Sherman Alexie on DVD

smokesmoke

Native American Author Sherman Alexie’s words, thoughts and poetry read like butter. Among his many books he has written two screenplays based on his books, both dealing with surviving life on the reservation and with struggling interpersonal relationships.

He wrote Smoke Signals based on his novel of short stories The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The film follows two Native American men, Victor and Thomas-Builds-the-Fire, who are cousins that are anything but friends. Growing up together on “the rez” was rough. They had both good times and bad, and eventually those on the reservation could only take so much of Thomas’ stories. An event happens in Victor’s life and he needs help and Thomas steps up to help his cousin in an unforgettable way.

The Business of Fancydancing is based on his poetry and it is wonderful to see how Alexie translates written poetry into visual poetry with plot. Aristotle and Seymour attended college together. Aristotle left and went back to the “the rez” not doing much of anything, while Seymour stayed and later became an accomplished writer. A funeral brings Seymour “home” and he and Aristotle together again for the first time in fifteen years.