Together, they reached for what Moscovitch calls “profound authenticity,” and created an opportunity for narrative activism: the idea that victims can help heal their trauma and change attitudes by telling their stories. Globe & Mail
I don’t mind if someone wants to make a film or mini-series that “will help heal trauma and change attitudes”. Just don’t put it on my playlist.
Changing attitudes is not the mission of real art. Real art is about expression, revelation, insight, and beauty. The minute you say, “oh, and we want people to adopt our political views”, you have sold out the aesthetic dimension to the social dimension. To make a film to tell people what to think about the way indigenous people were treated in Canada is to make a bad film. To make a film about the way indigenous people were treated in Canada, just make a good film. And if you are authentic about it, tell us what you know about the subject: not what you want us to think. And be honest: don’t caricature or exaggerate or make things up just to drive your point home. Watch a film like “Come Sunday” which makes its point without dumbing down the issues.
So when my wife asked me to find the series “Little Bird” for her to watch, I checked it out. I thought, it might be good. I might want to watch it. I looked for reviews on line and found the “review” (it’s not a review: it’s a press release disguised as news) linked above.
I suspect this series is about making liberal viewers feel great about themselves: I watched a sad story about injustice and felt bad for the victims for I am a good person.
I watched the first ten minutes. As I feared, it starts by showing the girls who were abducted by the Canadian Child Family Services and RCMP living in nearly idyllic conditions with their happy affectionate parents. Even worse: there’s that jerky hand-held camera work that immediately conveys “oh look how authentic we are we’re pretending we’re actually filming the real thing which wouldn’t be possible if we had a tripod” vibe.
I am immediately repulsed by most films that show parents being incredibly tolerant and affectionate and patient and loving with their kids as a setup for imminent tragedy or threat. Nobody interacts with their children the way these parents do. It’s manipulative and dishonest. It is the hallmark of bad direction. And that is how “Little Bird” starts.
In “Little Bird,” Bezhig is driven by her newly emerging repressed memories. Variety
Podemski: We looked at all the various ways in which trauma presents itself. Especially when it has been repressed for many years . We worked with our two story advisors, Nakuset and Raven Sinclair, who supported us in shaping the way in which our lead character, Esther, experienced PTSD through intrusive memory. We were able to express this authentically through the use of acoustic and visual layers which I think played very authentically throughout the story.
Okay, firstly, it’s not the trauma that has been repressed but the memory of it. And memories are not repressed. That is a fake trope from the 1980’s that has pretty well lost all credibility. And the method by which they decided to tell the story of the “repressed” memories sounds more like therapy than art. But please don’t try to claim anything like “authenticity” when you are clearly constructing a narrative that projects a political and social idea rather than any particular real human experience.
A CBC article on the movie contains this flag:
WARNING: This story contains distressing details
Oh please fuck off with your trigger warnings. This is bullshit. What kind of news is “distressing”? A man falsely accused of rape while feminists claim that women never lie about sexual assault? Al Franken resigning his seat in the Senate over ridiculously trivial allegations of inappropriate behavior? Tax-payer subsidized sports stadiums? Music by Neil Diamond? Senile white men running the U.S. government? Prescription drugs developed at publicly-funded universities which cost pennies to manufacture selling for $30,000 a pop?