A Navajo shepherdess perseveres despite extreme drought in this tone poem about a rapidly vanishing way of life. “We didn’t even go up the mountain because there’s no water,” she recounts. “Hardships are just lessons and challenges in life and you just can’t dwell on it, you have to live through it.”
The Blessing delivers an unapologetic and unflinching portrait of Lawrence, a Navajo man who struggles to walk in two worlds. In one world, he sacrifices his soul to earn a living as a coal miner, a cog in a massive industrial machine that daily cuts deeper into a sacred Navajo mountain, eviscerating it to provide the raw ingredient for electrical power for the Southwest. In the other, he is a native son of Mother Earth, a spiritual warrior charged by birthright with caretaking the land. While straddling these two opposing worlds, Lawrence is also working to redeem the personal, social and cultural sins of his past and raise a teenage daughter as a single father. That he somehow manages to stay astride all of these potentially upending challenges is, perhaps, the inspiration for the film’s title.