Native Americans in Los Angeles. For 12 hours one Friday night, from late afternoon until dawn, we follow a handful of urban Indians. Yvonne is pregnant, commenting on her life and dreams ... See full summary »
Native Americans in Los Angeles. For 12 hours one Friday night, from late afternoon until dawn, we follow a handful of urban Indians. Yvonne is pregnant, commenting on her life and dreams as she shops, walks home, cooks dinner, and watches her husband Homer leave with his friends. Homer and his pals go bar hopping, play some poker, and end up, bottles in hand, with other Indians on a hilltop. During the night, the men pick up women, there are fights, there's camaraderie, and Homer reflects on life in the city versus life on the reservation. At dawn, Yvonne watches Hector from a window as he and two pals and two women head somewhere. "Let's do it again tonight," says one. Written by
A belated attempt at an American neorealism or rather peaceful protest against the chintz and artifice of Hollywood with a document of the down and out who the movies were never about, either way this film about a group of young indians eking out a living in downtown Los Angeles is a rare artifact and an amazing find.
The lives; equal parts mundane and exciting, wearily enthusiastic at the prospect of another night where nothing but time flies and the same people are bolted down in the same bar stools. Beer bottles change hands over cheap formica counters, people dance, look around bored, smile at looking and being looked, saunter and stroll around aimless. During most of this the woman is back in a movie theater catching a late-night show. At some point the lights come up and intermission music plays from the speakers as sleepy patrons stretch and look around with drowsy eyes; it's that kind of movie. The moments no self-respecting Hollywood movie would bore its audience with, here strung up to see what kind of life they make up.
But most importantly, what precious, valuable poem about a Los Angeles that is no more. Not the Los Angeles imagined by Hollywood, the movie version as a fantastical den of iniquity where sultry femme fatales seduced schmucks in Spanish-style mansions. The real deal, where people lived. Cinema verite as it were, purporting the revelation of some truth in turn.
What truth here is all in the image. We can cobble together a view of the historic past but never before the invention of the camera lens did we have the actual thing rich with so much texture and detail, the magical contradiction of living ghosts (people or places).
Come to this not to be a told a story about these people. Ordinary anxieties of the displaced the same as everywhere else, the young and restless with too much time. Come to this to inhabit for a while, to sit around and listen. Compare with what LA we are thrown into 30 years later in Falling Down.
In the extras of the pristine restoration conducted by the UCLA, we find a 1956 student short about Bunker Hill, the neighborhood depicted. It's perhaps even better than the actual film. Interviewed are actual residents as we see footage of day-to-day lives, old men all about to be swept aside with their old world. They like to watch the public works constructed in the area, the ones will eventually push them out.
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