Friday, January 16, 2009

The Exiles @ the Charles Theatre this week

Saturday, January 17 at Noon.
Monday, January 19 at 7 PM.
Thursday, January 22 at 9 PM.

THE EXILES (1961 Kent Mackenzie) Mary Donahue, Homer Nish, Clydean Parker. 72m. bw. Baltimore Premiere.

The Exiles (1961) chronicles a day in the life of a group of young Native Americans who left reservation life in the 1950s to live in the district of Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, California. Bunker Hill was then a blighted residential locality of decayed Victorian mansions, sometimes featured in the writings of Raymond Chandler, John Fante and Charles Bukowski. The structure of the film is that of a narrative feature, the script pieced together from interviews with the documentary subjects.

"CRITICS PICK. Kent Mackenzie's jazzy 1961 film chronicles a day in the life of a group of Native Americans who left their reservations in favor of the glitz and smoke fifties Los Angeles. Surprisingly enthralling and breathtakingly gorgeous, it's almost astonishing that this find languished in the archives for so long."

EXILES Website and Trailer

THE EXILES at the Charles is a must-see (Column by Michael Sragow)

"The restoration and long-delayed commercial release of 'THE EXILES,' a 1961 film about a largely forgotten corner of that deceptively bright city, is nothing less than a welcome act of defiant remembrance... A beautifully photographed slice of down-and-almost-out life, a near-heavenly vision of a near-hell that Mr. Mackenzie situated at the juncture of nonfiction and fiction. He tapped into the despair of this obscured world while also making room for the poetry and derelict beauty of its dilapidated buildings, neon signs, peeling walls and downcast faces."

"The desolate image of modern man cut off from any meaningful tradition, preserving identity only through group difference and hostility toward the patterns of environment, is, as people used to say, an 'eye-opener'... It [THE EXILES] is a work conceived in the tradition of Robert Flaherty - but instead of recreating a culture that has dissapeared, MacKenzie shows us the living ruins...In the future, those who are interested in the American motion picture, are likely to refer to 1961 not in terms of the big Hollywood productions, but as the year of THE EXILES and Sunday."

"This is just about the most gorgeous restoration of an American independent film I've ever seen."