THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN
CANADA/NORWAY I 2019 I COLOR I 105 MIN. I ENGLISH
“We are not done mourning the ´world-shattering´ magnitude of settler invasion and its attendant crime scenes of all sorts” writes indigenous poet Billy Ray Belcourt in an essay from which the title of Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn´s film was taken, referring to the ´breaking-apart´ effects of violent colonialism on indigenous bodies/identities. The story of a chance encounter between two women who meet on a Vancouver street, The Body Remembers is an intricate, intimate consideration of community, trauma and identity that takes place in real-time, over the course of a few hours. Co-writer/director Tailfeathers, a member of the Kainai First Nation and Sámi from Northern Norway, also stars in the film alongside newcomer Violet Nelson (Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation), who plays a pregnant domestic-abuse sufferer suspicious of the intentions of someone who would help her without knowing her. The film is ambiguous, refusing to smooth over the ruptures it identifies or to offer easy answers to complex questions.
Review by: Chloë Roddick
Kainai Nation | Canadá
A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers studied her Bachelor’s degree in First Nations Studies, as well as a program in Women and Gender Studies. She was also a full-time student of the acting program at the Vancouver Film School. She began her career as a filmmaker in 2011 with the experimental short film Bloodland. Her work often revolves around community dynamics and social justice issues. The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is the first film she co-directs with Kathleen Hepburn, director of Never Steady, Never Still (2017).