(Dylan Goch, Gruff Rhys, Wales, 2014, Blu-Ray, 91 min)
With an introduction by director/musician Gruff Rhys!
Friday, Nov 14 at 06:30PM
Gruff Rhys of Welsh electro-psych rock outfit Super Furry Animals embarks on a quest into the American interior to retrace his ancestor's footsteps. In the late 18th century, Welsh explorer John Evans became convinced that a fellow countryman had discovered the Americas. To prove his point, he set out on his own in search of a Welsh-speaking Native American tribe, and along the way mapped the Missouri river (a document that proved handy for Lewis and Clark) and entrenched himself in the contested frontier.
Flash forward two centuries: Rhys receives a fax notification of his familial connection to Evans (Rhys' "extremely" great uncle), inspiring him to journey through the American interior himself on an "investigative concert tour" with stops along the way of his ancestor's route, including Boston, Baltimore, St. Louis, Cincinnati, the Mandan Reservation, throughout the Mississippi Basin, and New Orleans.
Blending fact, fiction, and forms, Rhys infuses his rousing performances with an infectious sense of dryly whimsical humor. Along the way, Rhys conducts research by talking with journalists, intellectuals, townies, and the drummer for the Flaming Lips. At its heart, the film is also about language preservation, with intriguing parallels drawn between Rhys's native language of Welsh, and the native languages of North America on the verge of extinction.
Northwest Film Forum (View)
1515 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122