A Native American tale with international pedigree

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 18, 2013 at 9:26 am •  Published: May 18, 2013
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CANNES, France (AP) — It took an international production starring a Puerto Rican and a Frenchman to bring the Native American tale "Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian" to the big screen.

The film, an English language one from French director Arnaud Desplechin, made its premiere Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival, where it's among 20 movies competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or.

It's principally a tete-a-tete between two men: the Blackfoot Indian Jimmy Picard (Benicio Del Toro), who's suffering from head trauma after serving in World War II; and an eager anthropologist and psychologist from France, George Devereux (Mathieu Amalric), who treats him at a Topeka, Kansas, military hospital.

"The film has one foot in Europe and one foot in America," Desplechin told reporters Saturday. The "A Christmas Tale" director shot the movie in the Midwest and on a Blackfoot reservation in Montana.

In the genre of psychotherapy films — from Hitchcock's "Spellbound" to David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" — "Jimmy P." is particularly faithful to the probing dialogue between patient and analyst. It's a case study of a film, adapted from Devereux's 1951 book, "Reality and Dream," that includes lengthy transcriptions of sessions. Desplechin said he wanted to grasp "the adventure" between the pair as they become friends while sifting Jimmy's memories for the roots of his pain.

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