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- Mastered on HD
- Audio commentary by filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
- Additional scenes
- Fan photo gallery
- Theatrical trailer
- 5.1 Soundtrack - Booklet featuring essay by film critic Robert Koehler
"A spectacular and visceral experience." --Ted Fry, Seattle Times
"Intensely beautiful. It could widen your soul." --Ty Burr, Boston Globe
Top Customer Reviews
They marked each ewe and lamb with a number so they could easily see who belonged to whom, and when you have that many ewes lambing in a short period of time, with any number of problems, like orphan lambs and birthing dificulties, you have to move quickly and do your best to solve things as you go along. There isn't always time to be gentle, warm and fuzzy about it.
Also it was filmed as a real experience with all the warts, not as some cleaned-up fantasy! The beginning showed an honest portrait of the sheep. It was a beautiful beginning. How could you feel anything for the sheep if you complained about this introductory footage? They have their moments. After that, sometimes it WAS dark. Sometimes there was chaos in the dark, as when scaring away the mama bear and her cubs.Read more ›
The opening shots depict sheep in wintry pastures, barely standing out against the snow, the sounds of bleating and bell and the white overwhelm the senses. We see a single sheep, in a medium shot, bleating loudly, and then she turns to face the camera in silence. It is a strange moment, and an intriguing choice for a documentary film where the filmmakers seem barely present since its subjects - the sheep and the men and women who tend them - appear almost oblivious to the camera throughout, with rare exceptions such as in this opening shot where the subject of the film breaks the fourth wall, and stares at the camera. A defiant gaze.
The film demands some patience initially, but there is a highly satisfying payoff. The filmmakers work in a tradition of ethnographic filmmaking, attempting to capture a way of life without commentary, so that there is no voiceover, no explanation other than what can be observed. There is no human voice for the first several minutes of the film, and the first human voice we hear is of a farmer making peeping noises as she carries a baby lamb in order to encourage its mother to follow her.Read more ›
<em>Sweetgrass</em> opens with two incredibly compelling shots that would do Béla Tarr proud. In some ways, they set the tone for the film; there's a lot of landscape, a lot of sheep, and a lot of lingering shots, either stationary or slow-pan. Barbash and Castaing-Taylor are well aware of Tarr. And if the movie played out its full length as it does in those first two shots and the twenty-five minutes that follow them, I would have put this pretty high on my list of favorite documentaries ever. Unfortunately, as you may surmise from that last sentence, it doesn't.
The first half-hour is gorgeous. It keeps up with the sheep-and-landscape theme. Humans exist in the movie, of course, but at no point during the first half-hour are those humans more than background noise, either in their presence in the film or the movie's sound (which, I should warn you, my wife found incredibly annoying; I had no problems with it). It is languid, and it is breathtaking.
Then the humans take center stage, and while I won't say the entire thing goes to pot, it takes a pretty sharp left turn in that direction. These are not likable folks, for the most part. Actually, I've been sitting here for ten minutes trying to come up with diplomatic ways to talk about this, and I can't. I hated these people. Every last one of them. The sheep have better personalities.
Whenever the directors left the humans and cut to another slow pan shot of a huge mountain with sheep coming down it or a tree framed in moonlight or a sheep's face in close-up, I rejoiced a little. I also spent some time hoping that there would be another human-free half-hour bookending the film, but (spoiler alert!) it was not to be.
Well worth watching for the first half-hour. Touch and go after that. ** ½
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wanted to like it and I did like the photography and the scenery. I tended to like the style of telling the story. Read morePublished 21 days ago by jadams
Really enjoyed this movie. And if your interested in guard dogs this movie shows. How they should act.Published 1 month ago by Michael C Wallace
In 2001 Montana rancher Lawrence Allested and his ranch hands set his 2,000+ sheep out to graze in the Beartooth mountains one last time. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Troy Greer
Open mind required. Very unusual film made from an unusual viewpoint. Recommend watching 2 or 3 times to get the point. Read morePublished 21 months ago
Quiet-realistic film of yet another dying breed in our country. Scenery is magnificent. My dog even sat and watched. He loved the sounds of the sheep and the cowboys.Published 24 months ago by islands
The language in this DVD absolutely ruins the beautiful landscapes and photography. It certainly could have been edited out and would have enhanced the DVD tremendously. Read morePublished on June 15, 2014 by Zinna
This film is one of my favorite documentaries. It just is a story of real hard work day after day after day. Read morePublished on May 31, 2014 by Rick W
Although there are a surprising number of positive reviews for this DVD, I feel that if you have any sanity or sensitive bone in your body you will get turned away quickly as I... Read morePublished on February 26, 2014 by Julie Ann