3 items from 2010
Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes an insightful and humorous look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema and examining the ways that the myth of .the Injun. has influenced the world.s understanding.and misunderstanding.of Natives. Narrated by Diamond with infectious enthusiasm and good humor, Reel Injun:On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian is a loving look at cinema through the eyes of the people who appeared in its very first flickering images and have survived to tell their stories their own way. With candid interviews with directors, writers, actors and activists, including Clint Eastwood, Jim Jarmusch, Robbie Robertson, Sacheen Littlefeather, John Trudell and Russell Means, clips from hundreds of classic »
- April MacIntyre
Much more than a simple collection of clips, Reel Injun proves to be an illuminating semi-personal essay as well. Filmmaker Neil Diamond travels across North America as a backdrop for his exploration of Hollywood's heritage in depicting Indians on the big screen. Hint: It is found severely wanting.
Reel Injun features interviews with Clint Eastwood, directors Jim Jarmusch and Chris Eyre, actor Adam Beach, and comedian Charlie Hill along with the multi-talented and influential Russell Means and John Trudell. Sacheen Littlefeather recounts her life leading up to the memorable night in which she declined the Academy Award for Marlon Brando; Means and Trudell recall what that meant, coming as it did in the midst of the takeover in Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
But Diamond begins with movies that are big, well-known targets. They Died With Their Boots On (1941) and Stagecoach (1939) reduced Native Americans to offensive caricatures as bloodthirsty savages, "injuns »
- Peter Martin
Reel Injun is Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond’s entertaining and insightful look at the portrayals of Native Americans in the USA in Hollywood movies, since the advent of cinema, and how the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding – and misunderstanding – of Natives.
It features clips from hundreds of classic and recent films, and candid interviews with celebrated Native and non-Native directors, writers, actors and activists, including Clint Eastwood, Robbie Robertson, Sacheen Littlefeather, John Trudell and Russell Means.
It reminds me of a another documentary I saw a few years ago – Reel Bad Arabs. I’m sure you can guess what that one was about.
Regardless, I think any underrepresented group should be able to watch and appreciate documentaries like these. Similarities in the struggle abound.
The film played at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and will be released in theatres this spring, so look for it. »
3 items from 2010
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