Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry

Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry ★★★½

This is not so much about Berry as it is about his agrarian views. This film does a good job of visually representing his poetry - it’s lush and solemn... and very appealing. But it’s also a little (a lot) idealist... i’ve watched as a number of my own friends have abandoned the suburbs for the country, with visions of chickens and vegetable gardens dancing in their heads... but then reality sets in and that old farmhouse needs repaired, and those animals get up really early and need you to get up too; and there’s bugs and disease on those vegetables and the fence needs mending and oh, vacation? You can’t take vacation! You can’t even make it to church because the goat is about to give birth and you HAVE to be there... and then I remember why i’m thankful for the suburban life. And while I like - and even agree - with a lot of what Berry says - it looks even more appealing when you characterize the suburban life as mechanical, mindless and you’re just another cog in the wheel of the man’s machine. But that, of course, doesn’t have to be true - it can be - but it’s often not. So I grow my herbs in my raised beds, and I go to the farmer’s market and buy my local eggs and I sit and read about life in Port William and dream about how nice life would be there, and how fun it would be to live next door to Burley Coulter... and then I go outside and grill some hotdogs with the neighbors and watch the kids chase each other around the neighborhood and remember that, oh yeah, the suburbs are pretty swell too.

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