Artist Ingrid Gipson disappears into deep Oklahoma

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      A documentary by Molissa Maltz. Rating unavailable

      Taking off-roading to a whole new level, Ingrid Gipson has been living on her own in the backwoods of Oklahoma for more than three decades. But she’s no ordinary hermit.

      Born in Germany at the start of the Second World War, she arrived in the U.S. at 20, married, and started a successful career as a fashion designer, marketer, and teacher, mostly in Texas.

      For reasons that appear fairly obvious, but are not thoroughly examined in this somewhat dreamlike one-hour doc, family life didn’t suit her, and Gipson started drifting away, towards a raw property she purchased in the Ouachita Mountains of eastern Oklahoma. Over the years, she built a house, studio, and out-buildings, largely from rocks in the region.

      This has an interesting parallel, also undiscussed, with the “stone women” who rebuilt Berlin from the postwar rubble. And it connects with her story, since her own father was a vicious Nazi who beat his own family as an added bonus.

      For whatever reasons, the twice-married artist eventually settled into her hardscrabble Shangri-la and left her grown children behind. In her still imperfect English, she repeatedly tells the filmmaker that she misses human company, but her relationships with the many animals on her property—especially two friendly goats—are tender things to observe.

      The whole film, in fact, is charged with soft feelings, for the land and the subject, and it’s enlivened by a soft-focus, mobile camera, breathtaking drone shots, and meditative original music. It puts you in Gipson’s place, in other words (or with few of them, anyway), and invites thoughts about what the rest of us would do without the burdens and blessings of what we laughably call civilization.

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