Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pare Lorentz

Pare Lorentz made The Plow That Broke The Plains (1936) as part of the Roosevelt administration's documentation of the United States during the Great Depression. Several cameramen worked on the project, among them Leo Hurwitz, Ralph Steiner, Paul Ivano, and Paul Strand. American composer Virgil Thomson wrote the music. Many of the visuals remind me of FSA photographs from 1930s Dust Bowl, such as the scene of a family digging out from drifting sand dunes (top still). A farmer's wife (middle still, from The Plow That Broke The Plains) stands with her hand to her head, as does "Woman of the High Plains, 1938" by photographer Dorothea Lange (bottom still, © The Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum).
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.