This film by RaMell Ross is a beautifully realised poetic and empathetic study of African American lives that expands the frame of documentary cinema.
The titular Hale County, which has been previously immortalised in Walker Evans and James Agee’s classic 1941 work of photo-reportage, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men , is the focus of this moving and memorable work that adds a great deal to the artistic representation of this part of the United States.
Local to the area himself, Ross gained close access to the community through coaching basketball and studying photography. The resulting film and its carefully crafted score from Alex Somers, Scott Alario and Forest Kelley is a love-letter to the filmmaker’s home county and the families who live there, a dream-like and at times highly personal collage of present day Americans.
Nominated for an Academy Award, the film was also executive produced by Laura Poitras (Citizen Four, Risk).