While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. This week is Thanksgiving, so we're highlighting five films from Native directors that authentically chronicle and explore indigenous experiences in the U.S. and Canada.
Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013)
In this revenge drama inspired by the true horrors of the Canadian government's insidious contempt for the Indigenous, a pot-dealing teenage Mi'kmaq girl is forced to attend an assimilation center masquerading as a boarding school, where she butts heads with the sadistic principal. Amazon Prime, Fandor, Google Play, iTunes, Kanopy, YouTube.
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (2017)
Though often overlooked in music history, Indigenous people have had a profound impact on American rock 'n' roll. This documentary from Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana chronicles that influence, stemming from Shawnee artist Link Wray's seminal track "Rumble," and features commentary by Quincy Jones, Martin Scorsese and Iggy Pop. Criterion Channel, Google Play, Kanopy, Vudu, YouTube.
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019)
Filmed almost entirely in one unbroken shot, this critically acclaimed drama by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn follows a Blackfoot-Sámi woman (Tailfeathers) as she attempts to help a pregnant, impoverished Kwakiutl woman escape her abusive boyfriend. Based on Tailfeathers' real-life experience. Netflix.
Short Films by Sky Hopinka
Sky Hopinka, a member of Ho-Chunk Nation and Portland State University graduate, is a visual artist specializing in the myriad ways in which Indigenous languages shape culture. The shorts in this experimental 11-film collection include Fainting Spells, which examines the lore surrounding the medicinal Xawiska plant, and Dislocation Blues, a doc about the 2016 Standing Rock protests. Criterion Channel.
Reel Injun (2009)
Another documentary from Catherine Bainbridge and Cree co-director Neil Diamond, Reel Injun dissects the representation of Indigenous people in Hollywood films. Diamond hits the road to visit iconic locations from Native film history, while also picking apart racist stereotypes. Hoopla.