TIFF 2015 Review: Fire Song
Fire Song opens with the aftermath of the suicide of a young Anishnabe girl. The film centers on her brother Shane who has aspirations of leaving the reservation to attend college in Toronto. This marks him as being different and so he is given the nickname of “College”. Shane also happens to be gay. While his plans to attend college in the big city are begrudgingly accepted his identity as a gay man is not acceptable at all.
Fire Song is important because it tells a story that is rarely told and yet so desperately needs to be heard. Unfortunately though, the film falls flat when it comes to the writing and much of the acting. Andrew Martin brings a lot of energy to his role as Shane but sadly he is just not believable. There is zero chemistry between him and his boyfriend David (Harley LeGarde-Beacham). One reason for this could simply be because there is such little intimacy shown between them compared to the scenes of Shane with his girlfriend Tara (Mary Galloway). Yes David his supposed to be his secret boyfriend but even when they are alone there is little to no intimacy. This is compounded by the fact that David wears a permanent frown throughout the film.
Despite this, Beautiful, understated performances are given by both Mary Galloway as Tara and Ma-Nee Chacaby as elder Evie. Fire Song is worth watching to get a sense of the myriad problems faced by Anishnabe teens.