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Movie Review of “Rhymes for Young Ghouls”

If you didn’t catch the screening of this drama-thriller on November 4th in the Faculty and Staff Lounge, you really missed out. “Rhymes for Young Ghouls” (2013) is a film full of haunting violence and dark vibe music set to the characters’ negotiations of survival. This is a perfect film for crossing over from Halloween season into November.

Set on the Red Crow Mi’g Maq reservation in the late 1970s in Canada, a main point of this film is how indigenous children age 16 and below were required to attend residential schools. For the children on the reservation, it meant confinement, punishment and even death at the wicked St. Dymphna’s — unless you could pay your way out.

After familial tragedy, tough and talented Aila is left virtually alone. Through clever, and somewhat criminal enterprise, Aila is able to afford truancy from St. Dymphna. When her father is released from prison and returns home, the sensitive balance of power and routine is thrown into a tailspin.

Director Jeff Barnaby won Best Director in 2014 from the American Indian Film Festival, Best Canadian Feature Film from Vancouver International Film Festival in 2013, and Best Canadian First Feature from Vancouver Film Critics Circle in 2014. Note that this film is rated R for violence, drug use, language, sexual references and graphic nudity. “Rhymes” is available on Netflix instant, iTunes and Amazon instant.

In respect of Native American Heritage Month, other films recommended are “The Lesser Blessed” (2012) also on Netflix instant, “Dance Me Outside” (1994) which can be found on DVD in our library, and “The Cherokee Word for Water” which is available through the film’s website: