TORONTO (Reuters) – While her name will receive top billing when “Woman Walks Ahead” hits cinemas, Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain was eager to avoid playing a white savior in the tale of two disenfranchised people finding hope and resistance together.
The film, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday night, tells the true story of Caroline Weldon, who was also known as Catherine. Weldon traveled alone from New York to the Dakota Territory, ostensibly to paint a portrait of Lakota Sioux tribal chief Sitting Bull.
Woman - Anyone - Chastain - Monday - Bull
“In the 1880s a woman couldn’t save anyone,” Chastain said on Monday, adding, “Sitting Bull is the one rallying the people and speaking to the people.”
Michael Greyeyes, the Canadian Plains Cree actor who played Sitting Bull, said Chastain even altered a scene in which she was to sit next to Sitting Bull while he addresses his people, moving herself to the background.
Generosity - Consciousness - Narratives - Stories
“That speaks to her generosity, that speaks to her political consciousness about white narratives within indigenous stories,” he said.
The film portrays Sitting Bull in the days leading up to his 1890 murder and the subsequent massacre at Wounded Knee, working with the painter to convince his people to reject a land...
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