Price: $310.00

    Code: 2366

    Directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher
    2009, 83 minutes
    Purchase: $310 | Classroom Rental: $125

    October Country is a beautifully rendered portrait of an American family struggling for stability while haunted by the ghosts of war, teen pregnancy, foster care and child abuse. A collaboration between filmmaker Michael Palmieri and photographer and family member Donal Mosher, this vibrant and penetrating documentary examines the forces that unsettle the working poor and the violence that lurks beneath the surface of American life.

    Every family has its ghosts. The Mosher family has more than most. Shot over a year from one Halloween to the next, the film creates a stunning cinematic portrait of a family who are unique but also sadly representative of the struggles of America's working class. The film was created to be both a universal story of family struggle and a socially conscious portrait of compelling, articulate individuals grappling with the forces that tear at their homes and relationships.

    Combining the access only available to a family member with an intimate visual style of a filmmaker encountering the family's dynamics for the first time, the film gives a deeply personal voice to the national issues of economic instability, domestic abuse, war trauma, and sexual molestation. As the Moshers do their best to confront their ghosts, we confront the broader issues that haunt us all in the continued struggle for the American Dream.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Winner, Sterling Grand Jury Prize for best US Documentary Feature, Silverdocs Film Festival, 2009
    * Winner, Best Debut Feature, Cinema Eye Honors, 2010
    * Winner, Best Musical Score, Cinema Eye Honors, 2010
    * Winner, Maysles Award Special Jury Prize. Denver International Film Festival, 2009
    * Nominee, Best Documentary, Independent Spirit Awards, 2010
    * Nominee, Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, IFP/Gotham Awards, 2009


    "This winning documentary is a surefire discussion starter." - Booklist

    “Stirring. Visually remarkable. A multigenerational portrait of cycles of disappointment and frustration. Evokes a troubled suburbia, teeming with ghosts, visible and not.” - Indiewire

    “[Five Stars!] A 21st-century American Gothic spanning four eras… October Country’s crisp, impressionistic visuals endow its small-town landscape with an otherworldly beauty, whether it’s the passing of seasons or the endless aisles of Wal-Mart. Intimate yet larger-than-life, this masterpiece of the everyday shows you don’t need James Cameron’s toy box to make images pop from the screen, much less to see and embrace the world anew.” Time Out New York

    “An impressionistic, hypnotic spectacle… The directors see in this family a unit that’s been broken by its economic and social conditions, and Palmieri has helped his colleague make universal the specific miseries of one broken home.” - Artforum

    “Gorgeously filmed, thoroughly engaging encounter with a working-class family in Herkimer, New York, explores how generations of bad decisions…have created an ugly cycle of poverty and limitations.” - New York Magazine

    “Riveting…. attention must be paid.” - New York Post

    “Delivers an unadulterated shot of the kind of poor white American despair and frustration that most media treats as caricature... dense with painterly, almost abstract imagery rendered in vivid, lurid living color.” - Village Voice

    “For a realistic view of real American way of life, where war (the employer of last resort) experienced at age 18 changes the family landscape and one Arms factory makes the difference between life and death of an entire community, I recommend October Country.” – Critical Women on Film

    “This haunting documentary situates its audiences in the lives of a working-class family in rural Upstate New York. Four generations grapple with a host of America's most entrenched social ills: joblessness, abusive relationships, teen pregnancy, post-traumatic stress disorder and child molestation. Seeping through each gorgeously shot scene is a painful sense of listlessness. The lack of hope within the family is juxtaposed with the natural beauty caught by the filmmakers’ cameras.” – Washington Post

    “A rare work of impressionistic nonfiction… A portrait of a family of women very consciously stuck in a cycle of self-limiting (if not self-destructive) behavior, the film and the family within it have their fingers crossed that Desi will be the first female Mosher to learn from the family’s mistakes. Maybe it could be as simple as literally watching it.” – Spoutblog

    “October Country is the sort of gritty and lyrical family portrait most documentaries hope to be when they grow up. Directors Palmieri and Mosher donʼt chronicle the symptoms of PTSD, child abuse, domestic violence, theft, or drugs as problems to be solved by outsiders. Instead, their exquisite camerawork and elegant editing give us the raw, lush, luminous spirit living in each of the Moshers, making our own hearts sing as they heal, season by season, and grow, bit by bit. See it with someone you love to talk to, and leave plenty of time afterwards for the long discussion it will inevitably provoke.” – Bitch Magazine: Feminist Response to Pop Culture

    “A working-class family portrait filmed with artistic flair that effectively complements the earthbound subject matter.” – Cineaste

    “Recommended. We’ve heard a lot in recent years about the kitchen tables of families across the main streets of this country. This documentary lets us pull up a chair at one American family’s table. Beautiful shots and music provide a memorable backdrop to the changing seasons and measured pace of this film.” - Educational Media Reviews Online