Film Non Western & Interview

An Idfa special selection: A Native/Non Native couple in Montana, ahead of their wedding.

Seated in their car, a man and a woman talk about gender roles among the Cheyenne people. He’s Cheyenne, but she is not. It's a topic they need to talk about, because they're about to get married.

Thaddeus didn't embrace his background until later in life but now he does so with full conviction: he's stricter than the Native priest, who says that traditions inevitably change with the times. Thaddeus' fiancée Nanci, an independent and educated woman, loves him and his culture very much, but her love is making serious demands of her ability to adapt.

Laura Plancarte patiently films the dynamics and clashes between the two cultures and sexes. The camera captures the emotion and wordless communication, slowly revealing changes in relationships. Interspersed with spectacular views of the Montana landscape, Non Western examines the national and personal traumas at the root of the problem, and how they can be healed.

Interview with director Laura Plancarte

Laura Plancarte lives and works in London making films and visual arts. In 2006 and 2007 she was awarded a grant from BNP Paribas in recognition to her career as an artist. In 2015 she presented her first feature film Tierra Caliente produced by Mike Lerner, at Guadalajara’s International Film Festival competing for the Mezcal award and won best feature film at World of Film International Festival in Glasgow. Hermanos her second feature documentary was acquired by Amazon Prime and won the audience award to best documentary at SAFILM 2018 and best documentary at Indie & Foreign Film Festival, NY, at WoFF in Glasgow and an IMPACT Doc award in the USA. Non Western is her third feature documentary.

What touched your heart while making this film?

To discover that all the women that appear in the film as main or secondary characters are victims of domestic violence. Nanci, Jackie and both Nanci & Thaddeus' mothers - Maya and Johanna - at some point of their life have been abused by their male partners. These four women are of different age and ethnicity and I found it incredibly sad and frustrating that domestic violence is not an exception, but that it seems like a normality in society.  It made me feel that even if, we women are a majority in the world, we are the biggest minority.

What do you hope to achieve with this film?

I hope to show that human behaviour is complex and that there are no simple solutions but that we need deep dialogue in order to heal. That in general, oppression brings more oppression and endless circles of trauma. If we want to find solutions for big problems, it would be worth looking into family dynamics and to invest in mental health.

What have you learned from it?

That what is best for me is not necessary what's best for others. That we all have different beliefs and ways to find peace and a place in this world, and that when we are judgemental, we lose. It's wonderful to have deep human contact with people that think differently to us, push our boundaries and make us look outside our comfort bubble. Everything is becoming very polarized and I think that is dangerous. Meeting people from different contexts expands our world. Making NON WESTERN has been an incredible adventure. 

Filmcast : Nanci Thaddeus, Jackie Russ

Director: Laura Plancarte

Screenplay : Laura Plancarte

Genre : doc

Duration : 93 minutes

Date : 01-12-2020