The Giverny Document (Single Channel) (2019) [Feature]

USA,France (MIFF 2020 )
Director: Ja'Tovia Gary

Winner of the 2019 Locarno Film Festival’s Moving Ahead Award, The Giverny Document (Single Channel) is a formally inventive avant-garde cinematic poem that comments on the bodily autonomy and safety of Black women.

“Do you feel safe in your body, in the world?” Artist and filmmaker Ja’Tovia Gary stands on the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard and 116th Street in Harlem, posing this question to women who pass by. Their answers, as varied as they are illuminating, speak profoundly to the lived experiences of Black women, their silences revealing as much as their words. Into this footage, Gary weaves other images: a montage of her performance collage Giverny I (Négresse Impériale), filmed in Claude Monet’s garden; Black Panther Fred Hampton discussing education; Diamond Reynolds’ Facebook Live video filmed moments after police murdered her boyfriend Philando Castile; and archival footage of Nina Simone’s exquisite 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival rendition of Feelings.

Gary splices it all together with Stan Brakhage–style animation, synched to electric rhythms, viral memes, drone footage and remixed images of police brutality. The result is a singularly surreal, hyper-textural interrogation of systemic violence against Black bodies that pays tribute to Black women’s creative resilience instead of perpetuating their trauma.

“Ja’Tovia Gary articulates the vulnerability of Black women while celebrating their beauty and power … The Giverny Document depicts the ongoing reality of pain and the transcendence of it.” – POV Magazine

To be screened in conjunction with the Karrabing Film Collective’s Day in the Life.Winner of the 2019 Locarno Film Festival’s Moving Ahead Award, The Giverny Document (Single Channel) is a formally inventive avant-garde cinematic poem that comments on the bodily autonomy and safety of Black women.

“Do you feel safe in your body, in the world?” Artist and filmmaker Ja’Tovia Gary stands on the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard and 116th Street in Harlem, posing this question to women who pass by. Their answers, as varied as they are illuminating, speak profoundly to the lived experiences of Black women, their silences revealing as much as their words. Into this footage, Gary weaves other images: a montage of her performance collage Giverny I (Négresse Impériale), filmed in Claude Monet’s garden; Black Panther Fred Hampton discussing education; Diamond Reynolds’ Facebook Live video filmed moments after police murdered her boyfriend Philando Castile; and archival footage of Nina Simone’s exquisite 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival rendition of Feelings.

Gary splices it all together with Stan Brakhage–style animation, synched to electric rhythms, viral memes, drone footage and remixed images of police brutality. The result is a singularly surreal, hyper-textural interrogation of systemic violence against Black bodies that pays tribute to Black women’s creative resilience instead of perpetuating their trauma.

“Ja’Tovia Gary articulates the vulnerability of Black women while celebrating their beauty and power … The Giverny Document depicts the ongoing reality of pain and the transcendence of it.” – POV Magazine

To be screened in conjunction with the Karrabing Film Collective’s Day in the Life.

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