Generally, I can be transported out of viduitive misery by visiting old buildings that smell of Old Spice, mildew, and furniture polish. Add a flock of widows trading maple cookie recipes and a bunch of old men sporting red plaid flannel and suspenders, and I'm on proverbial cloud nine. And to transport me into pure poetic ecstacy, make the occasion for gathering some sort of theatrical performance, give me a red velvet cushion on a wooden stadium chair, make it the brink of spring, dim the lights.
I spent part of Saturday feeling discontented that the ratio of my Vermont adventures completed solo seems to have gone up instead of down since moving here (not that it's reached anything to be sorrowful about: sugaring post to come, and at least it's not because anyone has died), but by the end of the day I was happy to be in my car (my odometer seems to never stop ticking) and on the way to the Hyde Park Opera House.
I knew as soon as I pulled off of Rt. 15 and into Hyde Park that I was in for a treat. It was as if every retired farmer from miles and miles had driven into town and was now hobbling slowly toward the opera house. There wasn't any parking for a few blocks and I ended up in front of the little library. The sun was setting, the grass was squishy with thaw, all was peaceful.
The Opera House itself was small, old, and full. A projector sat in the middle, and a screen on a stand was up on the stage. Everyone was there to see this movie:
I had gone because another teacher I work with had recommended the film, and was excited about perhaps screening it for the entire school. Which I think would be right. The story takes place in 1952, but as good storytellers know, the concerns of kids have not changed so much. It's a film about land, loyalty, and family (like another recent favorite of mine... but no meth).
George Woodard, a Vermont dairy farmer AND film producer, was there to take questions at the end. And he told stories about filming his son (who plays Walter) with the old baler that's in the movie, about contacting the railroad and asking if he could paint over their graffiti-covered bridges in order to maintain the historical setting he was going for, and about how to get from Vergennes to Hyde Park through the alleyway beside Myer's Bagels in Burlington (there's a sequence in the film that incorporates shots from all three locations). Wicked awesome.
They have festival rights but not distributions rights. Find somewhere to see it!