Tag Archives: Michael Lesy

WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP, docu-drama by James Marsh, 1999, based upon the famous 1973 book by Michael Lesy

Wisconsin Death Trip is a 1999 American black-and-white and color docudrama film written and directed by James Marsh, based on the 1973 book of the same name by Michael Lesy. Original music for the film was composed by DJ Shadow, with original piano music for the closing credits by John Cale.

The film dramatizes the photographs by Charles Van Schaick found by in the early 1970s by Lesy, connected to a series of macabre incidents that took place in Black River Falls, Wisconsin in the late 19th century, and, in part, the film was shot on location there. Marsh makes use of silent black-and-white recreations with voice-over narration by Ian Holm contrasted with contemporary color footage of the area.

Wisconsin Death Trip is a 1973 non-fiction book by Michael Lesy, based on a collection of late 19th century photographs by Jackson County, Wisconsin photographer Charles Van Schaick – mostly taken in the city of Black River Falls – and local news reports from the same period. It emphasizes the harsh aspects of Midwestern rural life under the pressures of crime, disease, mental illness, and urbanization.

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