The Centennial Flight is a one-night site-specific screening of Tyrus (dir. Pamela Tom), preceded by A Drownful Brilliance of Wings (dir. Sofia Bohdanowicz and Gillian Sze), and followed by the open veins a century ago (Howl! Arts Collective), to take place in Montreal's Place Sun Yat-Sen, a public square situated in the heart of Chinatown.
As part of our commitment of holding space for Indigenous and people of colour to convene on issues of identity, immigration legislation, and gentrification, The Centennial Flight focuses on histories of struggle in the Chinese-Canadian context. Montreal's Chinatown currently faces the threat of disappearance with continually impeding government legislation that invites gentrification and pushes the area to become a mere tourist site.
August 25 was chosen for the screening after a consultation with the Chinese Almanac—also known as the Yellow Calendar (黃曆)—which indicates traveling and meeting friends as auspicious activities.
In continuation of our previous screening bringing together an intergenerational audience of Chinatown locals in 2015, we present The Centennial Flight to further this conversation.
Tyrus tells the story of Guangzhou-born visual artist Tyrus Wong, who immigrated from Guangdong to the United States in 1920 under the Chinese Exclusion Act and worked in Los Angeles for most of his life. The documentary recounts his turbulent childhood, and the challenging personal and professional journey navigating racial bigotry in 20th-century America.
He is most famous for establishing signature Hollywood styles through the melding of Chinese calligraphic and landscape styles in contemporary art. As a production illustrator, Wong worked for Warner Bros. and Disney, in particular as the lead background artist for Disney's Bambi (1942). He also worked as a painter, muralist, lithographer, designer, and kite-maker.
A Drownful Brilliance of Wings is based on the poem "Arriving" by Gillian Sze. The film explores the mechanics of capture, and paints the portrait of the intergenerational relationships of Sze's family through the examination of an inherited stamp collection, in the cultivation of plants, and the making of wonton soup.
the open veins a century ago — railroads stand today as symbols of the bloody colonialism that has wreaked havoc over these indigenous lands over many generations.