Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry (2016) Poster

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7/10
A Seer: The Eloquent Voice of the Poet of Agrarian Life
JustCuriosity13 March 2016
A Seer was well-received in its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX. It is an appropriate sequel to Dunn's excellent film Unforeseen about economic development in Austin. The film combines a biographical component of the career, poetry and writings of Kentucky farmer Wendell Berry with an explanation of Berry's political ideas. The film critiques the way in which the small family farm agriculture of a few generations has been pushed aside by modern-industrial mechanized agriculture. The number of farms has decreased and the size of the remaining farms has increased. The percentage of the population working the land has plummeted. The film is an ode to a world that has been lost. It is eloquent, reverential and beautifully filmed. It seems to romanticize the agrarian past without putting it under a critical lens. The film moves slowly and often repetitively. It is ultimately somewhat unfulfilling, because in its eloquence it offers few solutions for the inevitable changes brought on by modernity. It seems to want to encourage farmers to engage in organic farming and encourage local consumption, but it doesn't seem to offer any real pathway for getting to that end. Its meandering style is also somewhat frustrating since it has few real answers. It just seems to be backwards looking. Still, it is beautifully filmed and those that are sympathetic to its agenda will find it enjoyable if they are patient with it.
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4/10
Not about Berry.
halestorm-2730531 August 2018
It's a beautifully shot film, I'll give it that, but this whole thing was a wasted opportunity to talk about the man himself. Instead it spends most of its runtime going on about how terrible it is that people own things. I wouldn't expect any more from a film that's literally funded by the Open Society Foundation.
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