Overview: Director Phie Ambo’s subject, farmer Niels Stokholm, promotes sustainability in animal agriculture via holistic methods and a spiritual ideology, allowing Ambo direct access onto his private farmlands, Thorshojgaard, where life proves self-sustaining and cyclically regenerative without the use of chemical fertilizers or bio-engineering. 2014; Danish Documentary; Not Rated; 95 minutes.
Agricultural: On Thorshojgaard, agriculture is everything, and biodynamic farming practices inform how they sustain the land. For Niels Stokholm, corporatized rules and standards smother farmland in chemicals and fertilizers fundamentally unnatural, inviting chaos and disease into a primordially natural ecosystem. Starting from the opening sequence of Ambo’s film, wherein the pastoral landscapes and ethereal beauty of Stokholm’s farm is evoked via individual shots bearing the majesty of Terrence Malick at his very best and most accessible, Good Things Await promises sustainability if only we all follow Stokholm’s modest example. While the exact science and philosophy behind biodynamic farming becomes lost in Stokholm’s effete apologist stance, the example set by Ambo’s film is one that promises future returns.
Holistic: Running as an undercurrent to Good Things Await’s spiritual dogma is a dialogue with holistic animal husbandry, whereby the farmer is intimately acquainted with the biological well being of the animals under his care. Over the course of the film’s 95 minute run time, the viewer is afforded numerous glimpses of Stokholm knee deep in compost and animal waste, at one with the very earth and all of the myriad living organisms that it organically sustains. While the politics of promoting biodynamic farming fall to the politicians and local farm-to-fork restaurateurs with whom Thorshojgaard works in collaboration, Stokholm is first and foremost concerned with the well being of his cattle, the image of him delivering a bull calf from a mother in heat arresting in its unflinching depiction of primal compassion.
Sustainable: By the end of Ambo’s film, it falls to the viewer to decide whether or not the examples set by Stokholm and the Thorshjgaard farm are reproducible elsewhere, the burden of promoting sustainable animal agriculture and harvesting practices on us. At the very heart and soul of Good Things Await’s documentation of Stokholm’s farm, there is an acceptance of the challenges still ahead in terms of convincing others of the realistic potentials inherent in biodynamic farming, especially when it comes to surpassing bureaucratic capitulation to indoctrinated practices that have already been proven detrimental to the health and wellbeing ot the environment on a global level. Bottom line, more farmers need to adapt to farming practices of yesteryear, else the depletion of the earth’s natural resources and farm lands will become unsustainable, the promise of good things to come no longer a promise which nature will be able to keep.
Overall: Phie Ambo’s Good Things Await is a transcendent meditation on life, philosophy, and theology. Its dogma is holistic, intended for the betterment of all of God’s creatures, large and small, so long as they are a part of the biodynamic community as exemplified within the farmland of Thorshjgaard. Niels Stokholm is a veritable farmer prophet, his proselytizing and teaching an indispensible tool by which a greener future may still be within our reach, depending on whether or not we decide to follow his teachings and become disciples of biodynamic farming, and spreading Stokholm’s example worldwide.