The River (1937) by Pare Lorentz

Sunday, January 29, 1984, 8:00 pm

The Great Depression I

Four W.P.A Films


800 Chestnut Street

San Francisco, CA, 94133

The Plow That Broke the Plains, by Pare Lorentz, 1936, 21 min.; The River, by Pare Lorentz, 1937, 30 min.; Power and the Land, by Joris Ivens, 1940, 35 min.; Valley Town, by Willard Van Dyke, 1940, 25 min.

A program featuring major works by three seminal figures in the documentary genre. These works, commissioned by the Roosevelt administration, are groundbreaking not only in their inherent socio-economic implications, but in their cinematic articulations as well. With photography by Paul Strand, Ralph Steiner and Willard Van Dyke, and music by Virgil Thompson, Pare Lorentz’s two films are considered early masterpieces of American documentary cinema. In Power and the Land, Joris Ivens’ cinema verite style presents a dramatic document of a day in the life on an American farm. Willard Van Dyke’s Valley Town, a study of the human consequences of automation, is remarkable for its photography, music, and daring use of soliloquy.