A rather well told and well acted little short in the attractive setting of the Catalan mountains on a theme where early film-makers rarely dared to venture. A young shepherd attracts the love of a widow with a grown-up daughter. He marries her but increasingly finds himself drawn to the daughter who is secretly in love with him. In the attractive setting of the Catalan mountains, As slight piece but one that testifies to the spreading influence of naturalism which, years before its reconfiguration as neo-realism in Italian films of the 1940s, gained a steady foothold during the silent era not only in France, Italy, Sweden and Germany but also in Spain and Portugal. To say nothing of Japan, from the late 1920s.....
Sadly the version I have seen was only about half the film (25 minutes of 48 minutes) although, since the ending (suitably unhappy) is known, the rest may still be in existence.
It is only with the recovery of such films that one begins to appreciate how isolated rather than central US cinema was in its insistence on drama and sensation and almost complete rejection of such genre drama ("genre" that is in the sense in which one talks of "genre" painting - bas genre or the unsentimental treatment - sorry for fans of Borzage or, for that matter, Ford or Capra - of the life of ordinary people). (Murnau's Sunrise and other US films - systematically marginalised as "artistic", King Vidor's The Crowd - for which he remained vaguely apologetic for the rest of his life - and Paul Fejos' Lonesome made before he too fell foul of the studio system and fled Hollywood, are the notable exceptions).
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