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North Carolina produces more tobacco than any other state in America. Bright Leaves describes a journey taken across the social, economic, and psychological tobacco terrain of North ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Allan Gurganus ...
Himself
Paula Larke ...
Herself
Marilyn Levine ...
Herself
Emily Madison ...
Herself
...
Himself
Ross McElwee ...
Himself
Tom McElwee ...
Himself
...
Herself
Vlada Petric ...
Himself
Charleen Swansea ...
Herself
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Storyline

North Carolina produces more tobacco than any other state in America. Bright Leaves describes a journey taken across the social, economic, and psychological tobacco terrain of North Carolina by a native Carolinian, Ross McElwee, whose great-grandfather created the famous brand of tobacco known as Bull Durham. The comedic chronicle is a subjective, autobiographical meditation on the allure of cigarettes and their troubling legacy for the state of North Carolina. It's also a film about family history, addiction, denial, and filmmaking--as McElwee, noted director of Sherman's March, grapples with the legacy of an obscure Hollywood melodrama that is purportedly based on this curious man that was his great-grandfather. Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Release Date:

8 October 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

La splendeur des McElwee  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,485 (USA) (27 August 2004)

Gross:

$77,888 (USA) (3 June 2005)
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Miss Tobacco: [on being asked about the tobacco industry] It brings a lotta jobs and a lotta revenue, but... it has its health hazards and... everybody's gonna die of something, so...
[giggles]
Ross McElwee: May as well be tobacco?
Miss Tobacco: Might as well die of something that's gonna help out the... the... *what's* the word? Here, I'm thinkin'...
Ross McElwee: Economy?
Miss Tobacco: [beams] *There* ya go. There ya go. Havin' a tough mornin'...
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Crazy Credits

Too many beauty queens to be named here See more »

Connections

References Madam Satan (1930) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Amazing Documentary Film!
17 November 2015 | by See all my reviews

"Bright Leaves" is one of the absolute greatest documentary films of all time. It has made it to my top 10 favorite films list because of how much it, simply, amazed me!

The film revolves around the tobacco industry, the film industry, the McElwee family history, and many interesting characters we meet throughout the film. These characters have many interesting stories to tell, whether they're tragic or funny.

There's McElwee's film expert cousin, his hard to connect with 12 year old son, a couple trying to quit their smoking habits, and so on. These characters (I know they're real people, I'll call them characters anyway) are really what makes "Bright Leaves" so special, along with the, at times quite clever and funny, narration by the filmmaker, and the greatly interesting, highly personal presentation of it all.

Going into it, I expected this to be more of a pro-tobacco industry film, however, the film really does show the true negativity that smoking causes. We see the bad affects it has on health and the troubling process of trying to quit.

For those looking for a BBC-style documentary on the history of the tobacco industry, will not find much enjoyment here. However, if you like McElwee's style and would enjoy a quirky, funny, and, sometimes, almost heartbreaking, portrait of the McElwee family history, you should definitely check this one out! It's absolutely spectacular (and highly underrated) documentary film!


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