Hard Knock Life

Friday, April 12 10:00AM & 11:45AM at the Roundhouse Community Centre 

Whether you’re a boy who might be a cat or a child caught in an abusive situation, it may be difficult to understand what’s happening. These films offer a starting point by raising questions about the challenges some children face.

Themes: parental neglect, racism, family, animals, identity

Short film program recommended for grades 6-7 

Please look at the advisories for Schoolyard BluesMahalia Melts in the Rain and Your Mother is a Thief!

Note that the following film has subtitles: Cat Days

Chalk-line figures depict a family struggling amid the outbursts of an alcoholic father. He transforms into a dog when he’s drinking and his cruel words mark his wife and their young child. Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre’s simple yet affecting portrait of a family in crisis, and offers an effective way to tend to psychological scars. Your Mother is a Thief! marks the second film R2R has shown by Saint-Pierre. McLaren’s Negatives (R2R 2007) is an animated film about famed Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren.


Jiro has a fever and no desire for pancakes and syrup. His dad’s concern grows when the doctor diagnoses Jiro with an unnamed condition. What does the diagnosis really mean? With vibrancy and abstract colours Jon Frickey’s absorbing illustrations draw us into a world in which we are invited to embrace the unfamiliar.


It's John's first day at school. In lieu of parental support, his big brother Mika takes on the responsibility of getting John prepared. Eleven-year-old Mika attempts to teach John some hard facts about their world, starting with how to deal with the merciless demands of the schoolyard.


When confronted by the white girls in her ballet class, nine-year-old Mahalia is made to feel like an outsider. In an effort to improve her confidence before picture day, her mother takes her to a salon to have her hair straightened for the very first time. When the other girls pressure her to join in their fun, it becomes clear that Mahalia isn’t like them.

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