The Grizzlies is a great movie to watch for Indigenous Peoples Day — The Basic Cinephile
WRITTEN BY MOIRA WALLEY-BECKETT AND GRAHAM YOST
DIRECTED BY MIRANDA DE PENCIER
In honor of Indigenous People’s Day (Oct. 11, 2021), we are reviewing a film about indigenous people, that stars indigenous people, that was made by indigenous people. The Grizzlies tells the common tale of a white teacher from southern Canada who gets a job at a school in Nunavut, a far north province with a much different way of life. When he arrives he finds heartbreak that he wasn’t expecting. Poverty, domestic violence, and addiction run rampant, and education is not a priority. In order to give the kids something to care about, he decides to start a lacrosse team.
What I loved most about this movie is that it deconstructs the white savior narrative. Why doesn’t the community value education? Because schools were historically used to separate families, erase culture and language, and silence native opposition to colonial powers by quite literally breaking their spirits. Those that survived the residential schools were never the same, and the trauma that they faced continues to pass down bruises to the next generations. The teacher must prove that he is not like those who have come before him. The film touches on so many critically important issues in far northern communities, like teen suicide rates and the astronomically expensive food prices. But the film still manages to be a fun comedy, showcasing indigenous peoples incredible resilience and love despite everything that colonization has put them through. The Grizzlies is now streaming on Netflix, and is a great watch for Indigenous Peoples Day. I wrote this review on Chumash and Fernandeño Tataviam land.
Originally published at https://www.thebasiccinephile.com.
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