The jet-plane man’s letter today got us thinking of course about RELEVANT MOVIES, especially this one, God’s Country, a 1985 documentary by Louis Malle, one of your editor’s absolute favorites, and one that grows more relevant by the day.
Malle visits a small farming town in rural Minnesota, predominantly Lutheran, in the ’70s, and the economy, culture and the social connection are thriving in an almost self-parodied version of small-town America.
Years later, Malle goes back to the town, and a deep recession, lack of credit, and the illusions presented under Reaganomics have destroyed it.
The manifestations are similar: self-victimization, violence, people are loading up on semi-automatic weapons, Jewish conspiracy theories taking hold, resentment and anxiety over a better future no one can picture, and people — good, smart, confused people — are going to snap, involuntarily, if nothing changes: if the government doesn’t start treating people like citizens instead of expendable human capital for corporations to exhaust.
(This YouTube clip covers the final 10 minutes — capped by a very moving final monologue from the retired town lawyer — and if you can’t get all of the parts on YouTube, the Criterion Collection has the full film watchable online for $5, a deal like the dickens!)