Cowboys, Woolies, and Bears

Watched a movie last night that I thought was fantastic; Sweetgrass. I’d seen it mentioned somewhere before and had it in the Netflix queue, then Julia’s dad recommended it to us so we hunkered down on the couch to check it out. We were not disappointed. Here’s the premise:

An unsentimental elegy to the American West, “Sweetgrass” follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana’s breathtaking and often dangerous Absaroka-Beartooth mountains for summer pasture. This astonishingly beautiful yet unsparing film reveals a world in which nature and culture, animals and humans, vulnerability and violence are all intimately meshed.

It’s a documentary, but there’s no exposition, no narration, nothing. Just people living a vanishing lifestyle captured on film, performing the ultimate “show, don’t tell” philosophy of all good writing. It features excellent characters in a compelling “Man vs. Wilderness” story with conflict, suspense, and drama. Easily one of my favorite movies of the year. It’s the kind of filmmaking I love, the kind that demands the audience pay attention and not just sit and be bludgeoned over the head. Similar in some ways to another movie I enjoyed last year, Boxing Gym, only better. Highly recommended.



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