An unsentimental elegy to the American West, Sweetgrass follows the last modern‐day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana’s 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.
Barbash and Castaing‐Taylor
Barbash and Castaing and Taylor split their time between the New England, the Lake District, and the Pyrenees. Their work combines the ambiguity and provocations of art with a documentary eye on lived experience. Working in Montana since 2001, they have deployed different styles in film, video, and photography to evoke the attractions and the ambivalence of the pastoral, and to depict the waning world of the Old West. Previous works of theirs include Made in USA (1990), a film about sweatshops and child labor in the Los Angeles garment industry, and In and Out of Africa (1992), an ethnographic video about authenticity, taste, and racial politics in the transnational African art market, which won eight international awards. Forthcoming works by Castaing‐Taylor include Hell Roaring Creek (2010) and The High Trail (2010). Their work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and has been exhibited and the subject of symposia at the British Museum, the Musée du quai Branly, and the Smithsonian Institution, and also exhibited at Marian Goodman Gallery, the X‐Initiative, and the Berlin Kunsthalle. Born in 1959 in New York, Barbash is curator of visual anthropology at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University. Born in Liverpool in 1966, Castaing Taylor is the Director of Harvard's Film Study Center and Sensory Ethnography Lab.
"The ecstasy is ours, in contemplating these ravishing images"
"The definition of niche, but one dedicated to some of the highest ideals of film: it brings us information from a place we’ve never been, and with a rapturous innocence."
The Financial Times
"A movie you should flock to"
"A tenaciously observed and a quietly absorbing ethnography about a pair of shepherds"