Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This girl is clever

I've been on a kick for the last little while looking for movies about Indigenous people. Not just First Nations obviously but other Indigenous folks from around the world. I was really loving Elle Maija Tailfeathers documentary BihttoĆĄ when I saw it at Native Women and Film last month (where my film Crash Site also played awwww thank you!). Of all the narrative films I've seen about Indigenous people, all of them have had Indigenous women in the leads. Which I thought was just awesome.

I saw Rabbit Proof Fence when I was in Australia. I was in Brisbane after a day spent on the ocean, winding down in the common room of the hostel I was at when someone from South America wanted to watch an "Australian" movie. So we watched Rabbit Proof Fence. In case you haven't seen it, it's about these three Aboriginal girls who are stolen from their home and taken to a government school to be trained as maids. They run away from the school to return home, following the rabbit proof fence that leads back to their mum and grandmother. The best thing about the movie is that it's a true story. A 14-year-old escaped a terrible school with her 8-year-old sister and 11-year-old cousin and crossed 1600KMs on foot across the bloody desert. And the 14-year-old did it again when she was sent back in her 20s. This movie is one of my favourites! It's so rare to see a journey story with girls in the leads. And it breaks my heart every single time Molly and Daisy made it home and all Molly can say when she hugs her grandmother again is that she "lost one", meaning their cousin Gracie who was taken back to the school. She's been so strong throughout the journey and other than the time she was stolen, this is the only time she breaks down.

 One thing I always argue about with my good friend Sage is how the roles of women might have evolved within Indigenous cultures had we been allowed to let it grow as it should have. I say this because I was annoyed that there are so many rules barring me from rituals cause of moon time or just because I'm a lady. This is probably why I responded to Whale Rider so hard. The movie is about a young girl who's male twin was destined to become the next leader of their community but died at birth. She decides that she's really the leader and sets out to prove it to her grandfather. My favourite thing about the movie is how the acceptance of Pai as their leader starts to make her community better. I also really like the message of how holding steadfast to the old ways may not always be the best thing. Watch it, it's great!

Ok and now my favourite movie. But first, a rant. I am watching Canada Reads and was really annoyed at the comment that one of the panelists said about how there needed to be more "positive" stories about Aboriginals. Which annoys me. White people's stories aren't entirely positive or negative. There's good with the bad in everything. But one of the movies I think balances the good with the bad is The Sapphires. It's a funny movie with cute characters and an awesome soundtrack. But it's also a movie where one of the characters is of the Stolen Generation and deals with racism dealt out by people of her own community. That one hit me where I lived. Kay is Aboriginal but faces a lot of criticism cause she looks white. Her cousin implies that Kay hasn't had to face the same struggles she has had because of her skin colour. Nothing bugs me more than people trying to belittle the struggle of others. Kay was taken from her family as a CHILD and told that everything that she loved was wrong and she had to forget about it. I am a pale Native and I hate when people try to belittle my struggle. It's not a competition. Native isn't who I am trying to be it is who I am. And this movie was one of the first times I saw an Indigenous girl dealing with that struggle. Lots of love to it.

What are you waiting for? Go watch these movies! They're great.

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