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LGM Film Club, Part 40: The Exiles

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I recently rewatched the extraordinary 1961 film The Exiles, directed by Kent MacKenzie. He got to know the Native community living in Los Angeles and shot a film about them, following a few through a 12-hour time period. The stories are fictionalized but reflect the real life experiences of people who had left reservations in Arizona during the 1950s, which the government was strongly encouraging them to do during the Termination era. At least is from the San Carlos Apache reservation, the others don’t say, but they may all be from there. This is also an amazing document of Los Angeles just before urban renewal tore all hell out of it. The density! The walkability! Sure these buildings were slums, but the neighborhood didn’t have to develop the way it did. As the great Sherman Alexie has noted about the film, it’s the first time he ever saw Indians pumping gas and drinking at a modern bar and doing things that regular people do. Just a fascinating piece of work. A 4 minute clip is on YouTube. But try to find the whole thing.

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