December 02, 2009

A Windigo Tale debuts

Aboriginal myth inspires residential schools filmA feature film about the lasting impact of Canada's residential school system on aboriginal families has been crafted from an award-winning play written by an Ottawa poet and professor.

A Windigo Tale debuted Wednesday night at a private screening in Ottawa. It is the first film directed by Armand Ruffo, an Ojibway poet and a professor of aboriginal studies at Carleton University, who also wrote and produced it.

The story is based on an updated version of the traditional Anishnabe myth of the windigo.

"It's an insatiable creature that devours people, animals," Ruffo said. "As a child, I knew about the windigo. It was only later I realized its metaphorical significance."

In Ruffo's film, the creature is a metaphor for the damage inflicted on aboriginal families by Canada's church-run, government-funded residential schools in the 19th and 20th centuries.
And:A Windigo Tale revolves around the fictional story of a man named Harold (played by Gary Farmer), who picks up his troubled grandson Curtis (played by Elliot Simon) from the city and drives him north. Over the course of the journey, Harold shares their family's dark history, including the role of the residential schools in their lives.

The story of the windigo is woven in through one of the characters, who becomes the windigo.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Things That Go Bump in the Night and The Best Indian Movies.

Below:  "Gary Farmer plays Harold, a grandfather who goes on a road trip with his troubled grandson Curtis." (A Windigo Tale)

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