United States | 1986 | 157 min
Language : English
Subtitle : French
Left by his girlfriend, Ross McElwee decides to retrace the footsteps of General Sherman’s Union soldiers at the time of the American Civil War, allegedly the first example of total war against the civil population. The project on Sherman’s campaign clashes with the filmmaker’s desire to find a new love.
Initially conceived as a film about the march of the Union soldiers under General William Tecumseh Sherman across the secessionist South – a military campaign considered today as a precursor of total warfare against the civil population – Sherman’s March gradually became a chronicle of Ross McElwee’s attempts to find a new love after he has been dumped by his girlfriend. The film thus becomes a sentimental exploration into the complexities of the Southern United States, where the outcome of the Civil War still matters. He meets several people, including Charleen (whom we first met in Ross McElwee’s first medium-length film), who at all costs wants Ross engaged with a Jehovah’s Witness girl, and the gorgeous Pat Rendleman, who is hoping she will get a small role in a Burt Reynolds film. All these pieces contribute to an extremely effective tableau where daily life, the social sphere and the private dimension combine and create an extraordinary texture of affections and needs.
Giona A. Nazzaro