After stunning audiences last year with her exhilarating short film Mobilize, Caroline Monnet is back with another beautiful work. This time she turns her focus to the historic Tshiuentin railway line. Stretching 134 miles (217 kilometres) across Labrador and northeastern Quebec, the line holds the distinction, as of December 1, 2005, of being a railway owned completely by a group of First Nations people. Embarking on trip from a Sept-Îles to Schefferville, a 12 hour journey for most of the train’s regulars, Monnet crafts a rich meditation on both nature and the continual advancements of First Nations people.
Presenting the beautiful landscape in black and white, Tshiuetin is a celebration of progress through empowerment. As the train pulls away from the station just as a blizzard seems to be setting in, there is a symbolic sense that clearer days lay ahead thanks to Tshiuentin. An unspoken optimism that it is only a matter of time before we see even more influential businesses and services, like the railway, owned by First Nations individuals and organizations.
This notion of moving forward is frequently conveyed through the train conductor who serves as our guide. Monnet often films him from behind as he makes his way throughout the train. His physical progression, juxtaposed with the vastness of the landscape, helps to evoke the endless sense of possibilities and prosperity that awaits First Nations people.
Screens (as part of (Solid Ground: Canadian Shorts):
Thursday, October 20, 2:15 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Tickets can be purchased at the ImagineNATIVE website.