A Dying Breed
Traditions are consistently fading away, languages are lost, life changes as it progresses and some of the most fundamental parts of life disappear. Filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor wanted to capture this in their sublime film, Sweetgrass, which follows the lives of a group of cowboys as they lead their sheep to their summer pasture in the mountains of Montana. A dying tradition in the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains, Sweetgrass unflinchingly reveals both the physical and emotional journey the cowboys and sheep embark upon as they are faced with challenging terrain, dangerous wildlife and the awareness that theirs is a dying breed. Sweetgrass is magnificent in its beauty as it takes viewers into the heart of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges and is exquisitely shot by Castaing-Taylor. And while it may seem like the journey of sheep, with no narration and very little dialogue, may seem dull, the film is utterly fascinating and sonically exceptional. The New York Times said it's “astonishingly beautiful”; Cinemascope called it “monumental” and Artforum called it “a film of subtle shifts and slowly dawning disclosures”.