Monthly Archives: February 2013

Shouting Secrets:  Producer/Director Korinna Sohringer
Chaske Spencer (Wesley), Q’orianka Kilcher (Pinti), Tyler Christopher (Tushka), Gil Birmingham (Cal), Tonantzin Carmelo (Caitlyn), Tantoo Cardinal (June), Connor Fox (Brody)

at IMDB 
Review by Russ Imrie, February, 2013 IMDB

An excellent family film about an artist who leaves his more conservative, ethnically traditional family to make it big in America and his return at a time of family crisis. Sort of. But wait. This sounds like the classic narrative of immigration to America. Irish or Italian? A Scarface or a Sugar? Not. In this film America moved THERE, onto the land of the family of June, an Apache matriarch living on the San Carlos reservation. Just a few years ago, film pushed a myth that was a little different.

Tumbleweed (1953 film)

Tumbleweed (1953 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shouting Secrets sets that to one side and moves on. Spencer plays Wesley, writer [maybe] getting his big break and Tyler Christopher is the brother Tushka who comes to fists with Wesley over his ambitions in remote cities. This thread, the conflict between the parochial pressure to stay local and the ambition to succeed “out there” in mainstream American culture is well done, with a sub-thread of Wesley’s dealings (or misdealings?) with his publisher.

The film brings in bits of most issues on the minds of  Native Americans’ daily lives. Not everything, but enough to resonate and bring a smile.

Then a crisis strikes June and all those around her. The characters shift and manuever and adapt

Media Seen Too blog is solely the creation of Russ Imrie, an American Indian DC area resident. I also blog on tech and politics at supTweet and contribute occasionally to the China Daily Mail blog

Yes, Oscar is baffling sometimes but he’s got a great gig. Oscar entertains opinions about entertainers from the [more or less] entertained. It doesn’t get much better than that.

But. Wait.

Django is in the room. Right here in River City. In your face mutha—–. I saw the film in a theater in Arlington, Virginia, about 4 miles from the White House. Samuel Jackson’s character, Steven (fetchit?) dishes out another take on the other Big House and…what? Uh, I really can’t make this an arty critique. As an American Indian, I am familiar with the light, tiny, and acceptable cinematic connections to malignant realities of history. But Django is a nuke among cherry bombs.

This film is so gripping it’s almost a crime. The row of Anglo men sitting in front of me let out a few nervous laughs here and there but not the guffaws a Bruce Willis might have elicited. Over the top and direct, non-fiction fictionalized and hardened for penetrating deeply into the defenses of the souls beyond souls, Quentin Tarantino has seemed to have succeeded in bringing a true, hidden (for Americans would have and did, butcher any man of color in 1858 who had any pretensions at parity or lethal weapons too) diary or letter to life. The carcass of many a western will lay steaming out on the frozen prairie for genres to come.

Except not nominated this year by my little couch-potato buddy, a film as real, no wait, more? real, as gripping, as Django; Frank Martin’s For The Love of Liberty which I coincidentally screened at a Social Media Week forum Friday in the Pentagon area. Though an “official” documentary you might see at a National Park or on he History Channel, it up and joined the formation and buzzed the status quo too. That being the comfy exclusion of the lives of Colored men and women who were, and are, “Django” incarnate.

The Harlem Volunteer Battalion who assembled and went to fight in France in WW!, then were refused a chance to join ‘American” (white) volunteers heard Django’s pal Dr. Schultz in the French army‘s welcome to join them. They fought and died in French uniforms, with French rifles, and learned French-style freedom.

They listened when an American general informed the French that they mustn’t make a mistake, that these men though Americans, were Negroes and shouldn’t  get any crazy ideas about equality from leurs comrades because they sure wouldn’t have it when or if they made it back home!

So sometimes Oscar gets close to getting it right, at least in my opinion. My viewpoint is my own and we all have ours. Some  of these nominees are silly, some are not but I’m glad to see some meat on the table. Thanks Quentin.

Media Seen Too blog is solely the creation of Russ Imrie, an American Indian DC area resident. I also blog on tech and politics at supTweet and contribute occasionally to the China Daily Mail blog

We Women Warriors, Director: Nicole Karsin , with DorisLudis, and Flor Ilva

Russ Imrie, February, 2013

We Women Warriors is a compelling documentary that follows three Colombian indigenous women, DorisLudis, and Flor Ilva, as they grow and lead their villages and communities through the dangerously fraught conflicts in their midst. Available on DVD at link below.

(in recognition of International Women’s Day – the DC Independent Film Festival is presenting the film in a free showing March 8 in Washington DC – tickets required but free – and Shouting Secrets is playing with its all-star Native American cast Sunday March 10 – with cast members present)

This is a film for seriously interested thinkers and followers of indigenous women’s struggles and leadership. The Colombian army, paramilitaries and rebels all orchestrate actions and violence that impact the civilian community and have lethal consequences for the three women. They then emerge to lead non-violent actions and national media activity and bring the glare of public opinion on the malignant forces that use their territories as a battle ground.

I viewed this film some time ago in a room filled with a female Native audience in North America. The opinion was that it was awesome and very compelling. Children, murdered spouses, state and criminal violence, all sounded a chord with the audience, ranging in age from 16 to elders.

online resources and more information

Side Effects: Director Steven Soderburgh, Writer/Screenplay Scott Z. Burns

A short review by Russ Imrie February 14, 2013

A drama of twists upon twists. No, it’s not a hit piece on big pharma. Well, sort of—but it leaves no one out of the dirt. From deeply disturbed Emily (Mara) to sensitive psychologist Dr. Banks (Law), treating Emily with a cocktail of psychoactive prescription drugs pushed by a craven drug industry.

The sex (not graphic) steams and takes an unexpected turn. The entire cast make a complex story very, even uncomfortably, real. Character development succeeds in swaying our feelings for the personalities of each as they fluidly shift from good, to evil, and back again. A neat trick most films channel into a linear mode. Not here. Like life, it could end at any time and the story to that point could almost stand on its own—then it kicks in and shifts happen.


Our senses felt massaged by skillfull hands, pain, bliss, intrigue, the deepest appetites are gratefully and skillfully savored and stimulated.



English version in following post


Poster from Wikipedia – “Shodo Girls” as distributed in Japan

At Wikipedia:







Shodo Girls (sketchy synopsis) at IMDB?
Review by Russ Imrie Feb 2, 2013

Poster from Wikipedia – “Shodo Girls” as distributed in Japan

At Wikipedia:

Production of: Nippon Television Network Corporation and Warner Bros.


I was fortunate to view Shodo Girls at the Japanese Information and Cultural Center (Embassy of Japan) on 18th Street in Washington DC.
At first, the cultural milieu seems stilted. But then you “get it” and the terseness evolves into an appreciation of the film’s framework—the drive, the community dynamics, the art of Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy), and something everyone can relate to, a cherished hometown and its people.

The true storyline actually evolved into an annual Shodo competition among schools from across Japan. Here’s a YouTube video of a recent one.

Riko Narumi as Satoko Hayakawa (早川 里子?) leads the way, hard-headed and driven. Her breakthrough moment comes as the school calligraphy club shrinks and is losing members, many upset with her style. The community’s tradition as a center for the arts of calligraphy and premium, hand-made paper are at risk as business slows in the general business slowdown of 2008-2009.

Insight and the contributions of the goofy substitute club mentor, family and friends in the paper trade, some less-straight-laced club members, and ultimately the city’s wholehearted appreciation of the art unleash her. The final scenes of the messy, musical competition that takes place at the high school gym had the audience in tears. It’s a good one.

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