They are viewed as low-skilled hillbillies, poor and violent. Brian Ritchie knows only too well what the rest of the United States thinks of the inhabitants of the Appalachian region. And all the preconceptions are perfectly true, he admits. Nevertheless, The Last Hillbilly also shows that the simple-looking life is anything but simple.
For this intimate portrait, directors Diane Sara Bouzgarrou and Thomas Jenkou headed into the mountains of Kentucky. Ritchie muses about the beauty of nature, his love for his children and how his lifestyle seems to be becoming increasingly rare. Three generations ago, the hillbilly was still an independent pioneer, but the coming of the coalmines brought an end to that way of life.
The ominous music of the soundtrack and the deep family grief echoed in Ritchie’s poetic voiceover give the film an undertone of bleakness. Yet what lingers in the memory is the beauty of this unique mountain life. And Ritchie passing on his knowledge and passion to the youngest generation offers a note of hope.