skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

INDEPENDENT LENS: Reel Injun: On The Trail Of The Hollywood Indian

Airs Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Little Big Horn Battlefield National Memorial in Montana

Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes a look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema. Traveling through the heartland of America, and into the Canadian North, Diamond looks at how the myth of "the Injun" has influenced the world's understanding — and misunderstanding — of Natives.

Photo of director Neil Diamond, Cree First Nation
Enlarge this image

Above: Photo of director Neil Diamond, Cree First Nation

Photo of filmmaker Chris Eyre. Eyre directed the 1998 film titled "Smoke Signals."
Enlarge this image

Above: Photo of filmmaker Chris Eyre. Eyre directed the 1998 film titled "Smoke Signals."

"Reel Injun" traces the evolution of cinema's depiction of Native people from the silent film era to today, with clips from hundreds of classic and recent Hollywood movies, and candid interviews with celebrated Native and non-Native film celebrities, activists, film critics, and historians.

Celebrities featured in "Reel Injun" include Robbie Robertson, the half-Jewish, half-Mohawk musician and soundtrack composer ("Raging Bull," "Casino," "Gangs of New York"); Cherokee actor Wes Studi ("Last of the Mohicans," "Geronimo"), filmmakers Jim Jarmusch ("Dead Man") and Chris Eyre ("Smoke Signals"); and acclaimed Native actors Graham Greene ("Dances with Wolves," "Thunderheart") and Adam Beach ("Smoke Signals," Clint Eastwood's "Flags of our Fathers"). Diamond also travels North to the remote Nunavut town of Igloolik (population: 1,500) to interview Zacharias Kunuk, director of the Caméra d'or-winning "The Fast Runner."

Independent Lens is on Facebook, and you can follow @IndependentLens on Twitter.

Video

Video Excerpt: Independent Lens: Reel Injun

Above: This video clip reflects on Will Sampson's performance in the film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Since the dawn of cinema, Hollywood has made over 4,000 films about Native people -- over 100 years of movies that shape the way we see Indians ... and the way Indians see themselves. Romanticized and demonized, what does it mean to have your identity defined by the movies. Cree Indian filmmaker, Neil Diamond, sets off on a cross-country journey to explore his Hollywood roots in "Independent Lens: Reel Injun: On The Trail Of The Hollywood Indian."

Video

Video Extra: Independent Lens: Reel Injun

Above: Students of a Crow Agency School react to the depiction of the massacre of Native Americans in "Little Big Man." Since the dawn of cinema, Hollywood has made over 4,000 films about Native people -- over 100 years of movies that shape the way we see Indians ... and the way Indians see themselves. Romanticized and demonized, what does it mean to have your identity defined by the movies. Cree Indian filmmaker, Neil Diamond, sets off on a cross-country journey to explore his Hollywood roots in "Independent Lens: Reel Injun: On The Trail Of The Hollywood Indian."

We've upgraded to a better commenting experience!
Log in with your social profile or create a Disqus account.

Please stay on topic and be as concise as possible. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Community Discussion Rules. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus