Skip to main content


USA, 1961 (MIFF 1964)

Director: Kent MacKenzie

In July 1957, Kent Mac-Kenzie began a survey of Ameri­can Indian life at several Southwest Indian reservations. He found that the younger generation nowadays tends to gravitate to the big cities, and his enquiry ended fn ihe downtown slums of Los Angeles. Here be made friends with a group of young Indians who consented to a film being made about their lives. With MacKenzie as the central directing intelligence, the film was made over a period of nearly four years, with a constantly changing crew of cameramen, editors, and sound-technicians. It is a film which challenges comparison wiih previous attempts lo turn the camera on life. The young Indians play themselves, they improvise their own dialogue. The continuity is based on their sugges­tions.

These Indians, from many dfiferent tribes, lead the sad life of Ihe city's underprivileged and uneducated. Their evenings lead ihem from bar to card game, and back lo bar. The womenfolk try to make homes in conditions of overcrowding, living usually on their own earnings. Children watch the synthetic prairie of the television programmes; wives dream of better, urban, lives while al the cinema; the men drive around, pick up girls, fight, make friends; when the bars close ihe exiles try for a few hours to revive past grandeur, to cement the present togetherness of once warring tribes, to express their still unconquered defiance of the paleface in whose gutters they are now to he found. On a hill overlooking Los Angeles the drums once more ring out the challenge, but it is a grotesque version of their longings that emerges.

The Exiles has great social implications; it is also a film of interest with regard to the development of the documentary technique.

See also...

The Language of Faces

A film about peace and survival - a candid and sobering portrayal of the "balance of terror" in American life. "An original and haunting little film". ... More »

The Coming of Christ

A collection of some 300 paintings by masters of the last five centuries arranged by a special technique to illustrate the birth and early life of Christ. The visual story is amplified by a spoken ... More »

The Hat

A comical account of the serious matter of international disputes; told with new, liquid animation, and improvised, meandering dialogue. ... Jury Prize, Tours Festival; Grand Prix for Animation ... More »


This animated film focuses attention on the fact that although there is as much water as there ever was, increasing demands today have brought us on the verge of a world-wide crisis. ... More »

Vincent Van Gogh: A Self Portrait

This feature length film, in colour, traces the life of the artist from his birthplace in Zundert, Holland, to Auvers in France, where he died. The "self portrait" title is derived from the fact that ... More »


In the Hellenic myth, Hyacinthus was a beautiful youth who was loved by Apollo and Zephyrus. He returned Apollo's love, so Zephyrus killed him from jealousy. In the director's reading of the myth ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director