The simplest way to describe “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” — and maybe the best way since it’s a film of elemental radiance — is to say that it’s a documentary put together like a series of photographs. In this case, the photographs are filmed images, so they in effect come to life.
Director RaMell Ross moved to Hale County, Alabama in 2009 to work as a basketball coach and photography teacher, and the film is his impressionistic portrait of the life he found there — a caught-on-the-fly tapestry of experience.
Photgrapher Walker Evans shot some of his most iconic Great Depression images in Hale County, and Ross’s film could be considered a raw ragged lyrical answer to the mythology that Evans created.
Filmed over several years, the film is a diary of a time, place, and culture – African-American life in what’s left of the rural South, much of it stranded on the edge of poverty.
You could call “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” a transcendental scrapbook because it wipes away the muck of subjectivity that guides most movies, and turns the audience into direct receptors of the experience.
Read the story at Variety.
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