November 29, 2006

Christmas subverts stereotypes

Native Nativity?In most movies, Montgomery says from her home in San Francisco, “Native Americans are either [portrayed as] the soothsayer medicine man or the drunk troublemaker.” In “Christmas in the Clouds,” they are yuppies, or the Native equivalent. The main character, Ray Clouds on Fire (Timothy Vahle), is the manager of an upscale resort lodge owned by his tribe who is determined to get a good review from a secret critic arriving in town while falling in love with one of his lodge guests. The movie also stars Graham Greene of “Dances With Wolves” fame as a vegetarian chef who mourns the passing of each turkey.

“There’s a Native take on things that I find hilarious,” says Montgomery, taking note of the group’s unique sense of humor. Movies, she says, “always played on these tragic tales of woe, always with an accompanying guilt trip. There’s a risk of self-pity.” The danger, she says, is that though such movies mean well, the Native American sees himself or herself portrayed most of all as a loser.

Hollywood likes it that way. It sells tickets.
For more on Christmas in the Clouds, see A Christmas Full of Cheer and Screwball Native Comedy Has Hit Potential—and a Problem.

1 comment:

Rob said...

The producer and I (in the article I wrote) tried to compare it to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but the studios didn't bite. Of course, it wasn't quite as good as Wedding, which may have been part of the problem. A little rewriting might have turned this pleasant diversion into a hit comedy.