It’s an astounding act of hubris isn’t it? To write a post about a film you watched. As if anyone even cares.
But some films have such integrity that they demand you bear witness. Not just by watching them, but by saying you did and perhaps by considering some of the wider issues highlighted. Such a film was The Turin Horse from yesterday’s post; such a film was The Moo Man. You may of course say that such a notion is nonsense, a film, is a film, is a film, but I believe a good film contains essential truths that it is good to reflect on in the aftermath of the watching. This means my idea of a good film may not be widely shared – for instance I would not have Jaws in my top ten, but I would have Harold and Maude.
Anyway, that’s another story, back to The Moo Man. I am not sure about the title myself, but the hero, farmer Stephen Hook is an appealing character and the film was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – what I like to think of as Cannes with soul. Hook is an understated, thinking stockman who chooses to have a smaller organic herd and build real relationships with his herd. His unlikely heroine is a cow called Ida. There are moments of humour and moments of gravity, often involving Ida, and on one occasion, Eastbourne. The Moo Man is not as slow as yesterday’s offering, with its 30 takes only approach, but the pace is as sedate and the scenes mooch through as if channelling Hook Farm’s Friesian herd of heifers ambling towards the milking parlour. That’s not to say nothing goes on – a lot does – the whole cycle of life as it happens, which is, I suppose, what it has in common with the visually grimmer The Turin Horse.
There is a baddie too. It’s the supermarkets, who buy the milk from dairy farmers for less than it costs the farmers to produce. If you don’t think that’s got anything to do with you, watch the film and consider the nation’s balance sheet. Stephen Hook is taking some of his milk straight to market in its raw form to try and keep the farm in the family. Organic milk has got to be better for you than the chemical cocktail variety, and untreated raw milk claims even more health benefits. Having watched The Moo Man, it’s also definitely far better for the cows.
If you are interested in what the farm does, visit the website of Hook & Son here.