'Look & See' film at MCC explores farming life

Submitted by McHenry County College
Posted3/12/2018 8:54 AM
  • Shot across four seasons of farming, "Look & See" features interviews and observations about writer Wendell Berry's agrarian lifestyle.

    Shot across four seasons of farming, "Look & See" features interviews and observations about writer Wendell Berry's agrarian lifestyle. Courtesy of Two Birds Film

The McHenry County College Sustainability Center and the Land Conservancy of McHenry County have teamed up to host a screening of the award-winning Sundance documentary "Look & See," a cinematic portrait of Wendell Berry, a farmer, activist, and one of America's most significant living writers.

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in the Luecht Conference Center, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

Often called "a prophet for rural America," Berry has fostered a lifelong relationship with the land and community of Henry County, Kentucky, which has, like many rural communities across America, become a place of quiet ideological struggle.

In the span of a generation, the agrarian virtues of simplicity, land stewardship, sustainable farming, local economies and rootedness have been replaced by a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion and debt -- all of which have frayed the fabric of rural communities, according to the film's description.

Filmmaker Laura Dunn weaves Berry's poetic and prophetic words with beautiful cinematography and the testimonies of his family and neighbors, all of whom are being deeply affected by the industrial and economic changes to their agrarian way of life.

"It's a conversation that is more urgent now than ever, as we find ourselves in a deeply divided nation where urban consumers remain so completely disconnected from the rural producers whose work sustains their very lives," said director Laura Dunn.

"Wendell shows us, with extraordinary sensitivity, just what fidelity to a place and to one's own community can truly mean."

Robert Redford, Terrence Malick and Nick Offerman served as producers on "Look & See," which, following its award-winning 2016 premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, was retitled, updated to reflect the conversations that have emerged since the election, and rereleased at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Dunn was awarded the IFC "Truer than Fiction" Independent Spirit Award for her previous film "The Unforeseen," which was also executive produced by Redford and Malick. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on the Sundance Channel.

The film is free. After the film, there will be an informal gathering and refreshments. Local farmers are invited to bring marketing materials to share with attendees.

For more information, visit www.ConserveMC.org. To view the trailer, visit www.lookandseefilm.com. For more information on the MCC Sustainability Center, contact the MCC Sustainability Center at (815) 479-7765 or sustainability@mchenry.edu.

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