"A Fistful of Dollars" dubbed in the Navajo language set for release

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Navajo language is stepping into Hollywood once again with the release this month of the western film, "A Fistful of Dollars."

The movie will be shown to audiences this month in communities on or near the tribal land, the Navajo Nation Museum announced on Nov. 3.

Dubbing the movie's dialogue into the Navajo language was a project of museum, which has taken on similar projects in collaboration with production companies, including the films, "Star Wars: A New Hope" and "Finding Nemo."

Adapting "A Fistful of Dollars" – the title in the Navajo language is "Béeso Dah Yiníljaa'" – has been underway since 2018, according to a news release from the museum in Window Rock, Arizona.

It was a joint effort by the museum and Kino Lorber Inc., a New York-based company that distributes documentary, independent and classic cinema. The cast of Navajo voice actors recorded the movie's dialogue at Native Stars Studios in Gallup.

Its release was delayed last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The museum has scheduled dates this month for it to be shown in movie theaters on the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona released this image on Nov. 3 of "Béeso Dah Yiníljaa'" - the Navajo language version of the western movie, "A Fistful of Dollars."

The 1964 film was directed by Sergio Leone and stars Clint Eastwood in his iconic role as the character known as "the Man with No Name."

The online movie database, IMDb, describes the movie's plot as "a wandering gunfighter plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride and revenge."

Manuelito Wheeler, the museum director, said in the news release that the movie relates to older Navajos and the decision to release a Navajo language version fills that request from older tribal members.

"It only makes sense to make a movie for them since they are the primary speakers of Navajo. I know they'll have a great time watching it," Wheeler said.

The latest offering continues the museum's effort to increase awareness of the Navajo language and to prevent it from becoming unknown.

"Béeso Dah Yiníljaa'" will premiere for the cast and crew on Nov. 16 at the Window Rock Cinema in Window Rock. Seating for the public will be limited with admission free and COVID-19 protocols in place to enter the movie theater.

So far, additional screenings are set for Nov. 18 at Black Mesa Twin Cinema in Kayenta, Arizona and on Nov. 19 at Goen Cinemas in Tuba City, Arizona.

The museum is working on dates and locations for the film to show in either Crownpoint or Shiprock.

DVDs of "Béeso Dah Yiníljaa'" will be sold at each showing and will be available at the museum in Window Rock starting on Nov. 22.

For more information about screenings or about purchasing a DVD, contact the Navajo Nation Museum at 928-871-7941.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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