Emily Mody - Warrior Women (Calgary Film 2018)

Posted on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 10:00 PM

Warrior Women (Calgary Film 2018)

Review by Emily Mody x CalgaryMovies.com

Warrior Women directed by Elizabeth Castle and Christina D. King is a documentary/historical film. The film follows Madonna Thunder Hawk, a long time indigenous and women’s rights activist. Now in her late seventies, Madonna and her family have had a rich history of pushing back against the racist and prejudice cultural context that they were forced to assimilate into.

On the surface, Warrior Women is serious and sequential in its depiction of the events that are discussed. What is perhaps the most surprising aspect of this film is how joyful it is. The activism these women continue to partake in, acts as a catalyst for uniting the community. The social injustice that aboriginal people have faced, in particular aboriginal women, is unimaginable. This continual prejudice does however, function as a means of uniting the community. Warrior Women focuses on hope and the journey of pursuing social justice. Usually when I see a documentary on social justice I have found that there is a heavy emphasis placed on the atrocities committed and the struggle that has been faced.

Although this was certainly an aspect of Warrior Women, it is not the main focus. The focus lies in how the pursuit of social justice has actually made the community stronger and more united. Warrior Women centers on the hope that is garnered when a community faces adversity and strives for better. The women depicted in this film who have chosen to devote their lives to activism have been on the forefront of cultural genocide and yet they still find the strength to push forward. They are passionately devoted to justice and they also find that pursuit has built unbreakable bonds in their community.

Warrior Women reminds me of the film, Fractured Land directed by Damien Gillis and Fiona Rayher. This documentary follows a young indigenous lawyer, Caleb Behn, who strives to reconcile traditional wisdom and the law in order to protect the land against fracking. Both of these films are social justice documentaries. Environmental issues are an inextricable segment of aboriginal life and both films talk about these issues in detail however, Fractured Land has a stronger focus in this area. Warrior Women is more feminist in its scope. Warrior Women also utilizes a circular mode of storytelling that is true to it’s indigenous context.

Warrior Women is 64 minutes long. This is a film that deals very heavily with indigenous activism and social justice. It is important to note that, due to the nature of this subject matter there is discussion of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. 

If you enjoy documentaries about social justice and individuals taking an active role in their legal rights then you will enjoy this film. It is a very empowering idea and there are many positive things to be gained from the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk.

Warrior Women will be screening as a part of the 19th Calgary International Film Festival 2018. It will be playing on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 @ 8:00 PM and Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 @ 5:00 PM at Eau Claire.

Calgary Showtimes: Warrior Women >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.