Screened as part of NZIFF 2016

Songs My Brothers Taught Me 2015

Directed by Chloé Zhao Fresh

A heartfelt dramatised contemplation of life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, experienced partly through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl steeling herself for the departure of her adored older brother.

USA In English
94 minutes DCP



Chloé Zhao
Angela C. Lee
Mollye Asher
Nina Yang Bongiovi
Forest Whitaker


Joshua James Richards


Alan Canant
Chloé Zhao


Peter Golub


John Reddy (Johnny Winters)
Jashaun St John (Jashaun Winters)
Irene Bedard (Lisa Nelson)
Taysha Fuller (Aurelia Clifford)
Eléonore Hendricks (Angie Laprelle)
Travis Lone Hill (Travis Lone Hill)


Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight)
London 2015


“At once a family drama, landscape film, neorealist exposé, and ethnographic immersion, the remarkable debut feature Songs My Brothers Taught Me is a product of the four years that writer-director Chloé Zhao spent on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, getting to know some of its Lakota residents and gathering impressions of the texture of their lives. In outline, the film is simple: it’s the story of a sensitive, fatherless, bootlegging high-school student (John Reddy) who wants to leave the reservation with his college-bound girlfriend (Taysha Fuller) but is blocked, partly by adverse circumstances and partly by his reluctance to abandon his little sister (Jashaun St John). In form and emotional tone, though, the film is exceptionally rich – by turns raw, dreamy, harsh, sensuous, touching, intimate, garrulous, and elliptical.” — Stuart Klawans, The Nation

“The balance of humanistic and ethnographic filmmaking with poignant, often seemingly unscripted drama has many rewards… As harsh as the view often is, it’s underscored by strong notes of hope and of bone-deep identity.” — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

Screening With This Feature

The Turning Tide 2016


World Premiere
A story of adventure and discovery as two Māori boys come to the realisation of larger issues impacting their coastline. Screening with Songs My Brothers Taught Me.