In this episode we will continue to explore the theme of resiliency through three films about American Indian culture in the United States, its richness and its struggle to persevere and flourish. Two of the films are documentaries, one on the restoration of Native foodways, the other tracing the surprising way Native music has influenced American popular music. The third is a narrative film focusing on the lives of a brother and sister living on a reservation in South Dakota.
Gather (2020) 74 minutes/Amazon Prime, Apple I-Tunes, Vimeo
A documentary by Sanjay Rawal (Food Chains) that follows five activists who are reviving Tribal foods and traditions. Profiled are Nephi Craig (White Mountain Apache) as he opens a restaurant and nutritional recovery clinic in New Mexico, Twila Cassadore (San Carlos Apache) bringing back vanishing pre-colonial foods to the Apache diet, Elise DuBray (Cheyenne River Sioux) preparing for a career in biology to research the importance of buffalo to Native culture and health, Samuel Genesaw (Yurok) co-founder of Ancestral Guard, an organization committed to restoring and preserving the Pacific Salmon in ancestral waterways, and Clayton Harvey (White Mountain Apache) who manages a farm supplying fresh food to local Indigenous customers, many of whom have not previously had access to healthy food. Partially funded by the First Nations Development Institute.
Rumble: Indians Who Rocked the World (2017) 103 minutes/Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV.
A documentary by Catherine Bainbridge. Co-produced by legendary guitarist Stevie Salas (Apache). A revelatory film with compelling evidence that American Indian music has been influential in many forms of American popular music, from early Blues and Jazz to Heavy Metal. Native influences are explored in the music of bluesman Charley Patton, jazz singer Mildred Bailey, primal rocker Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, drummer Randy Castillo, rapper Taboo and many others. (Contains some adult language)
Songs My Brother Taught Me (2015) 98 minutes/Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV.
A naturalistic film that explores the close bonds of Johnny, a young Lakota (John Reddy), who is thinking of leaving the reservation, and his little sister Jashaun (Jashaun St. John). This was the first feature film of director Chloe Zhao, recent recipient of an Academy Award for directing Nomadland, only the second woman and first woman of color to win that category. With a cast of mainly non-professional actors the film at times seems like a documentary. During a span of four years, Ms. Zhao lived frequently on the Pine Ridge Reservation, getting to know and appreciate its people as she made her evolving film. (Contains some adult content: language, violence, suggestive intimacy).
My name is Tom Grasty, and I have worked in the food service department at Green Acre since 2012. While the culinary arts are my current passion, I have also had a lifelong love of movies, probably from growing up around the corner from a long-vanished neighborhood movie theater. For over twenty years I owned and operated Atlantic Video in Portsmouth, New Hampshire during the glory days of VHS movie rentals. The store was a focal point for area cinephiles looking for classic, foreign and hard-to-find titles. Though the store has been gone for almost two decades, I would like to continue to make movie recommendations as I once did, by selecting some of the best—and sometimes underappreciated—films available for streaming today. Each episode of Tom’s Take will present noteworthy streaming options based on a corresponding theme.