‘The Taking’ Review: This Land Is Not Your Land

In a John Wayne movie chevrolet ad, Monument Valley is immortalized in the American imagination as a symbol of the vast potential of this country. A new documentary, The Taking, directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, explores the site’s complex position as a representative of the Old West, despite being located on Navajo land.

In this film, images and clips from movies, television shows, and advertising campaigns that have traditionally featured Monument Valley are narrated to explain how white cowboys have been seen as heroes and Native Americans as invaders. , obscuring a history of genocide and oppression. .

Perhaps no one is more central to this effort than director John Ford, the film argues. Director John Ford has used the region as the backdrop for his Western films, with dramatic landscapes central to his stark tales that evoke and perpetuate ideals of freedom and liberation. Cowboys and villain “Indians”.

Blurred in this myth is the reality of the Navajo people. Many Navajo people still live in the area without running water or a steady income. “The Taking” succeeds in showing how Monument Valley is a canvas upon which the public can superimpose their ideas and myths. But if more of the current imagery of the region and the realities of the Navajo were included, it might have been more effective in displacing these myths, to the point of shifting imagination beyond the analysis of the film.

The Take
Unrated. Running time: 1 hour 16 minutes. at the theater.

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