"Sherman's March"/Ross McElwee

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Watched "Sherman's March" over the last couple of nights and thought it was one of the best documentaries I'd seen in a long time. So funny and poignant. Anyone else have thoughts on this movie?
How are McElwee's other movies? "Time Indefinite" looks depressing.

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 19:48 (eighteen years ago) link

My favorite scene was when he goes into this tiny hick bar to hear some live music and cheer himself up. First the camera is focused in tight on the singer's face as he makes all these ridiculous singery faces, then it pans over to show a disgruntled woman holding a tiny tiny lyric sheet about the size of a Post-It note about a foot away from his face, then zooms back to show the entire band crammed into the corner of this crappy bar.

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 19:53 (eighteen years ago) link

I thought it was great, and I still do, although the more distance I have from it the more I think Ross McElwee is a big creep.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 19:54 (eighteen years ago) link

Well duh.

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 19:55 (eighteen years ago) link

Haha well I saw it in college, and believe it or not it wasn't that apparent to me at first. I always kind of get swept up in movies though, I give all the characters the benefit of the doubt.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 19:57 (eighteen years ago) link

The way he badgered his friend/exlover (the last woman in the movie), trying to get her to say she loved him, was pretty obnoxious. But he's a creep that's easy to identify with/feel sorry for.

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 19:58 (eighteen years ago) link


I didn't find him such a creep, and I've seen it two or three times, but maybe I'm more of a benefit of the doubt kind of guy. Time Indefinate is the sequel, so to speak, and not as involving, but I didn't find it depressing at all.

nickn (nickn), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 21:41 (eighteen years ago) link

four years pass...

i recommend watching everything he made in order, especially if you're from the south.

"charlene" is sooo good. turns out she was a friend of t.s. eliot and albert einstein's, is in this crazy tragic relationship with a student much much younger than her. can't say enough good things about this guy (mcelwee).

akaky akakievich, Friday, 2 October 2009 17:34 (fourteen years ago) link

I was blown away by Sherman's March when I saw it. So great.

Your heartbeat soun like sasquatch feet (polyphonic), Friday, 2 October 2009 17:45 (fourteen years ago) link

bright leaves is also pretty amazing

robotsinlove, Friday, 2 October 2009 19:38 (fourteen years ago) link

three years pass...

gotta catch this new one

http://www.fandor.com/blog/daily-ross-mcelwees-photographic-memory

cancer, kizz my hairy irish azz (Dr Morbius), Friday, 12 October 2012 16:14 (eleven years ago) link

Ross McElwee’s Photographic Memory is organized into three untidy acts,” notes Joseph Jon Lanthier in Slant, “each of them summed up in a poor man’s kōan via voiceover narration: ‘I love my son, but sometimes he drives me crazy,’ ‘What happened to film?,’ and, finally, ‘How did I get to be this old?’

Nope, not ready to see this yet.

Ham Lushbaugh (Eric H.), Friday, 12 October 2012 16:19 (eleven years ago) link

Only a slightly larger empathy allowance, honeybunch. I know you've got it in you.

cancer, kizz my hairy irish azz (Dr Morbius), Friday, 12 October 2012 16:36 (eleven years ago) link

Well, my son does drive me crazy.

Ham Lushbaugh (Eric H.), Friday, 12 October 2012 16:39 (eleven years ago) link

I was imagining that you and your future deaf Greek tattooed husband might get there eventually.

cancer, kizz my hairy irish azz (Dr Morbius), Friday, 12 October 2012 16:54 (eleven years ago) link

hahaha @ eric h.

i'm a huge fan of Bright Leaves, though i haven't seen it since i caught it in a film festival in 2004 or 2005, just after it was released. it struck me as such an original film essay in a camera-stylo genre previously populated by...idk, i think of chris marker principally, and maybe some godard and something like kiarostami's close-up and some other iranian films ...except much funnier, more cinephilic and thoroughly american.

another equally misleading analogue is Nanni Morretti films like Aprile & Dear Diary (& The Opening Day of Close-Up), though in those Morretti is a clearly contrived version of himself presenting for the most part an explicitly contrived version of reality, so that he's sometimes called the italian woody allen. mcelwee presents things as straight documentary but things enter in which are clearly contrivances, or whose contrivance is up for debate - tho less so iirc in bright leaves than in sherman's march.

i was completely unaware of sherman's march at the time, but when i caught it i could see why it was kind of a big deal when it came out in 1986. i recognize the view of him as a creep upthread, but it's worth recognizing that he presents those moments casting him in that light deliberately, that he doesn't present it as something else. a better criticism imo is that his version of southern womenhood is kooky - i don't think the film properly acknowledges that he's attracted to eccentrics that make interesting film subjects.

zvookster, Friday, 12 October 2012 17:00 (eleven years ago) link

gonna see this in a week or two, dunno if I'll find anything worthwhile in it? Mcelwee is such an ilxor type

EVERYONE COOKING SCMABLED EGGS,CHEESE WITH TOASTER!! (forksclovetofu), Friday, 12 October 2012 17:01 (eleven years ago) link

his version of southern womenhood is kooky - i don't think the film properly acknowledges that he's attracted to eccentrics that make interesting film subjects.

kinda don't think he's obligated to cuz it's evident?

cancer, kizz my hairy irish azz (Dr Morbius), Friday, 12 October 2012 17:11 (eleven years ago) link

idk, i think it's something he never found a way to finesse in the way he dealt with numerous other difficulties. he's more than comfortable presenting himself as hapless, but he couldn't find a way to acknowledge, it seems to me, this common thread with his beaus and crushes, perhaps because his usual out is to point to his own failings. to do so here would be to denigrate these women, which would be kinda monstrous. so instead we see they're intelligent and lively and have agency, and the commonality of his representation isn't really got into.(iirc)

zvookster, Friday, 12 October 2012 17:22 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

"charlene" is sooo good. turns out she was a friend of t.s. eliot and albert einstein's, is in this crazy tragic relationship with a student much much younger than her. can't say enough good things about this guy (mcelwee).

― akaky akakievich, Friday, October 2, 2009 1:34 PM (4 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i watched this & "backyard" yesterday. think u mean ezra pound, yeah charleen (the person) is wildly likeable though also def a tragically idealistic figure, better than anyone could ever fictionally create. mcelwee is v good @ editing.

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 29 October 2013 13:57 (ten years ago) link

ten years pass...

I was sort of half-listening to a podcast when I heard David Cross reference the "If you want to be a slave, be a slave!" scene in this movie, which I promptly had to look up and track down. Luckily it's on Kanopy, along with most of his other films, it seems. I totally loved this and watched it all in one sitting. Even though I had to stay up past my bedtime to do it.

I agree that the last half hour finds him being obnoxious and horny/desperate in a way that almost physically hurts, but even then it's still very compelling.

definitely feel like John Wilson must be a big fan of his.

budo jeru, Friday, 9 February 2024 21:58 (one week ago) link


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