And then, two-thirds in, this American biogothic collapses like stalks under hail, when a battle with pneumonia puts the aged Beeghly in a hospital, and the storytelling becomes about as interesting as a visit to a sick ward. For the rest of the film, there's way too little art and way too many words. Routine reigns, and the meditation evaporates, never to return, never to be concluded. When the final notes of multi-talented McCollum's violin, which provides "Hybrid's" evocative soundtrack throughout, are heard over the closing credits, it reminds one of something forgotten--which perhaps was the point of the film after all. Directed, written and produced by Monteith McCollum. An Indican release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 92 min.
Part-way in, one wonders, What might the family of Pierson, Iowa centenarian corn devotee Milford Beeghly, the subject of this black-and-white documentary, think of all the experimental-cinema touches coming out of filmmaker Monteith McCollum in a story about Dad? And why does a documentary, meant to inform, have so little history, and why is it silent for such long stretches? And why, when there are words, do they mostly make his subject look bad? And then it hits you: Rather than a simple text about one man's life, McCollum is creating a singular meditation on the Midwest: In the middle of fertile land, he has found a man whose life has been devoted to improving corn through back-acre hybridization, even as he cared for virtually no human interaction with his wife and three children.