6.9/10
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15 user 8 critic

The Business of Fancydancing (2002)

Seymour Polatkin is a successful, gay Native American poet from Spokane who confronts his past when he returns to his childhood home on the reservation to attend the funeral of a dear ... See full summary »

Director:

Sherman Alexie

Writer:

Sherman Alexie

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8 wins. See more awards »

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A Native American teenager living in the Pacific Northwest aspires to become a professional cartoonist.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Evan Adams ... Seymour Polatkin
Michelle St. John ... Agnes Roth
Gene Tagaban Gene Tagaban ... Aristotle Joseph
Swil Kanim Swil Kanim ... Mouse
Rebecca Carroll Rebecca Carroll ... The Interviewer
Cynthia Geary ... Teresa
Leo Rossi ... Mr. Williams
Kevin Phillip Kevin Phillip ... Steven
Elaine Miles ... Kim
Arthur Tulee Arthur Tulee ... Junior One
Jim Boyd Jim Boyd ... Junior Two
Jennifer Elizabeth Kreisberg Jennifer Elizabeth Kreisberg ... Salmon Girl (as Jennifer Kreisberg)
Ron Otis Ron Otis ... White Motorist
William Joseph Elk III ... Tavern Father
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Storyline

Seymour Polatkin is a successful, gay Native American poet from Spokane who confronts his past when he returns to his childhood home on the reservation to attend the funeral of a dear friend. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes going home is the hardest journey of all.

Genres:

Drama | Music

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 2002 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Vashon Island, Washington, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,709, 10 May 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$174,682, 6 October 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

FallsApart Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Seymour Polatkin: ...I think about the straight life sometimes. Sometimes I wanna be the Indian guy who brought you home to the rez. Sometimes I wanna be the Indian who stayed behind. And sometimes, I wish there was cute little boy or girl who looked like me and you.
[to Agnes]
See more »

Crazy Credits

A film by at least 62 people, Indigenous and otherwise. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Meditation on Roots
30 October 2005 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

While we as a country are discovering/acknowledging the struggles of the different sects within the Middle East, tribal differences that are longstanding and divisive and painful, along comes another sensitive story about Native Americans in this country and how the scars of past and ongoing abuses of our 'reservation resolution' have affected the original peoples of this land. Sherman Alexie, a fine poet and novelist, has transformed his written works into a film that showers the viewer with insights into a problem about which few are cognizant - intratribal differences that provide schisms within the only root that binds.

Seymour Poltakin (the very talented Evan Adams) is a famous poet who happens to be both Native American and gay. He is called back to his Reservation in Spokane, Washington for the funeral of his childhood friend Mouse (Swil Kanim) only to confront all of the reasons he has left the Reservation for the 'white man's world' where he has found both financial and emotional success. Seymour's best friend Aristotle (Gene Tagaban) had originally left the Reservation to go to college with Seymour, but quickly soured to the prejudiced outside world and returned to his Reservation and to an unfortunate life of alcoholism and drug abuse. The bulk of the storyline revolves around how these two once devoted friends parted ways, the philosophies of each are explored, and though Seymour finds moments of love in his home space, he is still content to return to his white man lover and his life he has chosen.

There are many very tender and moving moments in this film: when Seymour is in conversation with Agnes (Michelle St. John) and when Agnes intones the Indian chants and songs at the funeral; Seymour's dialogues with his lover; scenes of quiet while Aristotle abuses himself with drugs; the weaving in and out of the beautiful dancing that flows through the film. The problem with the movie is the disparity of approaches in telling the story: an interview situation between Rebecca Carroll and Evan Adams is well written but breaks the mood of the poetic form of the story. The film is obviously low budget and in this case, for this viewer, the rough hand-held camera technique adds a quality of reality to what we are watching.

The overall effect at the end of the film is a pang of pain in the heart having witnessed the generations of 'isolation' and the segregation of the Native Americans into spaces both geographical and sociological that have undermined a tremendously valuable asset to our history. That role of shame is one that will never leave us, and it is a gift that artists like Sherman Alexie can bring this to the public's attention. Recommended. Grady Harp


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