Peter and the Farm | Chicago Reader

Peter and the Farm

"I care more about the farm than me!" shouts Peter Dunning in this 2016 documentary, explaining why he hasn't yet killed himself. Director Tony Stone and his crew follow the snowy-haired, 68-year-old farmer around his little spread in Vermont, where he raises organic lamb, beef, and pork, and the filmmakers aren't squeamish about the practical details of farm life; one sequence shows Dunning killing a sheep with a rifle shot to the head and then skinning and gutting it, and later Stone points his camera at a cow's anus so one can watch the beast evacuating. (Thanks, I wasn't sure how that worked.) Through it all, Dunning opens up about the band-saw accident that severed part of his left hand, his long estrangement from his wife and children, the alcohol addiction that has shaped his adult life, and his desire to end said life, onscreen if Stone is interested. The farm is hardly thriving, but it yields a bumper crop of despair.

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