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While in college, Spokane Reservation best friends Aristotle and Seymour took different paths. Aristotle went back to "the rez," while Seymour began a new life for himself as an openly gay poet. Sixteen years later, the two are reunited, but mutual feelings of hurt and resentment stand in the way of their friendship.
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As seen in this ambitious low-budget feature, The Business of Fancydancing can be very tricky indeed. Shot on digital video, the directorial debut of novelist-poet Sherman Alexie is both profound and problematic, embracing the emotional legacy of Alexie's Native American heritage (and the rich layers of his literary work) while displaying the stylistic pitfalls of a first-time effort. What emerges, most effectively, is the bicultural identity crisis faced by many Native Americans--in this case a celebrated gay poet named Seymour (played by Evan Adams, costar of the Alexie-scripted Smoke Signals) whose ambitions transcend the "Rez" (reservation) where he was raised. Though occasionally hobbled by amateur performances, this is a deeply moving drama about reconciling one's birthright with a quest for new horizons, and Alexie poses difficult questions without settling on trite or convenient answers. For anyone who has ever felt removed from their cultural background, this Business offers a resonant ring of truth. --Jeff Shannon
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