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Florida Film Fest review: PRIDE AND JOY

April 3, 2013



Since 1999, the Southern Foodways Alliance at Ole Miss has studied, recorded and celebrated the native eating and cooking habits of the South. Since 2005, Joe York has been making short films for the SFA, documenting the people and places vital to those heritage foodways, and since 2007, film festivalgoers have borne witness to the true roots of hot chicken, boiled peanuts, sweet-potato pie and barbecue, barbecue, barbecue.

While once I was enthralled by York’s SFA films, I began to tire of the soul food roll call, the BBQ fetishists and biscuit connoisseurs, but this was just an occupational hazard. Pride and Joy collects many of those SFA films into a “feature,” and if you haven’t been inundated with this stuff, it’s charming, especially the way each segment leads into the next, seemingly authentically by chance – the peach-farmer lady mentions boiled peanuts, the boiled-peanut fanatics call them “Southern caviar,” the paddlefish caviar producer admits he’d rather eat a fried catfish sandwich, and so on. In a completely natural and unforced way, each interview builds on the others and reinforces the idea that Southern heritage is a tightly sewn crazy quilt, each scrap unique but bound snugly to its neighbors, and the whole is more than a sum of parts.

Interviews include an oysterman, a beekeeper, a tomato farmer, a country ham producer, a bourbon distiller, a pie baker, a buttermilk dairyman, a Georgia cattleman and many more, 24 in all. Notable and purely entertaining: Several of these people are just stone crazy. Especially that
buttermilk guy.

Speaking of stone crazy, meet Pierre Faucher, the proprietor of Sucrerie de la Montagne. The Quebecois maple-sugar producer is the subject of Sugar Shack, an enticingly oddball 13-minute doc made by Brooklyn arts collective the Goddamn Cobras, which will precede the Saturday screening of Pride and Joy.

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