Deborah Stratman – O’er the Land (2009)


An experimental and haunting collection of vignettes, Deborah Stratman’s O’er the Land weaves several picturesque and arresting strands into an evocative essay on freedom as defined by The American Way. At once contemplative and jarring, the film quietly ricochets from one emblem of patriotism and of the American experience to the next: football, recreational vehicles, Civil War re-enactments, and war stories, to name a few. A recurring motif in the film is the story of Colonel William Rankin, a Marine pilot who in 1959 ejected from his F8-U fighter jet and parachuted into a thunderstorm 48,000 feet above Virginia. Incredibly, Col. Rankin remained aloft for nearly an hour, tossed by air pockets and electrical fields, before crashing to the ground and, miraculously, surviving. One might say O’er the Land keeps the viewer aloft for a turbulent and rapturous hour as well. TM


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