A train advances through a railroad crossing flanked by dark masses of leaves and exits through the left of the frame, as if backwards in time. A radio program broadcasting to Georgia farmers waxes lyrical about kudzu’s many uses and virtues. The radio station changes, and a recording of “Dixieland” ushers in surreal images and sounds of kudzu vines creeping forward, some say a foot a day. We see contemporary farmers and others who harness the potential of the maligned vine feed it to the cows, fry it up, and make baskets. Through images of kudzu-covered forms, photographed in black and white, hand-processed 35mm CinemaScope and radiating with the luminance of early cinema, this ode to the climbing, trailing, and coiling species Pueraria lobata evokes the agricultural history and mythic textures of the South, while paying tribute to the human capacity for improvisation.
Duke Faculty Artists/Collaborators
Anthony M. Kelley; Joshua Gibson