RKS 2023 Hot Docs Films: “Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun”: I Can’t Believe I Am Saying This!

As a reviewer of films prior to taking up this all-consuming habit I often laughed years ago with a review or two of a film that trumpeted, “You’ll Stand Up and Cheer!”. I laugh no more as with this documentary I found myself standing up and cheering not physically but mentally. Why?

Firstly, as a reviewer of documentary films I have watched a plethora of documentaries on the exploitation and decimation of aboriginal populations in Brazil, the Philippines, Peru, Canada etc. It is a never-ending sorrow story. Drug addiction, substandard living conditions, disappearing habitats and on and on. Stereotyping of misery?

You will not find that dead head force in this documentary. A rare positive glimpse of aboriginal culture in Canada. It is so exciting, fulfilling , inspirational and it just lifts you above the stereotype of misery. In fact it is so good you may stand up physically or mentally and cheer at various points in the documentary. It may even cause an eruption of goosebumps!

Logan Red Crow is an Albertan Cree teenager who races horses bareback in relay teams. She has a supportive rancher family. A nervous father, a mother who puts her trust “above” and trainer brothers. These relay races are dangerous and you will see a few nasty spills. Logan Red Crow’s father has two relatives injured by horses. One is in a wheelchair and the other bedridden. Logan Red Crow loves and trusts her horses and there is mutual respect and understanding between horse and human!

Logan Red Crow just keeps improving until she reaches the world’s best “Indian” horse racing in the annual Casper Wyoming “Indian” horse race. Irrespective of the final result stand up and cheer for Logan Red Crow and the producers of this documentary.

A right on soundtrack that veers away from the maudlin and sappy. And well the cinematography is spectacular.

An entirely welcome take on aboriginal life in Canada. While we must not ignore the tragedies in aboriginal Canada surely we are entitled to cheer positivity. I am.

Directed by Banchi Hanuse.

It won the prestigious Big Sky Award at the 2023 Big Sky Documentary Festival in Montana.

This will play at the Toronto Hot Docs Festival on April 29th and May 3 and then will stream 5-9May.

RKS 2023 Film Rating 94/100.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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