By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Every year, Cine Las Americas has maintained a commitment not only to promoting Hispanic/Latino themed and Spanish/Portuguese language films, but also to films dedicated to indigenous and Native American peoples. This year, CLAIFF had two Native American films in their lineup which I had the pleasure of viewing. The first, a feature length movie called Path of Souls, follows a spiritual journey undertaken by the widow of a Native American physicist.
After losing her husband Jon (Adam Beach) prematurely, medical doctor Grace Hudson (Laura Harris) receives a final request from her husband. Prior to his death, Jon worked on his doctoral thesis comparing physics theories and the supernatural beliefs of Native Americans. Jon requests that his wife complete his work, giving her the opportunity to learn more about his heritage and the chance to become closer to him. She and Jon’s old friend Brandon (Corey Sevier) travel through several sacred sites of the Northern native lands of America and get to experience, first hand, some of the spiritual rituals of Jon’s people.
Writer/director Jeremy Torrie, an Obijway from Kenora, Ontario, Canada takes his audiences on a fascinating, though sometimes heartbreaking, spiritual and metaphysical journey with his film. I particularly found the comparisons of modern physics theory and the beliefs of Native tribes enthralling. The cinematography by Ryan Herdman is absolutely stunning and perfectly captures the beauty of the various locations, including Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Adam Beach and Laura Harris deliver superb performances and have a beautifully credible chemistry. I have mixed feelings regarding the conclusion of the film. I cannot see the necessity of the climactic drama added to end the story, but perhaps others may disagree. I also feel that the slow pacing of the film drags too much in some sequences. Despite the issues I have with the film, I feel Torrie has done some fine work here and obviously has much pride and love for his native heritage. It definitely deserves a much larger audience.