Film shot entirely in Blackfoot language, on tribal land to premiere

BRIAN D’AMBROSIO for the Missoulian

Viewers of “Sooyii” are asked to disrupt their own habits of language and to critically re-apprehend language and the space it occupies.

Shot entirely on Blackfeet tribal land, the dialogue of “Sooyii” is delivered in the ancestral tongue of its people, the first film to be produced in such form. Those associated with the production are hopeful that it will not be the last of its kind.

IF YOU GO

SOOYII will be screened Saturday, Nov. 20, as part of the Montana Film Festival. The 4 p.m. is sold-out, a 7:45 p.m. has been added. 

“I believe that ‘Sooyii’ is a message to Hollywood, to directors, to producers, and, even to our own people, to set the bar by including Indigenous language in film,” said Jesse DesRosier, who translated the script to Blackfoot and appeared in the film.

DesRosier, a teacher of the Blackfoot language at Cuts Wood School in Browning and Blackfeet Community College, instructed the tenets and structure of Blackfoot to the cast. “Sooyii” carries with it a deep sense of urgency, because the Blackfoot language, he said, is greatly in danger of erasure, of becoming a moribund artifact of the culture.

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