Sweetgrass

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A tenaciously observed and a quietly absorbing ethnography about a pair of shepherds. Rating: * * *

Sweetgrass – “recorded” rather than directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash – is a tenaciously observed and a quietly absorbing ethnography about a pair of shepherds leading some 3,000 sheep on a 150-mile journey up into Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains for summer pasture.

There’s no narration and for long sections no sounds except for the surprisingly melodious bleating of the sheep. Some of the shots last a good while, giving you time to soak in the beautiful landscapes and ponder on the kinds of experience and graft that underpin this seasonal migration. It’s a powerful testimonial to a fading way of life.

 

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