I actually had a chance to meet Richard Wagamese very shortly before he died; he was an inspirational figure. I knew he had written novels about the residential school experience. Soon we're going to get the great Canadian film about the tragedy, but so far there haven't been many attempts. Indian Horse seemed like a promising candidate, but falls short.
In ways a sports movie as much (or more) than a story about the residential schools, Indian Horse rarely rises above TV movie-level in its direction. There are some great shots- the first glimpse of the nun coldly looking down on the children, flashbacks when toys are being thrown onto the ice and how these toys blend into the memories- but these are few. The film starts off with a strong look at the cruelties of the school under Catholic control, but veers from that. (Incidentally, Canada's association of Catholic bishops recently released a letter denying involvement in residential schools. This is a blatant lie, or put in their words, bearing false witness under God). Part of the drift away from a strong film involves the less-than-stellar performance of Ajuawak Kapashesit. This is a decent film, but we should be looking for more.
Follows the life of Canadian First Nations boy, Saul Indian Horse, as he survives residential school and life amongst the racism of the 1970s. A talented hockey player, Saul must find his own path as he battles stereotypes and alcoholism.
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October 24, 2018 at 11:49 PM