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Watching

The Exiles

Kent MacKen­zie’s film The Exiles is like watch­ing Ger­many Year Zero set in L.A. The film tells the sto­ry of a hand­ful of Native Amer­i­cans who’ve moved to Los Ange­les. Like Charles Bur­net­t’s Killer of Sheep, also released by Mile­stone Films, it shows anoth­er Los Ange­les, stripped of the glitz and glam­or.

Think Cas­savetes’ Shad­ows star­ring a cast of Native Amer­i­cans who are strug­gling to find a way to fit into a soci­ety that’s locked them out. This isn’t a bunch of beat­niks who feel them­selves apart from the main­stream; this is a film about peo­ple who live par­al­lel lives.

It’s amaz­ing to see movies from this peri­od shot in a neo­re­al­ist style. Not only do you get a great sense of the char­ac­ters in con­text, you get to see the city as it is. The streetscapes are as grit­ty as any­thing in a Hol­ly­wood noir. It’s an amaz­ing glimpse into a world almost com­plete­ly ignored in film. Def­i­nite­ly worth check­ing out.