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Rare Film Is Glimpse Of Distant America

Rare Film Is Glimpse Of Distant America

From聽The Daughter of DawnCourtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society https://www.youtube.com/embed/BIedxxNrLC4?rel=0

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For decades, The Daughter of Dawn was a 芦lost film禄 鈥 a buried American treasure. The 1920 multireel, silent movie was rediscovered and restored a few years ago.

Only recently has the movie become more widely available. You can watch it on Netflix. You can also see some representative clips and a聽travelogue piece聽on YouTube. And in December the聽Oklahoma Historical Society聽plans to issue DVD and Blu-ray versions.

The Daughter of Dawn is more than just another Friday night flick. It is a cinematic wormhole into America’s past.

芦The rediscovery of聽The Daughter of Dawn聽is a great historical find,禄 Jeffrey M. Moore of the聽Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture聽tells NPR. 芦Not only is it significant because so few independent films from the silent era survived but it captures a time period often romanticized in a very real and authentic way. The imagery from American Indian culture on the Southern Plains is for the most part presented unfiltered by the non-Indian filmmakers.

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In the movie, Moore says, 芦The viewer gets to see Kiowas and Comanches wearing their traditional clothing without the help of Hollywood wardrobe departments. Besides the scenes on horseback and hunting buffalo, there are scenes of traditional dances being performed that would have been forbidden by the federal government if not for the fact that they were part of the film.禄

And the background landscape of the Wichita Mountains, he adds, 芦gives an environmental purity lost when later films portraying Plains tribes would be filmed in locations like Monument Valley.禄

The Oklahoma Historical Society commissioned Comanche composer David A. Yeagley to write a musical score for the film.

Past Meets Future

The 80-minute movie is a melodramatic tale of love among Native Americans, featuring some 300 Kiowas and Comanches in all sorts of acting roles.

You can find a few old newspaper ads for showings of the movie, such as a three-night engagement in Joplin, Mo., in the spring of 1921 that included a half-dozen Native American actors appearing in real life.

The film’s setting 鈥 a lovely and hauntingly unspoiled stretch of landscape 鈥 represents a national geographic crossroads. 芦Four types of habitat could be found in the Wichita Mountains: rocklands, aquatic, mixed grass prairie, and cross-timbers,禄 writes Douglas Brinkley in The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. 芦It was said by western frontiersmen that the ancestral Wichitas 鈥 this series of rock prominences 鈥 was where the East met the West at the vertex of the Great Plains.禄

And The Daughter of Dawn represents a crossroads of perception. Seeing the film, you do get the feeling that the black-and-white, silent movie 鈥 replete with bison herds, village scenes, ritualistic dancing and derring-do 鈥 takes us back to the early 20th century and then catapults us back even further than that. A time when Hollywoodish sensibilities were just beginning to reshape historical America 鈥 a time when real met reel.

*****

The Library of Congress lists The Daughter of Dawn in the National Film Registry, a collection of culturally valuable movies.


Follow me @NPRHistoryDept; lead me by writing lweeks@npr.org

Breve Historia Desconocida: El pionero del arte stop motion

EL PIONERO DEL ARTE 芦STOP MOTION

鈥淚t was at the Sitges film festival that I first saw an exhibition of work by the pioneering Russian animator Wladyslaw Starewicz, and the puppets were so enrapturing that when I got home I ordered up all the tapes I could find of his work. His work is absolutely breathtaking, surreal,inventive and extraordinary, encompassing everything that Jan Svankmajer, Walerian Borowczyk and the Quay Brothers would do subsequently. This is his last film, after The Tale of the Fox from 1930; it is all right there in this cosmic animation soup. It is important, before you journey through all these mind-bending worlds, to remember that it was all done years ago, by someone most of us have forgotten about now. This is where it all began.鈥

Terry Gililam explains:

Wladyslaw Starewicz (1882 – 1965), de origen ruso, comenz贸 su andadura en la animaci贸n hacia el a帽o 1910. Entre 1909 y 1910, Wladyslaw cre贸 tres documentales de naturaleza viva para el museo. 聽En 1911 se traslad贸 a Mosc煤 y comenz贸 a trabajar para la compa帽铆a cinematogr谩fica de Aleksandr Khanzhonkov donde cre贸 docenas de pel铆culas. Entre ellas ‘The Beatiful Leukanida‘ (1912) creaci贸n que fue aplaudida por el Zar y reconocida por el p煤blico. A煤n as铆 su pel铆cula m谩s reconocida fue ‘La venganza del c谩mara de cine (Cameraman鈥檚 Revenge)‘ (1912) que nada tenia que ver con su ciclo natural de los insectos que utiliz贸, sino m谩s bien con las desventuras humanas del matrimonio y las infidelidades.

Ese mismo a帽o creo otras animaciones pero fue en 1913 al crear los 41 minutos de rodaje de 鈥The Terrible Vengeance鈥 cuando vivi贸 un ascenso en su camino como director, pues gan贸 en el Festival de Mil谩n de 1914 la medalla de oro a mejor largometraje.

En 1919 se traslada a Francia, donde funda su propio taller y mantiene una carrera en solitario al margen de la creciente industria norteamericana emergente. Comenz贸 primero a trabajar con su mujer Starevich Francia y m谩s tarde con su hija Irina. Una de las primeras pel铆culas fue ‘La Rana que demanda a su Rey (Les grenouilles qui demandent un roi)’ (1922), con un contenido pol铆tico en el que adapta la f谩bula de Esopo.

Durante sus a帽os en Francia, concretamente en Fontenay-sous-Bois cre贸 docenas de pel铆culas entre las m谩s destacadas: ‘La voz del Ruise帽or (La voix du rossignol)’ (1923) que fue pintada a mano y protagonizada por Nina Starr y el ruise帽or que la convence para liberarlo. Y ‘La mascota (F茅tiche mascotte)’ (1934), una historia larga en la que el perro marioneta Duffy tiene que bajar al infierno para conseguir una naranja para una chica que est谩 muriendo de escorbuto.

La t茅cnica de stop motion, con la que se da vida a mu帽ecos previamente modelados y articulados al modificar levemente sus posiciones de un fotograma al siguiente, no es original de Starewicz, ya que con anterioridad hab铆a sido utilizada tanto por Meli猫s y Emile Cohl en Francia, Segundo de Chom贸n en Espa帽a o Blackton en Estados Unidos, si bien el cine de Starewicz se diferencia de toda la animaci贸n anterior, tanto cl谩sica como por stop motion, gracias a su talento narrativo, su agudeza para humanizar los movimientos y sentimientos de los insectos protagonistas

Aunque Starewicz goz贸 de reconocimiento en su 茅poca, se lleg贸 a comparar con Walt Disney en los a帽os treinta, posteriormente a su muerte, sus pel铆culas fueron cayendo en el olvido.

@wormholepro