A Tale of Sheep and Shepherds
From its opening moments, when there is the sound of rushing wind and the screen lights up with images of hundreds of sheep standing stock still, like statues, in the serene snow clad landscape, the documentary roots itself in its very special location. This is a film about place, about tradition, about lifestyle -- and about change.
The scenery is spectacular. The sheep are fascinating. They behave as sheep do -- following each other, bleating incessantly, crowding in front of each other to forage for food. We see them under electric shears and giving birth. They have personality.
The drovers, too, are compelling characters. They're self-sufficient, capable, endure hardship and exhaustion on the trail and are full of surprises. While pitching tents and riding over treacherous terrain, they sing and recite poetry. They're candid, open, uninhibited. They pee in the wild (back to camera, of course), shoot at bears that threaten the sheep, cuss outrageously or call home to mom when the going gets too miserably rough. They're simple people, but they seem larger than life. They could be models for the heroes of our narrative Western movies.
Brilliant Observational Filmmaking
Sweetgrass is a film of record about the American West, it documents and pays tribute to a way of life that is fast fading.
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- Title: Sweetgrass - 2010
- Director: Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
- Release Date: November 7, 2010
- Running Time: 101 mins.
- Parental Advisory: Content advisory for parents
- Locations: Montana
- Language: English
- Production Country: USA
- Production Company: Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab
- Distribution Company: Cinema Guild
- Official Website