Into the Light Trailer: How Does Immigration Impact Domestic Violence?

Christiane and her father
Photo courtesy of the NFB


By Pat Mullen

Director Gentille M. Assih gives voice to survivors of domestic violence in Into the Light. This production from the National Film Board of Canada features the stories of several women of West African origin in Quebec who break their silence about the pain they endured with their partners. Into the Light looks at the role immigration plays in aggravating the circumstances of domestic violence, and how cultural divides may prevent one from speaking up or accessing available resources for support. Into the Light streams for free from the NFB beginning Nov. 25, marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

POV has the exclusive premiere of the trailer for Into the Light in which the voices of women like Christiane Zanou figure prominently as the doc seeks to invite more women into the conversation. “Through discussions and interviews, we come to clearly understand how the process of manipulation works,” says Assih in her director’s statement. “With startling clarity, they analyze the reasons conjugal violence is so widespread within the West African immigrant community. By following their journey, through which they retake control of their lives, we see just how capable they are, and watch as they lead by example.”

Synopsis: Into the Light features the liberating life stories and powerful words of inspiring Quebec women of West African origin who’ve regained control over their lives after suffering from domestic violence. The film transcends prejudice and breaks taboos, pulling back the curtain on a poorly understood, hidden world, while testifying to the tremendous power that comes from overcoming isolation and accepting one’s self. It’s a luminous dive into the quest for personal healing and universal humanity. This is Togo-born director Gentille M. Assih’s third documentary.

Into the Light streams beginning Nov. 25 from the NFB.