Christopher Martini’s short film focuses on an 11-year-old Lakota Indian boy who is being driven by his father to a diner off the interstate in South Dakota. Initially, the viewer believes the diner patrons and staff would be hostile to the father and son because they are the only Indians in a redneck establishment. However, the hostility is actually justified for surprising reasons.
And there are more than a few surprises to be found in this deceptive little film, which challenges notions of fatherhood, family and self-identity. Working with non-professional actors on a two-day shoot, Martini offers a stylish, professional endeavor that simultaneously captures the vastness of South Dakota’s Badlands and the vastness of inner conflicts.
There is one problem here: the film ends somewhat abruptly and enigmatically. This could be explained via a little Net research: it appears Martini is seeking to expand “The Stone Child” into a feature film. This nifty short is, perhaps, the calling card to attract deep-pocketed producers. Let’s hope there’s money to be found to widen the film, as Martini is clearly on to something special.