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ADDICTED TO SHEEP
Ashland, Holmfirth, Underwire, Leeds Wool Festival
A portrait of a rural English family’s efforts to breed sheep over the course of a year.
Set in northeast England’s North Pennines, Pettier’s charming film focuses on Tom and Kay Hutchinson, who work as tenant farmers in a community largely devoted to agriculture. For their part, as underscored by the doc’s title, the Hutchinsons are devoted to their ovine charges, and dream of breeding the perfect sheep, out of both economic necessity and pride in their work. Pettier captures the slow pace of their environment as they contend with chores both mundane and heartbreaking – such as the difficult birthing process of a ewe. Also well featured are the Hutchinson children, whose experiences on the farm have given them a matter-of-fact perspective on life and death as well as a respect for the rhythms and quietude of rural life.