Author Topic: Sweetgrass  (Read 10346 times)

Offline Monika

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Re: "Sweetgrass"
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2010, 11:24:46 am »
this looks real interesting

Offline Luvlylittlewing

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Re: Sweetgrass
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2010, 03:51:49 pm »
This Friday I will get to see it on the big screen at the same art house theater I saw Brokeback Mountain in, back in 2006!

Cool!  I would love to know all about your experience!  :)

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Sweetgrass
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2010, 05:14:42 pm »
I was tickled when, some few minutes after having become fired up about the movie Sweetgrass, I learned that it would be opening in a few days at a venue within driving distance. The same venue where four and a half fuckin’ years ago I saw Brokeback Mountain for the first time.

When we arrived at the Grandin Theater (http://www.grandintheatre.com) for the 7:30 p.m. show, I learned also that it would be show in the same main theater that I had seen Brokeback, the old main stage as it were; all festooned from the days of Art Deco, waiting for someone to come paint a mural. The theater was not as crowed as it was that night in January 2006, but there were about 25 people there. Unfortunately this included one hyper active couple who sat ahead of us and felt the need to chatter about every damn thing they saw on the screen until I asked them to please stop. Those two twerps had raised my blood pressure to such a level as I have rarely experienced.

The previews included one for Focus Feature’s upcoming release, The Kids Are Alright, but that is another story.

It was hard going to see this film without some preconceived notion about it, having watched the videos on Youtube and being enticed by the scenery, so familiar to my movie going and real eyes. I knew that it was going to be no Brokeback Mountain, but in a very strange way there were undeniable parallels. The first of these is the lack of much dialogue, especially in the beginning.

And in the beginning was the sheep, alpha and omega throughout. Sheep feeding, sheep bleating, sheep defecating, sheep urinating, sheep running, sheep herding, the world was sheep, and the handlers only came about later. What you saw was the raw and tough real world that Jack and Ennis would have known.

Spoiler Alert: (been a while since I used those words) There is a definite fecundity of life factor. A female hand drags a bleating newborn lamb thru a barn, past dozens of sheep, its mother following, concerned. She is getting the new born to a pen where it will be safe from being trampled by the others. She wants the mother to go with it, but the mother gets spooked and retreats back into the heard of identical sheep and you look and wonder if she has disappeared for good, loosing her identity in the crowd.

Then there is a delivery, and I am interpreting this having only seen it once and not real certain I know of which I speak. The mother sheep is rolled over and the emerging lamb is visible. The handler handles it on out into the world and then you realize, the mother is dead. In the next scene you see maybe this sheep, maybe a different one, being fitted with this little jumper like suit and you hear the hand say to put it in with this one over here and maybe she will think it her child and nurse it, and it dawns on you this newborn had been dressed up in the hide of a dead lamb in a effort to fool a mother into adopting it.

And there is the drive, that amazing scene where hundreds of sheep trot down the main street of some small town; a few people come out to watch. Herded out into the wilderness by a family with walkie talkies. Young and old. Followed by the familiar curved wagon of Basque, I suppose, origin that has followed these sheep for years. Followed them until they reach the summer pasture and then it is just the two of them:

John, the old hand, with his horse, Jake, muttering softly over and over: “Watch your step, watch your step, Jake” Muttering, singing, shaped by years of isolation and deprivation. Happy as Loyal Blood with a meteorite.

The other one, the young one, I never did catch his name. The one with the cell phone. The one who came along a long time after people stopped going to the moon. Not a bad looking young man, he fills out his Georgia Sweat shirt and his jeans well, but he is untested. He is trying emulate something that wears a hat like the one he wears. He is not bad at what he does, but when you hear his transistor radio play a commercial for a sale coming up in August, you get the sense he has been out of his element a long time.

There is not romance between these two men, in fact I am left wondering if John has ever known affection for anything more than his horse, or a good night’s sleep. John maintains the camp, with a wood stove and a walkie talkie and a camera with a motor drive and a roll of 800 ASA film to document the gutted sheep, splayed open in an eerily familiar pose.

So much of it is eerily familiar. The sheep, moving as specks on a ridge, the men, dozing, the camp fire, whipped up by the wind showering sparks like those that landed on Jack and Ennis the last time the coupled. The wind, the rain, the predators. It was as if it were the same bolt of cloth, cut by a different dye. Annie Proulx and the film makers, they nailed it, they really nailed it.

Sweetgrass was shot over the period 2001-2003 in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area of Montana, just north of Yellowstone. The wilderness area was created in 1964 and those families that had grazed there before then were grandfathered in, allowed to continue doing so. One by one the dropped off until this 2003 trip, after which this last family, who had run their operation since 1900 decided to call it quits.

This movie is an amazing document of a way of life that is now all but gone. It is a testament we all owe these people to watch and see for ourselves what they did to survive, where that long wool coat hanging in the back of the closet, moth eaten, came from. Let the smell that reaches our nostrils each time we pass thru the rain with it on remind us. Yes, you are a pretty girl. A pretty girl this evening.

"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: "Sweetgrass"
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2010, 11:37:46 pm »
I was travelling with my friends up in the Absarokas...which my friend Sherri called the Absarkies...up near the Wyoming/Montana border. We were taking a dusty shortcut from one scenic skyway to another, when we saw a cloud of dust ahead. And what did we spy emerging from the dust but...sheep!!

May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: "Sweetgrass"
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2010, 11:40:00 pm »

 :-\ For some reason, Divshare only wants to show some of these photos, not all.
May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: "Sweetgrass"
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2010, 11:45:40 pm »








May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: "Sweetgrass"
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2010, 11:51:13 pm »








May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Marina

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Re: "Sweetgrass"
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2010, 12:41:24 am »
I saw this myself recently - it was wonderful.   Beautiful and bittersweet.   I loved the older herder - he was so gentle, peaceful and had so much experence.   It was sad to see a way of life that has now all but disappeared, and the younger members of the family not be as interested in continuing the traditions, but understandable for such hard work.
“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species -- man -- acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.”
~Rachel Carson~

~Looking back on it, they both realized it was the best thing they ever had.~  - A Mother's Love

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: "Sweetgrass"
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2010, 03:27:24 am »
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 07:39:12 am by Front-Ranger »
May 2019 be better for us all.