This week’s Cinema Politica screening was a special double program on issues of the First Nation people in Canada. Both these films follow a very classic documentary path; this week’s review will thus be more condensed and focus on their respective messages.
A RIGHT TO EAT (2015, JANELLE AND JEREMY WOOKEY) presents the issues that face isolated populations in fulfilling their food needs, alienated by inflated grocery store prices. Vegetables are expansive, fast food often is the only affordable option available to them, thus blowing diabetes rates up to 36% in their communities. The quest of the film is one of hope where efforts are made by actors inside and out of the community to promote some aspects of their traditional way of life that would help solving their current food crisis. They go back to the earth by creating a community garden, establish a poultry farm and, on a less traditional note, give cooking classes to the young to promote a healthy living. While this first film is about taking responsibility, its counterpart is somewhat about making someone else take responsibility for their actions.
COLONIZATION ROAD (2016, MICHELLE ST. JOHN) rages at former prime minister Stephen Harper’s statement that Canada never took part in colonization. By following a stand-up comedian’s journey in collecting evidence on the negative impacts of colonization on First Nation populations. Using the unfair politics and consequential population movements as well as the overarching racism towards First Nations remaining in the modern Canadian social space, the 2016 film speaks of an ages old issue offering no other solution than admitting the wrong that was done. Attempting to board the subject with a comic touch, every joke of the film is filled with bitterness, All of this shows the long road that’s left to go to leave behind colonization – its harder to push others to change than to push yourself.