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Sweetgrass

Submitted by admin on June 9, 2010 – 8:35 pmNo Comment

Sweetgrass unfolds like a sweet country song you just want to hear again. Sweetgrass is a full-on documentary about wrangling sheep and it changes your perception of the role of, well, sheep and contemporary cowboys. Sweetgrass is not to be confused with the sweet grass that was being passed around at last week’s summerfest.

Sweetgrass falls into the category of documentaries that unfold in a natural manner. There’s no voice over to tell you what to think. The action unfolds naturally as it occurs. So we witness sheep in barns, sheep being sheared, sheep being cursed, and the men who tend sheep.

The real audience for Sweetgrass are people who appreciate verite documentary style. Recent docs like La Danse or Into Great Silence observe a similar esthetic. There’s no fast-forwarding through a film like Sweetgrass. You just let it flow over like waves. That being said, this is definitely skewed towards the rural as opposed to the suburban.

At one point, one of the mounted cowboys goes into a shitfit when a sheep doesn’t do what he tells them to do. It kind of reminded me of me when I’m in traffic and someone turns into my lane without a signal. Later that same c’boy is seen grappling with his cell phone in the middle of deep wilderness, talking to his mother, saying things that warp the perspective of his up-to-then macho character. Sweetgrass unfolds exclusively at the Angelika starting June 11.

- Michael Bergeron

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