Directed by up-and-coming Tsilhqot’in First Nations filmmaker Trevor Mack, The Blanketing is a short period piece dramatizing a conflict between a tribe of First Nations people and two road builders in the 1800s. It uses the story of how European settlers may have tried to eradicate Native peoples by giving them smallpox-infected blankets as the crux of the film.
In terms of ambition alone, The Blanketing is commendable. Attempting to create a period piece on a lower budget isn’t easy, but Mack dives in headfirst. The film’s runtime is eight minutes but half of that is taken up by credits, just so you get the idea of how many people worked on this thing. Unfortunately, there’s just not much here to grasp on to. Using the smallpox-blankets controversy as dramatic backbone is interesting but Mack seems more interested in creating a Hollywood-style epic than in doing anything with his idea. The film also sort of just serves as a showcase for S. Peace Nistades’s sweeping score, which would be suitable if something more was actually happening. This is a simple idea that should have been played out on a simpler scale. The overblown nature of the production value makes the whole thing feel a little phony.
The Blanketing screens in front of the feature Who Will Be a Gurkha?, about Nepal’s Gurkha warriors.
Is The Blanketing essential imagineNATIVE viewing?
Mack’s heart is in the right place but this isn’t really as interesting as he thinks it is.
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