Native American actress proud to walk Cannes red carpet

Director Arnaud Desplechin (2ndR) and cast members Gina McKee (R), Misty Upham (2ndL) and Michelle Thrush pose during a photocall for the film 'Jimmy P.' (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian) at the 66th Cannes Film Festival Credit: Reuters
Director Arnaud Desplechin (2ndR) and cast members Gina McKee (R), Misty Upham (2ndL) and Michelle Thrush pose during a photocall for the film ‘Jimmy P.’ (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian) at the 66th Cannes Film Festival
Credit: Reuters

Native American actress Misty Upham never dreamt she would be walking the red carpet at Cannes to showcase a film shot on her reservation.

Upham features in “Jimmy P. Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian”, focused on the relationship between World War Two veteran Jimmy Picard, a Native American Blackfoot, and Georges Devereux, his psychoanalyst.

Upham said like Picard, played by Puerto Rican actor Benicio Del Toro, she is Blackfeet, the largest tribe in Montana state. She said she was a direct descendant of the last chief and grew up on the reservation where much of the movie was filmed.

“I had no dreams and no way to make a dream. I had to leave the reservation,” Upham, 30, told a news conference on Saturday ahead of the premiere of the film’s premiere by French director Arnaud Desplechin.

“So 18 years later … (I am) coming a full circle to the reservation I left to fulfil my dream.”

Upham says and another “Jimmy P.” actress, Michelle Thrush, a Cree from Canada, are the first Native American women in the official selection at Cannes, although organizers of the festival, now in its 66th year, were unable to confirm it.

One of 20 films competing for the main prize at the 12-day event on the French Riviera, the movie was inspired by a true story in Devereux’s 1951 book “Reality And Dream”.

Set in 1948, the film follows Jimmy as he checks into a military hospital in Topeka, Kansas, that specializes in mental illness for war veterans to be treated for numerous symptoms, including temporary blindness, hearing loss and dizzy spells.

The doctors are baffled by his psychological problems and decide to call in anthropologist and psychoanalyst Devereux (Mathieu Amalric) a specialist in Native American culture who spent two years living with the Mojave Native Americans.

Del Toro, who won the best actor award at Cannes in 2008 for “Che”, said it was important for him to understand the history of Native Americans to get to grips with his character.

The oppression of Native Americans remains a stain on the history of the United States following the seizure of land, removal of children from families, and violation of treaties.

The 2010 census found 5.2 million people in the United States identified themselves as American Indians and Alaska Natives, while government figures this year showed they had the highest poverty rate in the country, at 27 percent, from 2007 through 2011.

Upham, who plays the mother of Jimmy’s daughter, said the film recognized the different approach needed to treat psychological illness among Native Americans.

“We believe in spirits. We believe in ghosts. We believe in shape shifting. We believe in medicine and curses. We are very spiritual people,” said the actress, best known for the 2008 film “Frozen River”.

“What somebody else would call delusional, to us it is normal. That is why they had to create a new way to see what is going on in our minds without confusing the spirituality.”

“Jimmy P.” is Desplechin’s fourth film selected for the main competition at Cannes, with the prestigious Palme D’Or for best picture to be awarded on the festival’s final day, May 26.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.

Local

NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.

Local

Man dies trapped in elevator shaft at Bronx…

A man in his twenties died after being trapped in an elevator shaft of a Bronx building early Monday, police said.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…