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KEN CHISHOLM: More to February than shovelling snow

Actors Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Violet Nelson share a tense moment in “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open,” one of the four feature films which are part of Indie Film Series starting Thursday at various venues. CONTRIBUTED
Actors Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Violet Nelson share a tense moment in “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open,” one of the four feature films which are part of Indie Film Series starting Thursday at various venues. CONTRIBUTED

The Cape Breton University Boardmore Theatre, after an uproarious production of Sheldon Currie’s “Lachie, Liza, and Rory” in January, returns with Charlie Rhindress’ satiric take on the downhome play, “The Maritime Way of Life,” directed by Carolyn Dunn.

It was nominated for best new play at the 2000 Canadian Comedy Awards and the Boardmore, on its website, calls it “the other side of … 'The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum,' also by Sheldon Currie.”

Playwright Charlie Rhindress
Playwright Charlie Rhindress

Rhindress is also known for writing “Flying On Her Own,” a stage biography of Rita MacNeil and “Home And Away,” a hockey musical staged at the Boardmore Playhouse a couple of years ago.

“The Maritime Way of Life” runs at the CBU Boardmore Playhouse from Feb. 11-16.

This month, those irrepressible clown girls, Morro and Jasp, return with a brand-new show, “Morro and Jasp: Save The Date,” created and performed by Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee at the Highland Arts Theatre in downtown Sydney.

“Morro and Jasp: Save The Date"
“Morro and Jasp: Save The Date"

After making light in previous shows of things like menstruation and the tragedy of a Steinbeck classic, the team sets their sights on staging a big fat clown wedding.

What could possibly go wrong except everything?

I enjoyed both of the duo’s previous two shows: they were daring and risky and hilarious with huge dollops of sight gags and physical comedy mixed with some heartbreaking sentiment.

And who doesn’t want to attend a clown wedding?

“Morro and Jasp: Save The Date” runs at the HAT on Bentinck Street from Feb. 18-23 at 8 p.m.

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality recreation department has curated, with the help of New Waterford filmmaker Nelson MacDonald, a series of feature-length Canadian films to be shown in various venues around the municipality.

The first in the series, “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open,” is scheduled for the Highland Arts Theatre on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The film, directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (who acts in and co-wrote the film) and Kathleen Hepburn (co-writer), dramatizes an encounter between an older Indigenous woman and a young woman, played by Violet Nelson, and the effects of physical violence on both of them.

A description of the film comments that it “reveals the necessity for Indigenous people to look out for each other in a society that's too often indifferent to their existence.”

“Maison du Bonheur,” the second film in the series, will be shown on Thursday, Feb. 13, 8 p.m., at the Yellow Dog Yoga Studio, 258 Commercial St., North Sydney.

This documentary by Toronto director Sofia Bohdanowicz captures the everyday life of Juliane Sellam, a 77-year-old Parisian astrologer, and the beauty of a life, seemingly mundane, that is rich and well-lived.

MacDonald calls it “so convincingly life-affirming it will warm the heart of your grumpiest friend or relative.”

“The Twentieth Century”
“The Twentieth Century”

On Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., the series screens “The Twentieth Century” at the Old Sydney Society, 173 Charlotte St. (the former Bank of Montreal Building) in Sydney.

Director Matthew Rankin, in the words of the CBRM websiter, delivers in his first feature film “a bizarro biopic that re-imagines the formative years of former Canadian prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King as a series of abject humiliations.”

And if the world needs anything, it needs more features about Canadian prime ministers that employ the “alchemic adoption of antiquated analogue techniques that recall the work of (fellow Winnipeg filmmaker) Guy Maddin.”

The final film in the series, “Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger,” screens at the CBU Boardmore Playhouse on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

This heartbreaking documentary by Alanis Obomsawin, one of the most acclaimed Indigenous directors in the world, brings to life the story of Jordan River Anderson, who died when he was five years old of a rare muscle disorder, and suffered in his short life, not only from his disease but from government wrangling over who had responsibility for his care.

Jordan’s suffering at the hands of the system supposedly caring for him resulted in "Jordan's Principle," a federal policy meant to ensure that First Nations children have equitable access to government-funded health, social and educational services. But this story doesn’t end there, sadly.

All of these film screenings are free to the public and more information can be found at cbrm.ns.ca/events/.

Ken Chisholm lives in Sydney and has written plays, songs, reviews, magazine articles. He can be reached at thecenterisle@gmail.com.

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