Louisiana Story (1948)

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Directed by Robert J. Flaherty
Written by Robert J. Flaherty and Frances H. Flaherty
1948/USA
Robert Flaherty Productions Inc.
First viewing/Netflix rental
#224 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

There’s a saying among prospectors: ‘Go out looking for one thing, and that’s all you’ll ever find.’ Robert J. Flaherty

A beautiful look at a bygone place and time on the edge of modernity.

This is an almost wordless look at a boy’s adventures in the backwaters of the Louisiana bayou.  He hunts and fishes from a canoe accompanied by his pet raccoon.  All is peaceful until he is forced to do battle with a huge alligator.

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The bigger threat may be an oil rig that has just arrived to drill.  The boy seems to welcome the incredibly noisy contraption however.    He forms a silent bond with the crew on the rig and even tries to help out using the talisman of salt he carries as insurance against “them”.

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UCLA did an incredible job restoring this film.  It is an lovely, meditative work. Nowadays it would be a “message” film.  Then it was a poem.   I had to slow way down to appreciate it.

Louisiana Story was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story.

Excerpt from UCLA’s restored version

4 thoughts on “Louisiana Story (1948)

    • I think you have to kind of get lost in the visuals and you have to be in the right mood. Certainly there’s not much excitement!

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