Winter in the Blood (film)

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Winter in the Blood
Winter in the Blood poster.jpg
Directed byAlex Smith
Andrew J. Smith
Produced bySherman Alexie
Written byAlex Smith
Andrew J. Smith
Based onWinter in the Blood
by James Welch
StarringChaske Spencer
David Morse
Gary Farmer
Michael Spears
Julia Jones
Distributed byKino Lorber
Release date
  • June 14, 2013 (2013-06-14) (Los Angeles Film Festival)
  • August 20, 2014 (2014-08-20) (United States)
CountryUnited States

Winter in the Blood is a 2013 American film written and directed by brothers Alex Smith and Andrew J. Smith[1] and produced by Native American author Sherman Alexie.[2] The film was based on the debut novel Winter in the Blood (1974) by noted author James Welch, who was a leader of the Native American renaissance in literature.[2]


The film is set in Montana. In what has been called "a tale of simple, raw struggle and survival among a small-town Native American community,"[3] Virgil First Raise, a Native American, returns home after waking drunk in a ditch to find that his wife, Agnes, has left him. He sets out on an odyssey to find her.



Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times said the film is concerned with memory and regret and it "feels boldly unburdened by many of the rules of structure and conventional storytelling."[3] It has moments that are "unexpectedly arresting and little jabs of poetic meaning or hard-earned truths reel a viewer back in."[3]

Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times said the film had compassion for the "wounds of childhood" and the "trap of ethnicity."[4] She praised the work of the cinematographer Paula Huidobro, noting that she captured the expanse of the Montana plains and big sky while having "cross-fades [that] parallel the ebb and flow of Virgil’s memories and hallucinations."[4]

The film was an Official Selection at the 2013 Los Angeles, Austin, and American Indian film festivals.[5]


  1. ^ Catsoulisaug, Jeannette (August 19, 2014). "Montana Skies, Childhood Wounds". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b O’Connor, William (2014-08-22). "Sherman Alexie on His New Film, the Redskins, and Why It's OK to Laugh at His Work". The Daily Beast.
  3. ^ a b c Mark Olsen, "'Winter in the Blood' a tale of losses, including the audience", Los Angeles Times, 30 October 2014; accessed 28 October 2016
  4. ^ a b Jeannette Catsoulis, "Montana Skies, Childhood Wounds", The New York Times, 19 August 2014; accessed 28 October 2016
  5. ^ Winter in the Blood, Official film website, accessed 14 February 2013

External links[edit]