Friday, October 07, 2011

oct 14 | wiebo's war

Soul Foodie Rosie Perera points us to this VIFF-featured-flick, that "tells the story of a Christian Community at war with the oil and gas industry." It's hard not to think that whatever branch of Christianity is represented here will be pretty fringey - but there's nothing like a good documentary to change the way we think. I'm intrigued. Here's the blurbage from VIFF...

(2011, Canada, David York)

Trickle Creek Farm, 800 kms north of Calgary: the burgeoning natural gas industry vs. dedicated--and violent--Christian fundamentalists. The story of Wiebo Ludwig is familiar to most Canadians. In the 90s he and his kin came into conflict with an oil and gas company doing extractions near his property. Livestock and family members became ill, Ludwig became angry, and explosions and vandalism started happening. It's a story that played out on the evening news, with the media-savvy and cocksure patriarch providing plenty of footage with his defiant statements. The conflict produced a bitterly divided community, the death of a teenage trespasser and the conviction of Ludwig on just a few of the many crimes committed.

Director David York picks up the story in 2010, profiling the clan as they face suspicion in the contemporary bombings of oil and gas stations in northeastern BC. Cutting back and forth between 2010 and the original conflict, York's documentary has a built-in suspense and an almost uncomfortable intimacy in its close-range portrait of the subject. Ludwig and his brood cooperate, albeit guardedly, with the filming; they're forthright about their beliefs and arrogantly coy about their actions. What emerges is an honest but ambiguous portrait, with the ruthlessness of the oil and gas industry paired off against that of a defensive fanatic. This is a compelling and disturbing film.

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