The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, July 27-August 2

kanesatake-270

Kanesatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993)
Directed by Alanis Obomsawin
In 1990, the mayor of Oka, Quebec decided to take Mohawk tribe land to expand a golf course. Naturally, the Mohawks of Oka, who had no say in the matter, were not thrilled about this deal. Prolific documentarian Obomsawin began filming the plight of the Mohawk peoples when this clear injustice was germinating in the courts, but Mayor Jean Ouellette decided to ramp up the action by introducing the military to the tribal grounds’ few entrances. With their supply route cut off and their families threatened by armored cars, assault rifles, and a government-sponsored starvation, the Oka Mohawks began arming themselves to stand their ground or make an exit. Obomsawin gracefully cuts between the daily struggle of the resistance and the history of Oka’s colonization to bring the Canadian government’s already explicit discrimination and racial violence to the front line of her war film. By the end, Obomsawin keeps filming the perishing Kanesatake territory as food runs low, children are bayoneted, and hundreds of Mohawk warriors line up for a showdown nearly three hundred years in the making. They have a government-sanctioned guarantee to lose their battle, but Obomsawin’s polemical document gives strength to Kanesatake’s constant war. Zach Lewis (July 29, 9:45pm at Metrograph’s “Native to America”)

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