Crossing Borders

Shanti Thakur

1992, 24:30 minutes, colour, French, English


One Saturday evening in a peaceful Montreal suburb, a murder took place outside the Black Community Council of Quebec (BCCQ). A dance was taking place at the centre for a Jamaican association. Four Haitian men arrived, shot and killed one woman and injured two men.

The press and the broadacst news emphasized that it was a white woman shot by black men and that black on black crime was involved... as soon as violence occurs within the black community, it becomes a "racial" incident.

As one neighbour observed, "It was complete pandemonium. When a crisis occurs, people's racism comes to the surface. White people were screaming racist names at Blacks and vice versa. It was disgusting."

Crossing Borders portrays the evolution of a process over the past year. The project consisted of two stages. First, two videos were made: one of white neighbours' interviews, another of community workers' interviews. The neighbours screened the black community's interviews and their reactions were filmed. Likewise, the Black community saw the neighbours' interviews. The second phase compiled the highlights of both videos and the filmed responses to them. Finally, both communities have taken the first step to meet socially. Crossing Borders reveals the evolution of the process where both communities could develop a sense of trust and a decreased sense of "us" and "them".

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Critical Writing

Violence, distrust eased by filmmaker
by Andre Picard. The Globe and Mail, May 10, 1994.