With an older brother in jail and living with their single mother on Pine Ridge Reservation, Johnny and his sister Jashuan's lives develop new challenges when their absentee cowboy father ...
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With an older brother in jail and living with their single mother on Pine Ridge Reservation, Johnny and his sister Jashuan's lives develop new challenges when their absentee cowboy father suddenly dies. The loss prompts Johnny to strike out for Los Angeles, but would mean leaving behind his beloved sister.Written by
On a DVD extra, director Chloé Zhao said of the tight budget, light plotting, and neo-realist style casting, "We're capturing truth - because truth is the only thing we can afford." The production used mostly local residents as actors, and, according to Zhao, 80% of the story depicted is true to the actual life of the young man playing Johnny Winters (John Reddy). The house that Winters lives in is the house that Reddy lived in, and Reddy, also one of twenty-five children to one father, has many of his real family members playing members of his family. In fact, the man shown delivering the eulogy for Winters' father is Reddy's actual father. See more »
This is a stunningly true to life and tender movie. I had just watched Sky, in which Native Americans and their connections with a white woman were portrayed through the lens of a European romantic fantasy about NA life in America. Songs was the opposite - unsentimental, unsparing and filled with beautifully understated acting that let the story breathe. The photography was exquisite - I know that country and found myself longing to be there. The ragged weave of the story was precisely how life is lived by so many of us - no big epiphanies, no smarmed up resolutions, no miracles except for how people can hold fast to love. I thank the film-makers for their deep respect for the people and their recognition of the way the land is the base of hope for far too few of us.
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