Following its win at the Vancouver Film Critics Circle awards last week for best Canadian film, The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open has pulled in another major accolade. The locally made feature was given the equivalent honour last night (January 16) by the Toronto Film Critics Association, edging out both Sophie Desraspe's Antigone and Jasmin Mozafari's Firecrackers.
The honour comes with a $100,000 cash prize for directors Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, who also stars in the film alongside newcomer Violet Nelson.
A formally audacious work about two Indigenous strangers thrown together under dire circumstances, The Body Remembers has also collected critical raves in the U.S.
In an interview with the Straight's Janet Smith, Tailfeathers emphasized the importance of the film's East Van setting.
“I wanted to honour the Indigenous community that lives in East Vancouver and especially Indigenous youth that are aging out of care,” she said. “And then it’s just about witnessing all the change and displacement happening there....A lot of single moms are really struggling to get by in one of the most expensive places in the world. So it’s the beauty and the pain of East Vancouver.”
In his review, Ken Eisner wrote: "In keeping with the subtle provocation of the title (taken from First Nations poet Billy-Ray Belcourt), it offers a daring kind of storytelling—one that asks us to notice what, and who, we’ve been taught to ignore."