Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Documentary examines black rural life

Hale County resident Willie takes a horseback ride through town in RaMell Ross's new documentary.
A new documentary examines a part of rural America often left out of the narrative: the experiences of black residents of rural places. Hale County This Morning, This Evening takes a poetic look at everyday life in a majority-black county in Alabama.

Hale County (Wikipedia map)
"Director RaMell Ross, a noted still photographer, has a keen eye for framing rousing shots for routine events – whether it’s falling raindrops, kids playing in a field, or friends just hanging out," David Lewis writes for the San Francisco Chronicle. "Many of his images have an intangible quality that’s marked by grittiness and economic desperation, yet also by a sense of dignity and community.

Though the film includes scenes of poverty and even tragedy, the overall tone isn't negative. "Much has been made of the decay of rural white America, and its attendant rage, so it’s a pleasant change of pace that 'Hale County' is not an angry film," Lewis writes. "Ross doesn’t gloss over the challenges facing the rural black county, but he finds a strong spirit there, even as the storm clouds hover."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course 'decay of white rural America' is always portrayed in a negative fashion (maybe not in the way people think it is). Sure, most of the documentaries/films covering it shows a bit of the sad side. Then the genres of horror and suspense films about 'backwoods' residents meant to dehumanize rural whites. Most documentaries about rural white areas, you get either an underlying or complete in your face tone of "they deserve it". A tone that goes along with the media's whole view for as long as there has been documentaries and government films about rural whites and economic loss. That they are the "white trash", relics needing to be put in the bin and out on the curb.