katrinaolson.ca - KO Review of Fractured Land

Posted on Thursday, October 01, 2015 at 06:00 PM

KO Review of Fractured Land

Review by Katrina Olson-Mottahed x CalgaryMovies.com

A KO Review by Emily Mody

I would like to firstly, take a moment to state that in the tradition of Canadian filmmaking, I am of the opinion that the documentary style is truly where Anglo-Canadian filmmakers excel. Fractured Land is no exception to this tradition.

Fractured Land directed by Damien Gillis and Fiona Rayher is about a young Dene man named Caleb Behn. The film explores the issues of fracking in northeast British Columbia, which falls under treaty number eight. This area is where Behn’s people reside. Due to the issues that Behn’s community has faced and continue to face, he decided to become a lawyer.

The film showcases Behn’s struggle to fight back against the industry that he can see is destroying his community. The film also explores the difficulties that Behn has with trying to reconcile who he was as a child, with who he has become and what he ultimately wants to achieve. The literal fractures that Behn faces in his community, act as a mirror reflecting the fractures that he struggles within himself. A lot of times as a lawyer, he feels as though he has to leave some part of his culture behind so he can represent his people to the rest of the world.

I enjoyed this film not just because of the fact that it is a Canadian documentary about environmental issues (which I often enjoy), but rather because of how these issues were expressed. Caleb Behn acted as a mouthpiece for one of the many contemporary aboriginal problems that young people face in that community. How does one hold onto the traditions and practices that are vital to a culture when it feels as though outside forces are always pushing you to forget?


The contamination of the land is physically dangerous for those who live on or around it. The importance of the literal destruction is prevalent in this film, but Fractured Land also explores how the aboriginal culture is ultimately affected by this destruction. I feel as though this film may be criticized on maintaining an inherent bias against the oil and gas industry, one that employs thousands of people and keeps our economy flourishing, but I would have to say that this film delves so much deeper than that. This is a story about a man who has a first hand account of the impacts that fracking has, because it affects his community directly. Due to treaty laws, the people affected by this are supposed to be consulted before any changes to the land are made. In the film, this consultation is referred by Behn as “rubber stamp consultation” and is inherently problematic for the people it affects. The environmental issues that Behn has dealt with on a daily basis throughout his life have shaped the man that he has grown to become.

I would recommend this film to anyone who appreciates a social problem documentary and a story about finding one’s identity.

During CIFF 2015, Fractured Land screens on Friday, October 2, 2015 @ 4:30 PM at the Globe Cinema. Caleb Behn and director Damien Gillis will be in attendance for the Saturday, October 3, 2015 screening @ 7:30 PM at Eau Claire Market Cinemas. An industry discussion will be held on Friday, October 2, 2015 @ 12:00 PM at Mount Royal University.

Calgary Showtimes: Fractured Land >

Calgary Local Scene Event Listing: Calgary International Film Festival 2015 >
CalgaryMovies.com's CIFF 2015 Coverage >


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.