In Indigenous North American film Native Americans tell their
own stories and thereby challenge a range of political and
historical contradictions, including egregious misrepresentations
by Hollywood. Although Indians in film have long been studied,
especially as characters in Hollywood westerns, Indian film itself
has received relatively little scholarly attention. In Imagic
Moments Lee Schweninger offers a much-needed corrective,
examining films in which the major inspiration, the source
material, and the acting are essentially Native.
Schweninger looks at a selection of mostly narrative fiction films
from the United States and Canada and places them in historical and
generic contexts. Exploring films such as Powwow Highway, Smoke
Signals, and Skins, he argues that in and of
themselves these films constitute and in fact emphatically
demonstrate forms of resistance and stories of survival as they
talk back to Hollywood. Self-representation itself can be seen as a
valid form of resistance and as an aspect of a cinema of
sovereignty in which the Indigenous peoples represented are the
same people who engage in the filming and who control the camera.
Despite their low budgets and often nonprofessional acting,
Indigenous films succeed in being all the more engaging in their
own right and are indicative of the complexity, vibrancy, and
survival of myriad contemporary Native cultures.
Subjects: Sociology, Film Studies
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