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Based on an historical event recounted by the Ojibway author George Copway, Intemperance takes a satirical look at the introduction of "fire-water" to a village on Lake Superior in the early days of colonialism. Copway was a successfully assimilated translator and ordained Methodist minister who became a literary celebrity and popular lecturer in the New World. In 1851 he published The Traditional History and Characteristic Sketches of the Ojibway Nation. One of the chapters, "The Effects of Liquor" reveals a tale as morally complex today as it was several hundred years ago.

Taking narration directly from Copway's writing with little editing and layering it onto a short fiction film, the director talks back to Hollywood revealing a sophisticated justice system in a so-called barbaric society. The film inspires reflection with an ironic resonance frequently found in Lisa Jackson's short works.

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