‘My Father’s Tools’ Collects History and Practice

My fathers tools
By  · Published on December 15th, 2017

Indigenous traditions find archival protection in this doc.

Oral traditions are often the focus of documentary capture, so a record can be created and preserved. Physical traditions, the traditions of craft, are much rarer.

But that’s exactly what you have in My Father’s Tools. Heather Condo’s film, in collaboration with Wapikoni Mobile, has captured a tradition. The dying art of black ash rib basket weaving, which her subject undertakes, is one passed down throughout the Canadian Mi’gmaq First Nation, and one whose skills are as precious and paternal as its tools.

Following the process from beginning to end, in a style that does it best to stay out of the way and focus on the actions being taken, the short is enchanting and engaging. It never pretends to be educational. It’s more of a dance that you sit back and appreciate. There is a record now, but it is as artful as it is historical.

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).