Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Couple of Cool Things

First, go directly to:
and watch kids re-enact a more accurate version of Thanksgiving!!
Awesome. Pam (hi pam) recommended I send this to Chris-n-Pat (hi chris-n-pat) but I think everyone should see it.
The kids in this little skit will have a better idea about American history than most Americans d0.

THEN if you're really ambitious and live in LA, go rent a movie called "The Exiles". It was made in 1958-1961 (a couple of people got called up for military service during post production and it got delayed) but wasn't released theatrically until 2008. It's like a weird time capsule. It's a documentary in the style of the time, so more docudrama now, about the Native Americans moved to the Bunker Hill neighborhood in LA during relocation. This was an Eisenhower era program to try to get Indians, especially young Indians, off the reservations and into cities. The theory was, once again, that if we assimilate them we can get rid of the "Indian problem" (like living up to the treaties and dealing with a pretty grim past etc). This is about the same time as termination where whole tribes were just eliminate from legal existence. Most fought to get it back.
ANYWAY, the movie shows 19-25 year old Indians in the city without jobs (because there weren't many) and trying to make lives for themselves. Like most people who move from the boondocks to the slums, it doesn't go smoothly. The movie only covers one night of life. But you see Indians dancing to rock and roll and surf music, wearing khakis and sweaters like mainstream folks. They aren't reduced to some "Indian" caricature. There is a long scene with a 49, a type of after hours party common on reservations and in urban communities. That is almost never seen on film. The "actors" are all amateurs and all the actual residents of the area. They worked up most of their own dialogue and the film was put together from footage shot over 2 years when the student writer/director/producer, Kent MacKenzie, and the others had time. Pretty interesting and pretty ground breaking.
Sherman Alexie (Smoke Signals etc) and someone whose name escapes me now do an excellent commentary track.

Anyway, I hope someone thinks to get me a copy of the Exiles for christmas. Nothing like depressing independent films from the archives to celebrate the holidays!

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