In our steadily fragmenting world, where so much communication occurs over long distances via phone, television and Internet, we are sounding more and more alike. However much we may regret the diminishing of cultural variety, it's still an inevitable consequence of modernity and improved communication. But there are still remote pockets of the country that seem relatively untouched by our accelerating world, and one of them is the subject of Raleigh filmmaker Neal Hutcheson's Mountain Talk, which will receive its broadcast premiere this Friday night on UNC-TV at 10 p.m.
Mountain Talk is the product of the innumerable trips Hutcheson made to the remote hollers and dens of western North Carolina over the course of two and a half years. On his travels, he encountered warm mountain families who are seemingly indifferent to the passage of time in the outside world. Although Hutcheson reports an initial wariness on their part, he succeeded in coaxing many to open their lives to him, the way they live, worship, dance and talk. Along the way, we learn about such obscure locutions as "si-gogglin," "airish" and "boomer."
One of the film's most colorful personalities is a gentleman named Popcorn Sutton, a moonshiner who drives a Model A Ford and seems to exist in his own private universe, one where Prohibition is still in effect and the revenooers are right around the bend. He's a character in search of a movie, and Neal Hutcheson's Mountain Talk is that film.