The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park
CINEMA DU REEL INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL
GUADALAJARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
CARTAGENA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
RIVIERA MAYA FILM FESTIVAL -- BEST FILM AWARD
"A poetic look at First Nations people living on the edge."
"Captures camaraderie in hard times, dark humour in the face of oppression, and, more than anything else, simple community." – Georgia Straight
"Like a traditional Western frontier, Oppenheimer Park is a place of freedom, a place where mainstream colonial law and order is rejected, but, as the first words heard in the film assert: “You’re standing on stolen native land." – Discorder Magazine
"Passive but threatening, the documentary attests and pushes, pushes and invites: resistance.” – Cinegarage
One of Canada's largest urban communities of First Nations people is located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside near Oppenheimer Park. An Indian cemetery prior to the colonization, the park is now a vital gathering place for people from different tribes who feel unwelcome in other parts of Canada. Harley, Janet, Dave, Bear, and other misfits of contemporary Canadian culture call the park home, sometimes staking claim to land stolen from their ancestors and sometimes just passing time with each other. These exiles, and those who came before them, are the ones who have made Oppenheimer Park a ceremonial space in the ongoing confrontation with law and order. In making drunken, ambivalent, even ironic references to themselves as warriors, they seem aware of a fight on multiple levels -- against the continued illegitimacy of history, against the neocolonialism of trendy condos and bistros bearing down on them -- and even against themselves. They may know the battle is lost, but this frontier nevertheless remains their battleground.
Film Info -- 2016, 70 minutes, in English with Spanish subtitles
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