Original footage of the prosperous farming community of Glencoe Minnesota, 60 miles west of Minneapolis, was filmed in 1979 for a PBS documentary. But for the next six years Malle was too ... See full summary »

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Original footage of the prosperous farming community of Glencoe Minnesota, 60 miles west of Minneapolis, was filmed in 1979 for a PBS documentary. But for the next six years Malle was too busy with other projects to finish this work. He returned in 1985 for a follow-up and found the community reacting to the mid eighties crisis of overproduction in farm country. with weekly foreclosures on family farms, and many families moving to the south, Malle documented a sense of frustration and apprehension from the same participants he had befriended in better times half a decade earlier. Written by Maple-2

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27 November 1985 (USA)  »

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Le pays de Dieu  »

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Great documentary and quite relevant today
18 September 2009 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

I just love Malle's documentaries. They are so effortless and simple but still so fascinating. I have no idea why this documentary works. It is about Glencoe, Minnesota. 5000 people live there and nothing happens, really. But still Malle manages to make it fascinating and interesting. His love for humanity, even racist or homophobic people, is so overwhelming that you just can't help but also to fall in love with them too.

Malle filmed most of it in 1979. He came back 6 years later to see what had changed. This would have been a good film without the material 6 years later but this small addition makes it great. It may sound like Malle was just doing what has been done in the Up series but in fact it is not. The Up series are about people. Malle's emphasis is not so much on what happened to each person but what has happened to this community. And the change is great. 1985 is the Reagan era and the farmers are suffering. Once a proud community, now no one sees much future at all and parents hope their children will educate them self and do something else than farming.

This documentary is quite relevant today. Our financial crises today started because of what was happening then. Just take a look to these final words in the film, spoken by an older lawyer from the town (in 1985):

"Well I have high hopes for this country because the things that are going on right now can only be characterized in my mind as an obsession with greed. And a nation doesn't live long with that obsession. And particularly a democracy that... There's good - there's good - a lot of good in this country and a lot of good people and they aren't gonna - they aren't gonna subscribe to this philosophy of greed that's going on now. It's horrible."

Unfortunately it took more than 20 years and a hell of a headache before that happened.


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