Watch Love & Terror On The Howling Plains of Nowhere
- 1 hr 35 min
Love & Terror On The Howling Plains of Nowhere is a 2014 American documentary film that follows the surreal and mysterious disappearance of a brilliant and eccentric math professor, Dr. Steven Haataja, from the small town of Chadron, Nebraska, in 2006. Directed by Dave Jannetta, the film is a homage to the life and work of Dr. Haataja and explores the enigma surrounding his unsolved case, as well as the deep connections he had with his students and the community. The movie is based on the memoir of the same name by author Poe Ballantine, who taught creative writing at Chadron State College where Dr. Haataja was a professor of mathematics. Through interviews with Ballantine, Haataja's colleagues, students, family members, law enforcement officials, and experts on the case, the film pieces together a fragmented portrait of the missing man and the circumstances leading up to his disappearance. The documentary begins with Ballantine recounting how he met Dr. Haataja, a brilliant, eccentric, and often controversial figure in the small academic community of Chadron. Despite his reserved and introverted demeanor, Haataja was a passionate and dedicated teacher who challenged his students to think outside the box, using unconventional methods such as using music and literature to explain complex mathematical concepts. Through interviews with his former students, the movie showcases Haataja's unique teaching style, which inspired and transformed many of them, including Cristina Hughes, one of his favorite students, who eventually became his colleague and close friend. Hughes, who is a major part of the film, provides an intimate and emotional portrait of Haataja and shares her personal experiences and insights into the man and the case. As the documentary progresses, it becomes clear that Dr. Haataja's disappearance was not an ordinary one, but rather one shrouded in mystery and complexity. The movie explores the various theories and possibilities surrounding the case, including suicide, foul play, and voluntary disappearance, and examines the role of the local police and FBI in the investigation. At the heart of the film lies the enigmatic and complex persona of Steven Haataja, a man with many secrets and contradictions, who was simultaneously loved and feared by his students and colleagues. Through personal interviews and archive footage, the movie delves into Haataja's past and uncovers his troubled family history, his struggles with mental illness, and his romantic relationships with several women, including one of his students who mysteriously died in a car accident a few years prior to his disappearance. Throughout the film, Love & Terror On The Howling Plains of Nowhere provides a nuanced and insightful look at the complex inner workings of a small Midwestern town, and the intricate web of relationships, passions, and secrets that were woven within it. The movie raises questions about the nature of truth and perception, and challenges the viewer to rethink their assumptions about the people and places that they think they know. In conclusion, Love & Terror On The Howling Plains of Nowhere is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged documentary that explores the complexities of human relationships and the enigma of a missing math professor. The film showcases the talents of its director and cast, and provides a unique and intimate view into the life and work of an extraordinary man, whose legacy continues to inspire and intrigue to this day.