Movie

In: Film and Music

Submitted By bharry24
Words 1048
Pages 5
Smoke Signals: A Metaphor for Telling

It has been countless years since I have watched a movie about Native Americans, and even longer since I have witnessed a decent one. Most films on the subject of the Native American people are often set in the past and are habitually on the subject of brave Indian warriors. I had never viewed a Native American motion picture filmed in a present day setting, dealing with contemporary issues until I watched Smoke Signals. In the movie Smoke Signals, co-producer and scriptwriter Sherman Alexie uses unexpected humor, numerous significant flashbacks, and modernized Native American storytelling traditions to best narrate his story and the historical plight of Native Americans.
First of all, Alexie employs wit by mocking stereotypical reservation life, the frequently biased film industry, and even his own people, the Native Americans. From the opening scene as tribal meteorologist and traffic reporter Lester Falls Apart covers his seemingly uneventful daily traffic report, as he has for the last twenty-six years, from the rooftop of his broken down KREZ van, we are introduced to the odd and amusing way of life on the “rez.” In another scene, Victor and Thomas are embarking on their solemn journey and are offered a ride by Thelma and Lucy driving down the road in reverse; again, it is suggested that they exist in a somewhat backwards nation. In addition, Alexie is quick to taunt the movie industry by belittling white cowboy heroes; he even goes so far as to ridicule John Wayne’s teeth. Additionally, during Smoke Signals, the phrase “It’s a good day to die,” from the movie Little Big Man, is expanded upon to include being a “good day to be indigenous, to have breakfast,” and “to play basketball.” Alexie is able to laugh at himself by placing his own people’s stereotypical stoic attitudes, warrior looks, and knowledge of hair use…...