Baraboo – Mary Sweeney (2009)

For a long time have I wanted to see this film. Mary Sweeney is a long time collaborator of David Lynch. She was the editor of some of his films, produced a few and even wrote some. The two were even shortly married.

It was quite an ordeal to be able to see the film. For many years I knew of no way to watch it. It seemed unavailable on DVD or otherwise. A while ago I ran into it on Amazon Prime, but only in the USA. Shortly after, Amazon started selling a DVD, but it is not shipped to Europe! Fortunately I have a way to work around that.

So 10 years after its release, I got to see “Baraboo”. No, I did not expect a dark Lynch-like film, but I sure was curious was this long time Lynch collaborator would have made for her only full-length film so far. The cover suggests a bit of a “Straight Story” approach. (I have not reviewed that Lynch?!?) The fact that Sweeney wrote the story of that film adds to the suggestion.

And indeed, “Baraboo” is a small, minimalist, slow, somewhat melancholic drama, just as “The Straight Story”. In a small and remote American community, we follow a handful of people. A mother who runs a motel, a gas station and a shop. She is friendly with a very goodly man of her age and has an adolescent son. This son is on the brink of derailing. In her motel an elderly local woman moves in. She is very direct and manages to bring all people together with her unusual way of approaching people.

As you can see on the cover, Sweeney used very bright colors. This is in all ‘day scenes’. The many ‘nights scenes’ are dark with little contrast. The atmosphere of “Baraboo” reminds of “The Straight Story”. Likable people who are easy to empathize with, some cooled humor. A small, all American story.

Indeed, a descent drama.

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