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Fainting Spells

Directed by Sky Hopinka
United States, 2018
Avant-Garde, Short
  • English
  • English
Indigenous Shorts from Sundance Institute


Sky Hopinka’s Fainting Spells responds to Ho-Chunk traditions of revival and a myth inspired by the Xawiska, or the Indian Pipe Plant, producing a trance-like meditation on arrivals, departures, and ascendance.

Our take

First up in our partnership with Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program is Sky Hopinka’s Fainting Spells. With his 2018 short, Hopinka—a Ho-Chunk artist and a descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians—has created a luminous cinematic tapestry that weaves between language and landscape.

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Critics reviews

I can’t unpack Sky Hopinka’s Fainting Spells, which is elusive in a way that’s satisfying rather than frustrating, but its final image–a CG rendering of what looks like souls getting sucked from a moving sidewalk into the sky–is completely unexpected, a final visual flourish in a film that never settles in one place.
September 19, 2018
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Cloaked figures drift in and out of the frame, and violent bifurcations and alterations of image, combined with Hopinka’s typically elegant editing rhythms, imply a mysterious and melancholy journey through the smoldering instability of a continually shifting landscape.
September 09, 2018
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A complex, multivalent work that relates a spirit narrative, one that is presented in a straightforward, even mundane mode of address.
September 05, 2018
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