# documentary / VHS / 90s / calf / dance / corpses / death / life / weird stuff / anxiety / farmer filmmaker / home video / eccentricity / Lynch would not be able to make this / Polish premiere
A LIFE ON THE FARM
documentary, mystery / Great Britain / 2022 / 1 h 15 min
Old Carson had a farm
Pleasantly dark. That’s one opinion. And the other? “Pure horror.” It’s the kind of documentary that could have been created by David Lynch together with comedians from the Monty Python group. If the protagonist, Charles Carson, lived today, he would become quite the Internet star, and his videos would garner millions of views and become a regular topic of conversation – disturbing, twisted, thrilling, and yet touching and joyful.
In the 1990s, Carson used an amateur video camera to film his daily life on a secluded farm in Somerset: the birth of another calf, the preparations for Christmas, the horses munching on his hat. But his footage is not merely an idyllic chronicle. He also filmed his dead mother’s body in a wheelchair that he wheeled around the farm, as well as the corpse of his father whose eyes were still wide open. In addition, he photographed the deceased and collaged amusing comic bubbles onto them.
The documentary “A Life On The Farm” tells the story of Carson, his passion for creating home films, and his eccentric personality. It’s also about loneliness and the void caused by the death of loved ones. The creation of the film is courtesy of director Oscar Harding, who watched a VHS tape given to his grandfather by his neighbor Charles Carson. The former lecturer at an agricultural university prepared such tapes for many of his neighbors. He also sent them handmade notes. Each day of his existence was painstakingly documented using VHS tapes. In these videos, Harding saw someone who transcended conventions and stepped out of the rigid boundaries of a small community. Through discussions with his colleagues, he chose to get to know him better and bring him to the attention of others. In his documentary, Harding takes the opportunity to reflect not only on why Carson needed the video-exhibitionism but also on what made it the substance of his life.
“A Life On The Farm” will tell you how the quirky old man first started making short feature films on his own, and how he turned cheap fake skeletons into the main actors. You will meet his neighbors, his colorful personality, and his secret life. After all, Carson won contests for the best home films, enthralling the professionals with his ingenuity. His spirit and the work he left behind still do so today. By inviting the VHS-oddities experts, the “Everything Is Terrible!” crew, as talking heads, Harding demonstrated that creating art is not a privilege exclusive to professional artists, but is also accessible to ordinary people who wish to express themselves.
directed by: Oscar Harding script: Oscar Harding cast: Derrick Beckles, Lehr Beidelschies, Charles Carson director of photography: Edward Lomas music: Sam Paul Toms editor: Hannah Christensen language: English subtitles: Polish