Inside a shelter, the voices of participants in a talking circle give form and shape to shocking and oppressive moments from their pasts. In the process, a common sense of humanity and solidarity emerges, built on the shared experiences of lives that have been devastated. Through the power of these bonds, participants can face their hidden traumas by bringing them into the light of day. In the circle, the reality of intimate partner violence and its complex workings is fully revealed.
In Afterwards, young filmmaker Romane Garant Chartrand uses a powerfully empathetic approach that shies away from fully showing participants’ faces—emphasizing the anonymity of the struggles these survivors have faced, as well as the universality of their experiences. She amplifies the voices of women whom others have tried to silence, and gives us privileged access to a space of sisterhood and solidarity. Through their vulnerability and mutual listening and understanding, the participants recognize their shared experiences and rediscover their dignity and the strength to act. They are laying the foundations to collectively rebuild, raising their voices in a vital chorus powerful enough to knock down the walls of oppression: “We will no longer be silent.”
Inside a shelter, women take back control of their lives by coming together and speaking out against the violence they have endured.
Afterwards amplifies the voices of women who—through resilience and resistance—are fighting to reclaim their power.
Inside a shelter, participants in a talking circle share their experiences of intimate partner violence as a way to regain their dignity and strength to act. Powerfully empathetic, Afterwards creates a space of sisterhood and solidarity—a chorus of voices breaking down the walls of silence.
Inside a shelter, participants in a talking circle reveal the complex mechanisms of intimate partner violence. Memories of brutal experiences that are hard to acknowledge and accept resurface, and previously hidden traumas come to light. But in sharing their stories, survivors build mutual solidarity and resilience.
With Afterwards, Romane Garant Chartrand, a young filmmaker who’s already firmly established her skill and talent, has directed a powerful and sensitive documentary in tune with the current social context of increased femicide, a lack of shelter spaces, ongoing allegations of sexual assault, and toxic power relationships.
The director adopts the empathetic and delicate technique of barely showing survivors’ faces to protect their identities—respecting their anonymity through their struggles while also acknowledging the universality of their experiences. The circle is a place of sisterhood and solidarity, where invisible wounds slowly start to heal and once-muted voices are now heard. And the film places us at its heart.
Through their vulnerability and mutual listening and understanding, the participants recognize their shared experiences and rediscover their dignity and strength to act. They are laying the foundations to collectively rebuild, raising their voices in a vital chorus powerful enough to knock down the walls of oppression: “We will no longer be silent.”
Romane Garant Chartrand and Laurie Pominville were both selected through the Repêchage initiative, which launched in 2015. A partnership between the NFB’s French Documentary Studio and UQAM, the program gives graduates of the university’s media school the opportunity to make their first professional film.
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Researched, Written & Directed by
Romane Garant Chartrand
A National Film Board of Canada Production