Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Listening in on Native conversation about "Lone Ranger"

(photograph of Long Otter by Richard Throssel, early 20th century Cree photographer who documented life on the Crow reservation)

Read what Chris Eyre, James Lujan, LaDonna Harris, Laura Harris, Sterlin Harjo had to say.

"For me, it's about making your own work in your own artistic voice," Eyre said.  "One of the great qualities to come out of this is that people are talking about this, which is more than we had last week or the week before.  The fact that it is engaging Native people on both sides of the conversation is an incredible thing." (Chris Eyre, director of "Smoke Signals," with its screenplay by Sherman Alexie)

I've seen "Lone Ranger" twice now because I couldn't catch it all in a single viewing and was not clear about some of the details of the story. I rarely go to movies anymore, but something prompted me to go see this one despite the nearly universal negative reviews.  Both times there were fewer than 10 people in the theater. As I watched the movie credits on my second viewing a few days later, I was struck by the way the long lists of names (scrolling over a view of Monument Valley and a solitary Tonto walking into that landscape) were formatted like the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and I suddenly pictured a vast wall with the names of all the Native people who died in the United States of America since the arrival of the Europeans in 1492. Despite all the joking and silliness in the movie, reminding me at times of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and Martin Scorsese's "Last Temptation of Christ," as well as "Smoke Signals," its story struck me as pensive in nature.  I recommend the movie.  It moved me to laughter and to tears and something that transcends both and is murky and unsettling.

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