‘Don’t look back’ – Running Eagle (Raindance Festival Short Film Review)

Shown at the 24th London Raindance Festival was Running Eagle. Based on the prologue of the novel “Dakota” by Gwen Florio, is a story about a Native American girl (Devery Jacobs) who is trying to get back home through a cold harsh winter. She is running away from a life of abuse and forced prostitution, kept under the thumb by a nameless man. She is trying to get back home to her family on the Blackfeet Reservation; she braves the winter as well as further unpleasant characters. Through flashbacks, we see her with an unknown, presumed, family member take her through a ritual.

Although it is a short film is no less harrowing. A story such as this, if spread out into feature length would take time to explain her background and the abuse she suffers would be drawn out, whereas here, the scenes, with very little to no dialogue, expresses and explains much more about the character. The only aspect that is possibly missing from the story is what her relationship was with family. When she thinks back to a time where she was with her family, she is with a heard of buffalo and she is asked to shoot one, she can’t bring herself to do it, even though it seems it is part of a tradition. It is also unclear why she ran away in the first place but this is less imperative to the story. This is about trying at all costs to reach home.

Labelled as a drama mystery thriller, the mystery element stands out the most. As we don’t know who these men are in her life but we know what they represent. The film has but one tender moment compared to the cold, harsh world the girl finds herself in. The disjointed scenes; a mixture of flashbacks and her desperate journey, make it feel is it exactly what it is adapted from, a prologue to longer story. Although there is a definite end to the story, the film still feels like it should continue, especially with such a bleak ending. There is hope that this could be a feature in the future which would be interesting to see how it plays out.

3/5

Dir: Konrad Thọ Fiedler

Scr: Konrad Thọ Fiedler

Based on: the prologue of the novel “Dakota” by Gwen Florio

Cast: Heath McGough, Devery Jacobs

Prd: Tina Trinh, Konrad Thọ Fiedler

DOP: Benjamin Kitchens

Country: USA

Year: 2016

Runtime: 12 min