The Business of Fancydancing | Chicago Reader

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Writer-director Sherman Alexie offers a richly detailed version of the identity contradictions Native Americans wrestle with in this 2002 tale of a gay Indian poet who's left the reservation for success in the white world: he writes about life on the reservation but rarely returns, and he's had many white lovers but no Native Americans. Alexie mixes up time and juxtaposes scenes to create meaning as he tries to explain the poet's rejection of life with his tribe. A triumphant Indian football victory is followed by a scene of kids forced to wait in the car while their parents get plastered; a boyhood friend challenges the poet for rejecting the rez, yet the poet meets the man who'll become his longtime lover at a dance in Seattle; and some cuts-both-ways humor illuminates the justifiable bitterness Indians have, as when the poet explains to his white lover, “I just pretend you're Custer.” 103 min.

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