Sensory Enthnography Lab

First heard about what was going on at this place from this Vulture article:

The most exciting documentary films being made today come not from a brand-name auteur or even some up-and-coming, Sundance-anointed visionary. Rather, they come from a place called the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab, which sounds more like somewhere an ophthalmologist might send you than a source of great filmmaking.

Less a lab and more a collection of like-minded individuals, the Sensory Ethnography Lab’s (SEL) first widely distributed release was the experimental documentary Sweetgrass, an observational, immersive, quietly lyrical portrait of a 150-mile journey involving a group of Montana cowboys and a massive herd of sheep, directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash. The film didn’t contextualize; it didn’t feature talking heads; it didn’t try to inform, as so many nonfiction films try to do. Rather, it just let us soak in the experience of this grueling, majestic journey.

Reading The Boston Globe while back home, all the movie critics included Manakamana on their top tens:

On the one hand, grateful they called my attention to this movie.  On the other: kind of bullshit to get me excited about a movie that it’s not exactly easy to see.  Serves me right I guess for not following the ethnographic documentary scene a little more closely.  Maybe I never shudda left Cambridge at all.



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