Virtual Screening Room: Sweetgrass

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2009 • dir Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor • 101 min

An unsentimental elegy to the American West, SWEETGRASS follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana’s breathtaking and often dangerous Absaroka-Beartooth mountains for summer pasture. This astonishingly beautiful yet unsparing film reveals a world in which nature and culture, animals and humans, vulnerability and violence are all intimately meshed.

SWEETGRASS was one of the first theatrical releases from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, an experimental academic lab that explores the intersection of art and ethnography, and remains a remarkable and hauntingly gorgeous film to this day.

“Magnificent… Wonderful… Nature overwhelms the screen and even minds.”
– Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Monumental… An anthropological work of art.”
– Robert Koehler, Cinema Scope

“Awe-inspiring… Hilariously weird”
– Jim Hoberman, Village Voice