October 21, 2010

Wendigo movies at imagineNATIVE 2010

Reviews:  ‘Windigo,’ ‘A Flesh Offering’ & ‘A Windigo Tale’ at imagineNATIVE 2010

By Niigonwedom SinclairThe first, simply entitled Windigo, is a short by young Anishinaabe filmmaker Kris Happyjack-McKenzie. It offers a gritty and mature look at the power of belief. It’s also rather polemic: those who believe in the beauty of the world and inside of themselves overcome evil and survive the threat of the beast in the forest. Those with “weak souls” are caught by it and then consumed, tortured, and forever lost.

Minus some amateurish special effects, this is an impressive first film.

MI Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

One wishes for more complexity in Ojibway filmmaker Jeremy Torrie’s A Flesh Offering, an incarnation of the “slasher” genre from a Native perspective. Unfortunately, the film starts with possibility, continues stereotypically, and ends predictably. The formula is all there: the irredeemable youth, the ever-watching killer, the grime and the gore, etc. But, besides a Native lead and some beautiful scenery (shot in Quebec), this 85-minute film is much more flesh and too little offering.

MI Rating: ★★ (out of 5)

The final incarnation of the Wiindigo to hit the screens at this year’s imagineNATIVE is Ojibwe poet Armand Garnet Ruffo’s A Windigo Tale.

In his screenwriting and directorial debut, Ruffo has produced a roller coaster narrative through legacies of residential school abuse, cultural atrophy, and youth gangs (just to name a few themes), creating a new and chilling incarnation of Windigo that cannot be forgotten.

MI Rating: ★★★★½ (out of 5)
Comment:  Have we done enough Wendigo movies yet? No? How about a couple dozen more? How about Wendigo vs. vampires? Or Wendigo vs. werewolves? Or Wendigo and werewolves vs. vampires and zombies? Because I don't think we've milked every single possibility out of the Wendigo myth yet.

For more on the subject, see Hayden Christensen in Wendigo Movie and Too Many Wendigos.

Below:  "Still from 'A Flesh Offering' (Dir. J. Torrie)."

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