Emotional reactions to me are truly special to art and with that in mind A Life on the Farm is a film that made me feel like I was on a rollercoaster of emotions. I went from laughing, to shocked, to sad, to joyful and to thrilled all in the span of 70 minutes. The documentary is about Charles Carson and Coombe End Farm and a mysterious VHS tape that Charles made. I feel saying more is a massive spoiler, but what I can say is the story being told in this documentary is utter enthralling and spellbinding. The biggest compliment I can give this film is that the editing is utter perfection. The film is an amazing length, it doesn’t feel too long, and the film ends where it should end and because of that the narrative being told is tight and concise. There are amazing transitions from the real-life location in the present to the location in the VHS type that are simple visually interesting and creative. Since this is a talking head documentary it’s important that everyone being interviewed adds to the overall film and in my opinion all the interviews feel relevant and are super interesting to watch. A Life on the Farm is a great documentary that is never predictable and is never boring. The story of Charles Carson is one worth being told and I’m glad that it was told in this documentary.
The interview was attended by the director Oscar Harding
Q- How did you manage to find the correct tone of the film, as you don’t come out of the documentary laughing and saying he was a crazy man, or make fun of him, that was a true strength
Oscar- You would need to be a completely unpleasant kind of person to make a mean-spirited film, yes you do laugh at it the first time you see the film as you are lacking context. You go to a bizarre corner of the world, and you don’t know this man. I dug into his story first, which increased the film from a short documentary to a film, it was a fascinating story telling the story of Charles. Hannah Christianson was the editor, and a lot is down to her, she brought one of the sequencies together at the end, I wanted to go more brutal with the scene, as Charles going through a very difficult dark part of his life, Hannah insisted that a bit of peace and spirituality to the sequence.
Q- How long did it take to get to the perfect cut?
Oscar – The film was edited down from 4hours to the 90min in a 5-month editing process, we knew it still felt too long and why it was edited down to 70 min
Q- What’s your go to movie on a rainy day?
Oscar- Xanadu, it is very very camp and absolutely ridiculous, Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton John film and Anna and the Apocalypse.
Written By Robert Drever