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movie: Sherman’s March (1986)

Sherman’s March is the third movie assigned for that one seminar (see also The True Meaning of Pictures and Deliverance).

I don’t know. Perhaps it will be illuminated for me in seminar; but this movie didn’t hold much value for me. Ross gets a grant to make a documentary about the lasting impact of General Sherman’s march across the South during the Civil War. He sets out with camera in hand to visit his family and meet women, traveling the Carolinas and Georgia. His love life is suffering, and everyone he meets is either a potential partner or a matchmaker. He lolls about, bemoaning his single fate and feeling sorry for himself. He occasionally opines about General Sherman or visits a monument. Look for lines like, “Why aren’t you in love with me?” and “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know her, Ross.” (Two and a half hours of this.)

Woe is Ross. The end.


Rating: 3 hours of my day lost.

3 Responses

  1. Just a follow-up; and I’ll go further into this in a later post. But I’m reading an assigned essay in connection with the same seminar: “McElwee’s Confessions,” by William Giraldi, in Spring of 2015 in Oxford American (a publication I love). Giraldi is far more familiar with McElwee’s work than I am, and so I can’t follow it all, but obviously he makes an argument that there’s more to this film than I found.

    A.O. Scott’s assessment of Sherman’s March as the “founding document of narci-cinema” is a faux-pithy quip of error. Marian Keane has pointed out that McElwee’s work “is no more narcissistic than Leaves of Grass,” and I wish to second that contention.

    I don’t know. I found the movie off-putting and certainly narcissistic, but I’ll keep reading. (I do love the “faux-pithy quip of error.”)

    I don’t agree that McElwee was “too much of a gentleman” (as Giraldi writes) to criticize a few of the “doltish” (also Giraldi) women he pursues in this film. I thought McElwee was taken in with them, which absolutely contributed to my finding him doltish. How do we reconcile such interpretations? Can either of us ever be “right”? Now that–a consideration of objectivity in literary interpretations, the value of authorial intent–is the topic for a seminar I’d like to sit in on.

  2. […] to discuss, right there on the page, if you will. I felt much more comfortable with that content. Sherman’s March was a different experience, as I’ve already […]

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