There’s a lot to get into this week. I’m going to take my time going over one film in particular, which is based on an act of Mohawk resistance in 1990. I’d encourage you to please read this, or to look up the Oka Crisis. It’s an act of First Nations resistance that illustrates colonialism isn’t a thing of the past, but something that very much continues to steal real land and livelihoods away from indigenous people.
We’ll tackle series first, as always:
The Club (Netflix)
directed by Zeynep Gunay Tan
“The Club” takes place in 1950s Istanbul. A mother works at a nightclub in order to reconnect with her orphaned daughter. She hides past secrets, in a time when East and West are mixing and conflicting.
Show creator and director Zeynep Gunay Tan has worked in Turkish film and television for the last two decades.
You can watch “The Club” on Netflix.
Dalgliesh (Acorn TV)
showrunners Helen Edmundson, Jill Robertson
“Dalgliesh” is a new adaptation of the classic P.D. James mystery novels. They follow arrogant police inspector and brooding poet Dalgliesh as he engages a range of whodunnits.
Playwright Helen Edmundson essentially serves as the lead writer, with Jill Robertson taking the role of lead director. Robertson has helmed episodes on countless British series, most recently “Harlots” and “The Feed”.
You can watch the first two episodes of “Dalgliesh” on Acorn TV, with the following four arriving weekly.
The Time it Takes (Netflix)
co-showrunners Nadia de Santiago, Ines Pintor
This experimental Spanish series follows Lina, who’s attempting to forget her former partner. Episodes are just 13 minutes apiece.
Nadia de Santiago and Ines Pintor are joined by Pablo Fernandez and Pablo Santidrian as showrunners. De Santiago stars while Fernandez, Pintor, and Santidrian direct.
You can watch all 10 episodes of “The Time it Takes” on Netflix.
Head of the Class (HBO Max)
co-showrunner Amy Pocha
HBO Max enters the coming-of-age field with their own high school comedy, a reboot of the 1986 ABC series. “One Day at a Time” lead Isabella Gomez stars as a young teacher figuring out how to talk to a group of high-achieving students.
Amy Pocha showruns with Seth Cohen. She’s written and produced on “American Vandal” and “Paradise, PD”.
You can watch “Head of the Class” on HBO Max.
directed by Tracey Deer
“Beans” focuses on the 78-day standoff that took place between the Mohawk and Canadian government in 1990. The Kanesatake band of Mohawk had a land claim rejected on a legal technicality in 1986. In 1989, the town’s golf club decided to expand into this claim. The town did not consult the Mohawk about this.
This was just the latest in whittling down Mohawk land from an original treaty agreeing to 165 square kilometers. By 1956, just six square kilometers of this remained. (Before this, the Mohawk had first been forced to leave their land in the Hudson Valley.)
The town of Oka eventually expanded the development plan to include the complete clearing of The Pines, including a sacred Mohawk burial ground, for expansion of the golf course and the construction of 60 condominiums.
The Mohawk erected a guarded barricade in protest. Oka Mayor Jean Ouellette called in Quebec’s provisional police, which attacked with concussion grenades and tear gas. A firefight ensued, resulting in the death of an occupying police officer. The initial 30 Mohawk saw support come in from surrounding Mohawk communities, swelling up to 600. The Mohawk seized police vehicles and used the front end loader sent to tear down their barricade to crush these vehicles and form an additional one.
Another group of Mohawk established a blockade in solidarity that cut off a main bridge to the Island of Montreal. They would be attacked by commuters, who killed a Mohawk elder.
A nearby town gathered to burn a Mohawk effigy and chant “Sauvages” (savages in French).
Federal police were called in, and the Solicitor General of Quebec circumvented the Prime Minister of Canada to deploy the military. As the Mohawk surrendered and were arrested, 14-year-old Waneek Horn-Miller ran with her four year-old sister to the media barricade for safety. She would be stabbed in the chest by a Canadian bayonet.
Many Mohawk land defenders were arrested, physically beaten, prosecuted, and convicted. A few police officers were briefly suspended as a result of their violence. None were charged.
The golf course was canceled, the Canadian government paid Oka $5.3 million for the land. Ouellette was re-elected Oka’s mayor the very next year.
Waneek Horn-Miller, the 14 year-old Mohawk girl who was stabbed, would survive. She later became a member of the Canadian women’s water polo team. She helped Canada win Gold at the 1999 Pan American Games and Bronze in the 2001 World Championships. She was then dismissed from the program for what would later be revealed as the racism of coaches and teammates who wanted the Mohawk woman gone.
“Beans” tells the story of the Oka crisis standoff through the eyes of a young Mohawk girl. If you watch “Reservation Dogs”, it co-stars Paulina Alexis and D’Pharaoh Woon-a-Tai, two of that show’s leads.
This is Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer’s first narrative feature. She’s previously written and directed several documentaries, and wrote and produced on the series “Mohawk Girls” and “Anne with an E”.
See where to rent “Beans”.
Mark, Mary & Some Other People (VOD)
directed by Hannah Marks
Newlyweds give non-monogamy a try in order to stabilize their relationship.
Writer-director Hannah Marks is better known as an actress in “Necessary Roughness” and “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”. However, she’s also written “Banana Split”, and wrote and directed “After Everything”.
You can rent “Mark, Mary & Some Other People” on Google Play.
This is Not a War Story (HBO Max)
directed by Talia Lugacy
A marine connects with a group of veterans living in New York. They attempt to cope with their experiences in war through art. The film is based on real experiences and interviews.
This is writer-director Talia Lugacy’s second film after 2007 feature “Descent”.
You can watch “This is Not a War Story” on HBO Max.
Spirit Untamed (Hulu)
co-directed by Elaine Bogan
Lucky moves to a small town and befriends a horse. Determined to see her new charge Spirit returned to their family, she and her friends set out on a journey to set the horse free.
Elaine Bogan directs with Ennio Torresan. She’s previously directed in Dreamworks’ “Dragons” and “Arcadia” TV universes.
You can watch “Spirit Untamed” on Hulu.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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