The Winter of the Beard

The Winter of the Beard

2008, Society  -   34 Comments
Ratings: 8.57/10 from 349 users.

In the fall of 2005, two filmmakers invited six men across America to join them in an experiment. They would all stop shaving for six months. No trimming allowed. Each was provided a video camera and weekly interview questions to document his own experience. The resulting 600 hours of intimate footage revealed a group of men traversing the same rite of passage from disparate vantage points.

Throughout the process, the men told stories from their pasts, shared likes and dislikes, and confessed personal fears and aspirations. They laughed and cried, hid and came alive behind their beards.

The tireless taping captured bad days and good ones, and it is in this framework that the individual stories stand out and the beards fade into the background.

From a son dealing with his father's descent into Alzheimer's, to financial and marital struggles, to the birth of a child, The Winter of The Beard reveals the trials and tribulations of what it means to drastically alter one's appearance and otherwise go on living life.

Directed by: Jefferson Pitcher, Mike Schwartz

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3 years ago

I am 2 months into my beard for the 1st time ever at the age of 53. During this corona virus lockdown its allowing me to rediscover a different side to myself. I might have to dye it though as its completely white

5 years ago

It's genuinely very complicated in this active life to listen news on TV, so I only use the web for that reason, and obtain the most up-to-date news.

Everton Tröja

5 years ago

I tried to grow a full beard, but got a huge shock when the facial hair around my mouth and chin naturally turned RED... I'm a native islander, black hair all over, but the goatee on my face turned red.... Is this normal???

Gary Flater
10 years ago

I grew one for 8 months last year. Very interesting experience. One friend was worried about me, another thought I was on the verge of homelessnes, and most of my musician friends loved it. It is unconventional, and difficult for persons who are conventional

11 years ago

My boyfriend, my brother, and father all have beards. I will show them this.

11 years ago

Once on "Star Trek:The Next Generation," Dr. Beverly Crusher referred to beards as an affectation. But she was wrong. SHAVING is the affectation. Beards are natural.

11 years ago

I watched this one time and haven't shaved since - that was 5 months ago. A truly magical film.

11 years ago

Because of this doc i am giving the whole beard thing a try right now. Had a quite short beard before and now i will see where it goes. Only one month in but in combination with not cutting my hair for over one year i must say it´s pretty lovely:)

11 years ago

after watching I wandered if these men had psyc evals before making this.To the guy that screwed on the cell phones.I guess you never had a deal go worng on line. I wished I lived in your world.The beard had nothing to do with what happened.If you think it did, think again.A beard doesn't make you look like a stupid back woods hick.If you think it does we have had some presidents that must have been stupid.The act of growing a beard doesn't change who you are.I grow my beard from Aug.through May.No one changes there way of thinking about me.Nor do I change the way I think about me or the world.It's just hair.If you smell food in it,WASH IT!Use a napkin when you eat or didn't your mother you anything.

11 years ago

why are my comments getting deleted?

11 years ago

Every man should try to grow a beard. If not just to find out how it grows. Beards add character to the face and that reflects in how men feel about themselves and within the community. Naturally, beards really should be trimmed and shaped according to how they grow out unlike these guys who let them grow wild.
Shame on women who don't appreciate a well grown beard...on a man.

11 years ago

I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. Funny how I always seem to stumble upon the most peculiar films here on TDF that are strangely in accordance to a particular moment in my life.

I actually started growing my first beard 7 weeks ago, just to see if I could go through with it. My girlfriend absolutely despises the thing. Although curiously, I like the beard even more knowing how much she loathes it. That can't be normal, right?

I often imagine marriage to be very much like this..

11 years ago

I found this surprisingly good. After reading the synopsis I didn't think I would care for it, but the beard part is actually very little of the documentary. Mostly it is a chance to see into the parts of peoples lives that they usually keep for themselves and, maybe one or two family members or friends. At times I felt certain guys got a little whiny for my taste but, I come from a much less polished past, environment, and up bringing so that is to be expected I suppose. I also disagree with the guy about technology ruining mankind. Saying that is the same thing as saying mankind is not capable of leading a good life, for lack of a better term, unless he abandons the pursuit of scientific knowledge. This is a ridiculous statement. If you simply study history it is clear that with scientific knowledge comes a better life for mankind- less violence, less starvation, less disease, etc. I constantly hear people wish for "the good ole days", but history tells a totally different story. Every generation seems to feel that there is more violence, more suffering than in the past, it just isn't so, check the numbers.
What has changed is peoples attitudes, their ability to self discipline, their sense of self entitlement, etc. People do things like calling their children in class, students do things like skip their homework, etc. not because the technology made it possible but, because people have changed. Democracy is falling apart not because it is a failing system of government but, because people have changed. Capitalism has become a vicious, blood thirsty animal incapable of compassion or concern not because that is its nature, but because people have changed. My parents generation had all the necessary tools to do the horrible things that we see everyday now all around us, but they didn't do it. They had the capacity to sit on the rears and let the government take care of them, but they didn't do it. They had the ability, and a dare say at times the desire, to abandon their children for drugs or some wild promiscuous life style, but they didn't do it. The real change has to start with us, the people. Everything else will fall inline accordingly, it always does.

11 years ago

I enjoyed this documentary.
I fell in love with Reid's father, who seemed a delightful soul.
I envisioned myself, trying to be front and center a camera with no script. I felt as if I were struggling with them as they tried to fill the void of empty video space.
From this point, I will not see a bearded man and not think of these men.

11 years ago

Well worth watching!
And growing a beard isn´t as hard as they make it look..

11 years ago

Interesting doc... I through-ally enjoyed it. So many :manlytears: I don't agree with technology being a poison on society bit, but more so blame it on bad parenting and materialistic sheepleness, plus society being a generation behind(or 2 or 3) Being able to txt shorthand, but still being able to type in a semi-professional manner my even further the progression of our minds; keeping in mind that everything is good in moderation. Your opening up more cognitive connections for a given vocabulary entry. It's almost like knowing a second language(hell ebonics is accepted and taught) However, most people aren't fully acquainted with half of the shorthand and 1337 5p34k that make up this internet language. The cyber revolution is on an acceleration curve... Ready or not, learn it or get left behind.

11 years ago

I think this film is just tremendous!
Upon reading the synopsis, one might stop to think 'this will be uninteresting and self indulgent', but au contraire! These men have interesting stories, these men have lived and will live beyond this film, which creates an interesting dynamic.

The beard is a transformative process, along with the monologues. Just a great little quirky film!