Seekers (2020)

Among the films at this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest online programme, there seemed to be a particular focus on indigenous voices and stories, whether Brazilian tribal people or the Native Americans at the heart of this documentary. It’s by a French director, so it’s an outsider’s perspective, but it’s still a beautiful and interesting film about different ways of living in an essentially white supremacist society.

The start and end of this documentary presents archival footage of Native Americans and the context of their modern existence at the hands of colonial interlopers, being forced into pedagogical systems that proclaim a “civilising” influence, or clashing against forces of the state protecting white supremacy. In some ways, I’d have been interested to see a film about that, but director Aurore Vullierme is an outsider (not unlike Chloé Zhao with her wonderful features set amongst Native Americans) and her story focuses on one man, who has just lost a local election. It’s a little unclear why exactly he’s the focus, and the sense you get as the film unfolds is somewhat elegiac, of a man who is passing down the baton of fighting for rights and to uphold the hopes of their nation to his children, as he’s pushed out by what is assumed to be corrupt forces. But really this is just a sort of hang-out documentary, giving a sense of his life and that of the community he is a part of, and on that level it’s engaging and likeable, even if it feels a little meandering at times.

Seekers film posterCREDITS
Director/Writer Aurore Vullierme; Cinematographer Lucile Mercier; Length 78 minutes.
Seen at home (Sheffield Doc/Fest Selects streaming), London, Saturday 27 June 2020.


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