Angry Letter: Native American cinema

I received this e-mail from someone named Gene, in response to my review of “5th World,” a film that played at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Gene writes:

I recently saw “5th World” at the Santa fe Film estival, and I must say I’m as angry as I’ve ever been in my life after I stumbled on your “review” of this film. [“Review” is in quotation marks to indicate it’s not really a review. As you know, if you disagree with something, it stops being what it claims to be. So no, I was not speeding, “officer”!]

If you’re going to cop to not knwoing anything about the rythm and pace of resevation life, how in the name of God can you have allowed a last line about “doing disservice” to navajo’s?! I libve in New Mexico, am not Nvajo, but this was as outrageous a take from a white person on a minority sensibility as I’ve ever read. A “disservice” in who’s frigging eyes? [Probably mine. Y’know, since it was my review and all.] An incredibly white point of view. [Is that an insult? It’s phrased like an insult, but all he’s saying is that I’m white and I think like a white person, both of which are true.]

Sorry if Blackhorse Lowe didn’t meet your expecatation sof teaching you something and rescuing you from your admtted ignorance. That wasn’t the film he clearly set out to make. A shame you couldn’t have reviewed it on the level he offered.

My saying the movie was a “disservice to Native Americans” was in reference to the film being dull and nearly unwatchable — facts that would prevent Native American artists such as Larry Blackhorse Lowe from finding a mainstream, “white” audience.

If the movie was only meant to interest Native Americans, that’s fine. But he probably shouldn’t have entered it in the Sundance Film Festival, then, where it played to a general audience and thus is liable to be judged against the other movies playing in the festival, many of which were much better than “5th World.”

By the way, a good rule of thumb is not to write e-mails when you are as angry as you’ve ever been in your life. It maks you mispell evry othr word.