Before the Streets

Avant les rues

Chloé LericheCanada97 minutes201614AColourAtikamekw

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Fearing the justice system when he kills a man in self-defence, native teenager Shawnouk flees to his Atikamekw village where he embarks on a journey of self-healing to reconnect with his traditional rituals.

Intro and Q&A with director Chloé Leriche and actor Kwena Bellemare-Boivin

The first film to be shot in the Atikamekw language and created through collaboration between Quebec's three Atikamekw communities and writer-director Chloé Leriche, Before the Streets is a meditative look into Indigenous processes of connection, redemption, and healing.

When Shawnouk (Rykko Bellemare) kills a man in self defence, the realities of a flawed justice system force him to go into hiding. Troubled by profound guilt and loss in the wake of the incident, he embarks on a powerful journey towards healing — a path of discovery that returns him to the traditions and teachings of his people, echoed by the deep heartbeat of song he shares with his sister (the actor's real-life sister Kwena Bellemare-Boivin). Amplified by raw performances, breathtaking camerawork, and quiet observation, Before the Streets offers insight into the realities of contemporary Indigenous life.

BRIGID TIERNEY

I love this movie because it challenged me to reflect on what it means to be a Canadian. — Isabel Coleman, TIFF Next Wave Committee