Love and Fury | Cinematic threat

Love and Fury follows several Native American artists who broadcast their creations across the planet for a year. From Paris to Albuquerque, the incredible documentary by writer-director Sterlin Harjo features contemporary artists who are native but do not work within the confines of traditional southwestern imagery.

There are painters whose works hang in New York City galleries as well as on the walls of Oklahoma buildings. There are jazz singers and violinists as well as grrl punk bands Weedrat and Black Belt Eagle Scout. There are performance dancers and industrial noise groups like Tick Suck and Spirit Plate. By focusing on the diversity of mediums used, the film seeks to shatter preconceived notions about what kind of art natives are capable of creating and what they should be doing.

“…presents contemporary artists from but don’t work within limits of traditional southwest imagery.

Many artists speak of a post-colonialist era that will no longer regard Native Americans or their art as bygone museum pieces. Instead, they show how their experience and culture can turn into a vast array of relevant modern works of art that can be appreciated internationally. One of the performers said he was optimistic, not because his people survived horrible shit, but because of his people’s ability to turn fury into love.

Harjo has already achieved great things for Native American representation. His work with the Revolutionary Comedy Sketch Group in the 1491s examines misconceptions about Indigenous culture while being as funny as f ** k. His revolutionary drama series Dogs Reservation brings modern Indigenous culture to a global audience while being as funny as f ** k. Documentaries are a whole different form, however, especially sifting through hours of footage to put together something that informs and moves the viewer while keeping the pace. Harjo does not just rise to the challenge by Love and Fury, it exceeds it. Perhaps his comedic background influences his timing as an editor, as the rhythm and harmony of the arrangement of the material is impeccable. Everything flows with the energy of a party, like the opening of a gallery with an open bar.

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