Canadian film Assignment Essay
However as society changed and became tolerant there has been a new surge of cinema that has commissioned itself to resolve the issue of misrepresentations and stereotypes of the aboriginals. The question we ask ourselves is, is this process really working and if not do they reduce even more problems? An example of this problem we are presented with is the 1991 film Clearest which is about a lawyer who loses an appeal against the clear-cutting of native land which in turn angers the native community.
Arthur one of the more extremist natives decides to kidnap the logging mill manager and later on kidnaps the lawyer as a means of punishment and torture. 2 The film itself portrays the punishment and torture of the captives as a series of trials for them to understand nature and to inflict the same pain that they did to them.
This film brings into question on the many problems this type of cinema presents in the aboriginal community.
It presents to use the exploitation of native lands, the general stereotyping of natives in cinema, and the eventual way to solve the problem representation. 3 The Europeans came to America to seek a passageway to Asia, but in turn they found America and so forth set into motion a resource consumption that has well continued hundreds of years later. Natural resources are one of the key topics that films regarding First Nations people bring into question. From Clearest we see the white western men trying to takeover the land as a means to further their capitalist logging business. It is obvious to see that this type of storyline and topic is no stranger when it comes to Natives and representation of them. 5 Films in the past such as Princess Nonsmoker or even more present Avatar present a basic premise on the topic of the threats the Native environment and property have to face. 6 We see from the two films that the gun totting, technologically advanced imperialists are clearly after the resources for their own survival. 8 It is also noted that the use of spirituality in regards to the ever greedy consumption of such resources in these films as very important. The films all have a god or spirit watching and living off the untouched innocent land until it finally wakens up to defend and preserve itself. 1 0 The natives themselves are prepared to fight for it, fight for their own land before the evil capitalistic corporations consume it. We see this as a lesson that can be learned in reality in the past and even today. Forests have been cut to for farmland, then farm land into living space.
Clearest presents this issue of deforestation into a very familiar route of the importance of preserving the soon to be disturbed native land for the benefit of the corporate invasion. We see that this film is reminiscent to what is happening in Canada today specifically in Alberta and in New Brunswick. On October 17, 2013 the Legislator First Nations people in New Brunswick formed a roadblock as a means to demonstrate their concerns towards a proposed shale-gas project that is planned to be done near their reserve. 1 The situation turned out to be violent with dozens of people being placed under arrest by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Public perception towards the protestors was negative as many believed the methods, such as the use of firearms and burning cars to be very excessive. 2 Clearest happens to display such vents of anger towards Urethra’s captives by torturing them for invading and failing them. The gruesome and horror film inspired torture sequences can be seen as a problem when portraying natives on film.
Many natives would not want to associate themselves as savage, skinning individuals with a vengeance against the Western society. However one can argue that it is displaying a peaceful and undisturbed society that has finally decided that the action they must take to defend themselves is now. 13 It can be seen that they have been punished for living under another society roof, ND how they allowed themselves to be taken into such a way. The main point in this problem we ask is this, that Native American tradition no matter what portrayal is seen as sadistic and savage.
Very rarely do audiences feel the need to comment on the way crazy, sadistic white people are in a film which thus brings into the problem of stereotypes. The aboriginal representation in film has varied from the past and now but general perception has seen them as negative. Most films whether Hollywood or international portray stereotypes as a means to better identify and distinguish a certain group. In many cases it is seen through medic means while others take it in as a problem with society. 4 Films send out the messages showing the audience with use of such stereotypes as wrong but continue to fuel the fire themselves by showing it onscreen. Though in recent years such negativity and antagonism against natives have been reduced, the general native stereotyping is still alive. 15 Clearest displays to what some people may see as a negative representation on how an aboriginal can become as seen in the way he treats his two prisoners. Arthur and the Indian community can be seen typically practicing their own traditional and spiritual values.
Arthur in particular showed Peter the way to take on his fears such as the scene where he complains about the noise. He tells shows him how to obtain a goal he must take drastic action to do so. Arthur is seen as the typical wise man of the film, in which case represents nature itself. The film’s overall message was the inner conflict of how Peter must take initiative on how to battle against it. Urethra’s message to Peter is to do it by any means necessary as he is the spirit that shows the dark part of Pewter’s moral code on how things should be done should a peaceful agreement fail.
Many viewers will be thrown off by this actual moral or message of the film. They see without any context taken, Arthur as the Indian savage torturing Peter and the logging manager for their failure and preparation to take his land. The revenge story itself has represented many different parties, not just aboriginals, but different cultures in a negative light. In the Hollywood production Captain Phillips we have a sort of background on why there is a piracy in the region, the foreigners fished out all their waters leaving the economy into ruin and eventually no governmental power to maintain law and order. 6 Once gain this topic of resources brings is brought up and how it greatly affects the occupants living in that territory. This story of revenge eventually becomes one of survival and defending one’s own values. Though the intended message of the entire film in Clearest is taking things into your own hands the problem that arises is the very fact that the First Nations people had to be portrayed in using sadistic methods and the main problem is this very portrayal, this theme can be seen as one that rather introduces issues. 7 Problems can arise as the community itself may take this up as inspiration and some may take it as factual information causing fear and even more animosity towards the aboriginal population. Although society itself has undergone radical change in terms of it’s recognition on the negative stereotyping of natives in film it does not seem to do enough justice to say that the positive change has taken effect. In it’s proper context Clearest is undoubtedly seen as a sympathetic film, one with oppressed people fighting for their rights against the “superior” white race.
The sadistic portrayal is still there but the story itself is understandable that they have a good reason to fight. This however does not solve the main problem that history kooks have taught society. 18 The aboriginal identity is very hard to portray to be biased towards or against something as leaving it unbiased continues to give out the stereotypes that people want to ignore. 19 This problem itself cannot be undone, nor can the damage towards the original Canadian Identity of being a native to this land.
It has become an issue where additional problems arise on whether or not you want to associate yourself to people whom you call fellow Canadians. Aside from Clearest being a Native Canadian film, Antitrust: The Fast Runner reels in a new type of way to better solve the issue of identity. In Clearest we see the problems that the natives are posing towards the society that is occupying them while the natives see this as a reason to take revenge Upon their oppressors. The Fast Runner much rather displays a unique look at an Intuit tribe, that is away from the reaches of western society, away from any white oppressors or heroes. 0 It is simply a movie about natives. We bring into question, is there still that type of sadistic, nature loving stereotype? For the most part yes there is but the severity of it diminishes compared to Clearest where one group isn’t attacking the other vice-versa. This is portrayed by authentic native peoples and how they still continue to survive in the conditions they live in without the intervention of the outside society. Though the problem with proper representation continues we can take note as to how authenticity and the avoidance of using any non-natives can effectively resolve some of the issues in portraying aboriginals in films.
From the battle of resources, to negative stereotyping, and going into the core problems of portraying aboriginals in films, we can effectively say that it has introduced additional problems when representing the core issues of aboriginal cultural identity in Canadian Cinema. However this process has so far seen some progress in repairing this tarnished relationship, though when we look back at a film such as Clearest and what the overall message of that was we can see that the initial response is negative due to improper context.
Films about the resource takeover, and land takeover have only furthered the negative portrayal of aboriginals as the obstacle and the depiction of sadistic savagery even furthered it, but with films that avoid bringing up such conflict over and over again we can finally come to a stop with the negative representation. In a film such as The Fast Runner it is evident that y adding authenticity and shying away from foreign or intervention of the other there is a glimmer of hope that one day cinema can in fact resolve the issues representing aboriginal culture and identity.