Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Big Bear 1998 movie review: good bad, Big Bear, Gordon Tootoosis, Mistahimaskwa

The plot seems pretty bad as this movie was based on a novel with a telling name "Big Bear's Temptation", not merely on accurate documents.

The motives of Big Bear do not always make sense, IMHO, or should they? He leads his starving Plains Cree clan South, to the Milk, and despite succesful buffalo hunting, the chief commands his people back into hunger-striken Canada, where they have to give up their lands and to prostitute. This unclear part can be a straight narration of facts, but to us, sympathizing watchers, it made no sense.

The dialogues sound weird: the whites talk indigineos tongues, and the Natives speak pure English and swear a lot.

Costumes are unbelievable: clean shirts, light colors, white collars. A feel of theatre stage most of the time.

This tragic drama leaves uneasiness and sense of paralysing weakness: Big Bear and some of his people look dumbfound and somewaht clumsy in contrast to the 1884 photo below, which shows children of nature to be slim, yet tough as nails. J.W. Schultz once wrote, that on the old frontier it was considered impossible to knock down an Indian.

What's good? Tootoosis and the Cardinals acting, some new insights on Cree life and a lot of unuttered vocalization, mourning etc.

Photo: Big Bear Mistahimaskwa (center) trading at Fort Pitt, 1884


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