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Bright Leaves

DIRECTED BY - Ross McElwee

Ross McElwee directs this autobiographical documentary about his family's roots in the tobacco business in North Carolina. Taking a sabbatical from his home in Boston, he offers a culturally interesting history of the South as viewed through the biggest, wealthiest tobacco enterprises. Meanwhile, he examines a Hollywood movie that was based on the same topic, BRIGHT LEAF, the 1950 film set in 1894's tobacco-ruled South, which stars Gary Cooper and Lauren Bacall and was directed by Michael Curtiz (CASABLANCA). Though McElwee doesn't have firm proof, he speculates that the film is actually based on his great grandfather's rise and fall in the tobacco industry, and he splices in segments of that film to illustrate some of his historical points. It goes without saying that BRIGHT LEAVES' dominant purpose, and strongest message, is anti-smoking, and in its grimmer moments the film shows hospitalized victims of smoking-related illnesses, and conducts interviews with those who have lost dear ones to lung cancer. Packaged as an exploratory and educational dabble into McElwee's past, this documentary is enjoyable and enlightening.

GENRES - documentary

Film Info

RATING - Not Rated

YEAR - 2004

FORMAT - DVD Region 1

COUNTRY - United States, United Kingdom

LANGUAGE - English


ATTRIBUTES - Color, Full-Frame


Ross McElwee


Ross McElwee

Director of Photography

Ross McElwee

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