Toronto Film Festival – Revolt Against Colonialism as a Leitmotif

Porträtaufnahme der Filmemacherin Alanis Obomsawin in einem roten Kleid. (picture alliance / empics

Susan Berg in conversation with Christine Waititi

Alanis Obomswin has been making documentaries on the condition of indigenous peoples in Canada since the 1970s. (Picture Alliance / Empire | Chris Young)

A major retrospective by Indigenous filmmaker Alanis Obomswyn: a highlight of the 2021 Toronto Film Festival for Susan Berg. Our film editors were also impressed by the series “Panthers” about the Polynesian minority in New Zealand.

excellent subject Toronto International Film Festival How indigenous populations and colonial heritage are treated in different countries around the world, according to our film editor Susan Berg.

Kananda. Indigenous realities of life in

Perhaps the most obvious indication of this is the retrospective that the festival dedicates to American-Canadian filmmaker Alanis Obomswyn, who was born in 1932. They belong to the Abenaki people themselves and have been making documentaries about the condition of the indigenous population since the 1970s.

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“An incredible work has been created over the years, which on the one hand records life among the various tribes in Canada, but also explains the consequences of centuries of discrimination,” insists Berg.

Abuse and humiliation in foster care

She was most influenced by the 1986 film “Richard Cardinal”, which tells the story of a Metis boy, a descendant of a European fur trader, and an indigenous woman. This boy hanged himself with his foster parents at the age of 17 and had already passed through 28 foster families and one household at the time.

“The film tells the story of the abuse and humiliation of this young man,” Berg said. The production thus exposed the grave shortcomings in the Canadian social system.

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Our film editor also found noteworthy the New Zealand mini-series “Panthers”, set in the 1970s and about the cultural awakening of New Zealand’s Polynesian population “without feeling like a history book”.

coldness and rebellion

At the center of the series is a student who comes from a Māori middle-class family and who becomes more and more political as the story progresses through the discrimination his community experiences:

“And so he and some friends founded the Polynesian Panther Party in 1971, certainly inspired by the example of the Black Panthers in the United States, which then led to the deportation of the Polynesian population for greater rights and awareness of their problems. Fight against. In general.”

With lots of humor and momentum, the series managed to create an atmosphere of coolness and youthful rebellion, and was “incredibly exciting”. In New Zealand, “Panthers” was televised shortly before the film festival and broke all possible audience records there. “It is to be hoped that you will see them in Germany one day,” says our film editor.


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