Essential Cinema: The Original Indies: The Birth of American Independent Cinema


Directed by Kent Mackenzie

USA, 1961, 1h 12min, DCP

Essential Cinema  The Original Indies: The Birth of American Independent Cinema

There are no current or future screenings planned for this film.

“An arresting accomplishment.”
Time Magazine

“This is just about the most gorgeous restoration of an American independent film I’ve ever seen.”
—Jonathan Rosenbaum

“The character, cultural, and historical values of THE EXILES would be enough for a dozen movies, but it’s also a mind-blowing formal achievement.”
LA CityBeat

“MIRACULOUS … Few directors in the history of cinema have so skillfully and deeply joined a sense of place with the subtle flux of inner life.”
The New Yorker

Though it played the Venice Film Festival at the time of its release, this loose, jazzy look at 20-something Native Americans living in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles soon fell into obscurity after failing to receive theatrical distribution. Pieced together from interviews with a loving attention to detail by community outsider Kent Mackenzie, the film avoids many of the pratfalls of its contemporaries with its dedication to an authenticity of the moment.

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