War Pony

Bill, 23, and Matho, 12, are two Oglala Lakota boys, born and raised on the Pine Ridge Native American reservation in Nebraska, one of the poorest places in North America. Despite an unemployment level nearing 90% and alcoholism affecting 80% of its population, these two teenagers try to have fun, fall in love and earn a living in a world that turns its back on them.

 

Actress Riley Keough (Zola), granddaughter of the king of rock and roll Elvis Presley, won the Golden Camera for best first feature film at the Cannes Film Festival. Without prejudice or frills, her movie tackles a reality little known to most North Americans: that of the young descendants of Native Americans who barely survive in a highly hostile environment.

 

Keough brings light into the darkness and, supported by superb performances from newcomers Jojo Bapteise Whiting (Bill) and LaDainian Crazy Thunder (Matho), two young men who, despite the difficult circumstances in which they live, also want to make it, establish relationships and carve out a future for themselves, whether in or outside of this reservation they can’t seem to be able to escape.

 

Naturalistic photography contrasts with the beauty of certain dreamlike moments, and Keough comes across as a director with a voice and a personality of her own. She is an artist who knows how to carefully study the potential of Indie cinema and makes the most out of it in her first feature. Undoubtedly, one of the films with the most truth and substance of the festival.

Credits

Title: War Pony
Year: 2022
Runtime: 115′
Country: USA, United Kingdom
Direction: Gina Gammell, Riley Keough
Screenplay: Franklin Sioux Bob, Bill Reddy,Gina Gammell
Cast: Iona Red Bear, Ta-Yamni Long Black Cat, Wilma Colhof
Cinematography: David Gallego
Genre: Drama
Subtitles: Subtitula’m
Contact: Protagonist Pictures

Wins and nominations

2022: Cannes Film Festival – Càmera d’or
2022: Valladolid Film Festival – Best Film (Punto de encuentro)
2022: Deauville Film Festival – Jury Award and Revelations Prize