Saturday, April 23, 2016
easy to appreciate
One thing leads to another -- a murder story in the news put me in mind of a film called Winter's Bone, (director - Debra Granik; 2010).
The Free Encyclopedia summarizes it, "an independent drama...stars Jennifer Lawrence as a teenaged girl in the rural Ozarks of the central United States who, to protect her family from eviction, must locate her missing father.
The film explores the interrelated themes of close and distant family ties, the power and speed of gossip, self-sufficiency, and poverty as they are changed by the pervasive underworld of illegal methamphetamine labs."
I have not seen this movie, only read about it. (An admonition by one of the characters, "Never ask for what ought to be offered" stays in your mind...)
And then, reading a little more on it, I re-encountered a theme I was writing about earlier this month -- April 4, I posted here about the impression I receive that English people, and maybe also European people in general, some of them anyway, tend to be very interested in -- maybe even fascinated by -- America.
Looking up a little info about Winter's Bone, I came across a Reader Comment at the Guardian, on a review of the film -- "Must say, this sounds fantastic. Films like this, and last year's Frozen River, remind you what a vast country the USA is and what scope there is for storytelling."
And typing in this movie also led to a blog called "Simple Life" where they write about retiring to a small farm in the Ozarks -- on their post where they discussed the Jennifer Lawrence movie, this Comment from a European man was attached:
---------------------- January 16, 2013...Let me introduce myself. I am Frederik Voute from the Netherlands. I came across your website, you guessed it, after searching for more information on the setting of Winter's Bone. I am a great movie lover, and devour just about anything on American life and culture I can get my hands on.
Winter's Bone crossed my path because I noticed Jennifer Lawrence is not only a great actress, but she chooses the more interesting stories, instead of the regular Hollywood formula-films.
I just wanted to say, thank you very much for this movie-review, and I suppose a review of the Ozarks. Coming from a small but rich country, for quite a while now I've been fascinated with life outside of the concrete jungle of our cities, and the familiarity of the culture I come from.
Ever since I visited Texas a long time ago, I've found that the 'great outdoors' of the United States has a quality of life to it that is unique and easy to appreciate.
Since, I've found some close friends in Kentucky (I am a beginning scholar in the field of nuclear energy and weapons and meet people from everywhere) and visiting KY confronted me with the non-urban United States, and how people very much know how to fend for themselves and retained their local culture and music.
It was the abject poverty in the movie that still shocked me though, triggering my research. Your take on it enriches that picture though. Of course you are right; the movie focuses on a 'meth-family' and that's not representative, but the more interesting thing I learned from you is that poverty, in the sense of keeping the government out - even - if it's to your benefit, that fills me with a sense of romance but also worry.
It seems to be the embodiment of American independence, the true frontier mentality, but at the same time for instance a blight for the prospects of kids growing up there. I don't know; it's not my place to judge and so I won't. I suppose, in order to have this kind of free life, there will be a turn-side. Whatever the negatives though, it does work inspiring, to me. Thanks for writing....Best wishes, Frederik
I don't think I'm going to watch Winter's Bone -- I don't think I could handle it -- violence, yadda...
The Niles Files site said the life represented in the film is, on some level, "a blank hell," and wrote,
[QUOTE] Winter's Bone is almost anthropological as a mystery thriller of the Ozarks' desolate deep woods, where director Debra Granik focuses on a particular culture's dysfunctions, which are bred out of economic turmoil, and work to create memories as maladjusted as the families.
"what a vast country the USA is and what scope there is for storytelling"