The death myth of the Chinook people, the original inhabitants of the American Northwest, centers on a conversation between a wolf and a coyote about the hereafter, about what follows this life. Video artist Sky Hopinka circles around this myth in this, his first documentary, an ethereal contemplation of the transfer of knowledge from generation to generation, and the value of cultural identity.
Our guides in the landscape are two friends of Hopinka’s: Sweetwater Sahwe and Jordan Mercier. These young parents reflect on the birth, life, death, and rebirth of individuals and their culture. Just as often, their conversations and Hopinka’s poetic voice-over create space for a form of audiovisual splendor that blends the people, the landscape and the camera itself into a unified whole. It is a perfect encapsulation of Sahwe’s words while on a walk in a woods where dew and raindrops glisten from every leaf: “You don’t have to say much here. It’s a feeling, an energy. It’s gratitude.”