Now That the Buffalo's Gone


Dir. Burton Gershfield, 16mm Color Sound 00:07:00

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A UCLA student film. A powerful New American Cinema protest against the decline and fall of the American Indian, using quasi-three dimensional color techniques as part of its overall structure. Winner of innumerable awards. 'Described by the filmmaker as 'an elegy to the lost heritage of the plains Indians,' this is a moving and intricately made work utilizing still photos, film clips, television footage, bits of old speeches, solarized color, and stroboscopic effects.' - Media & Methods. 'This beautiful little film uses fast-moving positive-negative color images to recall how the American Indian was displaced from the land. From the colorful past of the buffalo hunt to the less than perfect life of present day reservations this sympathetic protest film shows why even Indians on television can never really win. This film is recommended for discussion with Junior highs through adults and for worship services built around a theme of concern for the American Indian.' - Media for Christian Formation. 'Group and individual still-photograph portraits of Indians are combined with footage culled from what appears to be old Hollywood movies involving, among other things, Indians being hunted by white men and vice versa. The visuals for what ultimately turns out to be a phantasmagoric ode to the silent dignity of the Indian are reproduced in richly colored negative images, usually one overlapping another, to produce what is termed a cinepoem utilizing complex psychedelic optical techniques. What lies behind this fast-moving, hallucinogenic collage suggests that the American Indian belongs to a negative counter culture which, though magnificently colorful in its costumes, crafts, and characters, has been etiolated by the exploitations and ruthlessness of a palefaced oppressor. An authentic tribal chant accompanies the entire film which is thoroughly subjective in approach, startling in history, social studies, and film as art courses in high school and college. Also recommended for public library film programs and groups of individuals interested in Indian affairs.' - American Library Association 'The Booklist.'
[Source: Creative Film Society Catalogue, 1975]

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Co-editor: David Lebrun