Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2023 by - May 02, 2023
Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun’

In Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun, viewers see the documentary’s main subject, Logan Red Crow put on a blue and yellow jersey. Her late grandmother, a fellow Blackfoot horse rider like herself, designed the beadwork, and she sewed the jersey herself. Blue and yellow are the colours of her family and team, Old Sun, which they named after one of their ancestors. She’s representing as the only female relay racer in the Calgary Stampede. Her team ends up fourth of four racers, but the documentary doesn’t overdramatize this setback. She returns to her home and the documentary follows her comeback.

Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi has the same parts that viewers normally see in documentaries about both sports and the great outdoors. It shows the sun setting on the land where Logan and her brother ride. It also shows training montages. But what sets this documentary apart is the way it incorporates narration. Sometimes her father shares narration duties with her, but most of the time she discusses things like her relationships with Calfrobe and Sally, her racehorses. She explains her initial reluctance and eventual acceptance to take on Sally as a race horse. The narration helps show the expertise it takes to ride.

Hot Docs really lucked out on programming a documentary like Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi, which balances the depiction of a sports with both beauty and grit. It also captures the culture of the sport without spoon-feeding the information to its viewers. It’s surprising to see it dispel stereotypes I had about the Stampede, which lets ‘Native’ cultures flourish alongside the white cowboys who are mostly offscreen here. The same goes as it shows how different the American horse races are. It captures Logan’s training with the kind of camerawork that makes us feel like we’re close by, cheering her on.

  • Release Date: 4/29/2023
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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