It’s no secret that Wendell Berry is a big influence for us here at ETR, and when a friend notified me of the upcoming Berry documentary Forty Panes I was obviously excited. However, when I investigated further the excitement grew. This is no hagiographic biopic but instead a look into the issues that are dear to Berry. From the film’s site:
Rather than train the lens on Berry himself, as would be an expected and more typical approach, this film allows Berry, in a sense, to point the camera toward the stories and landscapes he would have us regard: the stories of small generational farmers in Henry County as a way to better understand the struggles, hopes and vital importance of rural land-based communities.
Food and agriculture have become popular topics recently, but of all the major voices on this collections of issues, Wendell’s is the only one coming from rural America. How can we have a real discussion of food and agriculture if we don’t begin to truly regard, understand and better care for our rural communities and farmers?
Among the producers are two names you may be familiar with, Nick Offerman and Robert Redford. Make sure to check out the film’s blog for posts related to the film and all things Berry.