The aluminum-walled sheep wagon hasn’t moved for years.
Elaine and Lawrence Allestad used to use it when they took their sheep up into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Now it is parked in front of a two-story house in a subdivided cow pasture.
The Allestads sold their 5,000-acre ranch near Rapelje and their grazing allotments in the wilderness in [...]
“Sweetgrass” is a hard film to recommend. Not because I don”t want to recommend it, but because of what it is. It”s the kind of film where you can sometimes hear the projector behind you like a shuffling deck of cards — the kind of film you might have to watch in a class someday, [...]
If veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman ever made a Western, I’m sure it would resemble “Sweetgrass.” In many respects, the film hews to the rules established by ’60s cinema verité. In fact, it goes further than many films from that period by throwing the spectator into an alien world without explaining any context. Lucien Castaing-Taylor eschews [...]
The list of things you won’t get from “Sweetgrass” is almost as impressive as the film itself. No narration, though this is a documentary. No music, unless you count a few snatches of song (”Headin’ home, baby, headin’ home now”), most of them mumbled by an aging fellow on horseback. No way of hearing half [...]
A FILM OF SUBTLE SHIFTS and slowly dawning disclosures, Sweetgrass documents with dispassionate rigor the two-hundred-mile journey undertaken by a group of sheepherders across Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth mountains. Eschewing narration, interviews, or any explicit intrusions of directorial viewpoint, filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor fix their toiling subjects in exactingly framed, frequently static compositions set off [...]