PETER AND THE FARM REVIEWED
“Peter and the Farm” was really sad. I don’t mean that to slight the subject, but the documentary showcases everything that can be lost by maintaining an older cultural lifestyle. The youthful often poke fun at hippies for seemingly archaic artifacts. But, Peter Dunning shows what is lost when you give up everything to maintain a dream. Thankfully, the documentary crew hangs with Peter long enough to see the downside. While farm life is seemingly great, Peter’s kind of a bitter drunk.
Peter was going to be a sculptor, before an accident mangled his hand. Now, he works a farm alone in Vermont. The work is good and he’s quite able to slaughter a lamb by himself. But, he bums rides to buy liquor and he takes out his anger on anyone at arm’s reach. This isn’t a film about Peter getting better or the audience learning something. You’re invited into a documentary about how such a bizarre personality can exist in the rural world.
This documentary has hung in my mind for awhile. We were going to live with it before the Super Bowl, but people I know that I was distracted that day. That being said, take the time to pick up the VOD release. If things work out, we should be interviewing the director about the film rather soon.
- Not Rated
- 1 hr and 32 mins
RELEASE DATE: 2/7/17
- Film Score - 94%94%
The Plot Thus Far
Peter Dunning is a rugged individualist in the extreme, a hard-drinking loner and former artist who has burned bridges with his wives and children, and whose only company, even on harsh winter nights, are the sheep, cows, and pigs he tends on his Vermont farm. Peter is also one of the most complicated, sympathetic documentary subjects to come along in some time, a product of the 1960s counterculture whose poetic idealism has since soured. For all his candor, he slips into drunken self-destructive habits, cursing the splendors of a pastoral landscape that he has spent decades nurturing. Imbued with an aching tenderness, Tony Stone’s (Out of Our Minds, Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America) documentary is both haunting and heartbreaking, a mosaic of its singular subject’s transitory memories and reflections—however funny, tragic, or angry they may be.