Mass for the Dakota Sioux

1963
Country: USA
Duration: 24 mins
B&W,
Sound: opt
Available Format/s: 16mm / DVD / Digibeta tape / SD Digital file
Themes: 
  • Politics and protest

  ,

A film mass, dedicated to nobility and excellence.
‘No chance for me to live, Mother, you might as well mourn.’ -Sitting Bull, Hukpapa Sioux Chief.
Applause for a lone figure dying on the street. INTROIT. A long lightly exposed section composed in the camera. KYRIE . A motorcyclist crossing the San Francisco bridge accompanied by the sound of a Gregorian chant, recorded at the Trappist monastery in Vina , California.The EPISTLE is in several sections. In this central part the film becomes gradually more outrageous, the material being either from television or the movies, photographed directly from the screen. The sounds of the ‘mass’ rise and fall throughout. GLORIA. The sound of a siren and a short sequence of a ’33 Cadillac proceeding over the Bay Bridge and disappearing into a tunnel. The final section of the Communion begins with the OFFERTORY in a procession of lights and figures to the second chant. The anonymous figure from the introduction is discovered again, dead on the pavement. The body is consecrated and taken away past an indifferent, isolated people, accompanied by the final chant. The Mass is traditionally a celebration of Life, thus the contradiction between the form of the Mass and the theme of death. The dedication is to the religious people (Dakota Sioux) who were destroyed by the civilisation that evolved the Mass. – B.B.

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