TIFF review: The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open

Film about a brief encounter between two Indigenous women is complex and full of empathy


THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN CWC D: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn. Canada/Norway. 105 min. Sep 8, 7 pm, Scotiabank 13 Sep 10, 4:15 pm, Scotiabank 11. Rating: NNNN


The brief encounter between the two Indigenous women in The Body Remembers is like an opening scene stretched out in real-time to cover the film’s entire duration.

After a doctor’s appointment where she receives an IUD, Áila (Tailfeathers) finds pregnant Rosie (Violet Nelson) barefoot on the street, in the rain, cowering from an abusive boyfriend in the distance. She takes Rosie home. The latter rebuffs and then cautiously entertains Áila’s help.

The performances by Tailfeathers and Nelson, playing women who seem worlds apart, are heavy and complicated, burdened with both history and the urgent issues facing Indigenous women today.

The characters never get very far. They’re stuck in that opening scene. And that says a lot about how progress in this country is hard to achieve. But at least we can have empathy.

Read a feature on The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open here.

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