IMDb > Bright Leaves (2003)
Bright Leaves
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Bright Leaves (2003) More at IMDbPro »

Videos (see all 2)
Bright Leaves -- Open-ended Trailer from First Run Features

Overview

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7.1/10   474 votes »
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Director:
Writer:
Ross McElwee (writer)
Contact:
View company contact information for Bright Leaves on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 April 2004 (France) See more »
Plot:
North Carolina produces more tobacco than any other state in America. Bright Leaves describes a journey taken across the social... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A truly original work of brilliance from the master of the personal documentary. See more (14 total) »

Cast

 
Allan Gurganus ... Himself
Paula Larke ... Herself
Marilyn Levine ... Herself
Emily Madison ... Herself

Adrian McElwee ... Himself
Ross McElwee ... Himself
Tom McElwee ... Himself

Patricia Neal ... Herself
Vlada Petric ... Himself
Charleen Swansea ... Herself

Directed by
Ross McElwee 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ross McElwee  writer

Produced by
Ross McElwee .... producer
Linda Morgenstern .... associate producer
 
Cinematography by
Ross McElwee 
 
Film Editing by
Ross McElwee 
Mark Meatto  (as Mark Meato)
 
Production Management
Stan Sztaba .... post-production supervisor
 
Sound Department
Rick Beck .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Adrian McElwee .... additional camera operator
 
Editorial Department
Brad Fuller .... post-production consultant
Stan Sztaba .... negative matcher
 
Other crew
Pacho Velez .... production assistant
 
Thanks
Renata Jackson .... thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
107 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Quotes:
Ross McElwee:As time goes by, my father is beginning to seem less and less real to me in these images. Almost a fictional character. I want so much to reverse this shift, the way in which the reality of him is slipping away. Having this footage doesn't help very much - or, at least, not as much as I thought it would.See more »
Movie Connections:
References The Black Cat (1934)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
10 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
A truly original work of brilliance from the master of the personal documentary., 26 September 2004
Author: tjackson from Boston. MA

Bright Leaves is Ross McElwee at his best, part discovery, part diary, filled with humor, and overflowing with humanity. The basic premise, that he is searching for a possible connection between the Michael Curtiz/Gary Cooper/Patricia Neal/Lauren Bacall film 'Bright Leaf' and his own family history is fascinating but merely a starting point for a film that discovers its layers as it goes. Set in North Carolina, the home of bright leaf tobacco, he traces the story passed down through generations of the battle for tobacco supremacy between McElwees and the Dukes. The latter become the multi millionaires of tobacco, while the MacElwees were hypothetically shut out of a possible tobacco fortune, taking on lives as doctors, filmmakers, and in the case of his 2nd cousin – a curator of rare film prints and posters. The film is a colorful portrait of family, friends, and plain folks, filled with serendipitous plot moments, permeated with the wonder of living and being human.

While his initial 'search' seeks parallels between his ancestry and the story in film Bright Leaf , McElwee widens into the larger paradox of tobacco farming as a way of life vs. the deleterious effects of smoking.

Yet the heart of the film is in the smaller details and his supporting characters. McElwee has a remarkable genius for weaving what seems to be a discursive collection of real people into a film tapestry that meditates on work, love, hope, charity, the passage of time, growing up, family, mortality and more. His deadpan narration is at once humorous and ruminative. The writing leaps about pulling the ends together, considering ideas, speculating. His choices for subjects move from cousins, friends, past acquaintances to home movies and remarkably poignant moments with his son (who closes the film in a wonderful final sequence). There is a hilarious scene with film historian (former Harvard colleague) Vlada Petric who does an outrageous monologue riffing on both the McElwee and Curtiz films. Bright Leaves then becomes about film-making and memory itself.

Like the great documentary classics of Cinema Verite we discover so much in the small moments and passing images that the film stays with you long after you leave the theater. It should be seen on the big screen, as it is all shot on film and not video and the images resonate like film. Get to it before you can only see it on video. The bigheartedness of his vision deserves to be seen large.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Bright Leaves (2003)
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Finding Bright Leaves icanheartheheart
Music dalieberman
Can you buy Bright Leaf? tcrabill
Other smoking documentaries chris-mccue
Bright Leaves Zeninabox
A Beautiful and Ironic Melange SurrenderToto
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