Bright Leaves

With Ross McElwee in conversation with Dominique Bluher
Friday, April 15, 2022 - 7:00pm

In celebration of the retirement of Dominique Bluher, lecturer in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, we are pleased to present three screenings and conversations with filmmakers whose work had a profound impact on her thinking about movies.

McElwee family legend has it that the Hollywood melodrama Bright Leaf, starring Gary Cooper as a 19th century tobacco grower, is based on filmmaker Ross McElwee’s great-grandfather, who created the Bull Durham brand. Using this legacy as a jumping-off point, McElwee takes us on a journey across the social, economic, and psychological tobacco terrain of North Carolina. A subjective, autobiographical meditation on the allure of cigarettes and their troubling legacy, Bright Leaves is about loss and preservation, addiction and denial—and especially about filmmaking, as McElwee fences with the legacy of the Gary Cooper melodrama. Bright Leaves explores the notion of legacy and how this can be a particularly complicated topic when the legacy under discussion is a Southern one and is tied to tobacco. (Ross McElwee, USA, 2003, 107 min., 35mm) 

Co-sponsored by the Department of Cinema and Media Studies.