SUMMARY: A young boy traces his roots through centuries of Black culture through the stories his grandmother tells him.
WHY IT’S HERE: Haitian-Canadian animator Martine Chartrand’s ‘Black Soul’ is an astonishingly beautiful historical piece which dives headlong into Black culture in its ambitious attempt to cover centuries in a ten minute timeframe. With gorgeous images painted on glass, Chartrand successfully encapsulates an entire cultural history with carefully chosen moments. The film is framed by a grandmother introducing a young black boy to his history and his responses are appropriately wide-ranging, from anger and sadness to wonder and pride. The images are accompanied by a great soundtrack incorporating African rhythms, gospel and jazz. Chartrand’s style has often been compared to the work of Russian animator Aleksandr Petrov. While visually there are similarities, Chartrand’s work is distinct from Petrov’s in its greater fluidity and the economy of storytelling in place of Petrov’s detailed, lengthy and occasionally turgid approach. ‘Black Soul’ is positively alive with exquisite artwork, fantastic music and emotional resonance.