Friday, October 09, 2009

Sherman's March, 1986

A friend of mine recommended this film to me about a year ago, and I only got around to watching it last week. It's streaming on Netflix right now! Sherman's March is not really a movie about General Sherman's March to the Sea. So if you're looking for a Civil War movie this isn't it. It's much more.

In 1986, burgeoning filmmaker Ross McElwee set out to make a documentary in which he would follow Sherman's path from his notorious march through the South. But before Ross can set out to the South, his girlfriend (who he had been living with in New York) dumps him. Distraught, Ross travels down to Charlotte, NC, his hometown, camera in tow.

His Mom immediately introduces him to Pat, the daughter of some family friends, and he spends practically all of his time talking to her and filming her. Pat wants to be an actress, and she's very fit (there she is above, doing one of her crazy cellulite exercises). She's a little loony, but after a while she starts to grow on Ross, and on us. It becomes obvious that Ross doesn't seem to concerned about sticking to Sherman's story. Instead, he's creating his own.

After Pat has to leave for an audition, Ross meets Claudia, a friend of his sister's. Claudia is a single mom. She's also pretty religious.

Ross decides, after meeting Claudia that he had better get back to his project, so he heads way down to the Georgia islands, where he meets several more lovely ladies and checks in on two of his ex-girlfriends, one of which he appears to still be in love with.

I can't even begin to explain this film. No one makes documentaries like this anymore, and if they do, they end up being plainly unsuccessful. Ross McElwee has made a film about people. About women, to be specific, and they are all trapped in this time capsule of a movie that is one of the most charming, beautiful films I've ever seen. There's something about hearing the soft, endearing tilt of the Southern accent that made me proud to be a Southerner. I think McElwee has really captured Southern womanhood and Southern culture perhaps better than any other director. And he's done it all seemingly by accident. This movie made me think about life, about friends, home, family, lovers: my past. I really cannot recommend Sherman's March enough.


hannah said...

awesome! i'm going to try and find it in paris. thanks for the recommendation! hope you're fine, dear!

JMW said...

One of my very, very favorite movies. (Very.)

Glad you enjoyed it.

Snobber said...

hannah: i hope you can find it! netflix has it streaming if not. doing well, babe! thanks for reading.

john: it's SO good, i was really touched by it. thanks for stopping by!

plaisirs simples said...

i'm RUNNING to get this movie right now. you've sold me. i'm from texas, went to college in alabama, live in NY, and am moving to charlotte. I think i will take away a lot from this film!!!