Film & Discussion: Kent MCKenzie's The Exiles
ATA Gallery's OTHER CINEMA, in the last of our Psycho-Geography trilogy, unspools a recently re-discovered 16mm print of the little-seen Native American neo-realist treasure, The Exiles.
While he was a film student at USC in the mid-50s, director Kent MacKenzie chanced upon Bunker Hill, the low-rent neighborhood on the west edge of downtown Los Angeles, when it was first threatened with demolition. He became fascinated with a subculture of Arizona Indians living there, eventually organizing a loose group of non-professionals to more or less play themselves in a compelling story of a long Friday night. Full of loneliness, yearning and little flashes of happiness, this semi-improvised group-portrait is a wrenching chronicle of cultural dislocation and a remarkable record of a city that has vanished.
Introduction by archivist Steve Polta, relating the rich background of the production and restoration of this semi-documentary feature.