Friday, August 8, 2014

Rich Hill: Award winning documentary set in rural Missouri released today

This film by Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos won the prize for best documentary at Sundance this year.  Here's what Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had to say today, upon the film's opening in New York City.
Exit the interstate to venture across the moonscape of rural America, and you may glimpse a breed of alien that looks vaguely human but subsists on our trash. 
They’re called the poor, and although their city cousins get some occasional, sensationalized coverage in the press, the whiter and more-numerous rural poor are almost invisible.
Williams writes that the three "dirt-poor" boys, aged 12, 13, and 15, whose lives the film follows "are effectively over before they are old enough to drive."   

Williams lauds the film's "exquisite imagery and the bittersweet focus on character."  

 Rich Hill, named for the area's productive farmland, is in west central Missouri between Kansas City and Joplin.  The town's population is 1,396, and it is in Bates County, population 16,500.   Bates County, which rests against the Kansas state line,  has a poverty rate of 17%.  The population is 94.9% non-Hispanic white.  

With a real nod to the significance of place and how geography is destiny, Williams closes his review with this line:  
But perhaps the saddest thing about the film is the thought that nobody raised in Rich Hill could have made it.
Note that Rich Hill is not far (especially as the crow flies) from Taney County, Missouri, setting for  Winter's Bone.  Read more here and here.
The film opens tomorrow in St. Louis and Kansas City.  

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