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Year: 2003
USA: First Run Features
UK: ICA Projects
Cast: Ross McElwee, Patricia Neal, Charleen Swansea
Director: Ross McElwee
Country: USA
USA: 105 mins
UK: 107 mins
USA Release Date: 25 August 2004 (Limited Release - New York)
UK Release Date: 5 November 2004 (Limited Release - wider)
UK Release Date: 8 October 2004 (Limited Release - London)


North Carolina produces more tobacco than any other state in America. This film describes a journey taken across the social, economic and psychological tobacco terrain of North Carolina by a native Carolinian whose great-grandfather created the famous brand of tobacco known as "Bull Durham." BRIGHT LEAVES is a subjective, autobiographical meditation on the allure of cigarettes and their troubling legacy for the state of North Carolina. It's about loss and preservation, addiction and denial. And it's about filmmaking - home movie, documentary, and fiction filmmaking - as the filmmaker fences with the legacy of an obscure Hollywood melodrama that is purportedly based on his great-grandfather's life. BRIGHT LEAVES explores the notion of legacy - what one generation passes down to the next - and how this can be a particularly complicated topic when the legacy under discussion is a Southern one and is tied to tobacco.

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