explores racism, ethics, power & money head-on, with sympathy, clarity and grace. The lead characters are Mohawk and White, played expertly by Misty Upham and Melissa Leo. They're total strangers who end up conspiring to make money by breaking boundaries.
) The mothers team up to transport "illegal" aliens—Chinese and Pakistani—from Canada to the US over an ice road that's wholly within the Mohawk territory.
Living in close proximity, the White woman is reluctantly willing to work with the Mohawk woman, but her racism prevents her from recognizing the humanity of other people they encounter.
FROZEN RIVER is a beautiful, bleak, gripping and heart-breaking movie. Shot on the New York-Ontario border, it captures life in the cold. It doesn't turn away from the hierarchies present even in poverty: the Mohawk woman lives in a rusty camper; the White woman's rusty trailer at least has a bathroom. It shows how the tribal justice system attempts to foster reconciliation and healing, while the US police deal in racial profiling and big-
nightstick boundary patrols.
Even with the grimness, I was glued to the couch for a second viewing with director's commentary.Here's a trailer in small screen Flash player, auto starts, no captions or descriptions
; sadly, Melissa Leo dominates the screen here because she's White and more well-known (Kay Howard from Homicide). That's not the case in the movie itself.
This post is part of the linkalicious International Blog Against Racism Week 4
July 27 to August 2, 2009.