At its most basic, Rhymes for Young Ghouls – by short film director Jeff Barnaby – is a criminal-heist movie full of drugs, blood, and violence. What makes the movie noteworthy is fact that its main characters are aboriginal Canadians. Rhymes for Young Ghouls is a criminal heist movie with a setting that allows it to explore concepts like mass drug use on Indian reservations and the relocation of native children to “residential schools” for the purpose of assimilating them into white man’s world.
Barnaby’s feature-length film debut was one of the most acclaimed films at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and is getting a wide Canadian release January 31. If its new trailer is any indication, then Rhymes for Young Ghouls should be as well made as it is poignant. According to twitchfilm, “residential schools were a very real issue [in Canada] up until surprisingly recently and the legal and moral issues around them remain a knot to be untangled.”
Check out the film’s plot synopsis and trailer, courtesy of TIFF’s website:
The heroine, Aila (Kawennahere Devery Jacobs), is, at fifteen, already so thoroughly versed in the drug business of her father, Joseph (Glen Gould), and her Uncle Burner (Brandon Oakes) that she runs her own crew. Joseph’s return from a prison stint signals an end to her reign as the reservation’s drug queen; it also piques the interest of Popper (Mark Antony Krupa), the reserve’s corrupt and sadistic Indian Agent who has no qualms about crushing anyone who comes between him and money.