Sumptuous landscapes and adolescent empowerment abound in the second feature from Rémi Chayé (Long Way North NZIFF 2014), a gorgeous, feminist coming-of-age western set in the American Far West.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
The great American frontierswoman Calamity Jane, renowned for her sharp-shooting skills, daredevil smarts and rejection of gender norms, has been immortalised in popular culture for decades. But before she become a legend, she was a fearless and feisty 12-year-old girl named Martha Jane Cannary.
This Annecy Award-winning, uniquely animated adventure picks up with young Martha Jane in 1863, as she’s travelling with her family on the Oregon Trail. Along the way, her father is injured, leaving Martha Jane to take charge of her siblings and the family wagon. Tenacious and forthright, Martha Jane is far more comfortable wearing her dad’s trousers, teaching herself to lasso and fighting with boys than following the rules and doing what she's told. But her unconventional style and nerve doesn't sit well with the pioneer community, and when scandal hits, she must head into the gigantic wild and face danger in order to prove her innocence – and find her place in the world.
Full of rollicking encounters, sprawling plains, twangy tunes and a terrific spirit of defiance, Calamity is an empowering tale of a resilient and rebellious girl-hero who is bound to endear herself to audiences of all ages. — NM
Recommended for ages 6+