The Exiles (1961)
Critic Consensus: An historic film, The Exiles combines gritty realism and a loosely-spun, improvisational narrative to capture the lives of Native Americans adrift in a run-down Los Angeles neighborhood in the early 1960s.
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Critic Reviews for The Exiles
Kent MacKenzie's forgotten indie basks in the retroactive glow of never having had a theatrical release -- as if that somehow makes it a work of misunderstood genius.
A fascinating hybrid of art and life, The Exiles may not hew entirely faithfully to literal truth but nonetheless conveys a form of artistic honesty that is inescapable. It's a mesmerizing marriage of poetry and prose.
A ghostly and startling tale of Native Americans in Los Angeles -- a fusion of documentary and fiction -- in the late '50s. Never previously released, it's a revelation.
The Exiles ... presents one boozy night in the lives of Homer, Cliff, Tommy and Yvonne, from a convertible joy ride through the Third Street Tunnel, to an early-morning powwow.
Kent Mackenzie's magnificent, long-undistributed, unclassifiable first feature, The Exiles, stands as a rare consideration of the inner and outer lives of American Indians in a big American city.
Rife with astonishing black-and-white images of an unknown L.A. and clashing sounds of bars, cinemas and poker games, The Exiles is one of those movies that functions as both artifact and fresh discovery.
Audience Reviews for The Exiles
it is a time capsule of los angeles and a moving portrait of young urban indians in the late 1950s. featuring untrained actors who are startlingly natural and beautiful b/w photography of an LA that has changed beyond recognition, the film follows young men on a friday night of drinking from barhopping to their after party high above the city, where they drum and dance to recall their faraway homes. a remarkable film
I don't know how to react to this film. Am I supposed to empathize with these lazy, sluggish Indian men? Aimless, callous, unemployed spongers who do nothing but drink, smoke, flirt, fight and play cards? It's as if the script aims to reinforce negative stereotypes. "The Exiles" has virtually no dramatic shape. The men do nothing useful, while the women work and quietly endure their unhappiness. The story spans about a day, and nothing transformative occurs. And most of the dialogue and ambient noise is awkwardly looped in post-production -- this is alienating. In particular, the casual chatter in bars and cafes is painfully stiff. The filmmakers deserve credit for making a worthwhile sociological statement on a non-existent budget but, beyond that, there's little to recommend "The Exiles" beyond some interesting glimpses of early-'60s Los Angeles.
[font=Century Gothic]At its best when photographing the exteriors of a lost city, "The Exiles" is an ethnographic docudrama about a trio of American Indians(Yvonne Williams, Homer Nish & Tom Reynolds) over a twelve hour period in Los Angeles. The men hang out, play poker, and get drunk. For them, they have lost confidence in the future, being twice removed from their traditional lives. Yvonne who is pregnant is lonely as she goes to the movies while the men make the rounds before spending the night at a friend's place. For herself, any hope for the future she reserves for her unborn child for whom she is staying in the city to give him a better chance at leading a rewarding life.[/font]
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