Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

THE BUSINESS OF FANCYDANCING

 

Year: 2002
Country: USA
Run Time: 87 minutes

Growing up on his Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state, Seymour Polatkin was considered just an undersized kid from a tragedy-scarred, alcoholic family ? a little Indian who cried too much. But today, in the white man's world, he's a feted Native American poet-author and commentator, dinner-guest of politicians and Pulitzer Prize winners, renown for his verse renderings of life in the Spokane Nation. Never mind that he wears three-piece suits and displays uncloseted homosexuality and ill-concealed contempt for his roots, he's a success story, right, kemo-sabe? The suicide of a boyhood friend (a gifted violinist who stayed with his people) brings Polatkin back to ?the Rez? for the ritual funeral and the prospect of uncomfortable reunions with the inspirations for his books. Like Agnes, a half-caste college lover he's never forgotten. Like Aristotle Joseph, an estranged tribal brother whose fierce anger and intellect would carry him only so far off the Reservation, until he could follow Seymour no longer. The passion of Seymour Polatkin takes place amidst flashbacks and psycho-dramatic dialogues in which an increasingly aggressive Interviewer (conscience? the trickster?) chips away at the characters' facades. Humorous, cutting, cathartic and sharp as a war arrow, THE BUSINESS OF FANCYDANCING offers a complex portrait of modern indigenous culture. And along the way it may just change your opinion about the names of certain baseball and football teams or their mascots.

Screenplay
Sherman Alexie

Director
Sherman Alexie

Producer
Larry Estes, Scott Rosenfelt

Cinematography
Holly Taylor

Editing
Holly Taylor

Principal Cast
Evan Adams, Michelle St. John, Gene Tagaban, Rebecca Carroll, Swil Kanim, Cynthia Geary

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