In the Land of the Headhunters

With the “entire drama enacted by primitive Indians,” per the original poster, there is no way to defend the landmark local pseudo-documentary by Edward S. Curtis or argue for its historical authenticity. The 1914 In the Land of the Head-Hunters is both a fake and an important historical artifact. Curtis (1868–1952) used real members of various Puget Sound tribes to portray Native Americans in a kind of staged, idealized representation of their life before the ruinous arrival of white settlers and the theft of their land. It’s a cinematic myth, but the filmmaking process entailed the use of real canoes, artifacts, and rituals and the performances of our region’s original inhabitants. Curtis’ sentimental, romantic pastiche is still probably the most important movie ever made in the Northwest. Significantly, the silent film had its world premiere at the Moore 94 years ago. The original score will accompany the restored 47-minute print. And members of the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe—some of whose ancestors acted in the movie—will also perform. Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 324-9996, www.siff.net. $13–$17. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Tue., June 10, 7 p.m., 2008

 
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