Synopsis by Nathan Southern
This offbeat and critically-acclaimed documentary from co-directors Andy Heathcote and Heike Bachelier profiles a dairy farmer from Southeast England. Based in the Sussex countryside, Stephen Hook runs Hook & Son; his trade involves raising herds of cattle, sourcing lactate from the females, and selling the milk in its raw and organic state, without any added preservatives. But this isn't merely a job for Stephen: he keeps on a first-name basis with each of the cows, especially the farm's resident "mascot," Ida. Sadly, the prospects are not great for the way of life that Hook & Son embody, with an increasing number of family farms being shut down across the UK every year. The only way that Stephen, his family and his colleagues manage to stay afloat is to sell directly to customers instead of working through a middle man. As Heathcote and Bachelier observe Stephen's démarche - his routine of feeding the cows, healing their wounds, emotionally reassuring them, helping to birth their calves, and much more - the film pulls us into a slow, laid back and lyrical way of life that exists at odds with the technology of the surrounding world.