In the 1800s, on the remote islands of Haida Gwaii off the west coast of British Columbia, two extended families re-unite at their annual summer fishing camp. Soon conflict between a charismatic young nobleman, Adiits’ii, and his best friend Kwa, tears their interwoven families apart.
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Regardless of how important Edge of the Knife may be, it is a cracking good tale, expertly told and beautifully executed. Organized around a fraternal struggle that is both intimate and elemental, Gwaii Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown’s film will remind many of Atanarjuat in its raw narrative power.
Brutal in its images and not even violently, but, in my opinion, deeply haunting and thoughtfull. If I imagine what people imagined when they were sitting around the central fireplace and listening to this myth of the wild man, told by the villages storyteller. It must have felt like this movie. Brilliant and timeless.
One of the very few films where I felt my experience was profoundly decentralized - I pretty frequently didn't know what was going on which made it frustrating but also intriguing. Far from impenetrable, but nevertheless very unique not only in its use of language (Haida, cinematic, etc.), worthy of repeat viewings
"What I love about EOTK the most is that it has nothing to do with you – you being the dominant, colonizing society. You’re not in the movie. No white cast! No gold! No saviour! No evil-doer! Nothing! We are in our own community... our own journey as human beings without you.... They’re dealing with their own lives, relationships and humanity within their own world view." - filmmaker, Shane Belcourt in NowToronto
Bit of a mess. It would have been better as a documentary. Bogs down in the middle. Not well lit towards the end. Man, these people laugh a lot. Up until the bad part, of course. There's probably not a worse feeling. What do you do? Wailing is a pretty good solution.
Notwithstanding its contribution to culture preservation, this film needs to be judged on its own formal merits. With a virtually absent script and only schematic characterizations, it portrays the self-ostracized rite of passage through insane visions and self-harming. Cinematically, its drone, video-clip-like aesthetic deprives the imagery of depth, rescued only in the last shot that couples myth to modernity.