Blood on the Leaves

Rated: Not Rated

        While there are many different things in life that can be divisive, one that sticks out to me quite often is the great divide in mindsets between people who live in the city versus people that live in the country. I’ve met plenty of people who either have, or do live in the city, be it New York, Boston, Los Angeles or otherwise, and (not to be too stereotypical), they all seem to say the same types of things; “I don’t want to eat that! It came from the dirty ground!” or “How can you sleep here? It’s so quiet!” or “How do you survive being so far away from everything?” These kinds of statements always bring a smile to my face, albeit a slightly frustrated one. To me there’s nothing better than to harvest my meal from my own backyard, to sleep with the windows opened, listening to the crickets, and waking up with the chirping of birds. Some people thrive in the hustle and bustle of the city; I’m not one of them.
        My living preferences aside, there aren’t many films out there that have truly captured these differences in mindset better than the recent offering from filmmaker Vincent Barnard and his company Sideline Pictures,
Blood on the Leaves.
Blood on the Leaves is a realistic take on the “City Mouse, Country Mouse” story. It follows a Hunter who is in financial trouble, and a City Boy who is out to avenge the untimely death of his brother. The men’s paths cross when the City Boy is trying to bury a body in the woods and becomes trapped by a fallen tree. The Hunter comes upon the trapped City Boy and a standoff, of sorts, ensues.
Bill Nally as the Hunter in Blood on the Leaves (Photo courtesy of Sideline Pictures)

Bill Nally as the Hunter in Blood on the Leaves (Photo courtesy of Sideline Pictures)

        Although this movie had far from what you’d call a “Hollywood budget,” the story is no less strong or impactful. Filmmaker Vincent Barnard had this to say about the film, “Inspiration for the story came from my love of rural areas and issues I've observed growing up in a small wooded town, and also my love for hip hop. The story isn't true necessarily, but I'd like to think the characters are true, because I've been around plenty of Hunter types, and I really dug deep into the lyrics of inner city rappers and drew from their storytelling to flesh out the characters from the city. The blueprint of the movie was don't shy away from anything. Don't shy away from real issues, or the word "nigger", or blood and gore, or anything. This film is grounded in reality. People say “fuck” a lot, and legs bleed when a blade cuts into [them]. This movie was about showing things how they really are, in every department,” he said.

        It is the simplicity and realism that make this film a great one. Your heart goes out to the Hunter as he tries to decide how best to deal with his financial issues and keep his family’s heads above water. You feel nervous for the City Boy as he tries to bury his problems, as well as a body, in the hopes of starting a new life.
Bill Nally as the Hunter in Blood on the Leaves (Photo courtesy of Sideline Pictures)

Bill Nally as the Hunter in Blood on the Leaves (Photo courtesy of Sideline Pictures)

        What Vincent Barnard and his team have done with
Blood on the Leaves is to challenge our preconceived notions of each other, in an attempt to show that we’re not that different after all. Yes, we may have grown up in different places, with different values, but, as Vincent put it, “This movie is basically a mirror into our (hate to use this word when explaining things) society. We judge books by their covers and stereotype. But nature doesn't care where you come from. These two guys hate each other, because they think they're so different. The more they hate, the more nature hurts them,” he said.
        In high school, my freshman English teacher told us that there were three types of conflicts in stories: Man against Man, Man against Nature and Man against Himself. He said that most stories have one of these conflicts, while the good ones can incorporate two. It speaks volumes to me that this film,
Blood on the Leaves, incorporates all three types of conflict.
        Tension is built in the film through the struggles that each of the main characters endure, both apart, and together. Both men have personal problems they are trying to deal with (albeit not in the best of ways). They are both trapped in nature and must fight to survive. And on a deeper level, they both must stare their polar opposite in the face and challenge any lingering stereotypes they have about each other. The film’s deep and thought provoking essence is subtle, and doesn’t hit you until after the credits roll.
Imani Khiry as City Boy in Blood on the Leaves (Photo courtesy of Sideline Pictures)

Imani Khiry as City Boy in Blood on the Leaves (Photo courtesy of Sideline Pictures)

Blood on the Leaves is the type of film that will lead to inner reflection of our own, personal stereotypes, and hopes to start a conversation about how we view each other overall. It is a film that deserves to be in the national spotlight, both for the issues it addresses, and for the truly masterful way in which it tells a simple story. Filmmaker Vincent Barnard and his team have created a cinematic treasure that should be required viewing, whether you’re a City Mouse, or a Country Mouse.
Blood on the Leaves is not rated, was written and directed by Vincent Barnard and stars Imani Khiry and Bill Nally. It will be available through on August 21st to rent, stream, and download. They hope to have it available to stream on Amazon in the future.

               More information about Blood on the Leaves, Sideline Pictures and Vincent Barnard can be found here:
  • Blood on the Leaves IMDB