Backyard | Chicago Reader

Backyard

As a chronicler of the contemporary south, independent filmmaker Ross McElwee has a great deal to tell us that gets factored out of most other accounts. This gives a particular interest to this rather loosely structured 1984 film (shot in 1976) that describes one of the filmmaker's visits home to Charlotte, North Carolina. While we learn about his uneasy relationship to his conservative father and his curiosity about the family's black servants, McElwee doesn't offer himself as a comic focal point as he does later in Sherman's March—although he does emphasize his troubles filming his father's activity as a surgeon to indicate his squeamishness.

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