Some of the pan and zoom in shots were amazing, like moving abstract paintings. The field recordings by Ernst Karel were beautiful. Being in the midst of the sheep herd with the droning bleating and repetitive flow of the bodies was hypnotic. Old John saying "How can a dog like me when people don't". Someone replies "Huh?" and John says "I don't know what I said. Just talking."
Maybe just 3.5 , who knows - I'm the target demo for this. Humans become characters about 30-50 minutes into the movie - our introduction is concerned with the noble sheep, the noises they make. Then it turns toward an anthropology, and ethnography, concerning the symbiotic relation between sheep, dog, horse, and man. Then, a final rite, a brief justification for why we may record this, or record things at all.
Mejor es su primera parte, para cuando los mamíferos son los protagonistas. Hay una fascinación por el sonido grave que enaltece con la mudez humana. La rutina de la naturaleza y lo inanimado, entre su simpleza, evoca el sosiego. Lo mejor de los directores es la indeterminable búsqueda de puntos de vistas. De primer plano a general. No es lo mismo ver al rebaño de cerca y desde el cenit de un acantilado.
While Frammartino's recent work seems to capture more intriguing sheep imagery, Sweetgrass does paint an amazing contrast of creatures placed within forced positions. The handling of the lambs seems devastatingly harsh in the hands of these Montana ranchers, but only before we observe the shepherds in the unforeseeable hands of nature and time! Amazing moments of natures' rough nurturing and harsh disregards!
The rejection of sentimentality is both oddly reverential and so hypnotically hyperreal, it morphs into something surreal and mysterious, without undermining the gritty observational style of the filmmaking. A brilliant template for the (let's hope) future of ethnographic nature documentaries.
Beautifully documents "the end of a way of life — another wondrous American ritual and tradition, largely lost to the contemporary world." (Mike Willmington, Movie City News) Though I wouldn't call it boring, don't watch if you're sleepy otherwise, well, you know what the old wives say about counting sheep.