Aug 24- Q&A for Pop-up Cinema Screening “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” at Bi’bek in #Berlin

 

Aug.24-I’ll be part of a Pop-Up Cinema #10 Q&A with audiences, along with Jason Ryle from imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Event in association with Berlinale NATIVe and Humboldt Forum. Free admission to see this terrific drama-comedy “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” directed by Taika Waititi.

Synopsis: “The rebellious Ricky is growing up without parents and the child welfare agency places him in a foster home in a remote part of New Zealand with the pragmatic Auntie Bella and her grumpy husband Hec. Ricky feels at home there for the first time ever – but then Auntie Bella dies and Ricky is supposed to go and live with a new foster family. Instead he flees into the bush and has an incredible adventure with Hec, closely pursued by a police manhunt.”

In the third part of its programme, the Pop-Up Cinema is screening the 2016 film Hunt for the Wilderpeople, an adventure comedy by Maori director Taika Waititi (whose other film credits include What We Do in the Shadows).

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
D: Taika Waititi
New Zealand 2016, 101 min
English with German subtitles
Free admission

Deutsch

“Der rebellische Ricky wächst ohne Eltern auf wird und vom Sozialamt im „neuseeländischen Nirgendwo“ bei der pragmatischen Auntie Bella und deren griesgrämigen Ehemann Hec untergebracht. Hier fühlt sich Ricky erstmals in seinem Leben wie zuhause, doch dann stirbt Auntie Bella und Ricky soll einer neuen Pflegefamilie zugewiesen werden. Er flieht in den Busch, und gemeinsam mit Hec erlebt er ein unfassbares Abenteuer, während die Polizei mit einem Großaufgebot nach ihnen sucht.”

Das Pop-Up Cinema von Humboldt Forum und Berlinale NATIVe zeigt in seinem dritten Block die neuseeländische Abenteuer-Filmkomödie Hunt for the Wilderpeople des maorischen Regisseurs Taika Waititi (u.a. 5 Zimmer Küche Sarg) aus dem Jahr 2016.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
R: Taika Waititi
Neuseeland 2016, 101 Min
Englisch mit deutschen Untertiteln
Eintritt frei

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Karl May Museum’s Lastest on Human Remains? WE Decide, Not You. We’re in Control. #Repatriation

These photos were taken by and copyright to Mark Worth, used with his permission.

This photo was taken by and copyright to Mark Worth, used with his previous permission.

A “case study” by Robin Leipold, curator of the Karl May Museum in Radebeul, Germany. Karl May is the German author who created the stereotypical “American Indian” character Winnetou, peopling his dozens of books and later films with fabricated, mythical, heavily distorted “Indians”, but “positive” characters, not the vicious or dumb savages churned out by the USA. That’s why some try to claim it’s not so bad, and No, it’s not the same, but the effects of stereotyping are.

Forum: R. Leipold: The “Recommendations for the Care of Human Remains” in Practice: Case Study of the Karl May Museum Radebeul
This town is Germany is the homebase for Karl May fans, and hosts an annual festival each May. A festival which some Natives are invited to and attend, and without fail and no sarcasm whatsoever, are treated close to royalty as many Germans were introduced to “native culture” through May’s work and natives who dress and are believed to be traditional and thus “authentic”, due to appearance based on stereotypes, most certainly are. One isn’t faulting them, most have been misinformed for decades. There are lots of sincere people in Germany about native concerns as they understand them, but behavior and practices of the dominant culture still remain: appropriation. We believe it’s a unique opportunity that can benefit both, but this particular situation is unacceptable.

This same musuem (and others in Germany, but especially this one because they say they’re celebrating native culture) has been holding and refusing to return Native American scalps for years. Dismissing or ignoring entreaties to return these relatives home for proper, respectful treatment and burial. I was contacted and alerted in 2013 and began researching and writing, and by 2014, when invited to the festival I declined to participate in a “Q&A” on Native spirituality, not just because I won’t take part in any such affair but because of their holding native captives. So, almost 3 years of talks, negotiated and bluster, this is the latest from the museum.

Full of Eurocentrized interpretations of Native American cultures and practices, dripping with colonialism and pure German rationalé: that since they haven’t yet written guidelines and established protocols using only their logic and reasoning, the human remains cannot be returned. The level of white privilege and white supremacist behavior, the objectification of Native peoples is so deep, I could barely read the whole. So much for those who call themselves “Indian” experts, knowledgeable of native peoples and cultures, because obviously they have no respect or understanding of the Peoples, or even of cultural bridges.

And part of all this is reinforced when Natives and other allies are told, because we’ve been repeatedly told these exact phrases by staff and directors from KKM:

  • “Natives have visited many times and THEY never complained about the scalps.” (How could they, they were your guests!)
  • “Oh, natives were battling each other all the time and taking these trophies, what is the issue of us having them?” (If you can’t see it, it’s because you don’t want to. Multiple Native individuals, nations and organizations have informed you.)

Or by Natives: “They don’t know. We must educate them” On topics like these? They KNOW, they chose to ignore. When you’re not here year round, aren’t aware of the issues and know what they’re doing otherwise, your presence validates and further exacerbates the continuing colonialism, racism and silencing of minorities and ethnicities’ voices so they can continue their privileged play. These aren’t generally interested villagers you’re dealing with but those who consider themselves experts and wish to remain in control as decision-makers. Unacceptable. There are people who you can reach and help educate, and that’s what our documentary Forget Winnetou-Going Beyond Native Stereotypes in Germany is about. We’ve been researching and working hard to bring it to the world, about the REAL story behind Germany’s fascination with Natives, and it’s fall-out. Help us reach our goal.

Learn more here.
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My past articles and appearances on the topic of these human remains:

Karl May Museum Reneges on Agreement to Return #NativeAmerican Scalps

“Forget Winnetou!” Our #Documentary on #NativeAmericans in Germany, Stereotypes & Reeducating the Resistant

“Whether from novels, non-native historians and so-called native experts, US systematic, institutional racism and white privilege caused the spread of misinformation and misinterpretation of natives around the world. In the US,  native stereotypes and Eurocentric perspectives at times nearly subsumed real natives and their reality.

From kindergarten to post-doctoral university, misinformation and skewed history has miseducated generations. Whether in books, film, pop culture and fashion or on sport fields as mascots, native identities have been stolen, and that theft justified with a sense of ownership and superiority.

Along with minimization of the challenges native peoples face to represent and present themselves, disregard or dismissal of native concerns and those negative impacts to their lives continues to be widespread. Such attitudes and behaviors have also spread to and flourished in Germany. However, Germany presents a unique opportunity for reeducation for several reasons….”

 


“Forget Winnetou! Going Beyond Native Stereotypes in Germany” is a documentary film project by Timo Kiesel of Glokal e.V., and Red Haircrow. It is currently in pre-production. The film will be approximately 45mins-1hr in running length.

More information can be found on their website, and updates and news on Facebook and Twitter.

Film Review: “Autism in Love” (2015)

Autism-in-Love-770x400

“Autism in Love follows the story of four adults with autism spectrum disorders as they search for and manage romantic relationships.”

Director: Matt Fuller

Writer: Ira Heilveil (concept by)

 

Originally shown on PBS, this low-key yet heart-touching, even heartbreaking documentary included expressions my son has made, especially those of the young man Lenny. Most people know the word autism or have heard the term Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some have, at least, a vague definition of what that means, but usually a stereotypical view of how people with autism or Asperger’s spectrum disorders act, how they look, speak, learn and live. This has also been evident in film, such as in “Rain Man”, which stereotype is pervasive. Those with the diagnosis, of course, share some similarities, some baseline behaviors, but individuals can greatly vary as the word spectrum suggests. Not all act like “Rain Man”, and some of the most hurtful words you can say or they can hear is, “You don’t look like–“, “You don’t act like–” as if that is some kind of compliment or something they should be proud of because you said it.

In any case, what the majority of people don’t have is personal interaction or knowledge of these ones, their homes or even more so, how home life, growing up, teaching them, every day interactions go. My son was “normal”, meaning higher spectrum, but a head injury at eleven years old, a result of being bashed in the head with a locker by a bully, resulting in a hole in his skull. It changed his behavior and personality in definite ways. There was cognitive issues, loss of memory but also, and in some ways more devastating, the terrible blow to his self-confidence, self-esteem, trust of people, especially other young people, and of any school setting as staff had repeatedly dismissed or ignored his and our requests for help with and protection from harassment.

Young adults are often very cognizant of being “different”, real or perceived. They want to be “normal”, just as the subjects of the film repeatedly expressed, but as autists or Aspies, being treated like they’re dumb, weird, unworthy, or strange is too often what is normal. Because of some of the inabilities they have such as with self-expression or self-defense, they can come to live in fear of not just others, but also of life never changing: of always feeling/being useless, a perpetual flawed child, of being “stupid” or incapable. Continue reading

Native Perspectives Film Review: “The Revenant” (2015)

revenant

THE REVENANT

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writers: Mark L. Smith (screenplay), Alejandro González Iñárritu (screenplay)
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson & Full Cast

 

Review:
With its honest portrayal of life spend in nature, the shifts between intense action and often tedious but necessary patient waiting and work, “The Revenant” was rumored to be an unforgettable film centered on Leonard DiCaprio’s performance and it delivered. “The Revenant” is directed by Mexico-born Alejandro González Iñárritu, an award-winning writer, director and producer born, an artist known for works highlighting the complexity of human motivations and needs. Self-described as music more often influencing for his work than other films, one easily discerned this in his latest offering for it was like watching a movie equivalent of a symphony: slow movements, a rising crescendo, and at last a finalé and resolution.

There have been survival dramas in the past, and the closest equivalent I can think of is “Jeremiah Johnson” (1972), whose titular character was played by Robert Redford. A similar theme of vengeance against those who wronged and murdered his adopted native family is central, as well as the poignant ending. DiCaprio’s character Hugh Glass was left to die after a bear attack, though mostly because his former comrades rationalize this eventuality is best to save themselves from threatening natives. Thomas Hardy’s character, John Fitzgerald, is most outspoken to abandon Glass along with a half native son, whose people and all natives John deeply hates. However, he volunteers to stay behind to witness Glass’ passing, but as soon as the others leave his rancor is made evident to both Glass and his son. Continue reading