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Films for "America after the Fall": "The Plow that Broke the Plains" (1936) and "The River" (1937)

July 7, 2016
Price Auditorium
Free with museum admission

These classic films from the 1930s echo many social and cultural themes found in America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s

Pare Lorentz government sponsored films The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936) and The River (1938), are landmark American documentary films. Made in support of Roosevelt’s New Deal, they broke new ground in the documentary form through a use of poetic imagery, symphonic music, and free verse narration.

The Plow That Broke the Plains examines the agricultural misuse of the Great Plains that resulted in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and is a stirring chronicle of the Roosevelt Administrations efforts to help farmers devastated by drought.

The River tells a lyrical history of the Mississippi River basin, while lamenting environmental destruction and it’s effect on impoverished farmers.

Film still from The Plow That Broke the Plains.