Distributed by Grasshopper Films, 12 East 32nd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Directed by Christopher Lamarca
DVD, color, 88 min.
Agriculture, Animals, Farming
Date Entered: 11/15/2017Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
Fewer and larger farms are increasingly the norm in the US with the small family-run farm a rapidly disappearing feature of the landscape. Once the backbone of the American agriculture, these farms struggle not only to subsist but also to survive. In this evocative film, photojournalist Lamarca portrays one year in the life of one such enterprise.
Boone’s Farm is a small goat farm in southern Oregon. Established in 2001 by the son of one of the original Greenpeace founders, three people manage and operate the farm. Each day begins well before dawn and ends long after dark. The work is both tedious and physically demanding, emotionally draining, and financially uncertain, even as the three farmers appear to enjoy living and working close to the land. When, at the end of the year, the farmers must leave the farm they have worked so hard to maintain, it is with deep sadness.
With minimal dialogue, crisp editing, haunting background music, visually stunning photography, the filmmaker’s direct cinema techniques are reminiscent of sensory lab projects such as the award-winning Sweetgrass. While more context about the relationship between the farmers and the reasons surrounding the farm sale would have been helpful, overall this essay successfully captures a vanishing way of life and work.