Friday 24 June 2016

Neither Wolf Nor Dog - film review

This film follows writer Kent Nerburn (Christophier Sweeney) as he travels with native American / Indian elder Dan (Chief Dave Bald Eagle) who chooses to refer to himself as Indian, and his best friend to find the truth of the native American / Indian experience. It is an eye opening film that doesn't shy away from portraying the cultural misunderstandings between Nerburn and Dan, nor does it flinch from the struggles of the Indian peoples against the white colonisers of their land and the enduring shadow that history casts over communities and families.

I was to some extent confused by this film, I had expected it to be a documentary, which it obviously isn't, then I thought it was a dramatisation of a real life story, but then I read that Nerburn's book Neither Wolf nor Dog is a novel, but after reading reviews of the book I think mostly it's a true story. Certainly the stories that Dan tells of his people's lives are truth, and truth that we all could benefit from hearing.

I do however suspect that in terms of really learning about the history and lives of native Americans / Indians, the book will offer much more than the film, which isn't a criticism of the film, it's just an acknowledgement that a book can pack much more substance into its pages than this film packed into its 90 minutes, insightful though those 90 minutes are.

Neither Wolf nor Dog is showing as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival:

1805, 24 June at Odeon.

 You can read my other reviews from this year's film festival by following the links below:

Endless Night.

The Lure

Homo Sapiens

Belles Familles.

The Olive Tree.

 Death is Only the Beginning - my review of The Correspondence and The Library Suicides.

The Mine.

The Islands and the Whales.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Bugs - are insects the food of the future?

Disclaimer: I have a press pass for the Edinburgh International Film Festival and attended free press screenings of these films


RG said...

There were so many interactions between different groups of "American Indians" and the whites moving westward over many years. Many different experiences and results. It would be not possible to put it all in any book about 2 people. But it could be a good picture of one of those interactions.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Rabbits Guy, I agree, totally impossible to fit all of that history into one book, but I am sure that this one book says more than the same book made into a film (though the film is well worth watching)