Rhymes for Young Ghouls
At the tender age of 15, Alia has taken over the drug-dealing business of her father Joseph while he serves a stint in prison.
This film contains scenes that may distress some viewers, especially those who have experienced harm, abuse, violence, and/or intergenerational trauma due to colonial practices.
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Steeped in the history of Canada’s role in the residential schools tragedy, the brutality of which has been illuminated by the recent discoveries of unmarked graves at former sites, Mi’kmaq director Jeff Barnaby’s debut feature resembles an S.E. Hinton novel reimagined as a surreal, righteously furious thriller. At the tender age of 15, Alia (Devery Jacobs) has taken over the drug-dealing business of her father Joseph (Glen Gould) while he serves a stint in prison. Joseph’s return signals an abrupt end to Aila’s reign as the reserve’s narcotics queen, and it also piques the interest of Popper (Mark Antony Krupa), a corrupt and sadistic Indian agent. The bloody tragedy that unfolds becomes an angry and poetic howl for lost lives, lost opportunities, and lost loved ones ― a fever dream whose terrifying fictions are grounded in even more terrible fact.
Adapted from the 2019 programme note by Steve Gravestock
Official Selection, 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: scenes of child death, suicide, violent racism, and attempted sexual assault involving Indigenous people; explicit violence, coarse language, drug use, nudity
English, Mi'kmaq, Micmac