Pine Ridge was one of the first documentaries I saw at this years Cph:Dox film festival. I deliberately never watch the trailers first, because I don’t want to have any presumptions, just an open unbiased mind. That way I find the movie (or documentary) has a much stronger impact. When looking at the trailer for Pine Ridge, it seems that Swedish director Anna Eborn, thinks a bit the same way. The Pine Ridge trailer reveals very little about what awaits you as viewer.
Personally I tend to romanticize the epic story about the Native Americans, probably because I’ve seen to many Hollywood productions, so when I saw there was a documentary on the Cph:Dox program, about the Pine Ridge reservation, I knew I had to see it. I am so curious to know more, and very little information is available about what life is really like in the reservations in America. Even though the story about the Native Americans is far from over, it already shows signs that it might not have a happy end. Rather than being a traditionally build documentary, fact driven and with a plot-oriented narrative, it’s highly poetic, slow-paced and somehow quite uninformative. In the beginning I was a little dissapointed by that, I wanted to know more about them, get to know them. But Anna Aborn has succeeded in making a documenatry that stays true to, and at eye level with, the young people that she depicts. By just hanging out with them in the present, the past becomes irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how old they are, where their parents are, why their teeth are broken, clothes dirty, what their addictions or diagnoses might be. But it’s also a little disheartning, because all of those questions would have been relevant. While biking home late that night, I couldn’t forget their faces, I’ve never seen faces like that. So unforgettably beautiful, but also with such lost looking eyes.