WATCH THE FILM HERE
First, the Recap:
Myths and legends. Stories are often passed down through the ages, from generation to generation, rich in the cultural traditions of those whom the tales originated from, and likewise rich in the life lessons they teach. Noni (Michelle Rios) quietly sits by a fire while her granddaughters (Anna-May Patenaude & Shirley Atkinson) begin squabbling with each other. Gathering their attention, Noni proceeds into a tale about the beginnings of all things, when darkness covered the earth, and where lived a Raven (Mark Meer) whose desire was to steal the needed light the world now required from its greedy and selfish owner, Sky-Father (Meer). Also in want of this gift was Sky Father’s child, Earth Daughter (Rios), who sees it as means to seek a husband.
Cunning and desperate, the Raven devises a plan and then enacts it, slyly taking advantage of his powers to stealthily infiltrate Sky Father’s home via his unsuspecting daughter, and then finally making the move to purloin the prize. Shocked and angered by the Raven’s treachery, Sky Father transforms into an Eagle (Meer) and relentlessly pursues the thief, threatening to utterly destroy him and take back what is his alone. But, as the chase continues, the light is damaged, a piece breaking off of the orb to form the stars and moon. Both worn and bedraggled from the pursuit, the chase ends in failure, but from the incident comes the sun and illumination therefore enters a newly formed world, which in itself presents Noni’s moral to the story.
Next, my Mind:
Finding inspiration and themes from the myths and history of Canada’s aboriginal First Nations tribes, in this case the Haida, writer/director/producer Daniel Foreman and executive producer Sharlene Millang present a solidly executed narrative, via a mix of both live action and animation, to share a lesson about coveting, longing, desire, and the price that comes from trying to withhold a gift that can benefit the whole of existence. Beautifully composed, tribal-influenced music splendidly provides the tone and mood-inducing backdrop for the story, and the well-crafted animation just–fits–perfectly in its style, colors, and definition required to give the film it’s intended visual impact.
Both Rios and Meer are multi-role actors here, and this reviewer feels that is never something to be taken lightly or for granted, as each character needs to have its own voice, even if the literal voice may come across audibly similar. Rios’ Noni is the embodiment of both a doting grandmother but also one who is proud and honored by her heritage and the stories she can share with a new generation while also teaching the life lessons contained within them. Her firm but loving tone as Noni, to the pleading and longing voice of Earth Daughter comes through with realism and poignancy. Meer has the duty of presenting the multi-faceted nuances of the conniving Raven, the loving but controlling, perhaps overprotective, and ultimately selfish Sky Father, to the authoritative and angered Eagle, and each character is appropriately delivered in Meer’s voiceovers.
In total, “Raven Steals The Light”, while only Part 1 of an ongoing series of indie short films highlighting these First Nations tales, stands as a well-done and well-intentioned, supportive effort to bring these anecdotes and their morals to life. Regardless of what your personal beliefs may be, the universal messages found in this first installment can more than certainly be appreciated and taken to heart, while also allowing for the appreciation of another culture’s storytelling traditions.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!