Starring – Mike Burnell, Marci Krown, Marco Kengott, John Hansen, Pia Thrasher, Paul Uhler
Directed by David Bobrow
“Are we prisoners of the places and times that we live in?” -Richard in Country People
Country People is a simple, yet beautiful short film that by the end left me in chills and tears. Based on the Lambda Literary Award winning short story by gay author Richard Hall, Country People is about a gay man who leaves New York City after his partner dies of AIDS and sets up his new life in the country. His antique shop isn’t doing so hot, so his sister suggests that he teach a class on gay literature at the local college. There Richard meets some odd people that don’t look at all like they belong in a gay literature class, much less belong in these modern times.
And that’s all of the plot that I’m going to reveal, because it’s best to watch this film not knowing much about it. Half-way through the movie, I began to guess who these people really were and as we got closer and closer to the reveal, my body, or maybe it was my soul, began to have a powerful physical and spiritual reaction to who they really were, and by the time the movie was over, I was completely shocked at how such a simple story could reach into my soul and shake it to its core.
And to be honest, this story knocked me for such a wallop that I’m finding even writing a review for this film extremely difficult because I’m still trying to process what I saw in Country People. Even after a second viewing, I’m still in a state of shock; I guess is what’s happening to me. And that is the power of good storytelling, leaving you speechless and also inspired, because I bought the book, Fidelities, which contains the short story Country People is based on, immediately after watching the film, because now I just have to know more about this story and I want to know more about Richard Hall, a man who seems to be a major contributor to our history, yet I had never heard of him until I was given this film to review recently. And after reading the little bit of information I could find about him, I regret not knowing he existed until just a couple of weeks ago, but that’s okay because now I know he is a part of our history and you never know, after watching Country People, maybe he even came in contact with some of our history while he was still with us.
Country People is currently screening at film festivals across the country. For more information, check out their Facebook page.
Fun Fact: I got to meet John Hansen, one of the actors in Country People, at the qFLIX Worcester film festival recently and my wife is still talking about the rainbow Tyrannosaurus Rex T-shirt he was wearing that night. I think I now know what I’m getting my wife for her birthday this year. 😉