Before the Streets

(Avant les rues)
Canada 2016. Dir: Chloé Leriche. 97 min. DCP

“Vivid ... Evocative ... A brave undertaking that tells a story almost never examined on film.”
AMANDA SIEBERT, GEORGIA STRAIGHT

VANCOUVER PREMIERE | Writer-director Chloé Leriche’s debut feature — the first feature in Atikamekw (a dialect of Cree) — is a drama of powerful authenticity and insight. Made in collaboration with Quebec’s three Atikamekw communities, the film is set on the Manawan reserve, where aimless young Shawnouk (Rykko Bellemare) lives with his loving family, including sister Kwena (Kwena Bellemare-Boivin), and clashes with his mother’s no-nonsense boyfriend (Jacques Newashish), a policeman on the reserve. When a burglary gone wrong lands Shawnouk in deadly-serious trouble, the desperate youth seeks redemption though traditional native healing. Leriche has cited the social realism of Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, American Honey) as an inspiration for her own filmmaking. Before the Streets was named Best Canadian Feature at Whistler — and, at press time, had been nominated for six Canadian Screen Awards. “Gripping and spiritual ... Raw naturalistic performances, spectacular sound design, and breathtaking camerawork weave Shawnouk’s story into an emotional knot” (Seattle I.F.F.).

 

REVIEWS

"A convincing case for the arrival of a promising new voice ... Leriche displays a Kelly Reichardt-like talent for evoking the straitened conditions of circumscribed lives of limited opportunity."

Variety | full review