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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 <email@example.com>
I increasingly find myself tending to veer away from the more commercial mainstream cinema in an effort to find films which have a story to tell. Catherine Deneuve's comments at this year's `Mostra' are still ringing in my ears i.e. she complained of Hollywood cinema being dominated by special effects and hardly any story to go along with. I heartily agree; thus it was with expectancy I watched the Austrian-German production of `Die Siebtelbauern'. On the whole I would say the result was satisfying perhaps not great cinema, but at least an interesting tale unfolds in an atypical circumstance. The fable leaves you with some philosophical points to ponder.
Seven workers on a farm, including even illiterates among them, inherit the farm the rich landowner leaves them at his death. Happy-go-lucky simple peasants begin to have problems in life, which previously they had never had, both among themselves and with other landed gentry of the district.
Considering that many of those taking part in the film are not really professional actors anyway, one should allow certain weaknesses to be overlooked: the story is intriguing, the photography is wonderful, and I at last find an anchor-base from which to be able to comprehend Erik Satie's music with an element of background reality, however allegorical it may be.
Well worth a watch, especially if you are not expecting highly-polished glamorous film-making; on the other hand, I would more highly recommend the Italian film `L'Albero degli Zoccoli' (1978) directed by Ermanno Olmi: a poetic rural tale with genuine amateur actors an exceptional film.
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