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Reel Injun (2009)
Truly WATCHABLE and educational film.
I learned a TON from this film. I started watching it thinking I had a good handle on just how terrible Hollywood has been to the cause of First Nations education, but I was wrong. From the revelation of a SURPRISING number of Hollywood actors who are still alive and have played First Nations peoples in their careers to the surprisingly obvious (how did I not realize this?!) fact that nearly all portrayals of First Nations Peoples on film are of the Plains People - feathered war bonnets and all!
There is truly so much that is positive that I could say about this film, but the most important of which is the fact that it has been funded, produced and released to the wider public at TIFF and various other means (I myself watched it on television, yaay!) and it is largely the work of First Nations artists and community. I hope that funding continues so that further quality works like this can be released!
Truly a revelation!
Action Flick sells our First Peoples short.
Well, I began watching this movie because hey, it sounded like fun. And it was. There was some great "13th Warrior" style action, complete with all the gore you would expect from a movie involving Vikings. I was happy to see First Nations Peoples fighting back - maybe it wasn't quite the movie I'd like to see (Custer's Last Stand, or any other battle where white conquerors got their comeuppance), but hey, at least they were fighting back.
The art direction was great for a movie that clearly didn't the huge budget of most blockbusters. And I really liked the reinterpretation of Viking costume - they looked VERY cool.
But here's the thing. A little way into the film, I realized that this is yet another film where a group of "noble savages" are only saved by the ingenious plans and warlike skills of someone of European descent. This is just another "Dances With Wolves," "Last of the Mohicans," and even "Little Big Man," (though I liked this film, and I gather it's intelligent portrayal of First Nations Peoples is a step forward, it is still a story about a white man.) Take it from me, and go see "Dance Me Outside," "Reel Injun," or even "Windtalkers" (though not created and produced by First Nations Peoples, but starring the incomparable Adam Beach and telling the story of the essential role played by Navajo Code Talkers in WWII). Those films will change your life.