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Barge cover photo

Barge 2015


Distributed by Collective Eye Films, 2305 SE Yamhill Street, Suite 101, Portland OR 97214; 503-232-5345

Directed by Ben Powell
DVD , color, 88 min.

General Adult
Commerce, Industries, Occupations, Transportation

Date Entered: 08/17/2017

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Photographer and documentarian Ben Powell, along with cameraman Andrew Alden Miller, paint a video picture of life on the Mississippi River, 21stcentury style. Beginning at the Port of Rosedale, MS, the barge m/v Mary Parker takes on a new crew and cargo. During the 28-day southbound voyage to New Orleans, grain, coal, and fertilizer are dropped off at ports along the way. The small crew performs routine maintenance on the vessel when not off-loading freight, before heading back towards home.

Expertly photographed and sound edited, the film is both engaging and informative. Viewers learn more about the both business and the employees of the maritime equivalents of 18-wheeler trucks. Although these workhorses of the transportation and commerce system may be invisible to or unnoticed by the general public, the barge operators understand the vital role their labor and equipment play in the larger economic system. The film is a fascinating study of a small slice of society. A 2015 selection and winner of several documentary and film festival awards is recommended for general audiences.