Ross McElwee sets out to make a documentary about the lingering effects of General Sherman's march of destruction through the South during the Civil War, but is continually sidetracked by ... See full summary »
In 1986, Ross McElwee and Marilyn Levine were making a film about the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall, when the imposing structure was still very much intact as the world's most visible symbol of hardline Communism.
Early Errol Morris documentary intersplices random chatter he captured on film of the genuinely eccentric residents of Vernon, Florida. A few examples? The preacher giving a sermon on the ... See full summary »
Soon after the fall of Baghdad in 2003, a young and charismatic film student, Muthana Mohmed, stands in the rubble of the city's film school and explains to an American television audience ... See full summary »
Ross McElwee sets out to make a documentary about the lingering effects of General Sherman's march of destruction through the South during the Civil War, but is continually sidetracked by women who come and go in his life, his recurring dreams of nuclear holocaust, and Burt Reynolds. Written by
Brett Coon <email@example.com>
I intended to watch only the first ten or fifteen minutes of this film, on a recommendation by a professor. I ended up watching the whole 2 hours 40 minutes, engrossed at every turn. I don't know why this film is so good; by all rationale, it probably ought to have turned out to be dull and pretentious. Instead, Sherman's March is an incredibly patient and passionate examination of oneself, the pain and frustration that come with mid-life depression, and the quasi-comic mystery surrounding Southern culture. I don't often find myself so enveloped in documentaries, particularly those that stop pursuing their apparent narrative ten minutes in and take on a totally new and divergent direction. But this film works. In filming his relationships with a number of different women over the course of a year, McElwee reveals himself to be a deeply frustrated individual, whose penchant for chasing life with a camera proves both constructive of an insightful film, as well as destructive to his own sense of balance and structure in his own life. The result is often funny, occasionally discomforting, and periodically profound. One sequence ends with McElwee's filmed conversation with a woman with whom he has tried to forge a romantic involvement out of an ancient friendship; the sharpness with which they speak to each other is jolting. McElwee manages to evoke an entire persona for himself - whether authentic or not - with scenes like these, at the same time drawing an insightful - if slightly overblown, though satirically so - comparison of himself to William Tecumseh Sherman and his devastating Civil War march through the South. This is a remarkable film for its willingness to examine the subtext of its maker's life.
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