Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Kentucky Fried PBS

I am deeply engrossed in David Sutherland's Country Boys, a six-hour documentary on Frontline this week. The third and final instalment airs tonight.

My favourite press review of the documentary is from Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times:
It's a long and at times slow film that some viewers will undoubtedly find tedious and frustrating, though I would count its length and pace among its virtues. … [B]y taking its time, it sensitizes you to nuance, until the smallest most awkward stabs at connection or expression become terribly moving. …

If there is a message to extract, it might be that every kid needs a sympathetic adult in his life, but I think that's almost an incidental point. I'm not sure Sutherland has a point, beyond awakening a feeling of common humanity in his viewers, and I can't image a better one. Insofar as any edited work can be executed nonjudgmentally, this comes close to that ideal. It's a rare thing on television, such passionate dispassion -- but then, it's a rare thing anywhere.

There is also an excellent backgrounder on the pbs website about poverty in America.

10 comments:

teh l4m3 said...

Thanks for sharing. I hope I get a chance to watch it.

r-e-n spells ren but i'm raw said...

there's poor ppl in america?

who knew?

greetings from littlemexicosomaliaohio

sirbarrett said...

Cool that they can do a documentary without being didactic. I went to Kentucky and it had an aura all its own. As soon as you get over the mountains, the only radio stations are blue grass, and people are evangelical about God and neighbors help each other but they are weary of outsiders. I found a puppy there and named him Hoser, we played basketball with some kids from Ohio, and built some homes. It was fun. Is this documentary broken up into sections or is it six hours straight? I'll have to check it out somehow, even though I don't have cable.

madamerouge said...

Aw... Hoser... do you still have him?

Frontline is airing the documentary in three instalments. The final one was tonight. All three will be available on the website, so as long as you've got high speed...

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

My wife and I have been watching this, we're hooked. It's an amazing documentary.

madamerouge said...

Thanks for your comments, Jon. I'm hooked, too.

For everyone: further recommended reading on poverty in America... David Halberstam's "Hell and High Water" in the November 2005 issue of Vanity Fair

Jason said...

Your post was so long that I couldn't finish reading it. Don't you have any good gossip about Paris Hilton you can share?

God, you are like so boring.

madamerouge said...

[searches for the Internet equivalent of smashing the phone on the kitchen table à la Ellen Burstyn in the Ya-Ya movie]

your judgemental aunt said...

I've been watching a documentary myself that I find very interesting. Here's a review if you're interested in a gritty but heartwarming story.


For Jason... It's kinda like the Globe and Mail with pizzazz

Carrie said...

i want a some wine.....will that help me get through that boring documentary? jk mloyd...i sit far too close to jason...it's destroying me.