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Dances with Wolves: A film celebrating cultural diversity - 2 min read

dances with wolves
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The film Dances with Wolves (1990) is based on Michael Blake’s 1988 novel. It is a Western film about a white man who learns about the Sioux Indians’ way of life and civilisation. The film is Kevin Costner’s directorial debut. He also stars in the film in the lead role.

Coming to the plot, the events of the film are told through the eyes of Dunbar (Kevin Costner), a Union Army lieutenant who closely observes Native American culture and becomes an inseparable part of it. Set in 1863, during the Civil War, Lieutenant Dunbar (Costner), a Union officer, requests reassignment to the West after being cited for courage in battle, stating that he wants to see the frontier before it vanishes.

dances with wolves

When he finally gets to his post in the Great Plains, Fort Sedgewick, he discovers a small deserted camp. Dunbar notices a group of Lakota Indians nearby as the film progresses but is hesitant to approach them. There he finds Stands with a Fist (played by Mary McDonnell), a white widow adopted by the tribe, who is badly injured. He gradually decides to return her to her tribe after she collapses.

The Lakotas are initially suspicious of this white man. However, when they find that he is a friendly person, they welcome him to their tribe. Dunbar then sets out to establish order in this supposedly pristine wilderness. He assigned tasks to himself. He keeps a journal in which he records observations as well as occurrences of the day.

dances with wolves

His closest companions are a very smart horse and a wolf, named Two Socks due to the whiteness of two of his paws, who roams on the fort’s outskirts.

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Dunbar convinces Stands With A Fist to act as a translator between him and the tribe. Dunbar’s sensitivity and keen attention to detail win her heart.

He gradually begins to feel more at ease among the Lakota than he does at the soldier’s fort. However, Dunbar has to make a difficult decision at some point.

dances with wolves

This three-hour-long film is a cinematic brilliance that is never dull or keeps you uninterested. This beautifully shot and well-acted film is a unique cross-cultural treasure that examines the concepts of hospitality, empathy, comedy, and friendship.

In the 1991 Academy Awards, Dances With Wolves won seven awards including; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Screen Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Music, and Original Score. Apart from these, the film also got five other nominations.

Reshma B.

Reshma Babu, a young Postgraduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore University, utilises her considerable learned journalistic knowledge and inherent story writing and sub-editing abilities to add value to the company’s media brands and the editorial team. All dimensions of human interaction are her prime focus.

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