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Kevin Costner as US patriotism's guilty conscience.

Kevin Costner‘s much-lauded directorial debut Dances With Wolves is one of the few Hollywood movies

to deal sympathetically with the plight ofthe native American. Trevor Johnston investigates the celluloid legacy ofwhite man‘s guilt and points to the crisis at the heart ofthe American imagination.

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ritical superlatives, a remarkable ' merits all the attention it has received for the virtual genocide ofthe Native American twelve Oscar nominations and I way it explodes the current timorous studio population, and the experience ofslavery handsome box office returns have movie formulae, while exploring the themes which was eventually to plunge the country been Kevin Costner’s ample of paradise and civilisation, innocence and into bloody conflict. For the most part. reward for a project deemed too guilt, that mark the tensions at the heart of Dances With Wolves concerns itselfwith the risky for mainstream Hollywood to America’s cultural identity. heavy price extracted in Indian lives for the handle. Weighing in at a minute under three Even today, America continues to be inexorable surge ofwhite civilisation hours, with a largely unknown cast and shaped by attitudes that are a legacy oftwo towards the Californian coast. But the substantial stretches of Lakota dialogue in major historical movements; the westward setting of its opening sequence amidst the Bib-titled translation, Dances With Wolves odyssey of the frontier which justified the carnage of the Civil War as Costner’s

The List 8— 21 March 19915