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The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

This screening took place on
Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 12:30pm
Yukon Arts Centre

In an audacious act of heroism and kindness, Áila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) chooses to console a young woman she finds barefoot and sobbing in the streets. She soon discovers that Rosie (Violet Nelson) has just escaped an assault by her boyfriend. Compelled to take action, Áila chooses to bring Rosie into her home and, over the course of the evening, the two women explore the after-effect of this traumatic event.

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is a brilliant, poignant collaboration between two of Canada's brightest — and boldest — filmmakers. Tailfeathers, a member of the Kainai First Nation as well as Sámi from Norway, triples as lead, co-writer, and co-director. She shares writing and directing with Kathleen Hepburn, whose 2017 film Never Steady, Never Still premiered at the Festival and was named to TIFF's Canada's Top Ten. Using 16mm and presenting their narrative in "real time," the filmmakers craft a delicate intimacy, which lends emotion to this remarkable story of two women's resilience, strength, and mutual support.

Taking its title from an essay by Indigenous poet Billy-Ray Belcourt, and based on a watershed moment in Tailfeathers' life, this story of a chance encounter between two women — living in the same Vancouver neighbourhood, but coming from distinct worlds of class and lived experience — reveals the necessity for Indigenous people to look out for each other in a society that's too often indifferent to their existence.

- Toronto International Film Festival

Mature content: Recommended for ages 14+

TIFF Top Ten Canadian Film, 2019.

Screens with: Cedar Tree of Life
DIR. ODESSA SHUQUAYA, 2018, BC, 10 MIN
Expressionist documentary, exploring the relationship between Cedar and three Indigenous women who work with it, weave with it, and live with it. Three Salish women hold knowledge of Cedar passed down from their grandmothers and mothers. They commune with this sacred tree as they practice and share their culture and art in both traditional and contemporary contexts. Odessa Shuquaya is an Indigenous filmmaker from the Kluane First Nation in Yukon and has been making her home in the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples in Vancouver, BC for the last 20 years.

  • Directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn
  • 2019, Canada
  • 105 minutes

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