Bones of Crows
Audience Choice Winner, Available Light Film Festival & Cinéfest Sudbury
14A, sexual violence, disturbing content.
Dir: Marie Clements.
Canada, 2023, 129 min.
Grace Dove, Karine Vanasse, Rémy Girard.
“The story of one of these [residential school] survivors is at the heart of the piercing drama Bones of Crows. Inspired by actual events, Marie Clements has crafted a true epic… Spanning from the 1920s and continuing for nearly a century, the film centres on Cree matriarch Aline Spears, who, along with her siblings, is forcibly removed from her parents and forced to attend one of these so-called boarding schools… Pre-teen Aline and her siblings attempt to survive this new, hostile environment while keeping their family unit together… Aline has a gift—she can play the piano—which should be her ticket out of abuse, and is for a while until her gift becomes a curse… Her only hope to escape the school is to join the military, where eventually she finds work as a code talker during WWII…. Trauma follows Aline and her husband Adam home as they return to a country that still doesn’t see them as citizens, despite their heroism and sacrifices during the war…. While Clements’s script touches on seemingly every possible kind of trauma, abuse, and prejudice faced by Ingenious people, it never once feels like a pile… The story weaves in and out of the different timelines with ease, allowing the weight of each moment to settle… The filmmakers have tackled a difficult subject with tact and grace, never once falling for sensationalism or cheap sentimentality.” —Marya E. Gates, The Playlist