Movie Details

Native American and Aboriginal peoples have long played a part in Hollywood filmmaking, but the picture presented of them was not always flattering or accurate. Most westerns of Hollywood's Golden Age presented "Indians" as either ruthless savages with no sense of honor or fools who were lost without the help of the white man. (Adding insult to injury, they were usually played by white actors in make up.) However, as issues of Native American rights came to the forefront in the 1960s, more filmmakers stepped forward to offer a more positive and thoughtful portrayal of Aboriginal characters on screen, and Native American performers were given a greater opportunity to present the story of their people in television and the movies. Director Neil Diamond (a member of Canada's Cree community) offers a look at the past, present and future of Native People on the big screen in the documentary Reel Injun, which includes interviews with actors Adam Beach, Graham Greene and Sacheen Littlefeather, filmmakers Chris Eyre and Zacharias Kunuk, and artists and activists John Trudell and Russell Means; Clint Eastwood and Jim Jarmusch also speak about Hollywood's history and their own experiences in presenting Native Americans in their films. Produced in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, Real Injun was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi