Film REVIEW: THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN (Canada/Norway 2019) ***

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open Poster
Trailer

After a chance encounter on the street, a woman tries to encourage a pregnant domestic abuse victim to seek help.

Directors:

Kathleen Hepburn (co-director), Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (co-director)

Writers:

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (story by), Kathleen Hepburn (co-writer) | 1 more credit »

THE BODY REMEMBERS is a low budget 2-handler about two indigenous women.  It has a simple premise and directors Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Maija Tailfeathers go to great lengths with details.  

The film opens with Rosie (Violet Nelson) riding a bus.  A woman with a child gets on, dropping a plush toy that Rosie picks up.  It is hinted that she likes children an it is soon revealed that Rosie is expecting.  Also seen boarding the bus in the background is Aila (the film’s co-director and writer, Elle-Maija Tailfeathers) who later encounters Rose crying not the street, but not before the audience is given some background of her.  Aila is 31 and wants a baby but has had problems having one despite hers trying.  Aila has had an abortion before.

Áila then encounters again Rosie, barefoot and crying in the rain on the side of a busy street.  She soon discovers that this young woman, Rosie, has just escaped a violent assault at the hands of her boyfriend. Áila decides to bring Rosie home with her and over the course of the evening, the two navigate the aftermath of this traumatic event.  Not much in terms of the story but Aila tries to convince Rosie to stay at a safe-house to protect herself and the baby.

This is one extremely slow moving film saddled with details.  If one loves details, then this film will be a pleasure to watch.  The directors ensure that one feels for each character down to every moment.  Every movement or action have repercussions.  Rosie at one point takes something from Aila’s handbag.  It does not register what it is till much later in the film that it is her wallet.  Rosie is particularly rude and ungrateful  despite Aila’s care.  Credibility comes into the picture.  

As far as Aila’s patience for Rosie despite her rudeness and swearing, one might attribute it to Aila’s not being able to have a baby.  Other than that, her patience is quite beyond belief.  Any normal person would have given up on Rosie.  The scenes in the taxi are overlong and demands a lot of patience.

Though one might sympathize with the pregnant and abused Rosie, Rosie is depicted to be an independent person who thinks she knows what she wants, regardless of  her being right or wrong.

THE BODY REMEMBERS is definitely a difficult watch, for its attention to detail, its slow pace and sombre and depressing story.  To the directors’ credit, this is an uncompromising tale that celebrates the the resilience of women, regardless whether the film works or not.

The TFCA has nominated this film as one of the three nominees for this years Best Canadian Feature that carries a big cash prize.   It has just been selected as Canada’s Top 10 for 2019.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l3WC4wl-SY

2019 TIFF Movie Review: BLOOD QUANTUM (Canada 2019)

Blood Quantum Poster
The dead are coming back to life outside the isolated Mi’gMaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are strangely immune to the zombie plague.

Director:

Jeff Barnaby

Writer:

Jeff Barnaby

The term BLOOD QUANTUM comes from a blood measurement system that is used to determine an individual’s indigenous status.  It is always someone or other against the indigenous people.  This time around in Jeff Barnaby’s BLOOD QUANTUM, it is the plague, particularly the white man who have contacted the plague who are invading the Indian Reservation. 

  Director Barnaby attempts some cultural and social critique.  Should the Indians offer refuge to the white men who have stolen their lands?  But the film deteriorates into the typical zombie movie (full of cliches) with limbs flying, bodies gutted with blood flowing everywhere. 

 The males get to fight the zombies with swords and assorted weaponry while the women stand around, scream or deliver babies.  I expected more from the Indigenous zombie more that was chosen to open TIFF’s Midnight Madness Program, but no such luck.