In 1953 Mexican Actress Rosaura Revueltas took the leading female role in the film“Salt of the Earth.” A film based on true events and was shot on location inNew Mexico. The Film became the only U.S. film in film history to be banned and kept from being released in theaters. Rosaura before the film could be finished was deported and black listed in both the United States and Mexico. Without the same decency or respect shown to white actors during the Red Scare in Hollywood. Revueltas was given no trial, hearing, or platform to defend herself, and was branded a Communist.
What would have happened if she was allowed into the Theater?
Would we all know her name?
This is a short found footage bio pic edited in the form of experimental cinema.
Finish the Job
I’ve taken a single short scene from the 1956 film THE SEARCHERS, directed by John Ford staring John Wayne and looped it multiple times. Unlike other people groups in the United States, the Native American has not had the historical trauma and acts of violence inflected against them documented through film and photography in the same way. The genocide and displacement of the Native American has been hidden away from much of the American psyche because of the Doctrine of Discovery and Manifest Destiny as the country expanded West. This expansion has been so vastly romanticized and a mythology created around this movement that the atrocities committed against the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas for the most part, has not been televised nor photographed. Of course the technology of the time had something to do with that however what we are left with are stories passed down, period news clippings, history books, novels, staged photos, and the film genera “The Western.” With the voice and eye of the Indigenous Person missing from many of these sources, their trust worthiness is suspect at best. With that said, when creating a found footage film that attempts to shine light on and cut through the mythos of the United States movement West, the Western created for me the best vehicle and source of imagery. Not to mention, when the star of the film is the embodiment of the American Ideal and an icon of its Manifest Destiny personified in John Wayne, the clip used in this piece makes perfect sense. John Wayne in this scene, shoots a deceased NativeAmerican man in each eye while he lies in his grave, after one of Wayne’s companions smashes a rock onto the head of the deceased man. Wayne then tells the man, “Why don’t you Finish the job!” from top of his horse. From his place of power, the iconic figure in his vileness and strategic act shows the true methodology of American police toward the Indigenous Peoples of this country. The purpose of the repetition and build up focusing on John Wayne is to show that this tragedy is ongoing today. The plan to keep the Indian wondering lost on their own land, is very real. I wanted to loop this clip as many times as possible because I believe the viewer needs to see it, hear it, feel it, in order to remove the myth from its horse. The way the clip only shows us the Indigenous man in the grave to establish who the recipient of the violence was and how we don’t actually see the rock or the bullets striking him, was important to me. The purposefulness in the way the piece was cut, was not to re-live trauma but instead to humanize him and focus on the power structure and intentionality of the violence in a way that makes the viewer uncomfortable. Americans don’t need to see a bloody, disfigured, dead Indian, they need to see themselves doing it…as many times, over and over again, until they do. I believe it’s in the “uncomfortableness,” that the process of acknowledgment of wrongs can begin, it’s in “acknowledgment,” that the path to understanding and healing can begin.
Letter from the Other Daughter of the Confederacy
I directed and edit this project. It is an excerpt from the poem "Letter from the Other Daughter of the Confederacy" interpreted through dance.
Poem written and narrated by the North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green