Seekers


  • Aurore Vullierme

  • 2019
    • France
  • 77 min
  • Colour
  • PRODUCTION
  • Elsa Klughertz (Jonas Films)

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Dulce, NM, USA. Jicarilla Apache Reservation: tribal elections day. Raised off their ancestral land, the uncertainty of the Reval brother’s future echoes that of the Jicarilla tribe, fighting to restore its memory’s unity, scattered by centuries of forced assimilation. 

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Seekers is populated with ancestral cries: a man howls at the moon and calls to the birds, while the A Tribe Called Red group are yelling to the sound of the drums inspired by its Amerindian heritage. But Leon Reval is the kind of man who discusses rather than shouts. He developed a passion for local politics, a raison d’être even, but is now forced to relinquish his council seat. The action is set in Dulce, New Mexico, but the ambiance is more akin to a film noir than a western: deprived of the possibility of defending the interests of the Apache Jicarilla tribe, Leon’s life has lost its bedrock and he now sees his whole identity called into question. A hand-held camera follows this charismatic hero in a period of worrying indecision. The day-to-day of this family man is typical of the “American way of life”, if we include in this notion an inevitable hybridity. At a local festival, feather headdresses are seen along with cowboy hats, but this masquerade is in no way light-hearted. This is evidenced by the speech of this year’s Miss, as she makes a moving and anxious appeal for the survival of the Jicarilla culture and language. The extraordinary violence that has marked this people’s history seems far-removed from Leon’s household, where kindness reigns. Yet, the archive footage that frames the film reminds us that what is at stake is the persistent struggle against an oppression which takes increasingly insidious forms. Cultural syncretism finally appears to be much less an opportunistic arrangement than a strategy for survival.

Olivia Cooper-Hadjian
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PRINT SOURCE: Jonas Films, elsa@jonasfilms.fr, +33 (0)6 26 64 11 34

Aurore Vullierme

Born in 1985, Aurore Vullierme initiated her artistic practice at l’ENSAD Paris by studying amongst others silkscreen printing and photography. In 2009 she started to use art video and sound design to begin her research studies around the notion of ancestral roots. She explores the relationship between the human body and its surroundings. In 2016, she took charge of the photography and frame for the feature film Southern Belle by Nicolas Peduzzi, nominated in many festivals.
Seekers is her first feature film produced.

 

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