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 ...
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Filmmaker Ross McElwee (Sherman's March, Bright Leaves) finds himself in frequent conflict with his son, a young adult who seems addicted to and distracted by the virtual worlds of the ... See full summary »
Forty year old documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee has a penchant for filming everything around him. Following the announcement of his impending marriage to his film-making partner Marilyn ... 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 ... See full summary »
Ross McElwee Jr.
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.
The final entry in a trilogy of films produced for the U.S. government by John Huston. This documentary film follows 75 U.S. soldiers who have sustained debilitating emotional trauma and ... See full summary »
A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.
WELFARE shows the nature and complexity of the welfare system in sequences illustrating the staggering diversity of problems that constitute welfare: housing, unemployment, divorce, medical... See full summary »
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
[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...
May as well be tobacco?
Might as well die of something that's gonna help out the... the... *what's* the word? Here, I'm thinkin'...
*There* ya go. There ya go. Havin' a tough mornin'...
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"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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