• Directors and scriptwriters: Chris Kientz and Shonie De La Rosa
• Funded by: National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institute
• Produced by: Dona Ana Community College
• Length: 26 minutes, possible feature-length film later
• Stars: Ernie Tsosie and Gerald Vandever
Where do the spirits go when they are no longer remembered? And who shepherds them back to their native land? "Retired" is a short film that employs the conceit of a world where gods still live and die among men to explore questions of individual belief and cultural identity as well as the mystery and meaning of faith. The script is written by award-winning Cherokee animator Chris Kientz and Navajo filmmaker Shonie De La Rosa.
Two men are revealed to be much more than they initially seem. First there is Nameless, a young Native American man obviously lost and searching to understand who he is, as well as remember his name and his purpose in living. This quest to find out who he is begins at the Glittering World Casino, where he is strangely compelled to play the slots. He hits the jackpot, but fails to attain the revelation he is seeking. He's thrown out of the casino and taken to the Running Indian truck stop nearby. There he meets Pete, who appears to be little more than an old man as lost as Nameless. But Pete is hardly lost, and more importantly, he knows the true nature of what Nameless is, and what he is really searching for. By the end of the film both Nameless and Pete find what they are looking for in the strangest of places.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.
Below: The logo of Retired's fictional casino. It feature what looks like an Apache gan, a holy spirit.
I'm not convinced any Indian casino would put a sacred dancer on its logo. Casinos want logos that say good luck and prosperity, not faith and spirituality.