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The Exiles

Friday, January 7 - Sunday, January 9, 2011

Playing with Mackenzie’s rarely screened short film BUNKER HILL!

Selected for the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, THE EXILES (1961) is an incredible feature film by Kent MacKenzie chronicling a day in the life of a group of twenty-something Native Americans who left reservation life in the 1950s to live in the district of Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, California. Bunker Hill was then a blighted residential locality of decayed Victorian mansions, sometimes featured in the writings of Raymond Chandler, John Fante and Charles Bukowski. The structure of the film is that of a narrative feature, the script pieced together from interviews with the documentary subjects.

Despite (or because of) the fact that no other films at the time were (and still very few now are) depicting Native American peoples (aside from the overblown stereotypes in Westerns) let alone urban Native Americans, THE EXILES could not find a distributor willing to risk putting it out theatrically, and so over the years it fell into obscurity, known and loved by cinephiles and admired for its originality and honesty by such Native American filmmakers as Chris Eyres (Smoke Signals, 1998) and Ben-alex Dupris (experimental filmmaker and writer) but remaining largely unseen to the public, including communities like the ones depicted in the film. The film’s release has provided the opportunity to redeem this fact.

  • Country USA
  • Rating NR
  • Year 1961
  • Running Time 72 minutes
  • Director Kent Mackenzie