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August 5–11, 2016

Chicago Premiere

The Seventh Fire

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Film still: The Seventh Fire Film still: The Seventh Fire
Critics' Pick "Searing... powerful"
  —New York Times
"A fascinating and important documentary"
  —Hollywood Reporter
4 stars "An empathetic, often heartbreaking piece of work"
  —TimeOut London
"Valuable... a sensitive, evocative portrait of people who strive to take pride in their heritage, even though they've grown up around crime, abuse and addiction"
  —Los Angeles Times
"[Director Jack Pettibone] Riccobono films it all with intelligence, sensitivity, and a feel for offhand poetry"
  —Village Voice
"A powerful example of cinema's ability to grant even the diciest of characters their full humanity"

Terrence Malick presents this poignant and visually arresting nonfiction film about the Native American gang crisis. When Rob Brown, a Native American gang leader on a remote Minnesota reservation, is sentenced to prison for a fifth time, he must confront his role in bringing violent drug culture into his beloved Ojibwe community. As Rob reckons with his past, his seventeen-year-old protégé, Kevin, dreams of the future: becoming the most powerful and feared Native gangster on the reservation.

The Seventh Fire is a bird's eye view of the Ojibwe reservation in rural Minnesota as from above, with its forests and lakes, it appears to be an almost untouched landscape. But this idyll is deceptive, so when the camera explores the reservation's streets and houses at close quarters, it reveals burning car parts, trash-filled front gardens and barely furnished rooms. The two young men which this precisely observed documentary accompanies live in a constant state of emergency. The gang culture of the prisons and cities is increasingly washing up at their front door with steadily climbing rates of violence, drugs and crime. At the same time, a growing number of young people are recalling the culture and language of their ancestors to try and find a new foothold in life.

Directed by Jack Pettibone Riccobono, 2015, U.S.A., 78 mins.


  • Fri., Aug. 5 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Aug. 6 at 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Aug. 7 at 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Aug. 8–11 at 7 & 9 pm
Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation