AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

6/19/08

The Exiles (1961) Kent Mackenzie

Kent Mackenzie
writer, producer, director

presented by
Sherman Alexie and Charles Burnett

There are certain films that speak to all of us well after they have been seen, long after those who originally viewed and appreciated their superior qualities have passed on.

The Exiles is just such a film. First released at the in 1961 in black and white, you aren't even aware of the limitations the lack of color might afford because the black and white shots are so vibrant that one fears color might mute what should not be compromised.

Plot:

The Exiles recaptures the lives of young American Indians who have left their Southwest reservations to create a new life in Los Angeles California. The story unfolds through an all night extravaganza as we follow this group of friends to their favorite bars, the filthy card game hangout and finally outside, in the wee small hours of the morning. the sun coming up, where these friends try to recreate their roots in song and dance on Bunker Hill


Commentary:

Kent Mackenzie, writer, producer, director unfortunately died young, however his work is touted as one of the pioneer efforts to create a documentary that brings to the public eye what they would otherwise never see: The Exiled American Indian who is still searching for their rightful place both historically, and physically in this hostile environment where difference is marginalized and people are encouraged to give up what is unique to become one of the crowd. But to their credit, the American Indian survives. He remains close to the earth in name i.e. Sunrise or Surefoot are two listed in the credits. I love these names. They bring back the reality that we are not high in the sky but rather close to the earth, to nature in spite of the ever higher heights of the sky scrapers and the plethora of cement that covers the precious soil that is the Nature's gift to humanity,

The Exiles does not forget about women and how they fare in this move off of the Reservation. It vividly captures the lonely and often courageous existence that informs on the life the Native American woman who choices to go beyond the limitations Reservation offers in the hope of finding a new, a better life for her children. Even if she has to live alone, without help, she prefers the difficulties of a life in Los Angeles to the life with her people still living in captivity.

This documentary is beauty because of its author and co-wrokers' love of their work and their subject. They were not afraid to become one with those they did not know before they recreated the poignant story of young adults trying to live in an alien world.

Do see this film and remember the past, the way films used to be shot and the American Indian whose land we stole and still claim as our own


Linda Z
WBAI Women Collective
RT (Witches Brew)

Exiles
to Premiere at
New York's IFC Center
July 11th, 2008

4 comments:

  1. Please note Amy Taubin's review of the film, just published at Artforum.com: http://artforum.com/film/id=20717

    Thank you.

    Brian Sholis
    Artforum.com Editor

    ReplyDelete
  2. See the more balanced reviews at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10010099-exiles/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you both for pointing me to more reviews.

    I fail to understand what is different, why in 2008 I am asked to review the film with a more critical and reserved eye than it earned in 1961.

    I think the point of the re-release today is to say nothing has changed. The Native population is still too often drunk, the unemployment is the same or worse, the wanting to be independent, to be part of the larger society into which they are born is still a wish, a hope, a goal.

    What am I missing"?


    Linda Z

    ReplyDelete
  4. not only a good work made it by the actors, the director and all the production team of this movie is incredible, my mother end so happy with movie, and all thanks to you.

    ReplyDelete