Fantastic Fest Review: A Life on the Farm

There was a time, not too long ago, when farming was seen as a vocation where good honest toil, a bit of luck, and fair weather would set a man up for life. It’s a backbreaking job, with long hours and no days off, but there’s something inherently satisfying about growing something with your own hands. Even more so when you can live off your endeavour. However, it can be a lonely existence, working from dusk until dawn, especially if you have no one to support you.

Imagine being all alone with just a motley crew of animals to keep you company? You might go a little doolally. Or at least take up a hobby to keep the boredom at bay. This was the case for Charles Carson, who after the death of his wife only had ailing elderly relatives to look after. The Somerset farmer began making home videos and in 1991 created one of the most outlandish films you’re ever likely to see. The man, and his work, are the subject of a new documentary, A Life on the Farm.

A Life on the Farm is one of those films where the truth is much stranger than fiction. Filmmaker Oscar Harding was bequeathed a tape by his grandfather who was a neighbour of the eccentric budding auteur. This started an incredible journey to find out more. Using interviews with neighbours and people from within the found footage community, A Life on the Farm pieces together a truly singular story to create a memorable, funny and disturbing viewing experience.

A Life on the Farm screens at Fantastic Fest.

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