This collection of films from the infamous documentarian Ross McElwee offers a great overview of his work.
SHERMAN'S MARCH: When Ross McElwee is dumped by his girlfriend, the documentarian decides to retrace General Sherman's Civil War march on Atlanta, hilariously exploring romance and the mystique of southern women along the way.
TIME INDEFINITE: This is a poignant, real-life look at what happens when Ross McElwee announces to his dyed-in-the-wool southern family that he's engaged to a Jewish woman from Boston.
SIX O'CLOCK NEWS: Documentarian Ross McElwee lends his low-key, inquisitive style to this homemade personal journal, in which he interviews the subjects of soundbite-laden human interest stories on the network news, listening to their tragic stories and considering how the media has affected our concept of personal loss.
BRIGHT LEAVES: 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.
CHARLEEN & BACKYARD: These two films deal with humorous family observations in the genteel south from acclaimed independent filmmaker Ross McElwee.
"For the past twenty-five years, Ross McElwee has given new meaning and flair to first-person non-fiction cinema. Always wise and irreverent, ever the unreliable narrator, McElwee makes the grandest themes of human comedy his artistic province: love and death, chance and fate, memory and denial, the marvelous and the appalling" (Museum of Modern Art).
"Accept no imitations: A film by Ross McElwee could be made by no other. Since his hilarious autobiographical breakthrough, Sherman's March, the profound artist-philosopher has been using his own life as a springboard to examine humankind's biggest issues, and tiniest. McElwee makes movies the way life might, ideally, be lived" (Entertainment Weekly).
This new collection includes six of McElwee's best films, four of which have never been available on DVD:
CHARLEEN (59 minutes, color, 1978)
One month in the life of Charleen Swansea, North Carolina poet, mother, beloved teacher, eccentric, romantic, and complex star of McElwee's Sherman's March.
"Charleen is an irresistible force caught beautifully on the run." - The New York Times
BACKYARD (40 minutes, color, 1984)
The result of McElwee turning his camera on his family and their neighbors, the film is a humorous and poignant look at odd moments in a genteel Southern town.
"Backyard is equal parts Samuel Beckett, Jean-Luc Godard and Werner Herzog." - Boston Globe
SHERMAN'S MARCH (155 minutes, color, 1986)
Chosen by the Library of Congress as a "historically significant American motion picture," Sherman's March, one of the first high grossing documentaries ever, is "an autobiographic quest for true romance: filmmaker Ross McElwee, camera in hand and eros on his mind after an old girlfriend deserts him, trains his lens with phallic resolve on every accessible women he meets along the original route of General Sherman's Civil War March" (Pat Graham, Chicago Reader's Circle).
"A wonderfully goofy movie! " - Vincent Canby, The New York Times
TIME INDEFINITE (117 minutes, color, 1993)
McElwee, Charleen Swansea, and several other memorable characters you met in Sherman's March invite you to pick up their story in Time Indefinite, McElwee's hilariously profound sequel to his much-beloved, critically acclaimed hit.
"The best film of the year! Glorious! A sequel that eclipses his cult hit Sherman's March. Profoundly stirring, bittersweet and uplifting!" - Washington Post
SIX O'CLOCK NEWS (103 minutes, color, 1997)
Made after McElwee becomes a father and finds himself at home watching a lot more TV, he becomes obsessed with the nightly tales of calamity reported on by the local news.
"Another disarming, quirky cinematic journal from Ross McElwee." - The New York Times
BRIGHT LEAVES (105 minutes, color, 2004)
McElwee family legend has it that the Hollywood melodrama Bright Leaf starring Gary Cooper as a 19th century tobacco grower, is based on McElwee's great-grandfather who created the famous "Bull Durham" brand. Using this legacy as a jumping off point, McElwee reaches back to his roots in this wry, witty rumination on American History, the tobacco business, and the myth of cinema.
"Brilliantly amusing. . . just sings along!" - Washington Post