and complexities of securing livelihood in the Himalayas; complexities that link the film to past and current eco-feminist concerns. Yugantar’s fourth and last film returned to working with a political movement. While women were not official leaders of the Chipko movement, its protests were largely sustained by women and women were affected the most by the issues raised within this early ecological movement. While working with movement leaders at the time, the collective’s focus stayed with women participants, this time with one main protagonist Sudesha. In hindsight members of the collective question how women and in particular working class women have been driving forces in movement politics while not being supported to become leaders. Sudesha was part of the film series “As women see it. How do women see their lives and their future?” A film project with seven documentary films from India, Senegal, Peru, Nicaragua, Egypt, Italy and Germany. 


Wild Rice Harvest Kenora (1979), Alanis Obomsawin, 1’

Wild rice is an important source of food and revenue for many Anishinaabe people, who sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres to harvest the grain in the region around Kenora, Ontario. Directed by Alanis Obomsawin as part of the Canada Vignettes series.


Foragers (2022), Jumana Manna, 65′

Foragers depicts the dramas around the practice of foraging for wild edible plants in Palestine/Israel with wry humor and a meditative pace. Shot in the Golan Heights, the Galilee and Jerusalem, it employs fiction, documentary and archival footage to portray the impact of Israeli nature protection laws on these customs. The restrictions prohibit the collection of the artichoke-like ’akkoub and za’atar (thyme), and have resulted in fines and trials for hundreds caught collecting these native plants. For Palestinians, these laws constitute an ecological veil for legislation that further alienates them from their land while Israeli state representatives insist on their scientific expertise and duty to protect. Following the plants from the wild to the kitchen, from the chases between the foragers and the nature patrol, to courtroom defenses, Foragers captures the joy and knowledge embodied in these traditions alongside their resilience to the prohibitive law. By reframing the terms and constraints of preservation, the film raises questions around the politics of extinction, namely who determines what is made extinct and what gets to live on.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with Nayrouz Abu Hatoum, Ishita Tiwary, and Athina Khalid,  moderated by Sanaz Sohrabi and Farah Atoui.

Curated by FMS members Farah Atoui and Sanaz Sohrabi, the screening series offers a framework for exploring the Political Aesthetic through the medium of the moving image. The program is equally interested in filmmakers’ defiant artistic processes and in the practices of dissent that these filmmakers record on film, with a focus on creative interventions that aesthetically and politically resist displacement. The films and videos presented here address different conditions and forms of expulsion across multiple geographies–from Palestine, Lebanon, and Iran to the Western Sahara, Guinea-Bissau, and India, to Canada and the US. These works are also committed to resisting displacement by creating spaces and places that function as refuge. Whether imaginary or material, temporary or persistent, shifting or grounded, these sanctuaries take up space in ways that disrupt the force and violence of displacement as the outcome of colonization, state-formation, capital accumulation, and border consolidation. These sanctuaries also forge new places of encounter, exchange, and inhabitation that energize and expand political imaginaries.

The series takes place from October 2023 to May 2024.

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