5th World

Director: Blackhorse Lowe
Screenwriters: Blackhorse Lowe

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


Unabashedly romantic and stunningly visual, Blackhorse Lowe's exquisite feature debut soulfully traces the contours of burgeoning love between two Navajo students while exploring how tribal culture shades their bond in powerful ways.

Andrei and Aria are on a road trip back home to the reservation from college. As they traverse the breathtaking landscape of rural Arizona and New Mexico—replete with stark rock formations, sprawling blue skies, and wild horses—they slowly discover one another, hitching rides as they go. The electricity between them is deliciously palpable as they talk about favorite movies, tease each other mercilessly, and trade swollen glances. The excitement seems to come not only from mutual attraction and common interests but from their shared roots, and the rare rush of recognizing the beauty in someone just like you. During a visit with relatives, Andrei's very-much-in-love aunt and uncle regale the young couple with tales, recounted in the Navajo language, of their traditional, ceremony-filled courtship and marriage. It's an epic story, resonating with the intimation that maybe someday Andrei and Aria will become family, too.

Eliciting raw, truthful turns from his two leads and boldly experimenting with structure, montage, and improvisational performance, Lowe forges an unconventional, singular style that perfectly expresses the dreamy mood and emotional intensity of this entirely fresh take on a classic love story.

(Archives note: see also 's Meet The Artist interview on our YouTube Channel.)

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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