SXSW Film

Daily reviews and interviews

Older Than America

D: Georgina Lightning; with Adam Beach, Tantoo Cardinal, Bradley Cooper, Lightning, Wes Studi, Steve Yoakum, Chris Mulkey, Glen Gould, Dennis Banks, Gloria Eshkibok

In her directorial debut, Georgina Lightning implicates the Catholic Church in what some might consider an ongoing genocide. The film, also written by Lightning, is a ghost story/suspense drama about a woman who starts having visions of her mother's experience at an Indian boarding school in Minnesota that reveal deep wounds of a small community. The project here is to unveil the little-known history of the extraction of children from their families for mandatory enrollment in boarding schools that aimed to "kill the Indian, save the man." The most obvious parallel to Older Than America in approach and intent are The Magdalene Sisters, which explored the mistreatment of "fallen" women at Church-run asylums in Ireland, and Rabbit-Proof Fence, which followed the journey home of three young girls, members of Australia's Stolen Generation of Aboriginal children. Beautifully shot, if somewhat weakened by Beach's performance, Older Than America packs an emotional wallop with its ultimately healing gesture.

Friday, March 14, 4:15pm, Paramount

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