Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 9, No. 3, 2010
  Current Issue  
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Diane Gordon
Nancy Snipper
Sylvain Richard
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
  Film Reviews
  Bowling for Columbine
Shanghai Ghetto
Talk to Her
City of God
Magdalene Sisters
Dirty Pretty Things
Barbarian Invasions
Fog of War
Blind Shaft
The Corporation
Station Agent
The Agronomist
Maria Full of Grace
Man Without a Past
In This World
Buffalo Boy
Shake Hands with the Devil
Born into Brothels
The Edukators
Big Sugar
A Long Walk
An Inconvenient Truth
Sisters In Law
Send a Bullet
Banking on Heaven
Chinese Botanist's Daugher
Ben X
La Zona
The Legacy
Irina Palm
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Poor Boys Game
Finn's Girl
Leaving the Fold
The Mourning Forest
Beneath the Rooftops of Paris
Before Tomorrow
Paraiso Travel
Necessities of Life
For a Moment of Freedom
Blood River
By the Will of Genghis Kahn
The Concert





So far, A & O film critic Sylvain Richard has had time to see the following films. Here are his ratings (except where noted), always out of 4, reserving 2.5 or more for a noteworthy film, 3.5 for an exceptional film, 4 for a classic.


Sylvain RichardAmong Sylvain Richard's recommended films are = (The Necessities of Life; Frozen River; Atanarjuat; Before Tomorrow).


BLUES, BLANC, ROUGE -- June 17, 2010 Salle Cassavetes (Excentris)
"Here we are blending the turbulent Ottawa river with other rivers teeming with fish feeding on the icy Far North, the founding Great River seasoned by its salty estuary and backwaters with a hint of peaty aftertaste. May all great thirsts for freedom be quenched as we drink deep of these waters of life.” (Michel Faubert).

Elisapie IsaacThe 20th anniversary of First People’s Festival began last night with an encounter between three cultures: Autochtone (traditional and contemporary), English and French. Performing together on stage were Robert Seven-Crows, Samian, Michel Faubert, Elisapie Isaac and Marie Jane Lamond, with VJ Lady Pink Rubber Lady providing the imagery. Métis/Mi’kmag Robert Seven-Crows is a singer, song writer, performer and an A’tukwiwenu (traditional story teller). Calling his style “Swamp-Folk," his music is a “métissage” of his native roots: R&B and folk. Born in 1983 in the small community of Pikogan in Abitibi-Témiscaminque, Samian is an Algonquin who incorporates his native language and rhythms with contemporary Hip-Hop. Michel Faubert is a story teller combining creative intuition and Québec roots. Born to an Inuk mother and a father from Newfoundland, Elisapie Isaac is a young Canadian pop singer. Marie Jane Lamond combines traditional Gaelic songs from Cape-Breton Island with traditional pop sounds.

The evening was a resounding start to a celebration of diversity in all its guises. The concert is to be broadcast on radio on the following: CBC Radio 2 June 21 at 7pm; CBC North June 24 at noon and Espace Musique July 3 at 8pm; and on the web at from June 18 and directly on June 21st with Li Robbin’s blog at You could also watch video clips on from June 14. The clips were provided by Wapikoni Mobile.

3.3 -- ALTIPLANO, Peter Brossens, Jessica Woodworth
The Altiplano (Spanish for High Plain) is located in the Andes in West-Central South America. Film opens in the Andean indigenous village of Turbamba where Saturnina (Magaly Solier) is preparing for her wedding. During the procession, which includes distracted children excited over a spill of mercury, the statue of the Virgin Mary falls and shatters. Film then segues to Iraq where Grace (Jasmin Tabatai) is forced to take a photo of her colleague. Her Belgian husband Max (Olivier Gourmet) is a cataract surgeon assigned to an eye clinic in the Andes near the village where the locals are succumbing to mercury poisoning. "Altiplano" lyrically probes our divided yet linked world. A surreal and symbolically rich film set against the breathtaking view of the Andes in Peru.

1.8 -- ARTCIRQ EXPEDITION, Derek Aqqiaruq
This film documents performance troupe’s 21 day excursion (21 people plus three babies) across Nunavut from Igloolik to Pond Inlet to Clyde River on skidoos in Apr/May 2009. They presented their show at Pond Inlet and Clyde River plus workshops. Film appeals to mostly local interests.

2.7 -- REHJE, Anais Huerta, Raul Cuesta
When Antonia, a native Mazahua woman, was younger she left her village for Mexico City. After nearly 40 years she returns. The narrative is told mainly through her own words. A cautionary tale that life rarely turn out as we expect.

3.0 -- SAMSON AND DELILAH, Warwick Thornton
Samson and Delilah (credibly portrayed by first timers, Rowan McNamara, Marissa Gibson) are two indigenous Australian adolescents living in a remote Aboriginal village, who fall in love. At first they resist their mutual attraction. Samson detests his brother’s band playing Reggae. Delilah takes care of her sick grandmother. After Samson smashes his brother’s guitar and gets beaten up for it and then Delilah’s grandmother dies, they steal a car and escape to Alice Springs. Once there they have one misadventure after the next. This is a powerful, emotionally packed film that exposes the plights and difficulties that indigenous peoples worldwide, face on a daily basis.

2.5 -- THE MEANING OF LIFE, Hugh Brody
A refreshing look at Canada’s correctional system. This film profiles the inmates of minimum security facility Kwìkwèxwelhp Institution (formerly Elbow Lake Institution) in BC on Chehalis First Nations land. Aboriginal spirituality is this institute’s central core approach to rehabilitation. Too many inmates profiled. This made it difficult to follow their progress.

3.2 -- SEVEN SONGS FROM THE TUNDRA, Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio
Seven stories centering on the nomadic Nenet people of the Russian Tundra as they struggle to keep their traditions despite pressure to assimilate into modern Russian culture. Subtitles in French on a black and white background made film a little difficult to follow.

3.5 -- PUDANA: LAST OF THE LINE, Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio
An adult Neko recounts her story of life when as a young girl staying with her grandmother and her Shaman grandfather she was taken against her will by Russian authorities and forced to ‘become Russian.’ A docufiction that powerfully portrays how the strong inevitably succeed in enforcing their will upon the weaker. As well, the film makers give us an excellent chronicle of the history and life of, not only the Nenet but of all indigenous peoples around the world (for ex. the Inuit).

2.3 -- THE DEAD CAN’T DANCE, Rodrick Pocowatchit
Low budget indie First People’s take on the zombie genre. Eddie is heading to college accompanied by Ray, his father and Dax, his uncle. He is to be the first in his family to go. They are Native American from the Comanche tribe. While stopping for gas, supplies and nature, everyone around them drops dead -- except for bizarre gas attendant -- to return as zombies. A fun and entertaining diversion for those who occasionally enjoy a zombie flick.

2.5 -- TCIKITANAW, Anne Ardouin
Tcikitanaw is an Atikamekw word that signifies 'the highest mountain.' The mountain is situated just north of the Atikamekw community of Opitciwan, Quebec. Anne Ardouin revisits the adolescents (who are now young adults) interviewed in her 1997 film “Awacak” to reflect on the paths they have taken and on the horizons of their future.


Here are the films (features plus shorts) of all the films I was able to see during this year’s First People’s Festival (in chronological order -- as seen):

WINDIGO; Kris Happyjack-Mckenzie 10 min 42
A fictional look at the often thin line between life and death.

CHIFFRE; James Picard; 2 min 57
Why do the Innu say numbers in French?

RETURN OF THE GOOSE DANCE; Abhish S.Birla; 22 min 45
A Cree community desires to embrace the past and bring back forgotten celebrations.

SANGRADOURO; Amandine Goisbault, Tiago Campos Tôrres, Divino Tserewahu Tsereptsé; 30 min
A portrait of a group of Xavante who have taken refuge in the state of Mato Grosso in the Salesian mission of Sangradouro.

LES PETITS BONHEURS; Mary-Pier Ottawa; 2 min 27
An experimental view of the good side of life.

TSI TKAHEHTEYEN (THE GARDEN); Zoe Leigh Hopkins; 11 min 51
Three women visit a magic garden where the gardener will grant that which they wish for.

HORSE YOU SEE; Melissa Ann Henry; 4 min 7
Getting to know Ross, a Navajo horse.

THE CAVE; Helen Haig-Brown; 10 min 42
A Tsilqot’in hunter on horseback accidently discovers a portal into the afterlife.

DANCERS OF THE GRASS; Melanie Jackson; 2 min 15
Animated display of the traditional hoop dance which symbolizes unity among nations.

IN THIS MANNER; I AM; Velma Kee Craig; 4 min
A Navajo woman and a white man randomly meet and somewhat converse.

WAPOS BAY: THE HARDEST LESSON; Trevor Cameron; 26 min
Animated series on APTN. In this episode, T-Bear and two of his friends try to arrange for his widowed father to get remarried. They forget one important element, to get his permission.

SHIMÁSÁNÍ; Blackhorse Lowe; 15 min
A young Navajo woman desires to explore the world but she is held back by the need to care for her grandmother.

QIMMIT: CLASH OF TWO TRUTHS; Ole Gjerstad, Joelie Sanguya; 52 min
An investigation into the massacre of sled dogs in Inuit communities in the 1950s, 60s and 70s and the usual clash of memories between the two sides.

NE LE DIT PAS; Jani Bellefleur- Kaltush; 5 min 46
An experimental short exposing the destructive power of rumours.

TCIKITANAW; Anne Ardouin; 70 min
Director returns to Opitcikwan to see how the adolescents (now young adults) she filmed in 1997 to reflect on the paths they have taken and on the horizons of their future.

TUNGIJUQ; Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël; 7 min 10
A surreal meditation on the place of the seal hunt amongst the Inuit.

POWERBALL; Gary Farmer; 5 min
Two homeless men search the trash for items that are worth keeping.

THE DEAD CAN’T DANCE; Roderick Pocowatchit; 104 min
First Peoples take on the zombie genre.

SEVEN SONGS FROM THE TUNDRA; Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio; 90 min
Seven anecdotes centering on the struggles of the Nenet people to hold on to their traditions.

PUDANA: LAST OF THE LINE; Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio; 83 min
Neko recounts the stories of her childhood when she was taken from her home and forced to learn Russian ways.

KEEPING QUIET; Shane Belcourt; 9 min 20
A solitary man named Bob tries out the world of classified dating.

HER SUGAR IS; Dana Klaxton; 2 min 36
Peeling away the layers of history through a burlesque performance

THE MEANING OF LIFE; Hugh Brody; 82 min
A profiling of inmates at the minimum security Kwìkwèxwelhp Institution (formerly Elbow Lake Institution) in BC on Chehalis First Nation land.

NIA’S MELANCHOLY; S.F. Tusa; 10 min 30
A tale of the spiritual journey and redemption of Nia, a young Yolangi girl, who after the suicide of her sister finds solace in the recesses of her mind.

SAMSON AND DELILAH; Warwick Thornton; 101 min
The misadventures of two Aboriginal adolescents in love.

1150 KM ET UNE MÉTISSE; Raphaël Bélanger; 16 min 34
The destinies of Max, a drifter and Mady, a runaway wishing to return home meet in a downtown Montreal parking lot.

WELCOME; Daniel Gerson; 8 min 30
A boy whose only playground is the decrepit and impoverished city streets.

REHJE; Anais Huerta, Raul Cuesta; 68 min
After 40 years in Mexico City, Antonia, a native Mazahua woman returns to her village.

A portrait of Native American contemporary artist Bunky Echo Hawke.

WARBRICK; Maihana Durie, Pere Durie; 12 min
Dramatization of Joe Warbrick, who in London England 1889, inspired his worn out New Zealand native rugby team to play the game against England or forfeit.

ARTCIRQ EXPEDITION; Derek Aqqiaruk; 101 min
This film documents performance troupe’s 21 day excursion across Nunavut on skidoos in Apr/ May 2009.

ALTIPLANO; Peter Brossens, Jessica Woodworth; 109 min
A drama that lyrically probes our divided yet linked world.

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