West of What

West of What?! as in, What the Hell Was That?

WestofWhat

The Western genre did more than any other to promote the myths of westward expansion, define a narrow traditional view of masculinity, present absurd gender stereotypes for women, and normalize genocide. Rather than lock them up as politically incorrect images of our shared past, West of What?! wades into this complicated vision, from casting Rock Hudson as Young Bull in Winchester ’73, to more complex yet still questionable treatments of race and ethnicity in Little Big Man. If we peel back a layer or two, we can find trailblazing directors like Nicholas Ray, more recently Kelly Reichardt, and many in-between, who question those assumptions and present more problematic views of the West. A quartet of educators, writers and programmers will be presenting different visions of the West throughout the rest of 2017 and well into 2018. We hope you’ll join us for a fascinating journey, into the West.

In the Land of the War Canoes / Nanook of the North

Introduced by Roger Fernandes, Educator, Storyteller, Tribal Historian. Roger provides a framework for looking at films within the Western genre in new and far more revolutionary ways than traditional Hollywood histories presume. By looking for what is missing, we can discover the profound presence of Native peoples that can help guide us to a new understanding of the Western. Roger begins with In the Land of the War Canoes (1914) by Edward Curtis and Nanook of the North (1922) by...
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Little Big Man

Introduced by Roger Fernandes
Adapted from the novel by Thomas Berger, Little Big Man opens with the spoken reminiscences of 121-year-old Jack Crabbe (Dustin Hoffman, immersed in tons of age makeup). In flashbacks, we see how, as a young and wide-eyed frontiersman, Crabbe is adopted by an Indian tribe led by philosophy-spouting Chief Dan George. The film's highlight is the Little Big Horn massacre, with megalomaniac General Custer (Richard Mulligan) self-destructing as Crabbe looks on. Faye Dunaway shows up along...
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Atanarjuat: Fast Runner

Introduced by Roger Fernandes
This sweeping epic features a cast of Inuit actors and is based on one of their ancient legends. Natar Ungalaaq stars as a young Inuit who falls for a woman (Sylvia Ivalu) who has been promised to the unlikable son of the tribal chief. The drama plays out against a stark Arctic background and includes some astonishing outdoor sequences....
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Meek’s Cutoff

Introduction by educator, film critic, and writer Melissa Tamminga
The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon train of three families has hired mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a shortcut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants face the scourges of hunger, thirst...
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