Winner of the Dikola Award
for Best Documentary at
the 2011 International PanAfrican
Film Festival in Cannes

Black Hands

> Trailer - 30 sec.   > Trailer - 90 sec.

Documentary about the black slave Marie-Josèphe Angélique

"Black Hands - Trial of the Arsonist Slave" investigates slavery in Canada through the story of Marie-Josèphe Angélique, a Black slave accused of burning Montreal in 1734. After an epic trial, this untameable slave is tortured and sentenced to death. But was she really guilty of this crime or was she the victim of a bigger conspiracy? Why this voluntary amnesia about this unknown page of Canadian history? A fascinating 52 minute documentary that powerfully mixes interviews with historians and theatre re-enactments filmed in the same style as Dogville by Lars Von Trier.

"Formidably effective..."
André Duchesne - La Presse

"Docufiction mixing minimalist re-enactments and testimonies of historians (...) reminding us that slavery had flourished here. Fascinating."
François Lévesque - Le Devoir


A Slave, A Play, A Film

Having its world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival in the summer of 2010, the film is inspired by a play that was first presented in 2009, during the 275th anniversary of the Black slave Marie-Josèphe Angélique's execution. Tetchena Bellange, who portrayed Angelique in a play that she co-produced, was so touched by the story of this Black woman, she decided to explore the story further. Learning more about the history of Blacks in New France and about the woman who refused her slave status, the director and her co-producer Bianca Bellange, researched this hidden story and spoke to various Canadian historians: Denyse Beaugrand-Champagne, Paul Fehmiu Brown, and David Bureau. Apart from these great experts, the documentary also includes fictional scenes, high in emotion, interpreted by seven actors.

Film selected at:
World Film Festival of Montreal
Festival du cinéma international en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
African Diaspora Film Festival (New York, Chicago)
Week of Quebec Cinema in Burkina Faso
Victoria Film Festival
Fespaco, Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou
Panafrican International Film Festival in Cannes
ReelWorld Film Festival (Toronto)
Women's International Film & Arts Festival (Miami)
Festival International de Cinéma Vues d'Afrique (Montreal)
Festival Régional et International du Cinéma de Guadeloupe
Festival Afro Caraïbe Films (Paris)
Un Film Per La Pace (Italy)

BLACK HANDS – TRIAL OF THE ARSONIST SLAVE  |  Documentary about the black slave Marie-Josèphe Angélique
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