Film Bright Leaves by Ross McElwee R E V I E W E D B Y BA R BA RA H A H N Ross McElwee (here), a North Carolina native and maker of the acclaimed Sherman's March, produces films that are profound, slow-moving meditations on family and place, history and identity, personal and philosophical voyages alongside physical journeys through the region. Photograph courtesy of Ross McElwee and Bright Leaves (copyright 2003, distributed by First Run Features). The last tobacco queen is having a rough morning. She's struggling to complete her thought that "everybody's gonna die of something, so . . . might as well die of something that's going to help out the . . . what's the word?" The filmmaker, the voice behind the camera, offers a suggestion: "Is it the economy?" They both understand the problem of dependence--physical, psychological, or financial--on a dangerous, disagreeable product. The beauty queen's hometown depends on the revenue tobacco brings, but its annual Tobacco Festival is soon to be renamed the "Farmers' Day Parade." This sort of quandary shapes Ross McElwee's powerful, problematic documentary, Bright Leaves. A North Carolina native and maker of the acclaimed Sherman's March, McElwee produces profound,
Southern Cultures – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Oct 5, 2006
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