Director: Ross McElwee
Running time: 39 minsUSA
Producer/Photography/Editor: Ross McElwee
One summer, the filmmaker, having no money, lots of time, and just enough second-hand film stock, decided to return to his home in North Carolina to see if anything had changed in the ten years since his defection to the North. Nothing had. Backyard is about insecurity, schizophrenia, envy, anger, compromise, acquiescence - in short, all those feelings that make going home to visit the family a warmly memorable experience, especially if the family is a Southern one. Backyard is about a politely enforced Carolina style of apartheid where blacks clean up after whites in the kitchen, the bedroom, and the hospital operating room. It's about the tensions arising from the expectations of a doctor father for his two sons, one a medical student, the other a filmmaker. And it's about a mother's death, a death that's never been discussed in the family. Backyard is more about what's not said than what's said, what's not done than what's done. — Programme notes prepared by the ICA, Boston.