Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern

This deeply affecting documentary by husband and wife team Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher, is both a personal journey home and a timely reminder that well into the '90s, farm families were still losing their homes and livelihoods to bank foreclosures. Framed by bits of family history and set against clips from classic Westerns, Jordan tells the story of...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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This deeply affecting documentary by husband and wife team Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher, is both a personal journey home and a timely reminder that well into the '90s, farm families were still losing their homes and livelihoods to bank foreclosures. Framed by bits

of family history and set against clips from classic Westerns, Jordan tells the story of modern prairie life, an unidealized "Midwestern." Hardworking farmers, deeply in debt since the '80s, after banks actively encouraged them to borrow and expand, are known only by their risk rating now that

impersonal, multistate corporations have bought out the local bank. To avoid foreclosure on their own farm, Jordan's elderly parents decide to sell off everything they own: machinery, livestock and all their household goods. It's a heartbreaking story -- though to miss the Jordans' optimism is

really to miss the whole point -- and it's beautifully told, thanks in large part to Jordan's thoughtful voice-over and the beauty of the southwestern Iowa landscape. In the land that once provided her family with a living, Jordan is now able to find apt metaphors for their misfortune: dilapidated

farmhouses, gathering storm clouds and the unpredictable course of Troublesome Creek, the twisting stream that winds behind what was once her parents' home.