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    Kentucky filmmaker John Coulter screened his film "The Old Winter" at Village 8 Theaters on Friday, October 23 to a crowd of about 125 people. The film took two years for Coulter to complete, and it's his directorial debut. 

    "The Old Winter" is beautiful, though it probably won't hold the attention span of folks who prefer the flash and bang of today's Hollywood productions. It is definitely an artistic film and moves at a slow pace like the farm lifestyle featured in it. The cinematography is lovely and an appropriate musical score plays throughout the movie--except for one seemingly random pause in music towards the end. The film has more of a message than a clear storyline: there are several plotlines that seem more representative of a time period, rather than expressing a cohesive narrative. Watching "The Old Winter" is like watching home movie-made memories of life on the farm: some endearing, some shocking. 

    The cinematography is particularly impressive: shadow play with the inner fiery workings of coal-fueled farm machinery, breathtaking spanning shots of skies mid-storm. The period costumes, props and working vintage farm machinery featuring in the film were also impressive, although some of the shots of the props were a little too long and showy. So much unneeded focus was given to the scythe one of the characters uses, I thought for sure someone was going to die by scythe somewhere in the film (they didn't.)

    Though the film's Facebook page says the movie is about the character Asa, Pruitt's neighbor, the focus really seems to be on the Lamb family (Wells, Scott and Jordan) who arrive to work for Pruitt (Seely), a wealthy farm owner. The film also lingers on Pruitt's nephew (Harrell) and his unhealthy fascination with the young Lamb girl. Tighter editing could have woven together these storylines more artfully, and all the long ( though visually beautiful) scenery shots detracted from the narrative. The description on the film's Facebook page also says "The Old Winter" is meant to show how working the farmland creates Christian values and happier lives for people, but the people in the film are not very happy. 

    The slow pace of the film isn't because of the acting. The film stars Thomas Clark, Katie Jordan, Paul Louis Harrell, and Louisville actors Michael Seely, Sebrina Scott and John Wells; and each one is obviously striving to bring life to the characters of "The Old Winter." Despite this talent, their dialogue often seems forced or repetitive, and the editing of scenes was poorly executed. Coulter makes a rookie filmmaking mistake by assuming his audience needs every bit of information spelled out multiple times, with little subtlety. A good example of this is a radio-sounding sound byte tacked to the end of "The Old Winter" about farms disappearing.

    You can learn more about the film, as well as find out where to watch "The Old Winter" on its Facebook Page here. 


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    About Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn has been writing for since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications.

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