Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More About Movies

Tate asked my opinion of Kiki's Delivery Service. Patrick and I liked it a lot. It and My Neighbor Totoro are the Miyazaki movies I'd recommend for young kids. They aren't scary, and the people in them are mostly very nice. There are no villains and no human violence, though there is a bit of action adventure in Kiki when the dirigible gets loose from its moorings. Pat thinks Kiki would be better for young boys, since it has a boy in it as an important character.

We saw Smoke Signals last night. It's billed as the first entirely Native American movie. The director is Native; the writer (Sherman Alexie) is Native; and so are all the actors, except for the ones playing white folks. It's a good movie, though not the one I was expecting from the cover blurbs on the DVD. They talk about how funny it is -- "an entertaining comedy treat."

Well, it is funny, but the bleakness of Rez life goes through it, as does the vulnerability of Rez people when they leave the Reservation. A couple of young women on the Reservation tell Victor and Thomas to be sure they have their passports with them when they go.

"But it's the United States," Thomas says.

"What is more foreign?" is the reply.

A lot of the humor is classic Indian humor, mocking Native poverty and the painful history of the Native nations since 1492. An ongoing bit is John Trudell as a DJ on KREZ, a radio station in a beat up trailer. The traffic and weather reports -- presented just the way they are on a regular station -- come from the station's remote reporter, Lester Falls Apart, who is sitting on top of a broken down pickup at an unpaved crossroads. "There's a cloud going over," Lester says. "It looks kind of like a horse. Not a lot of traffic here today."

Rez humor is very funny, and Sherman Alexie is good at it. The movie is well worth seeing, and the guy playing Victor is an utter fox.


Blogger Shana Pederson said...

an excellent movie for adults and kids is "Howls Moving Castle" Kids love it because the basic story is easy to understand and involves young adults and children winning the battle over selfish war-mongering adults. Watching between the lines makes it a much more interesting commentary on greed, power and vanity in modern society.

PS My dad wanted me to pass on his email address -
he says hi to you and Patrick

6:22 AM  
Blogger Therem said...

Speaking of Sherman Alexie, last week's NY Times alerted me to the fact that he has a new novel coming out, called Flight. It has a sort of fantasy/sf premise (time travel and bodily possession) and sounds very good.

7:38 PM  

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