I highly recommend that you see Melissa Henry's short, independent, low-budget animal films whenever you get the chance. I've seen "Horse You See" and a rough cut of a sheep movie in storyboard form. Both are lovely, and they're not films about animals so much as animal poems, self-created myths, fables, narrated in Diné bizaad (the Navajo language) with English subtitles.
"Horse You See" was shot on the Navajo reservation where Henry's family has a hogan, and it gives voice to the eponymous horse. Since I'm hopelessly literary, I was reminded of Jaime de Angulo's Coyote stories and Louise Erdrich's novel The Antelope Wife, but Henry cites silent filmmaker George Melies as an influence as well (love that rocket in the eye of the moon). The audio to the sheep film consists of found sounds and silence, and it's like a modernist musical collage created by producer Alfredo Perez.

Henry's films are produced and distributed by Red Ant Films in Albuquerque. The filmmaker teaches in the Media Arts Department of UNM. I was deeply touched by both pieces, and remembered that The New York Times recently reported that animal abuse is a good indicator that someone will commit domestic violence and child abuse as well. Buy their films (with hand-painted DVD cases), send them money, support worthy local artists. It's rare to see works of art that recall the gentle wonder of fables. It's like discovering The Little Prince all over again.

Views: 43

Comment by Emily on March 26, 2010 at 4:49pm
Where can we find copies of Henry's films? I'd like to see/rent/something Horse you See.
Comment by cathyray on March 27, 2010 at 10:37am
me, too!
Comment by Richard Read Oyama on March 29, 2010 at 4:40pm
The website is redantfilms.com.

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