Inside Out 2024: Our Review of ‘nanekawasis’

Posted in Festival Coverage by - May 26, 2024
Inside Out 2024: Our Review of ‘nanekawasis’

Being an Indigenous two-spirit artist means dealing with collective generational trauma and some challenging events, personal wise. Documentaries like nanekawasis makes its viewers understand the gravity of both these levels without seeming like a downer. A lot of the scenes here are the typical interview, one where the subject talks about almost drowning. But that subject, nehiyaw (Cree) artist George Littlechild, talks about that event like it’s polite dinner party conversation.

There’s a smoothness to this documentary, which one can attribute to Littlechild’s natural and resplendent camera presence. Closeups of him having a haircut while talking about his husband’s shoes give the documentary an intimate feel. Viewers also get to see his artwork while we get to hear his husband’s perspective towards the work. And of course, we’re lucky to see nanekawasis incorporate footage where he talks about his Indigenous ancestors.

Every artist biographical documentary like nanekawasis goes through its usual beats but even those marks feel enjoyable. It’s always nice to discover an artist I’ve never heard of even as someone who studied Indigenous art. The montages here lets Littlechild’s work speak for themselves, contemporary, whimsical unlike the few Indigenous works I encountered. Of course, interviews from both Littlechild and his husband guides the way we see these colourful works.

Films about Indigenous people, start big and go small, or start from the past and go cruising forward. It’s obvious that nanekawasis, Conor McNally’s feature length debut, didn’t invent the opposite trajectories of traditional storytelling but I like this kind of approach. It goes without saying that it’s nice to see an Indigenous man like Littlechild teach his history. It’s harder for racialized people to know such history, making such knowledge a treasure for everyone to cherish.

Conor McNally’s nanekawasis plays as part of this year’s InsideOut.


This post was written by
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.
Comments are closed.
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-61364310-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');