Long Time Comin’
March 25, 7pm EST
TQFF is honoured to present this classic Canadian documentary directed by Dionne Brand and produced by the National Film Board. We felt it was important to revisit Long Time Comin’as part of our Queer Emergency programming for the ways that the film treats race and social justice. The continued prevalence of anti-Black violence and racism seen this past year is a grim reminder of how much work still must be done to dismantle systems of oppression.
Long Time Comin’
The original NFB synopsis for Long Time Comin’ (dir. Dionne Brand) reads: “There is a cultural revolution going on in Canada, and Faith Nolan and Grace Channer are on the leading edge. These two African-Canadian lesbian artists give back to art its most urgent meanings–commitment and passion. Grace Channer’s large and sensuous canvasses and musician Faith Nolan’s gritty and joyous blues propel this documentary into the spheres of poetry and dance. Long Time Comin’ captures their work, their urgency, and their friendship in intimate conversations with both artists.”
Missing from this synopsis, however, is the way Nolan and Channer candidly discuss race, social justice, gender and sexuality as being at the heart of their work. Perhaps this would have been seen as “too edgy” for the National Film Board at the time. But it’s absence seems very dated, especially given that the way these two women discuss these subjects feels very contemporary. As much as the World has changed since the film’s release in 1993, the fact that these conversations still feel so familiar pushes us to question if the “cultural revolution” promised in the original synopsis of the film really did ever materialize.
Nolan and Channer make very dynamic subjects, no doubt helped by Brand’s undeniable sense of rhythm and language. While the promised cultural revolution might have not yet arrived (or maybe it is still ongoing), this film and the ideas it breathes life into are still very potent. Long Time Comin’ is a love letter to queer black femininity, art-activism, and social justice, and not to be missed.