Intriguing film about traumatic loss of culture and identity
Each of us springs from cultures that form our worldview, guide our behavior, create our sensibilities. But non-whites, especially, are coerced into discarding that identity and, through acculturation, becoming someone that they really aren't, someone who, over time, can no longer understand why they dream of a bear, a fox, and a baby and what in the world those images mean. An early scene in Jimmy P shows a white doctor asking Jimmy to respond to a picture he's shown of some white demonic guy with a knife in what looks like an operating room. Jimmy can't free associate anything from that picture. Not because he's crazy, but because it's meaningless to him. But later he can uncover meaning in a dream that includes a bear, a fox, and a baby.
Over a generation or two, Jimmy has lost many connections to his own past and cultural traditions. Although he can still sense them, he can't interpret them as they relate to his own psychological issues. He's broken laws that the dominant cultural doesn't regard as criminal at all. Not understanding this, he punishes himself even though freed by a white court of law.
Although Thunderheart may have been more entertaining, Jimmy P is enlightening about the psychic damage that happens when cultural and ethnic peoples are punished for who they are and made to ape other cultures to become accepted.
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