14th Red Nation Film Festival The Authentic Voice of American Indian & Indigenous Cinema Los Angeles. Nov. 8-19
GET TICKETS: Red Nation Film Festival – Native American Films
“Woman Walks Ahead” offers dimension to its leading lady, but holds its Native characters to the same old surface stereotypes.
But just how progressive is a movie that draws a false equivalency between individual Indian attacks and large-scale, government-sanctioned genocide?
Excerpt: All of our well-publicized problems, including obesity, depression, pollution, and corruption are what it costs to create and sustain a trillion-dollar economy.
For the economy to be “healthy,” this world has to remain unhealthy.
(Read that again – for the economy to be healthy, the world has to remain unhealthy? WHAT the_?) (People have perfected marketing their services and telling us what we need …ie. big weddings, funerals, etc.)
…Here in the West, a lifestyle of unnecessary spending has been deliberately cultivated and nurtured in the public by big business. Companies in all kinds of industries have a huge stake in the public’s penchant to be frivolous with its spending, and in the documentary “The Corporation,” a marketing psychologist shows just how easy it is to increase sales by targeting nagging children, and the effect that nagging has on the parents’ spending.
WATCH THE CORPORATION documentary (Bad Apples)
Excerpt: …I arrive in a sparsely lit room where the Latvian artist Voldemārs Johansons’s “Thirst” (2015) is showing. A video of a stormy North Atlantic Ocean filmed in the Faroe Islands, the work is a single-shot visual capturing the sea in all its fury. Coupled with the waves’ frightening roars, the video truly envelops the visitor; it is threatening and immersive, drawing you in, spitting you out, relentlessly pulling and pushing. It is a powerful experience and I know my memory of it will endure. READ
By Lara Trace
Hungry Ghosts? …Nagging from media (esp. those horrible drug ads I mute or shut my eyes). The rat race reminds me of the book The Reinvention of Work by Matthew Fox which I still think about now, many years after reading it!
Time and Life is too short to be a hungry ghost, modern slave or in any rat race… In Fox’s book, “in four highly provocative chapters, Fox presents his ideas on the reinvention of work as related to family, politics, education, youth, health care, psychology, art, economics, business, and science. (Brilliant MAN!) As a critic of the old way of looking at the professions, he makes it clear that good work contributes to the extension of justice, compassion, and social transformation.” Read a book REVIEW
Are any US companies reinventing the 40-hour work week? Hardly. But do read this
Zappos is also turning traditional management on its head. They announced at their All Hands meeting in November 2014 that they are becoming a Holacracy. Holacratic organizations are organized in circles. Workers are members of several circles depending on what they are working on at the time. Decision authority is distributed throughout the organization, with everyone focused on the core purpose and strategy.
If you worked 30 hours or less each and every week, wouldn’t you be more productive, creative and rested? Wouldn’t you spend more time with your kids, friends and family? Wouldn’t you do more of what you love to do?
“…In the indigenous story, Earth is our Sacred Mother, a living being and the source of our birth and nurture. Her care is a sacred responsibility and cannot be compromised no matter how much money may be at stake. The significance of the indigenous perspective hit me full force when Karma Tshiteem, secretary of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Commission, summed up his presentation on Bhutan’s development philosophy with three words: “Time is life.”
[I was raised to believe that “Time is money.”] QUOTE SOURCE
I hope you seriously consider this for you and your life and your kids and how much time you allot for work and play.
My last salaried position, I worked 60+ hours, including weekends. (An earlier journalism job was pretty much the same.) I punched in at 8 am every weekday. We had two 15 min. breaks and a 30 minute lunch. I was salaried so I could leave work at 5 pm but the work often required more time, more hours and weekends. In my fifth year there, I consulted a therapist for stress-related issues (even a rash on my face!) The stress was affecting every aspect of my life, including my health (and my skin!). I had to make a choice, and I chose to leave.
Now I make my own hours for writing/editing/blogging so I will work when I have the good energy to do the work. I may work at midnite or all weekend. Some weeks, it’s 30 hours+ on book formatting and publishing other people’s books. I am doing blog consulting locally too. Charles and I are wrapping our academic writing on Dr. Thomas Augustus Bland, Red Cloud and Council Fire. Some afternoons I watch a movie or check out VIMEO (do watch Thirst). I often read blogs on weekends and usually Mondays. I blog in more than one place… BOOM! I often use Pinterest to inspire me as I write a fiction story about two elderly Oregon women I knew in Tillamook, particularly the one who rescues dogs.
I’m doing too much, says my hubby. “Make time for you. Shut off the media for awhile.” This is important. He’s right.
…Ever wonder what all the tweeting, skimming and Pinterest is doing to your brain? Make information overload disappear: http://project.wnyc.org/infomagical/
I’m taking time off social media, Facebook, Twitter, and not blogging …
I plan to single task (aka write the book about dogs). Two Worlds has been edited and will be republished as a second edition soon.
You will see me visiting your blogs (wouldn’t it be something to meet up in person!?) Your comments and blogs have meant much to me and you have given me many many things to think about and consider, so thank you!
(You can read the blogs I read (My Community) by clicking around in the sidebar.)
I admit I will struggle to be single-tasking (Over-work has been an addiction for too many years. Yes, I get a lot done but at what cost to my own brain?)
See you in the fall. (Yes, I’ll be taking months off)
You might want to do this, too. SERIOUSLY, give your brain a nice long break. I need more ocean, rocking chairs and books and long walks. You too?
VANCOUVER – On April 23, Vancouver will be the starting point for the pan-Canadian tour of Indigenous short films: “Wapikoni, Cinema on Wheels.” To celebrate this new adventure, Wapikoni Mobile and the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) are thrilled to present a special selection of 13 films made by young Indigenous filmmakers who have participated in Wapikoni’s filmmaking workshops. The choice of these works, with their unique stories, is aimed at discovering dynamic Indigenous voices and incredible talents coming straight from the communities.
The launch will take place on Sunday, April 23, at 4:30 p.m. at Vancouver’s Vancity Theatre.
Members of our teams will be on site to answer your questions and our projection caravan will also be there.
“Through the project “Wapikoni from Coast to Coast: Building Bridges and Reconciliation through Media Arts,” young Indigenous Canadians will have the opportunity to be heard and to exchange ideas. The audiovisual and musical creative workshops will give young creators the chance to express themselves, and the resulting works will be presented in several communities across the country. Let’s take advantage of the 150th anniversary of Confederation to have a positive dialogue and to strengthen relations between us all,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
From April to November, a caravan equipped with exterior projection equipment and staffed by two facilitators will travel west to east, covering 10 Canadian provinces and stopping in 100 Indigenous communities and 50 cities. The screenings will be in English, French and Indigenous languages.
LA PROGRESSIVE’s Dick Price wrote: Besides being a masterfully conceived, thoroughly engaging film, what makes “First Daughter” so moving is the heartening solution it offers in these dark times.
There are two videos at this link…
RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World / Canada (Executive Producer: Tim Johnson, Mohawk) This powerful documentary about the role of Native Americans in contemporary music history—featuring some of the greatest music stars of our time—exposes a critical missing chapter, revealing how Indigenous musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives and, through their contributions, influenced popular culture. Category: WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Happy Friday the 13th – hmmm… is it Happy or just Friday the 13th? Hey, I’m always happy to read about new movies:-) xoxox LT
By Lara Trace (registered Independent voter)
Go on social media and not get somewhat depressed? Exactly! I watched Twitter instead of the Big Debate, for example. I want to gauge what others are thinking. My head still hurts. (Yelling out loud may help sometimes.)
Otherwise I cuddle up and read and crochet and do mosaic coloring so I keep very very calm. I know it’s theatrics and not politics.
Here is what I’m reading: (links provided)
Native Musician and AWARD WINNER JOSH HALVERSON (Lakota) SELECTS ALICIA KEYS AS HIS COACH ON NBC’S THE VOICE: Josh Halverson (Mdewakantonwan Sioux) who won the Songwriter of the Year Award at the Native American Music Awards in 2013 for his Cd, One Shot, earned a last minute three-chair turn during The Voice Blind Auditions as his wife and young son, Thunderbird, watched backstage. Josh, who is a cattle rancher from Texas performed a haunting version of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”. Once Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, and Blake Sheldon hit their buttons, they all turned around to fight for Halverson. Although Blake brought out his best cattle talk, Halverson chose to join Team Alicia. [www.NAMALIVE.com] I don’t watch the VOICE but I love Josh.
** Discrimination by DESIGN?
Industrial design plays a role as well, by steering human activities. For example, benches designed with prominent arm rests or shallow seats discourage homeless people from sleeping on them. This phenomenon is known as “hostile architecture” or more broadly, “unpleasant design.”
A notorious example: NY city planner Robert Moses designed a number of Long Island Parkway overpasses to be so low that buses could not drive under them. This effectively blocked Long Island from the poor and people of color who tend to rely more heavily on public transportation. And the low bridges continue to wreak havoc in other ways: 64 collisions were recorded in 2014 alone (here’s a bad one). READ HERE
At the opening night Colorado Avenue feed (in September), director Werner Herzog checked out the Mongol father and daughter holding their trained eagles on their arms for a photo op (top photo). Sony Pictures Classics is pushing the movie for a documentary Oscar. Director Otto Bell told me his crew carried so much gear up into the Altai Mountains to shoot “The Eagle Huntress” (opening October 28), a powerful female empowerment doc about the first woman to compete with her eagle in her local village’s annual contest, that they had to leave some heavy pieces behind due to prohibitive weight overages.
Aisholpan’s family members are nomadic Kazakh herders of the Altai mountains region who base their subsistence economy on herding cattle and goats. An essential supplement to the herders’ livelihood comes from the practice of training golden-eagle chicks to become their close partners in the hunting of foxes and other small mammals used for food and clothing.
This specialized hunting practice — woven into the fabric of everyday life and celebrated at regional competitions — has been an entirely male endeavor throughout its history, passed down in families from generation to generation.
Now, just as climate change threatens this way of life and as only 250 eagle hunters remain in Mongolia, Aisholpan is coming to the world’s attention as the first woman eagle huntress.
A gender barrier upheld for hundreds of years falls before the prowess of a 13-year-old girl in the U.S.-produced documentary “The Eagle Huntress.”
A documentary about a Shoshone elder, a powwow princess, and an Arapaho journalist searching for artifacts that once belonged to their ancestors.
IRISH: THE FORGOTTEN WHITE SLAVES came as slaves: human cargo transported on British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women…
BIG WEEK: Wisconsin is just one of several states to pass voting restrictions in the wake of the 2013 Supreme Court decision gutting of the Voting Rights Act. Another set of laws was shut down in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin ruling came after a decision earlier on Friday from a federal appeals court striking down North Carolina’s omnibus voter suppression law, which had been called the worst voter suppression law in the nation. On July 20th, Texas’s Voter ID law also fell, in a surprise decision from a conservative court finding that the law violated the Voting Rights Act. READ HERE
In 2012 Yasmin Mistry, an Emmy-nominated animator and Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in state care, launched Foster Care Film to give foster youth an opportunity to share their stories. Mistry’s subsequent films investigate less-explored obstacles and situations related to foster care. Her latest, My Identity, is an 11-minute documentary that explores kinship care (the care of children by relatives), the longing to belong and the importance of sibling bonds.
My Identity is the story of Ashley Wolford, a woman born to a mixed white and Native American mother. Ashley knows nothing of her biological father, and at a young age Ashley and her half-brother are placed in separate homes after it is discovered that their drug-and-alcohol addicted mother abandons them for stretches of time.
In their later years, Ashley discovers and converts to Islam while at the same time her brother joins the military and serves two tours in Afghanistan fighting Muslims. Their ideological differences drive a wedge in their relationship. READ MORE
Russian Hacks? … hundreds of Russians in a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, …produced blog posts, comments, infographics, and viral videos that pushed the Kremlin’s narrative on both the Russian and English Internet. [This is sadly becoming a recurring theme… Lara]
(top photo) Hailed Chief of Chiefs, David Bald Eagle, Lakota Chief, Musician, Cowboy And Actor, Dies At 97
And at the age of 95, he had his first lead role, after all those years as a stunt double: He starred in the independent film Neither Wolf Nor Dog.
“When white people won it was a victory, when Natives won it was a massacre. When they fought for freedom it was a revolution, when we fought for freedom it was an uprising. No Indian alive dares to think too much about the past. The bones of our people are crying.”
—Dan (Dave Bald Eagle’s character)
My post about his last film HERE
By Lara Trace (former editor of the Pequot Times 1999-2004)
It happened years ago… but I can still feel myself outside the Pequot Museum on a bench and the wind is really blowing and John is speaking about his album, and latest tour.
I knew I’d have to read what he said a few times after I listened to the tape I made. John Trudell was deep, so deep, with level upon level of meaning in both his spoken words and lyrics. I’d hear him, then I’d process more after a second or third listen… I can’t forget what he said about power and responsibility – you’ll read what he said in this interview. With the next presidential election whirling around us, it’s hard not to feel powerless. But we are not powerless.
You all know John was an great actor. He was unforgettable in the movie THUNDERHEART. (Top Photo.) I was lucky to interview him more than once. (I spoke with him at the Honor the Earth powwow in 1999 in Wisconsin.) John had a fiery spirit yet he was also fragile. I felt good energy all around him; his strength was palpable. After he lost his family, everyone wondered how he’d survive that, even years later. I don’t know how any human could survive intact after your entire family was killed by a house fire. John did. John mourned deeply and soared above loss.
From my notes, I was glad when Trudell explained how belief (as in religion belief) takes the place of thinking. I jotted in my notes, “Don’t believe – THINK. We put a whole lot of energy into HOPE and BELIEF and that energy falls into a void and disappears…. You BELIEVE so you don’t have to think…… You HOPE so you don’t have to truly act – it’s a sedation (drug). Nothing changes, religion is brainwashing the consciousness of people desperate to believe…. this just puts the mind in a prison…
“Violence, terror and traumas has defeated tribal belief systems from tribal Europe thru today… and then the traumatized blame themselves….. and the beast continues to get bigger. The answer is NON-COOPERATION and a clear thinking human being….” Trudell didn’t waste any words.
The story I’d heard about Trudell (more than once) was he could walk into a group of angry white ranchers full of their prejudice about Indian people and they’d all walk out of the room with their arms over each others shoulders. That was John.
Here’s what I wrote up back in 2000…
Poet, activist, prophet, American Indian Movement (AIM) founder, actor and recording artist John Trudell (Santee), made a concert stop with his band Bad Dog, at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in May (2000).
Trudell uses words as medicine, so his political and poetic abilities created the new album Blue Indians, on Dangerous Discs records, released in 1999, his ninth album, produced by Jackson Browne.
“I called the album Blue Indians because there is a kind of spiritual and cultural genocide perpetrated on everyone that is poor in this country,” Trudell said. “The advance of technology has put all of us on a kind of reservation. These are the people who can’t educate their children, or afford health care. They’ve been robbed of life, which is what happened to Native people, so in that context, we’re all Indians.”
The “spoken word” artist said he didn’t set out to be a poet or writer. After an unspeakable tragedy took the lives of his wife, Tina, their three children and Tina’s mother, back in 1979, he started writing. The fire that killed them was declared an accident by the FBI who declined to investigate. This happened just 12 hours after a group marched to FBI headquarters in Wash. DC, where Trudell delivered an address on the FBI’s war against Native Americans. He burned an American flag in protest of racism and class injustice. To this day, Trudell believes government operatives set the blaze, “It was murder. They were murdered as an act of war.” [READ MORE ABOUT TINA]
After 1971, Native men and women formed the national American Indian Movement, in response to the horrific conditions on reservations and the many unsolved murders. Trudell served as National AIM Chairman from 1973-79. During that time the FBI compiled a 17,000 page file (covering Trudell’s activities from 1969-80).
Of some 60 pages obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, describing Trudell as a major threat to national security, the memo said, “Extremely eloquent – therefore extremely dangerous.”
Writing has helped Trudell keep some sanity and continue to survive. In 1981, he published a book of poetry “Living in Reality” and by 1982 combined music and poetry, with the help of his musician friends Jackson Browne and future collaborator Jesse Ed Davis, a Kiowa from Oklahoma.
When asked how he deals with anger, Trudell told one reviewer, “I look at it as healthy. It’s like sadness. There’s a reason we’re given certain feelings. I think anger is necessary to our survival and reality, but now we live in a technology reality where people are programmed not to accept their anger. I think we can use it as fuel for clarity, focus and accomplishment. Anger doesn’t have to be a distorting experience.”
In May, the band played songs from the album Blue Indians, while Trudell spoke his poetic lyrics. About promoting the album, he said later, “We don’t tour like other bands. We hit the road sometimes for a week, or several weeks. It’s more practical for us.”
In concert, Trudell referred to humans as being mined, like resources, such as minerals, and reminded us we are indeed composed of the earth’s materials. After the concert, he explained the effects of mining humans, “The feeling of powerlessness that this society has, I think is a result of mining humans because the people do feel powerless. I think no clear, coherent thinking people, would accept as normal the conditions that they have to accept. So, the only reason I can see that people would accept the inequities, are because they feel powerless to deal with them. The powerlessness may disguise itself as rage, or racial hatred, or sexism, it may disguise itself in many ways, but basically the common thread is a feeling of powerlessness among the people.
“That means all the aggressive attitudes basically get internalized. I think that’s the obvious result of being mined as an individual. If they are being real with themselves, no pretending, no justification or rationalization, how many people feel that they have any real power?
“How many people feel powerless to deal with situations put in their life? It’s got to do with perceptional reality. If you use our intelligence as clearly and coherently as we can, I think we’d understand that we are not necessarily powerless. But we don’t know how to relate to power, or recognize it, therefore we don’t know how to exercise it.”
And, Trudell said we can’t accept this idea of being mined because we can’t recognize it or see it.
“We’re not taught about our personal relationship to power. We’re not taught about our relationship to the Great Spirit. Recognizing power is what you have to do. When you recognize it, you exercise it.
“You can’t take back what they have already taken but you can stop the taking of your power, once you recognize it.”
On the importance of prayer, John said he prays for balance. “Prayer is often a misused word. There are people who pray for things to make them happy so I don’t know if they’re really praying. Then there are people who pray for the welfare of others. Some people don’t pray so much for their own individualized ego, but understand that prayer is a way of thinking in harmony with the Creator. Praying is a way of participating with the Creator.
“Prayer that is based upon thought and feeling, then that prayer is participating. Prayer that is based upon need and emotion, that prayer is not participating in a synchronized manner, because it’s based on the ego’s need and emotion.”
“Responsibility is the way to fulfillment, when one recognizes and exercises their responsibility, this is how one is to be free. It’s a way of reconnecting with power for us as humans.”
On his own life, Trudell said, “I see as clearly as I can. The objective is for me to be as real to myself as I can possibly be. The more real I can be to myself, the more real maybe I can be to other people. It’s a challenge.”
(Published in the Pequot Times.)
This entire post is relevant to this quote:
By Lara Trace Hentz (history buff)
Years ago I realized the “version” is what we need to examine as much as the writing itself. It’s very very important to look at WHO wrote it and why. Ellowyn in Pine Ridge, South Dakota shared her tribe’s version of history that differed greatly from American textbooks. That version of my education began in early 1990s in her kitchen.
In Pine Ridge, it’s usually by 4th grade the student turns off and loses interest, Ellowyn told me. (She was a teacher.) The Lakota do not believe what is in the American textbook because their history is left out. She thinks (as do many in her Oglala tribe) that it’s important history is taught at home. It’s oral. It’s not written down. (If you google Oglala Lakota history, it’s generally written by the non-Indian and not accepted by the Oglala.)
My anthropologist sister Dr. Raeschelle Deimel in Vienna Austria and I were also discussing education a few days ago. (She teaches college-level history.) It’s obvious certain “subjects” (like history) are a matter of importance and priority for governments who control our education and what version we get. Not only do they control what we learn but how much, when we learn it, and there is no legal enforcement to measure accuracy or honesty, obviously.
Do parents have a say in what children learn? Yes, kinda. (If you teach at home, choose the version and control the story yourself). (Top Photo: Rae sent me this book and said it’s very important all Americans read it.) I plan to spend my summer reading Zinn ingesting every chapter. I am still a history student on my own.
We in America don’t even recognize the agenda and propaganda in our history textbooks, Rae said.
Sadly too many Americans have turned their backs on history, we decided. Probably too boring. If you went to college you might choose a certain period of history to study in depth. (That would also depend on which professor you get and how good they are.) Now we think it’s a general lack of interest and disgust, as in “what good is history?” to make my life or salary better… or maybe deep down we sixth-sense we’re learning bullshit (?) – perhaps.
It surprised me when I learned from a German journalist Monique in Munich in 2005 that Americans know more about the Nazis than the Germans do. History again is used as a tool, or it’s not used at all. Why would the Germans suppress their own history? She said they don’t have museums to teach any version of their own Nazi history. REALLY! (Of course she told me she and other Germans do learn about it on their own. Many of their parents were sent to the Hitler’s Youth Camps and were indoctrinated with propaganda.) History/story used as mind control? She said yes.
What I learned in my Catholic grade school happened over two straight days watching Germany’s Holocaust films on concentration camps when I was in 4th grade. I now realize how disturbing it was for me to see that as a kid. The nuns warned us but didn’t give us an option to leave the classroom. I choked back tears and nearly threw up. I had nightmares for months.
Much later as an adult I studied WWII and the Nazis on my own, watching documentaries especially. (We called it my scary Nazi phase.) I needed to understand HOW people could be this way and why. It took me many years to see WHO was behind the genocide of American Indians, and Jews, and many other ethnic minority groups and WHAT they ultimately wanted: domination and land, mostly. READ a historic SOLUTION BY GABOR MATE
Today of course I question everything I read. My two granddaughters deserve better than what their history textbooks will teach them. It’s my job and it’s going to have to come from me. Oral history, at home, in my kitchen.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” –George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy) was a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.
History is so peculiar, right? You can look and look –and read and read — and find only glimmers of truth. “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” It was someone who told me to look at it as His = Story (Chapter 19 Surprises in Zinn’s book is an eye-opener on Indian Country history. I humbly suggest you spend some time this summer with Zinn’s book or watch him on youtube, if you haven’t already.
Read this blog too! Dr. Stuart Bramhall is brilliant HERE
THIS VIDEO simply blew my mind : please take an hour and listen to Biology of Belief:
Dealing with adoption propaganda is also a full-time job for some of us…
The war on human trafficking and adoption ebbs and flows…blogs come and go… and here’s a brilliant post from 2013:
From Transracial Eyes blog:
Elsewhere on the site we have explored the “cost” of adoptee activism [ link ], and we have heard some stories of closed-down blogs and the like. Certain adoptee sites have erased past posts … (My dear friend Von experienced this censorship with Blogger when her earlier site was taken down. FBI, really?)
Source: The Adoption Mafia.
Taking advantage of poor vulnerable families is a crime. Adoption Agencies are wolves in sheep clothing.
Adoption is really taking children from the poor and giving to the rich. Adoption Trafficking is coercive language that in the end, the person of ‘power’ manipulates the vulnerable parent, typically the mother, out of her child. The end goal is to fulfill the demand of wanting infertile adopters and financially benefiting the industry. The adoption fees are disguised as the costs to ‘process’ the child for adoption and can cost as high as $60,000+ for each transaction. It’s modern day, 21st century, legalized child trafficking. Think of how much that $60,000 could help a community in Uganda, China, India keeping families together. Instead it’s an undercurrent of corruption in foreign countries all happening from the demand of rich Westerners. The middle man (adoption agencies) strips away the true identity of the child and the adopter buys the child, so he or she will become one of their ‘own’. In the adopters minds they may think of it as saving an ‘orphan’ or a ‘solution for infertility issues’, but there is strategic modern day ‘verbiage’ agencies use, social workers, lawyers or counselors (or anyone working for the adoption industry) to manipulate young mothers out of their children and that took decades to perfect.
For more news on industry practices, go to Adoptionland.org
To get a copy of Adoptionland: From Orphans to Activists visit here. (I am in this book)
***** I know my views on adoption are controversial. Hey, read me anyway. You might learn something… true?
p.s. If any reader wishes to read Stolen Generations in exchange for an honest review on Amazon, I will email you the pdf or epub. Email me: email@example.com. No strings attached.
By Lara Trace (sci-fi lover)
My wonderful cousin Dr. Charlie Bland is a
movie expert. Charlie (aka Afraid of His Horses) teaches movie history (college level) and analyzes all genres and loves films! (I love many too, of course. I’m still hooked on all things Star Trek. That Gene Roddenberry was a total genius-visionary, right? And I am a X-Files/Chris Carter fan , too. Lately quantum physics/mystics documentaries occupy my free hours.)
In Seattle, I met a Face Reader, a Sikh, who told me that the public is/was often given important messages/urgent warnings via movies. I didn’t forget that. It’s important. How are hidden warnings given now? (You Tube? Hollywood? Netflix? Sitcoms?)
Here is Charle’s recent suggestion:
While we were discussing Interstellar, my friend Sumit and I suggested that you also watch 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a magnificent film which you in a younger generation might not have seen or heard of. This is to reinforce that suggestion, if you truly liked Interstellar, you will love 2001. You can rent it from Netflix (or buy it or ask your library to get it.)
The Director, Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) was known as a great director of the 20th Century, but made only a relative handful of films. 2001 is ranked #6 on the Sight and Sound Magazine list of ALL-TIME great films. Kubrick, much more than the director of Interstellar limited exposition about science and like all the great directors, relied on the visual image you see to convey the drama and beauty of the science that unfolded. His 1968 film was visionary in many ways, including IPads, Skype, Voice print Identification, evidence of a wormhole in science fiction and above all, Artificial Intelligence that grows and challenges man’s wisdom. A major characteristic of all Kubrick’s films was his personal misanthropy toward mankind.
He thought mankind was ridiculous and doomed to self-annihilation. In his Dr. Strangelove, (1963) the film ends with a cowboy riding an atomic bomb to its destination which sets off a worldwide nuclear holocaust. You can detect Kubrick’s misanthropy visually in the clip below when the two tribes of antecedents to humanity jump up and down and wave their arms at each other and in the explicit knowledge that without external God like intervention, we would have been doomed from the start. This is reinforced by the religious tone of the music, most importantly the “Atmosphere’s” of Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006) whose music permeates the film. But the major theme is conveyed in Richard Strauss, “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, a tone poem to Frederick Nietzsche’s classic book by the same title that articulates the idea of the Overman who transitions from primitive to God-like attributes.
2001 unfolds in three stages: Dawn of Man; the Jupiter Mission; and The Stargate/Infinity. The Dawn of Man sequence below runs for 9.5 minutes , Especially Important is the scene that begins at 2:25, when our antecedents wake to find in their midst an object they could not possibly have created themselves. It is a Monolith, one of three that guide the “Odyssey” throughout the film. The music accompanying the scene is Ligeti’s “Il Kyrie” which suggests the awe and wonder with which our antecedents greet this object. If you are interested, I attach an orchestral presentation of the same music which enables you to see the vocal and instrumental interaction that creates this beautiful music. The second scene begins at 5:35 as our antecedent, desperate and starving, turns his eye to the Monolith. His facial gestures suggest to me that this is the first prayer, and lo, the Monolith responds in a way that for Kubrick, underlines just how hopeless we all are. The accompanying music is Richard Strauss, “Thus Spake Zarathustra.” Enjoy.
BIG THOUGHT: Anthony Peake, in his new book Immortal Mind, points to scientific studies that shows consciousness survives brain death, and suggests that it does not and cannot die. Sounds profoundly good to me! Visit AnthonyPeake.com.
The man who made offers others couldn’t refuse once refused the movie industry’s heftiest honor.
On March 5, 1973, Marlon Brando declined the Academy Award for Best Actor for his gut-wrenching performance as Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” — for a very unexpected reason.
Here’s how it went down.
In the 1960s, Brando’s career had slid into decline. His previous two movies — the famously over-budget “One-Eyed Jacks” and “Mutiny on the Bounty” — tanked at the box office. Critics said “Mutiny” marked the end of Hollywood’s golden age, and worse still, rumors of Brando’s unruly behavior on set turned him into one of the least desirable actors to work with.
Brando’s career needed saving. “The Godfather” was his defibrillator.
In the epic portrayal of a 1940s New York Mafia family, Brando played the patriarch, the original Don. Though the film follows his son Michael (played by Al Pacino), Vito Corleone is its spine. A ruthless, violent criminal, he loves and protects the family by any means necessary. It’s the warmth of his humanity that makes him indestructible — a paradox shaped by Brando’s remarkable performance.
“The Godfather” grossed nearly $135 million nationwide, and is heralded as one of the greatest films of all time. Pinned against pinnacles of the silver screen — Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, and Peter O’Toole — Brando was favored to win Best Actor.
On the eve of the 45th Academy Awards, Brando announced that he would boycott the ceremony and send Sacheen Littlefeather in his place. A little-known actress, she was then-president of the National Native American Affirmative Image Committee.
On the evening of March 5, when Liv Ullman and Roger Moore read out the name of the Best Actor award recipient, neither presenter parted their lips in a smile. Their gaze fell on a woman in Apache dress, whose long, dark hair bobbed against her shoulders as she climbed the stairs.
Moore extended the award to Littlefeather, who waved it away with an open palm. She set a letter down on the podium, introduced herself, and said:
“I’m representing Marlon Brando this evening and he has asked me to tell you … that he very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry —”
The crowd booed. Littlefeather looked down and said “excuse me.” Others in the audience began to clap, cheering her on. She continued only briefly, to “beg” that her appearance was not an intrusion and that they will “meet with love and generosity” in the future.
Watch the scene unfold:
In 1973, Native Americans had “virtually no representation in the film industry and were primarily used as extras,” Native American studies scholar Dina Gilio-Whitaker writes. “Leading roles depicting Indians in several generations of Westerns were almost always given to white actors.”
But they weren’t just neglected or replaced in film; they were disrespected — a realization that crippled Brando’s image of the industry.
The following day, The New York Times printed the entirety of his statement — which Littlefeather was unable to read in full because of “time restraints.” Brando expressed support for the American Indian Movement and referenced the ongoing situation at Wounded Knee, where a team of 200 Oglala Lakota activists had occupied a tiny South Dakota town the previous month and was currently under siege by U.S. military forces.
“The motion picture community has been as responsible as any for degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing him as savage, hostile and evil. It’s hard enough for children to grow up in this world. When Indian children … see their race depicted as they are in films, their minds become injured in ways we can never know.”
Still, Brando lent the Native American community a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise awareness of their fight in front of 85 million viewers, leveraging an entertainment platform for political justice in unprecedented fashion. His controversial rejection of the award (which no winner has repeated since) remains one of the most powerful moments in Oscar history.
[check out the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite for more about 2016…. Lara]
Paula Peters is an active member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe based in Mashpee, Massachusetts and owner of SmokeSygnals, a media and communications consulting firm.
She is currently producing a documentary on nine Mashpee Wampanoag men jailed in 1976 for drumming and singing their traditional music. The Mashpee Nine were later acquitted and law enforcement held accountable for their actions. Mashpee Nine: The Beat Goes On will premier at the 2016 Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow in July, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the raid on the men.
An independent scholar of Wampanoag history Paula is also the Executive Producer of “Our”Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag Survival,” a traveling multi-media exhibit telling the back story of the colonization of Plymouth from the indigenous perspective.
A graduate of Bridgewater State College she was formerly a writer at the Cape Cod Times where she won numerous national awards for her journalism.
She lives in Mashpee with her husband, two daughters and elder mother.
About the FILM
During the summer of 1976 the revival of cultural and traditional values of the Mashpee Wampanoag was occurring at the same time tribal leaders and town government were clashing over land entitlement. An incident involving an over zealous tactical police force disrupting a group of traditional drummers and singers evolved into a high profile trial of nine young men arrested, eight Wampanoag and one non-native friend. Defended by one of the American Indian Movement’s most skilled and dogged attorneys the Nine won in a rare case of a court ruling against law enforcement. Court documents shredded, news accounts buried in microfilm, the case has faded into distant memory but the stories of the surviving Nine and those who rallied to their defense. What does survive is the tradition the Nine sacrificed their freedom for, even for a night, and fought vigorously to defend, the drum, the songs and the night. This documentary will resurrect that legendary incident and preserve the memory of those who experienced it for the generation now sitting at the drum, and those to come.
INDIGENOUS FILM FEST in New Hampshire: Nov. 6 and 7, 2015 READ MORE
The Austrian-born Sauper spent the next two years flitting around the country in his rickety, two-seat, single-engine prop plane, keeping his eyes open and his camera rolling. The result, We Come As Friends (which opened in New York on August 14 and will screen nationwide throughout the fall), is an improbable, cinematic magical mystery tour of a documentary: a portrait of a new nation being born out of the ashes of civil war amid a swarm of self-professed do-good American evangelicals, expat humanitarians, Chinese oil workers, and South Sudanese power brokers — most of whom seem to do anything but good. The film comes at an opportune time, as another in a long line of potential peace deals to end South Sudan’s 18-month-old civil war has evaporated. While it does so in exceptionally subtle fashion, We Come as Friends helps explain just how things got to this tragic point.
The acclaimed director of 2004’s Darwin’s Nightmare, a harrowing study of globalization and economic exploitation in Tanzania, Sauper works in verite style and doesn’t lean on talking heads, title cards, or scolding voiceovers about the ills of neocolonialism, racism, globalization, or capitalism. Instead he allows his subjects to do the heavy lifting. “There must be a reason they’re still 200 years behind the rest of the world,” says a British Iraq War veteran, in Sudan to defuse landmines for an aid group, of the people he has come to help. Nineteenth-century “dark continent” themes seem barely submerged as the U.S. ambassador announces, “Today we are, literally and figuratively, bringing light,” before flipping the switch at a ceremony celebrating a modest electrical power project. And then there are the American Christian missionaries. “They don’t understand property ownership the way you and I do,” says one. “You were here first, but now there’s a fence here, so…” was how another explained it to locals who complained when the Americans took away grazing land to build a house for themselves.
Some of Sauper’s directorial decisions skirt the outer limits of heavy-handedness. He pans his camera from the partying of United Nations staff on South Sudan’s independence day to a lonely South Sudanese cleaning up the grounds outside or juxtaposes combat footage shot by a soldier, replete with gunfire and corpses, with a scene of white folks relaxing at some posh resort. We’re never given much context about these episodes, but far from phony, the contrasts ring true; anyone who has spent much time in the country (especially the capital, Juba) has no doubt witnessed similar incongruities.
In Darwin’s Nightmare, which shows how an invasive species of fish upends not only the local economy but the entire society around Lake Victoria, Sauper demonstrated an uncanny ability to document the everyday horrors of the developing world with an artist’s visual sensibility. The result was disturbing and beautiful. We Come as Friends shares the same DNA.
Sauper understands the power of ambiguity and its ability to involve the viewer in his investigations, so there isn’t much context or explanation anywhere in We Come as Friends. But this film isn’t about easy narratives or perfectly packaged stories. It’s about big themes told in very small fashion — a collection of discrete, seemingly disconnected vignettes mixed with stunning, sometimes dizzying, aerial footage taken from his trusty tin can, the aptly named Sputnik.
“The airplane was the key of this whole project,” Sauper said at a recent New York City screening of the film. “We are obviously Europeans … and we also repeat, despite ourselves, all these patterns. You know, like going to other places, discovering adventure. The notion of adventure is a very European, kind of colonial idea, right? Going to different worlds and the science fiction narrative is a post-colonial phenomenon; traveling through time and space and penetrating these other worlds, encountering these kinds of sometimes hostile, sometimes friendly other beings.”
Sauper wrapped up filming before December 2013 when South Sudan plunged into the current civil war. Today, it would be impossible to do what he did, though it was hardly less so then. For that alone, he deserves credit. For the documentary he made, Sauper deserves praise. Thoughtful and moving, We Come as Friends encourages the viewer to look closely and think deeply. “A lot of times … we, as filmmakers, were like ‘What the hell are we doing here?’” Sauper admitted at the Manhattan screening. “We’re just another set of white guys … and sometimes, you go, ‘Okay, we’re making a movie, but does it make sense at all?’” People interested in South Sudan or Africa or the human condition would be well-served by spending 110 minutes with We Come as Friends and answering that question for themselves.
Nick Turse is the author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam and Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa. He has reported from South Sudan, most recently earlier this year.
Photo: Adolescent boy from the Bari tribe, South Sudan, apparently imitating the tribal traditions of warriors putting ashes on their body. This ash is produced from burning trash.
The film opens at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles and the AFI Silver Theater in Washington D.C. on August 21. It will continue to open across the nation with engagements in markets including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and more. Sauper will be participating in special appearances and Q&As in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.
WE COME AS FRIENDS is a modern odyssey – a dizzying, almost science fiction-like journey into the heart of Africa. At the moment when the Sudan, the continent’s biggest country, is being divided into two nations, an old “civilizing” ideology re-emerges – one of colonialism and a clash of empires – with new episodes of bloody (and holy) wars over land and resources. Academy Award® nominated director of Darwin’s Nightmare, Hubert Sauper, takes us on a voyage in his tiny, self-made aircraft constructed from tin and canvas, leading us into the most improbable locations and into people’s thoughts and dreams in both stunning and heartbreaking ways. Chinese oil workers, UN peacekeepers, Sudanese warlords, and American evangelists ironically weave common ground in this documentary.
Hey there, this post will be it until mid-September. Please share this film. Go see it. Time for a road trip and a family reunion… XOX Lara Trace XOX