This film’s lower-case urban poetry suggests a major talent. . . . It's refreshingly free of cliches and platitudes.Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Homer Nish, Tom Reynolds, Yvonne Williams,
Kent Mackenzie discovered Bunker Hill, the low-rent residential neighborhood on the west edge of downtown Los Angeles, in the mid-1950s when he was a film student at USC and it was first threatened with demolition. He also became fascinated with a subculture of Arizona Indians living there, and made them the subject of a semi-documentary short feature he called The Exiles. Filming in 35mm, Mackenzie wasn’t able to record dialogue on location, so he relied on post-synchronized dialogue and meditative voiceovers to tell his story of a long Friday night, from dusk to dawn. It is a night full of loneliness and yearning, petty betrayals and disappointments, and little flashes of happiness, ending with an attempt to revive old ceremonies and solidarities on a hilltop above the city. The Exiles is a wrenching document of cultural dislocation and a remarkable record of a city that has vanished.