May 30, 2007

Giat:  Sioux betrayed themselves

HBO feels 'Wounded'

The final chapter of the American Indians' doomed struggle to cling to their homeland gets a starkly realistic treatment in HBO's 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.'"My primary objective was to fully dimensionalize these people," Giat says. "Sitting Bull was vain. He was desperate to hold onto the esteem of his people and win the esteem of the whites. But I think in depicting his desperation and the measures he took in acting on it, it makes it all the more sad and tragic, and I think we identify with him all the more for it."

"People have an iconic view of Sitting Bull," says Yves Simoneau, the film's director, "but that image is restrictive. The way August played him, noble but far from perfect, made him the character the test audiences identified with the most—by a long way." Schellenberg played Sitting Bull in TNT's "Crazy Horse" (1995), but he is much more forceful here.

The key theme in the film that underscores the conflictedness of the Sioux at this cataclysmic moment in their history is that of self-betrayal. Two of Sitting Bull's warriors became tribal policemen at the Standing Rock Agency. One of them unintentionally tramples on his people's pride by killing a buffalo in a corral. The other, who shoots Sitting Bull, was the bitter father of the slain baby.
Comment:  See Hanay Geiogamah's response to this article. Also see my response to the same issues.

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