True or False? 2016: Peter and the Farm

We all loved Peter. Or at least liked him.

That was the general crowd response when asked by one of the directors from on stage following the film. A film which was only finished last week and first appears here at T/F.

Peter grabbed my heart, too. Apart from his alcoholism and irreverent views, Peter is quite likable. He is what I think of as the classic small American farmer- or at least the small northeastern farmer. He is rough, experienced, slow talking with lots of timely stories based on the task or place at hand, and loves his farm.

He gives a rousing monologue throughout the film, as the film crew follow him from task to task. From the second scene of killing the cull sheep and fully stripping it and disemboweling it, I became hooked.

This film comes with moments that any sterile crowd will respond with ‘ugh!’ or ‘oh, no!’ or ‘really?’, as he does real farm work. And the camera crew are right in there, taking part in the farm work and listening to all his stories.

This wins my approval as the first documentary that beautifully follows one farmer around his decaying farm that shows the un-sterilize farm, as the director called it when I spoke to him following the film. I thanked him for the exhibition of real farm work that comes by the hands of Peter here in the film, which is so similar to thousands of other small farmers in America.

He embodies so much of the committed, aging, passionate, caring, and tired small farmer of our country. The directors knew him through their farmer’s market, where he sold organic lamb and hogs. They began filming on his farm not with the clear intention of a film, but as they spent a whole rotation of the four seasons with Peter walking his pastures and feeding his livestock, they were able to create this beautiful masterpiece- an ode to the rough, tired, small American farmer.

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