Poet’s Musings recommends Two Indians Talking

Hans Ostrom is a poet, short-story writer, and novelist. He has published academic articles and books, edited anthologies, and written screenplays; and is a professor of African American Studies and English at University of Puget Sound. Hans has written a thoughtful review of “Two Indians Talking” on his blog Poet’s Musings:

Two Indians Talking is a new independent Canadian film directed by Sara McIntyre and written by Andrew Genaille. It’s deftly directed, understated film about what it says it’s about: two Cree Indians talking about life, love, right and wrong, beliefs, aspirations, and especially their people. The conversations occur as the two wait for reinforcements are supposed to help them block a major highway as a way of advocating for tribal rights and title.

Nathaniel Arcand plays Nathan, who is heading toward 30 if not already there. He dropped out of high school and has given up on his dream of being a famous musician. He is, however, savvier than he pretends to be. His main interests are women and looking out for the best interests of his people.

Justin Rain plays Adam, a kind of prototypical gifted child who eventually went off to college. He’s well read and opinionated, fierce in his own way, but also a shy loner who is less certain of his views than he pretends to be. He’s the reluctant participant in the impending protest, caught between the instinct to live life through gaining knowledge and the necessity to fight back by means of activism. Adam and Nathan are cousins but the dynamic of their relationship is more like that of younger and older brother.

There are faint echoes of My Dinner With Andre, from back in the day, but these conversations are earthier, less pretentious, and well grounded in the predicament of the Cree in Canada. Nonetheless, Nietzsche plays more than a cameo role, thanks to Adam and his philosophical bent.

A lot of droll, wry humor threads itself through Adam’s and Nathan’s bickering and reminiscences as the film develops toward its denouement.

The actor Sam Bob also injects a superb comic performance about two-thirds of the way through. He appears to be the sum total of the reinforcements but assures Adam and Nathan that “one Cree is all it takes.”

Denyc and Ashley Harry also turn in strong performances as two young Cree women who drop by to see the lads. Denyc plays Tara, who matches Adam opinion for opinion. Sara McIntyre’s careful direction brings out the best in these and other scenes.

The film is, among other things, perfectly suited to college classes in Canada and the U.S. that focus on the situation of contemporary Indians, aboriginal peoples, multi-ethnic issues, and independent film-making.

Two Indians Talking has already won awards from the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival. It will also be featured at the Victoria B.C. film festival, and this weekend, Sara McIntyre (and the film) will visit the Spokane Film Festival; she will be there February 11 and 12.

Here is a link to the facebook page for the film.