A couple of hours ago, I was sitting in a dark movie theatre watching Carl Bessai’s newest film, Sisters&Brothers. Sisters&Brothers is the third and final film in a trilogy that Bessai has been working on for the last few years. The first was Mothers&Daughters, then last year, Fathers&Sons.
Babz Chula was in the first two films. She, in fact, had the biggest role in Mothers&Daughters, and was nominated for, and won at Leo Award for her performance as Micki. What you might not have know about Babz if you watched that film is that she was fighting cancer while she worked on it. During Fathers&Sons, she was probably even sicker, as she was doing chemo at the time, but she still did the film.
I met Babz Chula on April 3, 2009. I had lost my own mother to cancer just one year before. A happenstance of circumstances led me to her, and, like every other person who ever met her, I fell in love with her immediately. A couple days later, I went to see Mothers&Daughters, by myself, at Tinseltown. It’s hard for me to really express the gamut of emotions I went though watching that film. My new connection to Babz, my relationship with cancer, and my own very complex and fraught relationship with my own mother all came into play.
Last year, at VIFF, I was very excited to see Fathers&Sons. I knew Babz was in the film, but we lost her in May, so she never saw the finished product. I was missing her, so I was excited to “see” her again, even if that was an image on a screen. It made me both happy and sad.
I also really enjoyed Sisters&Brothers. But I felt a hollowness after the film was over. I miss Babz.
Bessai dedicated the film to her. I’m pretty sure he misses her, too.