Tuesday lectures by Jon Cates! Film Series : The Western: How It Was Never One

Reel Injun

2009, Neil Diamond, Canada, 96 min.

Show Times

  • Fri, Aug 31st 4:00pm
  • Tue, Sep 4th 6:00pm

"Absorbing and amusing…an imaginative journey through the shifting stereotypes Hollywood has used to obscure [American Indian] history." - Mike Hale, The New York Times

Filmmaker Diamond, a Cree from Northern Canada, recalls how, as a child, he and his companions would root for the cowboys - "never realizing we were the Indians." To explore how popular-culture images of Native Americans became so distorted, he sets out on a dual journey. The first is a road trip traversed in his beat-up "res car," as he visits reservations, historical sites, and stereotype-reinforcing summer camps and theme parks. The second is a trip through American movie history, tracing the portrayal of Native Americans from early Edison films through relatively enlightened silent movies, step-backward John Ford westerns, a host of "redface" impersonations, the hippie-influenced "groovy Injuns" of the 1970s (Billy Jack!), and more recent leaps forward like SMOKE SIGNALS and ATANARJUAT: THE FAST RUNNER. Along the way, Diamond encounters activists Russell Means and John Trudell, Ojibwe cultural critic Jesse Wente, filmmakers Jim Jarmusch and Clint Eastwood, and famed Oscar-accepter Sacheen Littlefeather. ProRes digital. (MR)

Tuesday lecture by Jon Cates, Associate Professor of Film, Video, New Video and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Play Trailer