KANAVAL (2023)
Henri Pardo
Fantasy Adventure 107'
Canada Luxembourg French with English subs
Awards winner of the Amplify Voices Award for Best Film, and honorable mention from the Best Canadian Film - TIFF 2023
Festivals WP - TIFF 2023

One young boy’s magical journey from a small port town on the coast of Haiti in 1975, during the town’s celebrations of carnival, before a traumatic event forces him and his mother to fleeing to freedom.

''An endearing story of trauma and displacement''

David Abbatescianni, Cineuropa


''An engaging film wrapped in mysticism and hope''

Courtney Small, That Shelf


''Compelling''

Robert Stephen, A Little Birdie Told Me


Rico (Rayan Dieudonné) is a curious boy, living with his schoolteacher mother Erzulie (Penande Estime) in a small port town on the coast of Haiti in 1975. During an annual celebration, and despite his mother’s warnings of danger, he slips out into the night to witness legends come to life and the masks and costumes of revellers. We see Kanaval — the Haitian version of Carnival — from the point-of-view of Rico, as a blending together of real and magical moments. Everything is exuberant and fascinating, until he returns home to find his mother being attacked. Migrating to safety in a small rural town in Canada. While Rico tries to make sense of this snowy province, with hunting, snowmobiling, and racist bullies all around, he’s unable to grasp why his mother, still grappling with her trauma, is becoming distant from him. So he does what many six-year-olds do, and conjures up an imaginary friend, Kana (Tyler Epassy), from Haitian myth, who becomes his guide to figuring out the alien world he’s found himself in.

Anyone who is part of a diaspora or remembers feeling forgotten by the adults in their lives, will connect to this beautiful film about finding a new place to call home.