Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Land

US 1941. PC: The Agricultural Adjustment Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture. D+SC+DP: Robert J. Flaherty. Ass: Irving Lerner. M: Richard Arnell. ED: Helen van Dongen. Commentary read by Robert J. Flaherty. 42 min. A BFINA print viewed at Cinema Orion (DocPoint), Helsinki, 27 Jan 2010.

Flaherty's sole work of social criticism appeared belatedly during WWII. It is a grand vision of the state of agriculture in the U.S.A. after the devastating Depression of the 1930s. A main topic is erosion. The loss of the soil. In every state. This is a parallel work to The Grapes of Wrath: the dust bowls, the migrant workers, the effective farming where there are four crops a year, the alienation of labour, the alienation of man from the land. The film ends with images of the mechanical world. The music is too heavy. The images are unforgettable.

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