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January 1994


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Kathleen Ely <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 21 Jan 1994 11:16:45 -0700
text/plain (27 lines)
What about the not-so-subtle racism of films like *Candyman*?
Bob Torrey complained to me that he felt *Grand Canyon* was racist because
of the paternalism of the Kline character.  I responded by saying that if
they had both been white, would he have considered would his actions have
been considered paternalistic?  I think not.  They simply become friends,
friends who can help one another.
Being from Montana, where I never saw a black until I was seven years old,
it all seems sort of vague to me....but Indians portrayed in film are
another matter.  It was nice to see *Powwow Highway* balance things out a
bit (although when David Seals was here this winter he complained bitterly
about how the film was made).  The recent spate of films deriving from *
Dances with Wolves* are, by and large, fairly revisionist.  My mother
called me from Seattle during the last five minutes of that film, saying
"Oh, I can't watch.  I know they'll all be killed."  I told her to go back
in, that it had a happy ending.  Sort of disingenous, though, that happy
ending, because in reality, they probably would have been slaughtered.  And
have you noticed that, no matter what, the Pawnee are always the bad guys.
Used to be the Apaches, but now *Geronimo* has revived the notions of the
Noble Savage.
Has anyone seen Graham Greene in *Clearcut*?  A repulsive but very
metaphorical and powerful journey through the experience of Native Americans.
Kathleen Ely