COWBOYS A DOCUMENTARY PORTRAIT | 1922 FILMS

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COWBOYS IS THAT RARE DOCUMENTARY FILM IMPACTING AUDIENCES NOT BECAUSE IT IS TIMELY, BUT BECAUSE IT IS TIMELESS.

 


BEYOND ITS STUNNING CINEMATOGRAPHY, COWBOYS OFFERS THE DEEPER REFLECTIONS OF A WELL-CRAFTED NOVEL.

The feature-length documentary COWBOYS is a visually breathtaking film on lives spent alone, a stubborn, elusive philosophy put into images.  The film is gaining steam with festival audiences fascinated by average men and women chasing a mythic existence, the sudden danger, the essential humor, and above all the forbidding vastness of the American West.

 

A MEDITATION ON THE NATURE OF OBSOLESCENCE

Cowboying is tough, physical, athletic work, and cowboys inevitably get injured. They get old. This is, after all, the industry that coined the phrase “the last round-up.” Just as the retired actor misses the wings of the stage, or the old athlete misses the locker room, cowboys miss the smell of horse sweat and the vastness of open range. They miss the immense detail and diversity of a country that to the layperson appears, after five thousand square miles, monotonous.
But the most profound connection the film offers audiences may be evolutionary. Through the millennia images have percolated into our collective unconscious, and the intent of COWBOYS is to create on film a kind of archetypal hard drive. Most in the audience will be unfamiliar with the daily details of a 21st century working cowboy. But the images of a human and a horse, the thunderous vibrato of a herd on the move, the day’s morning light and the night’s utter darkness, the heat and the hard freeze, the close proximity to life and death . . . we carry these vestigial experiences within all of us.
We understand these images and these sounds, and through COWBOYS we gain a new perspective of the life our distant forebears must have led, teaming with animals, following herds, nursing the fire at night. The cumulative impact of COWBOYS is a kind of cinematic request – a request that we reflect on our own lives and place in the world, which can be so far removed from the raw, elemental existence the filmmakers have set before us.

 

IT IS THE DIRECTORS’ UNIQUE RELATIONSHIP WITH WORKING COWBOYS THAT MAKES THIS FILM POSSIBLE.

John Langmore’s father, Bank Langmore, is a legendary cowboy photographer whose 1975 book, The Cowboy, set the standard for authentic depiction of the modern working cowboy. John spent twelve summers of his youth working on large ranches across the West and recently completed a five-year photo project on the working cowboy published by Twin Palms Publishers in 2018.
Bud Force is a commercial and documentary director/DP who specializes in cinematic non-fiction. Bud rode bulls and worked on cattle and horse ranches throughout high school and college until a catastrophic wreck in the arena ended his rodeo career and eventually led into filmmaking.
To produce COWBOYS, Bud and John formed 1922 Films, combining Bud’s longstanding work as a filmmaker with John’s intimate knowledge of the working cowboy.