14 September, 2013

RIFF review: "CowJews and Indians: How Hitler Scared My Family—And I Woke Up in an Iroquois Longhouse with a Picture of Jesus, Reminding Me—For the Wrong Reason—That I Owe the Mohawks Rent" (**)

Marc Halberstadt and Nathan Blindman appear in "CowJews and Indians"

“CowJews and Indians," as its massive title might suggest, is interesting in concept but somewhat dull in execution. We follow Marc Halberstadt, the film’s director, from the very start as he seeks restitution from the German government for land that was taken away from his Jewish ancestors during the war. Through research and realization, Halberstadt considers the hypocrisy surrounding his situation, due to the fact that the home in which he grew up was located on Native American land. From here, he assembles a small team of local Native American leaders and heads to Germany. His proposal is to have the Germans pay the Indians directly, thus cutting out the middleman.

Halberstadt is extremely passionate about his quest and does bring up very interesting points, however the film’s central focus often strays. Throughout the documentary things are repeated and sometimes drawn out. With a running time of about 90 minutes, “CowJews and Indians” would probably benefit from being cut in half.

Marc Halberstadt sometimes lands on interesting ground and within the muddled material there are a few ideas worthy of exploration.

2 out of 5 stars.

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