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Department 1

Environmental Studies


Cree/Métis filmmaker Danis Goulet’s science fiction short Wakening (2013) is set in Canada’s near future, yet the film reveals a slipstream of time where viewers are invited to contemplate the horrors of ecosocial crises—future, past, and present. I argue Wakening, as futuristic ecohorror, produces horrific feelings in the moment of its viewing that are inevitably entangled with the past, inviting its audiences to experience the monstrous contexts of Indigenous lives across time. To articulate this temporal dynamism, I overlay two key conceptual understandings: Walter Benjamin’s critiques of Western progress and historicism, and Indigenous notions of a Native slipstream. When brought together in Wakening, which is inspired by the First Nations movement Idle No More, these concepts not only help expose the horror of Indigenous ecosocial crises wrought by colonial and neocolonial occupations but also draw our attention to the timelessness of Indigenous resistance in the face of such ecohorror. Ultimately, there are two significant implications in understanding Wakening as ecohorror of dynamic temporality. First, such a reading continues the important work of revisioning the theoretical and critical boundaries of Western cinema. Goulet’s play with audiences’ familiar expectations of horror’s invitations to the weird challenge us all to recalibrate our sense of generic cinematic representation and its purpose. Relatedly, such readings highlight film’s politics of emotion: its ability to generate “affective alliances” that can potentially help us all re-imagine our temporal and spatial engagements with the world at large.

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Originally published in 2016 edition of Paradoxa (no. 28, "Global Weirding"). Available online at Further information on this edition available at