Mpenzi Black Women's International Film and Video Festival
In its inaugural year, Mpenzi makes black history personal with a slate of 10 films from North America, Africa and Europe about individual memories. The BBC film Reunion documents the small contingent of upper-class Caribbean women recruited by the British army to work as nurses and secretaries during the second world war. It intersperses footage of their get-together 50 years later with archival material that illuminates the tension between their personal aspirations and the army's thinly veiled institutional racism.
Also of interest, Michèle Clarke's Surrounded By Water is a short, sweet, homesick look at what people mean when they talk about "the islands"; Forbidden Fruit, a tale of lesbian romance in a Zimbabwean village, is a peculiar but totally beguiling blend of storytelling and dramatizations. And Safer Sex is a sterling example of the public service messages created by youth for youth through the excellent Regent Park Focus/EYE Video program. (February 11, NFB Mediatheque)