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Austria, a little farming valley. Beginning of the century. When one of the farmers is found murdered one day, his labourers know of nothing, but are relieved, as the tyranny has ended. Then, something new happens for the first time in history: The farm workers inherit the whole farm together, as the farmer himself was childless. Now, conflicts come up, as nobody is the boss and nobody has to obey. Written by
Julian Reischl <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An Alpine Western -bleak, gripping and beautifully filmed
A most unusual film, set in Alpine Austria before the 2nd World War, in which innocent peasants are pitted against greedy,malevolent farmers. The peasants inherit their farm after their master is murdered, but the other farmers and the local priest cannot accept that peasants should own land. So after the initial exuberance of inheritance, the film gets bleaker as the farmers plot to undermine and drive away the new owners, whose success challenges the traditional hierarchy. It is a confrontation familiar in many Westerns - but much more realistic and in consequence that much more gripping.
Sub-plots involving each of the inheritors make this a complex and moving story, including a murder mystery and a rural class struggle. The initial driving force is Emmy, a feminist model as she stands up to the foreman and farmers, despite being labelled a whore. But she, like the others, is not just a one-dimensional heroine. Life is difficult as we see the inheritors cope with and buckle under the pressures. The Alpine landscape is an intrinsic part of the film, as we see the seasons change along with the main characters' moods and fortunes. Stefan Ruzumowsky's photographic techniques enhance the interaction of landscape and character and make for an exciting and absorbing film, well worth searching out.
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