The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, the newest film from Kathleen Hepburn (Never Steady, Never Still) and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’, is a slow burn that packs a powerful emotional punch. It is the type of film where one wants to hug the protagonist tightly until they wise up to the reality of their situation. All the while knowing, ho wever, that one’s pleas for change will fall on deaf ears.

This frustration is something that Áila (Tailfeathers) must wrestle with when she comes across Rosie (Violet Nelson) on the street one day. Seeing that Rosie is literally barefoot and pregnant in the rain; and hearing the echoes of her boyfriend’s screams bellowing down the street, Áila quickly realizes that she has walked into a domestic abuse situation. Taking Rosie to her home, as the young woman does not want the cops involved, Áila races to find a woman’s shelter that might be able to provide assistance.

As the women bond over their indigenous roots, Hepburn and Tailfeathers’ subtly uses their class divide to hit home larger points. While getting Rosie to a secure women’s shelter is a no-brainer in Áila’s eyes, she struggles to understand Rosie’s reluctance towards help. Conversely Rosie still believes she can rectify the situation on her own, even going as far as to make excuses for what triggers the repeated abuse.

By letting Rosie’s circumstance linger in the air like an unmoveable cloud, Hepburn and Tailfeathers’ film is a reminder that there are no easy and quick fixes when it comes to domestic abuse. Regardless of the support systems in place, it is the victim themselves who must be willing to take the first, second, third, or however many steps needed to break the cycle in which they are caught. Full of melancholy The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is not an easy film to watch, but it is a necessary one.

Sunday, September 08, Scotiabank, 7:00 PM
Tuesday, September 10, Scotiabank, 4:15 PM