Facets Cinémathèque

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February 16–22, 2018

Chicago Premiere

Pow Wow

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Film still: Pow Wow
"Stimulatingly quirky"
  —Hollywood Reporter
"Its insights are as much a matter of cinematic style—of visual composition and intellectual association—as of investigative content"
  —New Yorker

A stunning view of lush green golf courses in the Coachella Valley overshadows the stark Mojave Desert next door. Throughout Robinson Devor's film, black-and-white title transitions divide 14 short "chapters," following the various accounts of a 1908 manhunt of 28-year-old Chemehuevi-Paiute Indian "Willie Boy" in the desert and the flashy celebration of a modern-day "pow wow" by country-club-goers. After slaying the father of his 16-year-old cousin and lover, Willie Boy and Carlota evade authorities by fleeing across a stretch of 500 miles of desert in blistering heat. In the present day, beneath the valley's surface, fights over a massive aquifer sitting on Native American land remain hidden, while above, the partygoers frolic in feathers and cowboy boots as "time swims."

Panning over the burned desert and electronic surveillance fences designed to keep outsiders off luxury golf courses, Robinson Devor (Police Beat, Zoo) seems to be asking: Has anything changed in the past 100 years? Excerpts from the movie Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969), starring Robert Blake in the title role, along with narration by various desert characters, provide commentary on the ongoing and uncertain past and present struggles for water and freedom in the Coachella Valley.

Directed by Robinson Devor, U.S.A., 2016, 72 mins.


  • Fri., Feb. 16 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Feb. 17 at 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Feb. 18 at 3, 5 & 7 pm
  • Tues.–Thurs., Feb. 20–22 at 7 & 9 pm
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$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