The Center of the American West’s Modern Indian Identity series is thrilled to present Montana filmmakers Andrew Smith and Alex Smith and their movie, Winter in the Blood for a free screening and conversation. An adaptation of James Welch’s seminal novel of the same name, Winter in the Blood offers an intimate portrait of Native life that, as Howie Movshovitz says, “leaves ‘feathers or leather’ clichés behind.” Following the film NPR film critic Howie Movshovitz, the Center of the American West Faculty Director Patty Limerick, and Alex and Andrew Smith will engage in a discussion about the film and the issues it raises. Don’t miss this very special evening.

Synopsis

Virgil First Raise wakes in a ditch on the hardscrabble plains of Montana, hungover and badly beaten. He sees a shocking vision: his father, ten years dead, lying frozen at his feet. Shaken, Virgil returns home to his ranch on the Reservation, only to find that his wife, Agnes, has left him. Worse, she’s taken his beloved rifle.

Virgil sets out to town find her— or perhaps just the gun— beginning a hi-line odyssey of inebriated and improbable intrigues with the mysterious Airplane Man, his beautiful accomplice, Malvina, and two dangerous Men in Suits. Virgil’s quest also brings him face-to-face with childhood memories, traumas and visions of his long lost brother Mose.

Virgil, bloodied and broken by his quest, realizes that he must look inward for the strength he needs to survive. In the mountains, he seeks out Yellow Calf— an old blind man, who helps him grasp the truth of his origins. By embracing— and no longer fleeing— his memories, Virgil is finally able to thaw the ice in his veins.

The presentation will be followed by a discussion about the film featuring Patty Limerick, NPR film critic Howie Movshovitz, and the film’s writers, directors, and producers, Andrew and Alex Smith.

This event was made possible by Liz and Tony Moores.