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imagiNATIVE: Where We Were Not Review (Paolo Kagaoan)

imagiNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival 2012

Where We Were Not, Part 1: Alexus’ Story

Directed by Alexus Young

Alexus recounts what we assume is a typical snowy night in Saskatoon. There’s a doodley quality to this animation. Its colours, instead of a block with careful gradations of shade, seem penciled in, but it still has a luminous effect. We also occasionally see her drawing of her own well-structured face, her long hair swept on her right side with different streaks of brown and blond. Her face expresses resignation, blinded by foggy shroud of police lights. This effortless quality of animation also conveys a loss of innocence that fits Alexus’ titular story about being stopped by the Saskatoon police before the latter was involved in a controversial incident that has led to a First Nation man’s death.

For a six-minute short it’s loaded with information and arcs and movements. In a short time we see a complex person and not a label, Alexus being honest about her own imperfections despite declaring her innocence. There’s also an interlude about the Saskatoon bridge that her police car passes by, expressing such controlled poetry despite the fear she must have felt during this brief time of her life. The title, of course, implies that there should be more stories to tell and I’m excited to see them when they come out.

Where We Were Not, Part 1: Alexus’ Story is one of seven short films included within the imagiNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival’s Turning Points: Shorts Program. It’s a program that explores the personal power struggles that First Nations individuals of all genders and sexualities face.

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About paolocase

I'm a little spongette of pop culture, mostly spending time and money in the movie theatre and TCM-like channels.

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