Sovereign Bodies: From Turtle Island to Abya Yala

In: Studies in World Cinema
Sarah Shamash Lecturer, Department of Theatre and Film, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Women’s bodies, spirits and struggles all intermingle, as underscored in a comparative, and intersectional analysis of a Brazilian and Canadian film. I put into dialogue the film Teko Haxy, Being Imperfect (2018) with the film The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019). I investigate what these films communicate about their worlds; what alternative lifeways they propose; how these diverse women’s struggles interlink across ethnicities, cultures, and hemispheres. My focus is on the encounters, confrontations, and convergences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women; between two Indigenous women from distinct class backgrounds and between intersecting Indigenous women’s struggles. Both films are representative of distinct subject positions, geo-politics, colonial processes, and cinematically divergent languages, genres, and production budgets. Nonetheless, I discuss how both films creatively make use of documentary strategies to underscore the sovereignty of Indigenous and women’s bodies as sites of power and resistance to heteropatriarchy, capitalism, and settler colonialism.

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