Tough, Pretty or Smart
by Richard Kane and Dillon Bustin
color, 29 min, 1981
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Tough, Pretty or Smart portrays The Patoka Valley Boys, a six-person string band comprising one of America's finest old-time and bluegrass musical groups. Through their own words, the "Boys" proclaim their love for their music.
"A rural region in Indiana whose wooded hills stand in striking contrast to huge strip-mined pits, the Patoka Valley is more than home to the members of this old-time string band; it is both an inspiration for songs and a foundation of the values tethered to the past with which the men, separated in age over nearly three generations, face an uncertain future. Seen in private moments - hunting in a nearby wood, motorcycling through the autumn-draped countryside, enjoying a family picnic, and tending to domestic chores - as well as at coal mining jobs where they help destroy the land they love, the men individually comment on why they perform the old-fashioned tunes for guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and harmonica... Public libraries are sure to have a toe-tapping screening when this bright production is included." American Library Association BOOKLIST
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Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Best documentary film, Cork International Film Festival, 1981
Academy Award nominee, 1981