Broken Rainbow (1985)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB

USA, 1985.  Earthworks Films.  Screenplay by , Victoria Mudd, .   Cinematography by , , Victoria Mudd, , .  Produced by , Maria Florio, Victoria Mudd.  Music by , .  Film Editing by Maria Florio, Victoria Mudd.  

America’s devastating history of strife between European and indigenous citizens is examined in this haunting, heartbreaking documentary. It concerns the controversy that arose in 1974 when the U.S. government decided that the citizens of a Navajo reservation in Arizona would be moved off their land, supposedly in the name of “bettering” their lives by forcing a so-called primitive, agrarian people to live in civilized urbanity.

What this documentary suggests, and has some pretty strong evidence to back the suggestion up, is that the rich resources of oil underneath the Hopi land is a key motivator in this forced relocation, one whose resistance and struggle carries on to this day.

Director Victoria Mudd does a fantastic job of capturing all sides of the conflict, taking you into a culture that is smack dab in the middle of the most famous nation on earth and yet feels like it is set in a completely different world:  these people think of Washington as a person, not a place, and react to their treatment not with ignorance but complete disbelief at how very much they are disrespected in their desire to live their lives their way.

Mudd uses historical footage and interviews with both natives and politicians to capture the destruction of a people and the devastation of the land upon which they live, and does so to magnificent effect. Narrated by .

Academy Award:  Best Documentary Feature


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