This episode of the podcast discusses Jeff Barnaby’s new Indigenous zombie film, Blood Quantum in conversation with his modern classic, Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013).
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Rhymes For Young Ghouls
Mi’gmaq director Jeff Barnaby’s debut feature uses the language of various film genres to convey the real life horrors of Canada’s Residential Schools. Set in 1976, teenager Aila (Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs) deals drugs so she can bribe Indian Agent Popper (Mark Antony Krupa). It’s the only way to escape Residential School. But Aila’s money gets stolen. And when her father returns from prison, tensions between Popper and the family intensify into a violent cycle of revenge.
In Blood Quantum, zombies are taking over the world, and only Indigenous people are immune to their bites. They can still be killed, but they won’t turn into zombies themselves. The last bastion of humanity becomes the Quebec reserve where the film takes place. But this refuge faces the overwhelming danger of the brain-eating zombies who just come and come and come. Even if you kill them, there’s more where they came from (like, you know, colonialism!). The community must decide between offering refuge to white people and avoiding the risk and just trying to save themselves. This is complicated because the local sheriff’s (Michael Greyeyes) teenage son (Forrest Goodluck) and his white girlfriend (Olivia Scriven) are expecting a child.
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Show notes and recommended reading
- Read Alex’s interview with Jeff Barnaby.
- Rhymes for Young Ghouls ranked 7th on our best of the decade list. See why and view the other choices.
- Check out our Best Canadian Film of the Decade Survey, where Brett specifically picked Rhymes for Young Ghouls
- Read Brett’s interview with Alanis Obomsawim about her film Our People Will Be Healed in 2017.
- Listen to last week’s podcast episode, which discusses colonialism and genre films in the context of Australian Westerns.
- Pre-order our newest ebook on Kelly Reichardt, available May 8
Where to watch the films
- Blood Quantum is (April 28) on VOD in Canada, the US, and Australia. Stream it on Shudder in Canada, US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Additionally, stream it free on CBC Gem in Canada.
- Rhymes for Young Ghouls is on VOD in Canada, US, Australia, and New Zealand. You can also Stream it Netflix, Crave, Hoopla, and CBC Gem in Canada. Stream it on Fandor, Kanopy, Hoopla, and Tubi in the US. Stream it on Tubi in Australia.
- Alanis Obomsawin’s Incident as Restigouche (1984) is also available from the National Film Board in Canada