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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Barstow, California


Germany | USA 2018
Opening October 3, 2019

Directed by: Rainer Komers
Writing credits: Documentary
Principal actors: Documentary

Barstow CaliforniaHalfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California, is the town of Barstow. In the third film of his American West Trilogy Rainer Komers shows us life in a small town which, despite being on Route 66, offers little chance of moving up in the world. Spoon Jackson, born and raised there with his 14 brothers, narrates the film, reading from his autobiography “My Heart.” Spoon’s rhythmic voice and metaphors tell stories of his childhood in Barstow, one filled with violence, disappointment and lost hope. Spoon himself is never seen because he has been serving a life sentence with no parole in prison since 1977.  Instead, we see two of his brothers looking at the empty field where the house they grew up in used to be. The film is an essay of images and sounds of high desert, working mine quarries, a huge military base and always a Southern Pacific train running through with its metallic noise and mile-long freight cars. Life in Barstow, in America, is portrayed through the raw reality of living in an isolated town where growing up can be as rough as the nature surrounding it.  (Alana L.)

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