tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
Tablesaw Tablesawsen ([personal profile] tablesaw) wrote2017-03-01 11:19 pm

Exiled from the Past

For Christmas this year, I started asking for DVDs of films that were a bit harder to find. From my wife, I received Agnes Varda in California, a Criterion box set that includes Mur Murs. From my parents, I received The Exiles, which I watched tonight.

The Exiles is about the lives of young American Indians living in Downtown Los Angeles around 1960. The director collaborated with the cast of the film, who recreated scenes from "typical" nights, which coalesce into a single night for the story of the film.

It's noted as a document of Los Angeles history: much of the action takes place in portions of the city that literally do not exist any more. Bunker Hill, at the time a neighborhood of people working in downtown, was razed and rebuilt as office spaces. Hill X, where the characters gather in cars to dance, sing, fight, and generally escape the city, was also leveled to make way for Dodger Stadium. The movie palaces of Broadway exist mostly as neglected facades.

But mostly what I thought about, watching the young men and women meeting in diners, bars, and movie theaters, I think about my dad, who grew up in Los Angeles at about the same time. He would have been in his early teens, and already living on the Westside, pretty far from downtown. But Bunker Hill (and, of course, Chavez Ravine) were filled with Chicanos. And the unselfconsciousness of the filming makes it feel like I'm looking into places where my father or his cousins could have been.

I think I'm going to lend this back to my parents to see what my dad has to say about it.

Post a comment in response:

From:
Anonymous (will be screened)
OpenID (will be screened if not validated)
Identity URL: 
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.