Smoke Signals (1998)
Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by Arnold. Arnold soon left his family (and his tough son Victor), and Victor hasn't seen his father for 10 years. When Victor hears Arnold has died, Thomas offers him funding for the trip to get Arnold's remains, but only if Thomas can also go with him. Thomas and Victor hit the road.
- Smoke Signals is a humorous yet serious story about Victor, a young man who Director Chris Eyre describes as "trying to forgive his father." The movie gives us a glimpse into the contemporary Native American world, and is created by an almost exclusively Native American cast.
The story begins with a glimpse of two baby boys, one barely rescued from a fire which consumes his parents. We briefly see them grow up and learn of the tension between them. They are opposites. The rescued orphan boy Thomas becomes a naive but positive nerd with over-sized glasses, while Victor - who is to embark on a journey of forgiveness towards his father - is proud of his Native American stoicism and seems to find pleasure in confrontation.
Victor's father left when he was a boy, and he now learns that his father just died, and his mother sends him to collect the ashes. He is only able to make the trip with Thomas' help, however, and there is a condition which is difficult for him to accept: Victor must swallow his pride and take Thomas with him.
The young men are as different as potatoes and strawberries, and through their tension and close proximity they learn from one another - about the world, about Victor's father, and most of all - about themselves. It is an enjoyably paced sentimental and funny film, which gives viewers a look into the Indian culture, and of course - themselves.