My Year of Drama – Manila Bulletin
Here are two films that play the drama, and this in very current settings. Together takes place during the COVID lockdown in London, as Wild Indian talks about the social dilemma Native Americans face today.
Ensemble (video on demand) – We’ve read enough about filming in a bubble and how production can continue even during lockdown; but it hasn’t been often that we’ve had a West movie that deals specifically with lockdown and tries to humanize what we’ve been going through for the past year and a half. This movie does exactly that, as it opens in March 2020, as Britain is on the verge of going into lockdown. We see a married couple, played by James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan, bring their groceries and essentials into the home they share with their son with special needs. And with razor-sharp humor, the two are on a tear, explaining how they actually hate each other, and without their son, they wouldn’t be together, and how the lockdown will be virtual hell.
Stephen Daldry, who directed Billy Elliott and The Hours, is at the helm here, from a script by Dennis Kelly; and it’s staged like we’re watching a play, with the fourth wall constantly breaking, as the couple often talk to us, the audience, seeking sympathy or understanding for their plight, or how we are all together in this horrible situation. It really works in spurts, as the overwhelming impression that the movie makes is as if a couple we know sit down, and complain and unload all of their “dirty laundry” for 90 minutes non-stop, and we don’t. can’t enter a word. The script is very precise and there is a lot of comedy, but I have to admit it can get overwhelming. The latest footage is dated March 2021, so it’s kind of a testament to how we’ve all survived this pandemic and how life and hope unfolds.
Wild Indian (video on demand) – It’s not often that we watch a movie about Native Americans, and we put them in a contemporary setting that isn’t grounded in life on the reservation, or how they were. stereotyped and treated so badly by white American society. So I’m going to hand it over to the producers behind this film, of which Jesse Eisenberg is one, for trying to come up with a new approach to the representation of these Indians. The film is divided into two basic periods. One is when the characters played by Michael Greyeyes and Chaske Spencer were just children, and how a tragic and fatal shooting marks them for life. And there is a prologue that has to do with an Indian of ancient times, staying away from his people and deciding to die alone, because he was infected with a disease contracted by mingling with whites.
The second period is about today and how the character played by Greyeyes seems to have assimilated, putting his tumultuous past behind him, and living a rose-tinted life, with a Caucasian woman (played by Kate Bosworth), and working in a company with Jesse Eisenberg, cameo-ing as his boss. When the character played by Spenser comes out of prison and resurfaces, it brings old, open wounds to the fore and fundamentally questions how far they’ve been able to put their past behind them. It also implies that much more than their own individual and troubled past, there is also the entire identity and heritage of being Native Americans that weighs on them. It is a gripping drama that depends a lot on personal circumstances; and the decisions and choices we make in life. I’m just wondering if this kind of movie will capture an audience here.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
CLICK HERE TO JOIN