A tangent here, but stick with me: At the beginning of the animated film, My Neighbors the Yamatas, director Isao Takahata envisions the world of his titular family as an ocean voyage, complete with pounding waves and raging storms, but arriving eventually at a safe port. If the analogy was transferred to October Country, the new documentary by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher, the familial vessel would also be facing typhoons, hailstorms, shark-infested waters, and a foggy void where the safe landing should be. And you may as well throw an iceberg in for good measure.
Filmmakers Mosher (whose family is depicted, and who also is a photographer, musician, and writer) and Palmieri do not hedge in their depiction of the upstate N.Y. Mosher family, whose various members have undergone such trials as teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and molestation. But they don't overdramatize events, either, and for all the darkness that's revealed, there's also a glimmer of hope in the idea that people can endure all this pain and sorrow and still remain, however tenuously, a family. Letting his camera take its cue from the photo series Mosher did on his clan, Palmieri creates haunting visuals that complement the group's shadowed history.
Mosher and Palmieri were happy to discuss their concerns in pulling back the veil on one family's struggles, and how they're hoping that this one story can bring a new perspective to the challenges facing the working class in today's U.S. Click on the player below to hear the interview.