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Keywords:

  • filmmaking;
  • historical social spaces;
  • Los Angeles;
  • urban American Indians

abstract.

Released in 1961, The Exiles is a low-budget docudrama that chronicles the lives of three American Indians over a period of twelve hours in a downtown Los Angeles neighborhood in the late 1950s. Contemporary neorealist filmmaking appears to have influenced the film, whereas itsg narrative is ethnographic in form. An examination of the film and its dialogue reveals the ways in which American Indians who recently migrated from their reservation to the city have socially constructed the urban spaces within the framework of the physical setting provided to them. The nature of the engagements of the male and female protagonists with the sites and with other American Indians in this small urban sphere provides substantive clues to the nature and level of their respective transitions into the realm of the white-dominated society of Los Angeles and beyond.