i confess. 2019. USA/Canada. Directed by Moyra Davey. With Davey, Alison Strayer, Dalie Giroux, and Belladonna. DCP. 56 min.
In Moyra Davey’s fiery tenth film, i confess, which closes our retrospective in its New York premiere, long-running artistic interests appear to converge and culminate. A passionate consideration of James Baldwin—sparked by the artist’s perennial impulse to transform the serendipities of voracious reading into sustained critical thinking—is a starting point from which Davey weaves personal and historical narratives. From there, the film explores language, religion, and class in mid-century Quebec through the artist’s upbringing and the enigmatic Pierre Vallières, a revolutionary figure whose Marxist-inflected notion of a common cause between Quebec separatists and Black liberation reads as vexing in retrospect. Davey’s winding self-reflection is aided by political philosopher Dalie Giroux, their intergenerational correspondence tackling messy but vital questions around politics, identity, and memory. The screening is followed by a conversation between Davey and Giroux, moderated by artist Iman Issa, who has been in dialogue with, and appeared in, Davey’s work in recent years.