The Hero

Director: Gary Farmer
Screenwriters: Paul Kuster

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


This excellent selection of films shows the way Native and aboriginal filmmakers throughout the Western Hemisphere are moving beyond thetraditional documentary form to illustrate the sociopolitical aspects of their everyday life.

In Gary Farmer’s The Hero, two young friends from the reserve come to the city to seek a new life. When they arrive, they learn much about themselves and each other. Charlie gets a job, a suit, and responsibilities. Frank becomes a professional activist, depending on Charlie for life’s necessities. This arrangement is not without tension. Charlie wishes that Frank would grow up and learn to pay his share; Frank worries that his friend is becoming “white.” He seeks to reacquaint Charlie with his heritage. Unexpectedly, he gets assistance from the spirit of a clan mother. Ultimately, Charlie learns the importance of his legacy. A powerful story set in the Quichua community in Ecudor is the basis for Comrades (Mashikuna), which examines the life of two Quichua Indian childhood friends who became political activists. The last film in the program is a powerful experimental narrative, The Three Sevens, a tapestry of brief impressions of the life experiences of a Native man from Columbia, living in exile Canada.

— Stephen Lewis

Screening Details

  • Section: Beyond Borders: New Native Cinema
  • Film Type: Dramatic Short
  • Country: Canada
  • Run Time: 25 min.


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