Studies in Film: Genre Unsettled: The Politics of Popular Indigenous Films
Prereq: 21L.011, one subject in Literature or Comparative Media Studies; or permission of instructor
This course explores the internationally popular musicals, Westerns, police procedurals, horror and comedy films being produced by a new generation of Indigenous filmmakers. These directors have shifted away from the activist-based documentaries and politically committed narrative films for which Indigenous cinemas have become globally recognized, but their films are far from a-political. From Turtle Island (Canada & the United States) to Aotearoa (New Zealand), Indigenous directors have begun to unsettle the conventions of genres and the expectations regarding Indigenous aesthetic and political commitments alike. From reconciliation to indebtedness, from migration to climate change, these films grapple with pressing issues of our time, but decline to propose solutions from within the institutional, discursive, and political contexts to which they directly respond. Films examined will include: Bran Nue Dae, by Rachel Perkins (Arrernte and Kalkadoon), Hunt for the Wilderpeople, by Taika Waititi (Māori), Rhymes for Young Ghouls, by Jeff Barnaby (Mi’kmaq), and Maliglutit, by Zacharias Kunuk (Inuk).