Directed by: Paul Bonesteel
Of course — owing to the presence of Carl Sanburg’s home — most people in the Asheville area have some basic idea of Sandburg. Those of us who went to school before his work started to fall out of favor were certainly exposed to his more famous works — even if all we remember is that Chicago was “hog butcher to the world” and that fog “comes on little cat feet.” I confess that was about the extent of my knowledge before watching Paul Bonesteel’s fascinating and extremely well-made biographical documentary The Day Carl Sandburg Died. (In fact, most of the other things I knew, I’m pretty sure I got from exposure to excerpts from the work-in-progress at various Asheville Film Festival screenings a few years back.) My only complaint — and it’s a marginal one that most people probably won’t have — is the occasional inclusion of historical footage that was shot in an older format and has been compressed to fit a wider frame. As I say, it’s a small thing of a nitpicking, technical nature. My overall feeling, though, is that this is a remarkable work — and one that passes the acid test for this kind of film. That’s to say I’m sufficiently inspired to go pick up some of Sandburg’s work to read for myself.
The Hendersonville Film Society will show The Day Carl Sandburg Died Sunday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.
In Brief: Scrupulously detailed, reasonably comprehensive and beautifully presented documentary on the great American poet Carl Sandburg from Asheville filmmaker Paul Bonesteel. Whatever you think you know about Sandburg, I suspect this movie — and the people in it — know more than you do, and it’s quite a pleasure to find out.