Review: A Life On The Farm (Fantastic Fest 2022)


Title: A Life On The Farm
Director: Oscar Harding
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Runtime: 1 hr 15 mins

What It Is: A strange story from Somerset, England about a filmmaking farmer and the inspiring legacy of his long-lost home movies.

What We Think: “Charles Carson, Coombe End Farm”. Is there such thing as a found-footage film that is whimsical as well as it is eerie? Through the lens of Oscar Harding and his personal connection to this particular story, A Life On The Farm accomplishes just that. While at first, it may invoke some uncertain feelings on whether to continue watching, there is more than a mystery at the core of this documentary than just the tapes themselves. That core is the man himself, Charles Carson – and the fortune of found-footage goodness he left behind for his friends (and most importantly for these filmmakers) to unravel and pick apart. What follows is a series of interviews with those individuals that help shape the obsessive enigma that is this obscure collection of home media that delves into something profound and heartfelt. Presentation-wise, it’s nothing new to the documentary formula. Talking heads, footage, reflection, and so on. And to be frank. it’s done well here – its the touching story that will make those elements fade into the background.

Our Grade: B+; Adequately viewed as a cozy dive down a found-footage rabbit hole (in the same vein as one of those 50-minute YouTube videos that pop into your ‘recommended’), A Life On The Farm is a compelling independent effort to tell a story that was lost between generations – while also achieving (while hopefully setting a standard for the foreseeable future) a new perspective on found-footage stories.

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