Thursday, November 1, 2018

Campesino - 2018 Portland Film Festival Movie Review

The Documentary: Campesino

The Director: Mia Tate

The Story: Campesino celebrates the lives of the Cuban tobacco farmer as introduced to us by an American whose passion has been to photograph them for 15 years.

The Review:
This is a beautifully filmed documentary about a man who has beautifully photographed the people of a small yet well known town called Vinales in Cuba for fifteen years. The whole thing is a non stop barrage of perfectly framed images, lush backdrops, and people who's lives and culture are as captivating as anything you will ever find. Carl Oelerich's story, he's the photographer, is also very interesting in how unremarkable he is when it comes to his pedigree as a photographer yet his work is absolutely stunning to look at.

Director Mia Tate does a really good job of using Oelerich as an entry point to the lives of his subjects as he and his guide/friend Juan wander from house to house and farm to farm taking pictures of whoever will allow them to. The relationships that have been formed over the fifteen years that Carl has been traveling back and forth from his home to Cuba and back have had a major impact on everyone involved and, even though he barely speaks the language, there is a trust and an understanding that he has become part of the culture and the families he interacts with.

I can't say enough about how beautiful this film is and Tate deserves a lot of credit for expertly documenting Oelerich's body of work while also creating a visually stunning documentary that showcases a piece of Cuban culture and a way of life that most never knew existed.

Campesino is an official selection of the 2018 Portland Film Festival. coverage of the 2018 Portland Film Festival.

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