One of the archival discoveries of recent years, Kent MacKenzies little-seen 1961 feature about displaced American Indians wandering an electric noirscape in Los Angeles Bunker Hill neighborhood remains a marvel of vivid semi-doc location shooting and forcefully interwoven docudrama. Set to a live-wire score of raw, honking garage rock that Quentin Tarantino sampled for the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, it was shot with a cast of non-professional actors and retains a sense of life spilling in all directions. In its sterling 2-disc DVD edition, the movies savior, Milestone Films, loads it with pertinent and illuminating extrasthe most invaluable being four short films by MacKenzie, including his neighborhood study Bunker Hill 1956, and clips from the movie that renewed interest in MacKenzies lost films, Thom Andersens dazzling cinematic essay Los Angeles Plays Itself. The only greater service Milestone could perform for viewers would be to issue Andersens entire film, the most forward-thinking work of film criticism produced this decade (and a testament to the necessity of fair usage). But for now, dont miss The Exiles.
Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2009