SHEBOYGAN — Look & See: Wendell Berry’s Kentucky, a cinematic portrait of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America, will be shown Tuesday, April 3rd, as part of the free Indie Lens Pop-Up series at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
The film examines rural America in an era of industrial agriculture, as seen through the mind’s eye of writer, farmer, and activist Wendell Berry. Through his poetic and prescient words and the testimonies of his family and neighbors, Look & See presents the effects of the industrial and economic changes to the agrarian way of life and the redemptive beauty in taking the unworn path. Often called “a prophet for rural America,” Berry has long been a voice for communities frequently overlooked by the media.
Look & See: Wendell Berry’s Kentucky will be shown at 10 AM and 7 PM on Tuesday, April 3, at the Arts Center, located at 608 New York Avenue in Sheboygan. The film runs approximately 55 minutes. Each of the free screenings is followed by a facilitated conversation.
In 1965, after living in California, Europe and New York, Wendell Berry returned home to Henry County, bought a small farmhouse and began a life of farming, writing and teaching. The relationship he formed with the land and community would become the core of his prolific writings.
A half century later, Henry County has become a place of quiet ideological struggle. In the span of a generation, a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion, and debt has replaced the agrarian virtues of land stewardship, sustainable farming, local economies, and rootedness to place. Berry has watched this struggle unfold, becoming one of the most passionate and eloquent voices in defense of agrarian life.
Look & See: Wendell Berry’s Kentucky combines scenes of farming life and interviews with farmers and community members with lyrical and evocative shots of the surrounding landscape. Thus, in the spirit of Berry’s agrarian philosophy, Henry County itself emerges as a character in the film, a place and a landscape that is interdependent with the people who inhabit it. The film was directed by Laura Dunn and executive produced by Terrence Malick and Robert Redford.
Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on the PBS series Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders, and organizations together to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics to family and relationships.
The Arts Center coproduces Indie Lens Pop-Up with Milwaukee PBS.