i’ve only seen two documentaries of mcelwee’s, but they’ve both been (at least in large part) about the south. this one covers the seedy history of tobacco in a much more personal and connected way than an expose might. mcelwee’s family was once a large force in north carolina tobacco and, family legend has it, was forced out by the duke family (as in duke university). mcelwee tracks the two intertwined storylines in the personal way that marks his style. he follows the growth of the tobacco industry and investigates the history of his family vis a vis the duke family. it reminds me not only of the other film of his that i’ve seen (sherman’s march), but of a completely different documentary from another continent – agnes varda’s the gleaners and i.