105 minutes – Drama
Festival release date: February 9, 2019 (Berlin)
Release date: November 2019
Production companies: Experimental Forest Films, Oslo Pictures, Violator Films, Tannhauser Gate
Canadian distributor: levelFILM
World rights: ARRAY Releasing
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open is a personal drama that explores two Indigenous women living very different lives who are briefly brought together by desperate circumstances. Áila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) sees a young woman named Rosie (Violet Nelson, pictured above) who is barefoot and sobbing in the streets. Rosie has just been assaulted by her boyfriend and has managed to escape. Compelled to take action, Áila chooses to bring Rosie into her home and, over the course of the evening, the two women explore the after-effect of this traumatic event.
The film, a Canada-Norway coproduction, had its World Premiere at the Berlin Film Festival and its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2019, where it received an honourable mention from the Best Canadian Film award jury.
Update January 9, 2020: The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open has won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s 2019 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award along with its $100,000 purse. It is the richest annual film prize in Canada. It was presented to director Kathleen Hepburn and director/co-star Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers by author and feminist heroine Margaret Atwood.