SDAFF 2022: ‘We Are Still Here’ Reviewed — A Powerful Anthology Of Indigenous Stories Throughout Time

Native peoples have been exploited and oppressed by colonizers for centuries. Even though relations are currently improving, the progress has been slow and generations have been impacted. In the anthology film We Are Still Here, indigenous Australian and New Zealand creators tell stories of how colonialism has affected their cultures.

The movie is composed of a number of different stories from Aboriginal and Māori voices highlighting their experiences. It’s a time jumping journey from the 19th century to almost 300 years into the future. How the different narratives are interwoven creates a unifying effect in addition to shared themes. Inclusion of other genres in some sections such as the supernatural and post-apocalyptic inject a freshness into the storytelling.

There’s a rawness to the stories with deeply personal connections from the filmmakers. You can feel their passion and frustrations in each. The inferior treatment and westernization take a toll on the dignity and culture of the people. Although, having the varying voices and approaches from the directors doesn’t always focus on the doom and gloom of the situations.

Highly relevant are the modern tales of We Are Still Here that any person of color can relate to. The harassment from authorities and everyday racism can hit close to home and are very powerful scenes. They capture the mood of both a helplessness and underlying rage that help fuel the rebellious spirit.

However, as mentioned above, the movie tries to end with a message of optimism and empowerment. The mere title alone reminds us that they still endure. In the Springbok tour portion of the film, it stresses the strength of community even in the unlikeliest and lowest of conditions. Overall, there is a pride in their identity and an unwillingness to compromise their values.

We Are Still Here is an emotional collection of indigenous stories that can both frustrate and inspire. The film screened at the San Diego Asian Film Festival which runs until November 12.

Native peoples have been exploited and oppressed by colonizers for centuries. Even though relations are currently improving, the progress hasCOMICONRead More

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