Close shots of a railway train underway: track racing underneath, steam escaping, cars coupling, gears ratchetting, signals changing. The train reaches a lift bridge which must rise to ... See full summary »
From 1972 until 1974, Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan, along with a Chinese film crew, documented the last days of the Cultural Revolution, marking the end of an era. The vast amount of ... See full summary »
An industrial film which shows the operations inside the Philips Radio plant: In a mêlée of activity, glassblowers make delicate glass bulbs. Machinery assists the bulb manufacture. A ... See full summary »
Using footage taken by Soviet battlefront cameramen, this penetrating documentary about Russian life during World War II is narrated by Walter Huston and features the likes of Joseph Stalin... See full summary »
The 400 million people of China are heirs to a great civilization, as their pagodas and stone lions can attest. But they are under attack from the Japanese. Civilian refugees walk, stumble,... See full summary »
We all know how the Tennesse Valley Authority brought all-important electricity to rural America. This documentary shows a project in the same vein from the Rural Electrication Administration of USDA.
It's available on the excellent Depression era DVD that showcases King Vidor's classic movie OUR DAILY BREAD. Unfortunately for POWER, it is vastly overshadowed in this package by Pare Lorentz's brilliant docs THE RIVER and THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS.
Director Joris Ivens focuses on an Ohio farm family who are frankly thrilled to get the electricity that townsfolk have taken for granted. The importance of state intervention is boldly emphasized here (as in the TVA), which despite the lame daily diatribes one can hear on C-SPAN by various Republican reactionaries, the government does serve a very useful and necessary function in doing things that wonderful (and greedy) old private sector won't touch. In this case providing electricity to remote farms, not as lucrative to private power companies as us huddled-together urban masses.
Benefiting from effective photography by two masters known from countless fiction features (Floyd Crosby and Arthur J. Ornitz), film is a workmanlike exercise that gets its point across. Despite some florid voice-over provided by no less than Stephen Vincent Benét, it doesn't rise to the poetic level of Lorenz's imagery and of course lacks the legendary Virgil Thomson musical scores.
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