Each year, The Omega reviews the films presented at the Kamloops Film Festival. The festival runs through March 11.
Opening this year’s Kamloops Film Festival was a feature-length documentary from Canadian Nettie Wild. It follows the development of a new mine in the northwestern corner of British Columbia and the effects this has on both the land and the local residents. Often invoking visual splendour in favour of advancing the plot, Wild and her cinematographer Van Royko looked to create an experience more like a visual poem rather than a straightforward documentary. The experience lends to several moments of deeper beauty that are offset by an odd focus and muddied storytelling.
Delving into the the murky morality of development, brought on by a soon-to-be built gold mine, and the wishes of the Tahltan First Nation who live in the area, the documentary is tasked with exploring the lives of these people and reasoning if the progress is worth the destruction and loss of animal life and habitat. It is unfortunate that the filmmakers never take a firm stance on the issue, often reasoning that their slow and meandering camera will be enough of a reason for the audience to buy in.
At 96 minutes the runtime slogs from the overabundance of slow motion that seems to be in every sequence padding out the film to almost no end. And while the film does look quite astonishing at points, it is weakened by the odd political stance that remains in the background. Coming across as an anti-mine film, it was odd to see the film be so pro-hunting, with an extended 10 minute long sequence following a young man and an elder as they shoot, gut and leave half of a moose behind as they drive away in their pickup. The muddied morality of the film only serves to distance any sort of point that the audience could reach and thus proves it to be misguided and a slight misstep.