Watch The Last of His Tribe
- 1 hr 31 min
The Last of His Tribe is a poignant and thought-provoking film that tells the story of Ishi, the last member of the Yahi tribe. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Theodora Kroeber, Ishi's real-life friend and anthropologist who chronicled his life and culture. The story takes place in the early 20th century, when Ishi is discovered by a group of California hunters. He is found wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, dazed and confused. The hunters bring him to the local sheriff, who in turn reaches out to Professor Alfred L. Kroeber, an anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley, to help identify him. Kroeber is fascinated by Ishi's unique culture and language, and he sees an opportunity to preserve it for future generations. He convinces Ishi to come live with him and his family on the university campus, where he can study him and document his way of life. At first, Ishi struggles to adjust to his new surroundings. He misses his family and his homeland, and he feels out of place in the modern world. But he slowly begins to adapt, and he forms a close bond with Kroeber and his wife, Theodora. The film explores Ishi's struggle to maintain his culture and identity in a rapidly changing world. He teaches Kroeber and his family about the ways of the Yahi, showing them how to make fire with sticks, hunt with a bow and arrow, and gather food from the land. He also shares his language and stories, helping Kroeber to write down the first Yahi dictionary and to compile a book of Yahi tales. As Kroeber's research into Yahi culture becomes more widely known, Ishi becomes a celebrity in the academic world. He is invited to give lectures and demonstrations, and he travels to museums and universities across the country to share his knowledge with others. Ishi takes great pride in being able to represent his people and to share their story with the world. But the fame and attention come at a cost. Ishi becomes increasingly homesick and withdrawn, longing to return to the mountains and forests where he was born. He misses his family and his community, and he feels like a stranger in the world of the white man. He becomes more and more isolated, struggling to find a place where he truly belongs. The film is beautifully shot and expertly acted, with Jon Voight giving a powerful and nuanced performance as Kroeber. Graham Greene is equally impressive as Ishi, portraying him as a complex and sympathetic character who is torn between his love for his culture and his desire to fit in with the modern world. David Ogden Stiers is also excellent as the compassionate and understanding Dr. Saxton Pope, Kroeber's colleague who forms a close friendship with Ishi. Overall, The Last of His Tribe is a deeply moving and thought-provoking film that explores themes of identity, culture, and belonging. It reminds us of the importance of preserving the wisdom and traditions of indigenous peoples, and it shows us the human cost of cultural assimilation. The film will make you laugh, cry, and think deeply about the world we live in today.