Blood Quantum

Blood Quantum

classified 18

Jeff Barnaby: The Art of Forgetfulness


Fri 26 July 21:00

Cinema 2, Watershed

Jeff Barnaby
Michael Greyeyes, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Forrest Goodluck, Kiowa Gordon, Brandon Oakes
98 mins, 2019, Canada
Primary language
English, Mi'gmaq
"We’re Survivors. We totally get it… Who would be the best survivor in an actual apocalypse? Us” - Michael Greyeyes, Toronto International Film Festival, 2019

Set in a pre-internet, pre-smartphone 1981, Mi’gmaq filmmaker Jeff Barnaby’s ass-kicking second feature Blood Quantum is a landmark of Indigenous genre cinema, set on the fictional Red Crow reservation, a stand-in for the director’s home community of Listuguj in Southern Québec.

Faced with an infectious outbreak, the tight-knit community must move swiftly to confront a looming zombie apocalypse. But the tables are turned on colonialism when their First Nation immunity to the virus leads other survivors to seek sanctuary on the reservation.

Putting a fresh spin on the lumbering, blood-thirsty ‘Romero-zombie’, Barnaby inverts and interrogates the historical indignities of 18th century laws that limited Native civil rights. But as the residents of Red Crow discover, they may be immune to the film’s horrific disease, but that doesn’t mean they’re free from the insidious legacies of settler colonialism.

Critically acclaimed on its debut at Toronto International Film Festival, a pandemic-interrupted release failed to dampen the impact of Barnaby’s allegorical horror homage. In radically re-centering First Nations characters, histories and lived experiences, Blood Quantum echoes the ecological and political crises facing Indigenous peoples around the globe, all whilst delivering a full-throttle, action-packed, blood-soaked zombie epic.

With an introduction by co-curators of Jeff Barnaby: The Art of Forgetfulness Adam Murray (Bristol Black Horror Club) and Stephen Morgan (University of Bristol).

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