Louisiana Story (1948)

Louisiana Story (Robert J. Flaherty, 1948)

The documentary genre is probably the least favorite of the cinephile circles. Maybe it's just my subjectivity that is talking, but I tend to think that one would prefer a good story to forget about the current day to day issues and have a good time at the movies instead of being told about environmental issues and/or the closing of ten industries. However, each time I watch a documentary I always have a good time and I always love to learn something new or to be informed on issues other than my little self. On some level, the film that will be discussed here, Louisiana Story, is a non-documentary for me. It has a story written by the Flahertys, editing and many narrative elements. Anyhow, the plot is actually so thin that I think that the images talk for themselves.

Filmed in the bayous of Louisiana and following a little boy that fishes, plays with his raccon, hunts crocodiles and make friends with the workers of the derick put in front of his home could easily described the 80 minutes film called Louisiana Story. Far from being boring, the naturalist images displayed reminded me of the National Geographic documentaries my mom made us watch on Saturday afternoons. I always loved watching the fauna and the flora like if I was in the forest watching the animals do their things and live without the presence of humans. The first part of the film shows us how the boy lives his life and how he survived before the derick came in front of his home. When the derick arrives we pratically learn how it digs at the same the boy did. He befriends with a worker called Tom. Even if he had lived all his life in nature the boy is attracted to the machines that men build. Those machines are actually destroying the elements of his bayou. The conclusion of the story would have been very different today; it would have had a stronger environmental issue about it and how it lacks in respects towards the Earth.

The cajun culture depicted in the movie is very interesting, because those people talked English but mostly French. Their accent is pretty unique and the way they lived too. It makes this document even more unique and precious. I know that the lifestyle of the cajun people has disappeared and like some languages that aren't spoken anymore they have to be documented for the generations to come.

The narrative aspects of Louisiana Story reminded me of the neorealist films of Roberto Rossellini, Stromboli especially with the sequence of the fishermans. It is also a lot like a Cinema-Vérité documentary style and the comparison with neorealism is the best I can find. Because, Louisiana Story uses some narratives and tells a simple and beautiful story. But the narrative tools are the reality of the situations and the purge of useless plot elements.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...