Sunday March 11, 7:30 pm
Produced by the National Film Board (NFB), Unarmed Verses orbits around 12-year-old Francine Valentine and her family, focusing on their personal hope and resilience in the face of adversity. Through this young woman’s eyes, we bear witness to her community – a Toronto Community Housing Project – as it faces an all too prevalent predicament: redevelopment and relocation. Suspended in this bureaucratic limbo indefinitely, Francine undergoes a radical change herself, cultivating her confidence while developing her artistic skills in a local songwriting/recording program.
Charles Officer’s unassuming and inspiring Unarmed Verses captures the quiet tensions of shy adolescence as it struggles to not only understand itself but also make sense of the world at large. By personalizing a political issue frequently considered only in the abstract, Officer lends a voice to those often silenced – this is Francine’s story told in her own verse.
“The value of the arts, the pressures of gentrification, the fragility of communities, and the realities of race and class in contemporary Toronto are just a few of the themes that Unarmed Verses explores with great intelligence and grace.” – Jason Anderson, The Toronto Star
Best Canadian Feature Documentary, Hot Docs 17
People’s Choice Award, Canada’s Top Ten 2018
Preceded by Cypher