Edge (2022)

Edge is a captivating documentary about the loss of language.  Think it isn’t possible?  Think again.  Thanks to the turbulent histories of the Spanish missions at the base of Black Mesa, many Pueblo communities are finding their futures in doubt as their language - with some things no longer having an easily identified English translation - drowns exactly “where the water cuts through” in their cultures.

"a fascinating documentary that grounds itself in the viewer’s soul thanks to the urgency of its message"

Directed by Michelle Tomlinson and co-written by Lori Bowen, Edge proves just how perilously close we are to losing the language of the indigenous people who once claimed this land their own.  Over 300 indigenous languages were spoken in the United States.  Approximately 175 remain today and the projections aren’t good for their sustainability.  It is estimated that there will be fewer than 20 spoken by 2050. 

That’s right, language itself is on the EDGE of extinction.  With that statement as its operating thesis, Edge serves - for the next half hour - as a wake-up call for all those who are not aware of how close the native populations to this American land is to losing its identity . . . because without language there is no culture.

Complete with interviews from James Mountain, former Governor of San Ildefonso Pueblo, members of the Serpent Trail Dance Group, and those who know firsthand of the abuse delivered in the American Southwest, Edge is a fascinating documentary that grounds itself in the viewer’s soul thanks to the urgency of its message.  It is made complete with captivating cinematography from Clarissa Yvette Dubois and Barb Odell who spotlight the New Mexico horizon with beauty and deep respect for the area.Edge (2022)

The mission of the individuals and various Zuni Pueblo populations involved in this documentary is clear and they develop their message with purpose, highlighting the need for language for the tribal communities to remain intact as the loss of a people is something which must be protected.  From family members using natural resources for its pottery to the offerings given to their ancestors, everything comes back to Mother Earth and, indeed, the mother tongue. 

The stories of the ancestors, it seems, are not as immortal as we are led to believe due to the atrocities delivered as the hands of Catholicism spread over the missions and the schools of the Southwest.  The loss of language was broken early on, as documented by those who survived the mistreatment, yet it is not hard to draw conclusions as to why the spread of the indigenous language was halted. The abuse speaks volumes, drowning out the spread of the language.

And that needs to change.  Now it is time to draw awareness to the loss of language and preserve what can be preserved as new generations grow older.  Edge shows just how this can be done - through education - and how teachers and parents can work together to help preserve the language and move from a fixed mindset to one of growth.

Edge, a Mighty McT Productions and KimYoo Films feature, is of the utmost importance in its message to the future.  It should not be missed.  In the meantime, you can check out the official website here: EDGE (edgedocumentary.com).

4/5 stars

Film Details

Edge (2022)

MPAA Rating: unrated.

: Michelle Tomlinson

Ashkia Trujillo; Erica D. Nahohai; Marissa Edmonds
: Documentary
A film by Michelle Tomlinson.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Mighty McT Productions and KimYoo Films
Official Site: https://www.edgedocumentary.com/
Release Date:
Now playing
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: EDGE is a documentary-in-production chronicling the struggle to preserve the language and culture of the Indigenous population of America and pass that heritage on to younger generations in order to save the Native spirit. We’re currently looking for funding to complete principal photography and then head into post.


Edge (2022)