Shot entirely on the remote, beautiful BC island of Haida Gwaii, EDGE OF THE KNIFE (“SGaawaay K’uuna”), is the first feature-length narrative film spoken entirely in the Haida language – one that is so endangered, with less than 20 fluent speakers, that a dialect coach was needed. With its roots in mythical, supernatural folklore, First Nations filmmakers Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown‘s film about pride, tragedy, and penance is the product of a community initiative with strong support from the Haida people, as well as from the Council of the Haida Nation.
Set in the 19th century, the film follows protagonist Adiits’ii, who is mentally and physically pushed to the brink of survival and becomes the supernatural being Gaagiixiid/Gaagiid – the Haida Wildman. The Gaagiixiid is one of Haida’s most popular stories, sustained over the years though song and performance. With Tyler York, William Russ, Adeana Young.
Winner of the 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival‘s Best Canadian Film, Best BC Film, and Most Popular Film awards.
“What really sticks is the reconstructed slices of everyday life, with woven clothes and sleek carvings appearing strikingly modern in this arboreal context.” (The Georgia Straight)
“The preservation act challenges the cast to wrap their tongues around words they don’t know. But their emotional performances overcome in a film stacked with stunning imagery, where the natural and mythical get tangled.” (NOW Toronto)
“As mythic as EDGE OF THE KNIFE can be, it never fails to exist on a basic human scale, where every life is sacred and no one is beyond redemption.” (Cinema Scope)
“Both visceral and austere, yet with unexpected dashes of comedy and melodrama, EDGE OF THE KNIFE may be a significant landmark in the short history of Canadian Indigenous film, but it’s also a shit-kicker for a Friday night at the flicks.” (TIFF)
Sunday, February 17
Doors 12:00 pm | Movie 12:25 pm *Sharp. Please arrive on time.
Advance tickets $10.50 HERE | $12.50 at the door
*Minors OK in the balcony. Must be 19+ w/ID for bar service and main floor seating.
**Rio Theatre Groupons and passes OK! Please redeem at the door.
EDGE OF THE KNIFE “SGaawaay K’uuna” (Gwaii Edenshaw & Helen Haig-Brown, 2018 / 100 mins / 14A / In Haida with English subs) In a 19th-century summer, two large families gather for their annual fishing retreat on the far-removed island of Haida Gwaii. Adiits’ii, a charming nobleman, accidentally causes the death of his best friend Kwa’s son and hastens into the wilderness. Adiits’ii is tormented by what he has done and spirals into insanity, becoming Gaagiixid, a supernatural being crazed by hunger. He unexpectedly survives the winter, and at next year’s gathering, the families try to convert Gaagiixid back to Adiitst’ii.