Erva-doce · Sweetgrass

Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor

2009, USA, 101', M12

Focus Sensory Ethnography Lab 2016

01 Dec 2016 · TM Rivoli, Pequeno Auditório · 16H30

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Sweetgrass was, together with Demolition (J.P. Sniadecki, 2008), the film that gave the international knowledge of the Sensory Ethnography Lab's work. Between 2001 and 2003, Lucien Castaing-Taylor e Ilisa Barbash documented the life of a family of shepherds that still led their flocks to summer pastures on the Absaroka-Beartooth mountains, the same field where the fiction Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005) was filmed, between Montana and Wyoming. The documentary still conserves classical ethnographic elements: the characters, the narration - the own journey - and it shows significative moments of the shepherds’ life. The real interest, however, is in the camera and sound work, that plays continuously with different scales: the filmmakers combine close ups and wide shots, putting the cameras inside the flock or at kilometers of distance, to obtain effects of immersion or detachment. The result is a refreshing breeze on the ethnographic cinema that crosses empathy with abstraction. (Iván Villarmea)