EXILES : 1961 (72 MINUTES) DOCUMENTARY W/D: KENT MACKENZIE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10TH, TO THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16TH AT: 7 AND 9PM SATURDAY AND SUNDAY: 5PM
David Lynch spent 6 years making ERASERHEAD. Kent Mackenzie took 4 to make EXILES. They are both beautiful masterpieces using a black and white palate to create and establish mood, and a sense of time and place unique to each film. Evidently due to his extended shooting schedule, Mr. Mackenzie had to use 3 different cinematographers for EXILES. Unless someone told you that you wouldn’t have been able to tell, the cinematography is flawless. My L.A., in 1961, never looked so good. Actually, the deliberate pace really reminded me of Ozu (Josh, if you’re out there, this means you won’t like this one, either!). It’s 12 hours in the lives of 20ish Native Americans, who have left the reservation for the big city. We see how and where they live, who they hang with, but mostly we see them at play. I think THE most refreshing thing about the film for me was that there was no overt racism in it. It was lovely to see a film about people of color (again, in 1961 L.A.!) that doesn’t contain a racial epithet or a physical attack based on skin color. (Yes, there are cops in the film, but they are checking out the Indian bars in the same cursory way they are checking the Irish bar down the street, and dealing with the rowdy drunks in the same way.) (AND there’s even a bi-racial GAY couple in it!) And when they all go off to the hill, to play traditional music and dance, to reinforce their connections with each other and their heritage, it’s very moving to see. But I don’t mean to say we are dealing with saints here, these are people who get drunk, knock up their girlfriends and get into fights. (Like everyone else on earth, basically.) But it is so sad to see them living in seedy apartments in urban sprawl. Almost as sad to see what living on the reservations was like for them. Yes, us white people suck! But fortunately for us, people of color seem to have enough spirituality to rise above our bullshit. Thank _____ for that!
It’s a sensationally beautiful and moving film. And this is a VERY RARE showing, take advantage of it!