(directors/writers: Mario Furloni, Kate McLean; screenwriter: story consultant Alvaro Furloni; cinematographer: Mario Furloni; editors: Sara Newens, Christopher Dolan; music:William Ryan Fritch; cast: Frank Mosley(Josh), Lily Gladstone (Mara), John Craven (Ray), Krischa Fairchild (Devi Adlrt), George Psarras (Consultant), Michelle Maxson (Rowan), Cameron James Matthews (Casey), Ryan Tasker (Buddha), Robert Parsons (Guy from Nebraska); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer; Laura Heberton: Dark Star Pictures; 2020)
“Though the script is weak, the performance by Krisha Fairchild is a shout out to all stoners to continue to pass the joint around and fight for more equality in society.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The documentarian co-directors and co-writers Mario Furloni (“First Friday”), the cinematographer, and Kate McLean, in their fiction feature film directorial debuts, create a story with sparse dialogue that tells about the plight over a pot farm because marijuana is now legit in California and how that move might spoil an old flower child’s idyllic rebel lifestyle. It’s excellent as a character study, a way of seeing how marijuana is harvested and as a contemplative look at the changes in society on what’s now legal and its effects.
Rural Norther California’s Humboldt County is the scene of a lush cannabis farm that’s run by a hippie from back in the free love days of the counter-culture revolution, the surviving hippie sixty-something, white-haired, Devi Adler (Krisha Fairchild). She has run her illegal business off the grid for some thirty years until recently challenged by new government restrictions. Devi, a fierce individualist, is living alone on the grounds of the old commune she helped build back in the day when she first arrived here. Currently her commune has split and she’s the lone survivor from that period. The independent boss owns the property and employs three twenty-something seasonal employees: Casey (Cameron James Matthews), Mara (Lily Gladstone), and Josh (Frank Mosley), to pick and dry the crop.
Problems arise when Devi’s served with a “Note to Vacate Nuisance” letter from the county (from now on she will need a permit to sell weed). With pot now legalized, her black market ma-and-pa business is threatened, as she would need to be a state-certified seller of pot (that means getting a license and paying dues). But that would take thousands of dollars, which is bread she doesn’t have because legal pot has cut greatly into her income.
Tension arises as Devi must hold her workers together, deal with the state’s new laws, try to convince Josh that legalization is not cool, battle the Goliath from market capitalism for business and find a new way to deal her product. It’s a wonder she can get high now in peace that she has so much middle-class shit on her mind.
The film’s argument is that the legalization and industrialization of weed is another way for the government and rich capitalists to get rid of the idealistic and small-time entrepreneurs.
I’m pretty sure Devi’s underground business connections would continue among her stoner patrons, who would buy her legendary weed if it was cheaper or a better product than her competitors. Being in the business for over thirty years, she must still have the contacts to distribute her weed. But if this story is correct, which I believe it is, I think the big operators will make it tough for the small businessman to get into this business or stay in it.
John Craven pops up in a visit as an old flame from her commune days, who becomes melancholic when recalling the old days that were filled with so much hope for the future by the hippies but that hope has now gone to pot.
Though the script is weak, the performance by Krisha Fairchild is a shout out to all stoners to continue to pass the joint around, not be part of the establishment and fight for more equality in society.
REVIEWED ON 11/18/2021 GRADE: B