Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry

A cinematic portrait of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. Through his eyes, we see both the changing landscapes of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture and the redemptive beauty in taking the unworn path.

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  • ★★★★½ review by Ken Rudolph on Letterboxd

    Wendell Berry is an 83 year old Kentucky farmer, author, poet and home spun philosopher. This documentary tells his story...small family farmer, nature lover, opponent of agribusiness and the government subsidies that encourage farm consolidation, crusading proponent of organic, back to the soil rural life. The film also tells the story of other farmers and their progeny, gradually forced off the land by economic necessity.

    Personally, I'm traditionally as urban as it gets (although I did have my quasi-hippie return to the land period in the 1970s when I was in my 30s.) Yet through the power of Berry's words and film maker Laura Dunn's gorgeous imagery, I was overcome by a feeling of nostalgia for the beauties of the countryside and the romance of being one with nature. Every frame of this film is a beautiful visual...from the etchings which adorn the inter-titles, to the "Koyaanisqatsi-ish", stop-motion scenes of overpopulated, mechanized urban life, to the sun-dappled forests and loamy farmland scenes that could have been taken from one of executive producer Terrence Malick's films. I wonder if Berry's poetic narration extolling his rural philosophy actually makes any sense in today's world. But I sure wish it did; and I love this film for introducing me to Berry's world.

  • ★★★½ review by CINEMADHESIVE on Letterboxd

    "I'm a dandelion man, myself."

  • ★★★★½ review by zackclemmons on Letterboxd

    Wendell Berry's poems are best when you hear his real voice. I've always been struck, inspired, by the integrity of his life and work, and the film did a nice job adding the details of the narrative of his life. Erin and I left thinking about the possibility of a farming life, so the film did its work.

  • ★★★½ review by Glen Grunau on Letterboxd

    Movies and Meaning Festival 2017

    Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Film #11

    What have we lost as a consequence of the mechanization and mass production of farming?  Wendell Berry would argue that we have lost the vitality of farming community, our connection to the land, and our sense of home and belonging.

    Berry is a farmer, a poet, an author, and a premiere torch bearer for these values, which are being threatened in the name of profit - but profit for the mechanized farming industry rather for the farmer who works the land.  

    Reading two of his novels, and most specifically Jayber Crow, has given me a taste of his undying vision for the rejuvenation of the small farmer.

  • ★★★★★ review by Beth on Letterboxd

    Poetry-- lovely. Want to see again just to think about the structure.

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