Shear understated charm
She Shears. (E) 79 mins Directed by Jack Nicol Reviewed by Graeme Tuckett ★★★★
We have a terrific tradition in this country of honouring our rural powerhouses with great documentary making.
Maybe you could put it down to TV’s Country Calendar, which for decades now has been affectionately and respectfully investigating life beyond the farm gates and reporting back with what is still often the best half hour of locally made TV of the week, while quietly out-rating many of its flashier ‘‘reality TV’’ brethren.
She Shears follows on from last year’s very good Pecking Order and Meat. Like those films it has made the jump from film festival success to a limited general release.
And if you didn’t catch She Shears at the festival, there are many good reasons you should get along to it now.
The film follows five women. Jills, Pagan, Catherine, Hazel and Emily are all at different stages of their careers.
Jills and Emily have been world record holders. Emily is returning to competition after nearly a decade away. Jills retired in her 50s to take up a second career as a barrister and solicitor but she is training to judge shearing competitions now.
Hazel is a young woman living among dairy farmers, determined to get to her ‘‘300 a day’’ – the benchmark at which shearers take you seriously – and save enough for a decent ute.
Catherine is clearly a champion in the making, aiming towards the Golden Shears when she makes a decision to take her handpiece on an OE.
And Pagan is working as both shearer and wool handler, while she recovers from an ugly car crash that nearly crippled her and took the lives of two friends.
She Shears is an understated and warm-hearted gem of a film. It is stunningly well photographed, beautifully scored and edited together deftly and economically. I was happily engrossed and entertained for all of its 79 minutes. I reckon you probably will be, too.
I am also convinced that director Jack Nicol should next turn his camera on the blokes who do the commentary at the shearing competitions. There’s some raw comedy gold there no scriptwriter could ever invent.
She Shears isa warm-hearted gem of a film that is stunningly well photographed and beautifully scored.