Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Year Of" Movie TODAY: The Business of Fancydancing

Don't miss this week's free movie, sponsored by The Year of North American Native Peoples! Today's offering, The Business of Fancydancing from acclaimed indigenous filmmaker Sherman Alexie, will be shown at 2 pm in the theater at the Funk Heritage Center.

The following plot synopsis is taken from the official Web site,

"Buddies Forever, Man!"

A poetic story of growth, death and the choices that define us, The Business of Fancydancing reunites Spokane Reservation best friends Aristotle Joseph (Gene Tagaban) and Seymour Polatkin (Evan Adams) sixteen years after their high school graduation.

Beginning with a brief flashback to the young men's enthusiastic look to the unlimited future, the film mirrors both Aristotle and Seymour as they leave the "rez" for college in Seattle. Though these co-valedictorians left the rez for the white world in an identical state of excitement, their success in Seattle would ultimately differ dramatically and eventually set them against one another.

As Seymour flourishes in college and embraces the advantages and opportunities in the white world, things don't go as well for Aristotle . The rift between the two former friends opens wider as Seymour builds a successful literary career as a poet, becoming (as Aristotle describes him), "the little public relations warrior," and the not-entirely willing spokesman for all American Indians, many of whom can't stomach him.

Complicating Seymour's life further is news of the sudden death of his childhood friend, Mouse (Swil Kanim), a talented violinist and the cynical jester of the rez. Seymour feels obligated to return for the first time in years to the people who would probably prefer that he just stay away. His white lover, Steven, would also prefer Seymour not turn back to his past, and fears that if Seymour goes, he might not come back.

"They're not your tribe anymore, I'm your tribe."

The only person on the rez who seems to welcome Seymour is his college girlfriend, Agnes Roth (Michelle St. John), who though not rez-born and raised, is half-Jewish and half Spokane Indian. Though in love with Seymour in college, Agnes had the unfortunate experience of being the second person to learn that Seymour was gay, and as a result hasn't seen him for years. Agnes' perspective of the past is more forgiving then others' however, perhaps colored by her present life as a schoolteacher on the Spokane reservation.

Once at the wake, tensions are heightened as Aristotle and Agnes have now become lovers, and Aristotle's long festering bitterness is dangerously exposed by Seymour's arrival.

One by one, memories of Mouse are shared...and eventually it is Seymour's turn to speak. Does anyone want to hear him? Does he even have anything to say?

The secrets of these people and their pasts are coaxed out by way of interspersed interviews conducted by a very aggressive woman (Rebecca Carroll). Sitting confrontationally in a black room situated between our world and the next, the unnamed interviewer continually pushes for answers in an unanswerable situation, drawing the audience ever nearer to the heart of Alexie's story.

(I'm just going to go ahead and let you all know right now: you'd better go to the Funk today to watch this movie, because I intend to check the movie out as soon as it's returned to the library)!

As always, library director (and Year Of chair) Michael Martinez will be on hand to discuss the film and answer any questions.

Don't forget: our "Year Of" contest is coming to an end! If you want a chance to win a Wii, you need to enter by April 15! Just watch any "Year Of" film (this one counts) or read any "Year Of" book on reserve at the library, write a brief review and send it to Karen Preslock at

Here's a little something to whet your appetite for the movie today:

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