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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Genocide > Native Americans > History > Political > Energy > Broken Rainbow (1985/Docurama)

Broken Rainbow (1985/Docurama)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Film: B



It is bad enough Native Americans were forcibly removed from their lands, often tortured, raped and otherwise exterminated to the point that it inspired Hitler to go after Jews, but after The Civil Rights Movement and a general sense that we should know better, the Maria Florio/Victoria Mudd documentary Broken Rainbow (1985, with a title song by no less than the great Laura Nyro) tells of the underhanded insanity of the U.S. Government purposely displacing a tribe under false pretenses.


The idea is to remove 12,000 (yes, you read that right, a five-digit number) Navajos from their lands.  The big lie is some stupidity about them crossing over into Hopi territory, but as the 70 minutes of unbelievable craziness unfolds, it turns out it is really about a giant land grab so some politicians and a big energy company (shades of Enron) want the tons and tons of coal underneath the land.  Just when too many have been placated with the lie that native Americans are making money from gambling reservations, also a big lie, we have this crazy story that amounts to a great degree of genocide by literally ethnically cleansing the land so the coal company and some politicians can made a ton of money.  That supposedly fair John McCain is involved and also letting this happen should be screamed all over the media, but the way this story is being kept quiet is all tied up to the cover-up that is still going on.


For those heartless few who say this will help out our problem with foreign energy dependence, that’s the most insensitive, idiotic think one could do as an apologist and how could anyone wildly assume that this is about anything good since so much bad is being done?  This is a must-see and far more than some work that can be marginalized as some “Leftist” propaganda, because if it were, I would be tearing it apart personally.  Instead, it is a solid piece of journalism and makes for a disturbing flipside to the Enron affair, far from over with the sudden death of Kenneth Lay.  It gives “no blood for oil” a whole new meaning.


The 1.33 X 1 image shows its age, with plugged up colors and likely shot in 16mm, but it is more than serviceable, though some restoration work would be a good idea outside of digital preservation to have the story on more vivid record.  The update is 1.78 X 1 and makes for an interesting comparison for picture quality.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is monophonic on the feature and simple stereo for the update.  The 2006: The Struggle Continues piece runs about a half-hour and we will not ruin it for you, though you should see this and go on the Net for the latest information.  There are also text filmmaker bios and more about Docurama.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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