God's Country | Chicago Reader

God's Country

After scoring in the U.S. with Pretty Baby (1978), French director Louis Malle accepted an offer from PBS to make a documentary and decided to focus on Glencoe, Minnesota, a German farming community he'd happened upon 60 miles west of Minneapolis. His understanding of the people isn't exactly profound—their compulsive lawn care, he suggests, is “a vestige of the pioneer spirit”—but he collects some gentle and touching impressions of farm life and rural morality, drawing unexpected insights from plainspoken but intelligent residents. Malle dropped the project to make Atlantic City (1980), My Dinner With Andre (1981), and other features. But in 1985 the farm crisis provided him with a handy political hook, and he returned to shoot the downbeat 16-minute coda that concludes this 1986 release. 89 min.

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