- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 45 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: June 21, 2005
- Originally Released: 2004
- Label: First Run Features
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Entertainment Weekly - 09/10/2004
"BRIGHT LEAVES looks casual, like a chat, a stroll, a summer afternoon....While he seduces, McElwee also inspires, an artist who breathes free."
New York Times - 08/25/2004
"BRIGHT LEAVES leaves you feeling invigorated by the boundless curiosity, humor and high spirits of its creator."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2004
"[A] film that is as intricately self-reflexive as anything Kiarostami's done."
Los Angeles Times - 11/12/2004
"Inevitably poignant but also often amusing and always deeply touching, this film is likely to stick in one's memory for all its concerns, not just cigarettes."
Chicago Sun-Times - 12/03/2004
"It's a meandering visit by a curious man with a quiet sense of humor, who pokes here and there in his family history, and the history of tobacco."
USA Today - 07/01/2005
"[A] lovingly original look at irony-laced history, local economy [and] health issues..."
Ross McElwee directs this autobiographical documentary about his family's roots in the tobacco business in North Carolina. Taking a sabbatical from his home in Boston, he offers a culturally interesting history of the South as viewed through the biggest, wealthiest tobacco enterprises. Meanwhile, he examines a Hollywood movie that was based on the same topic, BRIGHT LEAF, the 1950 film set in 1894's tobacco-ruled South, which stars Gary Cooper and Lauren Bacall and was directed by Michael Curtiz (CASABLANCA). Though McElwee doesn't have firm proof, he speculates that the film is actually based on his great grandfather's rise and fall in the tobacco industry, and he splices in segments of that film to illustrate some of his historical points. It goes without saying that BRIGHT LEAVES' dominant purpose, and strongest message, is anti-smoking, and in its grimmer moments the film shows hospitalized victims of smoking-related illnesses, and conducts interviews with those who have lost dear ones to lung cancer. Packaged as an exploratory and educational dabble into McElwee's past, this documentary is enjoyable and enlightening.
- Theatrical Release: AUGUST 25, 2004 (NY)