Back to the Garden:

Driving across the Cascades on a 1988 road trip, Ballard filmmaker Kevin Tomlinson discovered a very idealistic enclave. At an Okanogan Valley festival, he met and interviewed several hippie rustics whom he today describes as "living the lives of our pioneer forefathers." But his videotapes of these back-to-the-landers sat in the basement for 18 years. Seen at SIFF 2009, Back to the Garden is his documentary follow-up on six subjects today trying to live according to their orgo-hippie ideals. The documentary plainly endorses these aging rustics as prophets of the new eat-local evangelists (see Michael Pollan and his disciples). Still, not everything is roses in the Garden. One fellow is living in poverty in a van on Lopez Island. And most of these industrious, graying boomers have lived in self-imposed rural poverty for decades. The film is frank about some discontents. One grown daughter of the Garden circle notes that her single mom had four kids with four different men: "I feel like it was a really great deal for the guys, in that women were left to bear the burden." It's not a pattern the second gen seems likely to repeat. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Sat., Oct. 2, 5 p.m.; Wed., Nov. 3, 5 p.m., 2010

 
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