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 ...
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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
A film by at least 62 people, Indigenous and otherwise. See more »
The Business of Writing
Sherman Alexie is simply an amazing writer. His poems are amazing, his movies are amazing... and yet I'm a white guy. How do I know how true they are to The Rez? Besides, how do Native Americans feel about his portrayal of them? After all, that's a very difficult matter to contend with. Some of the few Native Americans filmmakers that deal with this issue are often forced to purposefully make their movies self-conscious (including cameras in them, etc.) just to show that they recognize that their portrayal is still through a popular, Anglo ethnocentric medium. Besides that, Native Americans aren't just one group, one ethnicity... each tribe is a nation, and they all have separate constructions of their identity. One Indian nation may be represented well in a film, and it confuses the white viewer as to how Indians "really are" because other nations "aren't like that." Thus, this film. Sherman Alexie has bound to have suffered criticism for making Indians portray-able to white folk, and this movie shows a Native American writer who has forsaken his tribe in order to write all about it, keeping in mind that the pop culture needs a tragic Indian, one that's half-white in order to relate to the white community, one that's attracted to white people as well. The entire film is a series of mirrors reflecting it's own problem of identity, which most of the time becomes really tedious but this time is actually really well done.
One of the ways he succeeds is in admitting the simple truth: writers are frauds. Their writing stems from real pain, but in the end they are all just pathological liars. They make up stories either to make themselves seem more interesting, or to pretend their pain is okay.
And the pop culture eats it up while the ones that feel that pain are ignored.
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