Power and the land

L'energia e la terra
by Joris Ivens Documentary Usa 1940 33'

The Parkinsons, living in Ohio, have to face the daily difficulties and toils of a peasant life which is slowly being changed by modernization. Few cows, ploughs drawn by oxen, milk turning sour when the temper ature rises and no way to preserve it, the complex relationship with nature: these are the problems Bill Parkinson has to face without being able to find alter natives or remedies. Then the big change. Electricity is carr ied across the country through wires supported by pylons. Long and wearisome tasks are now simplified, progress and c o m fo r t reduce hard work and labour. The government committe that had produced Robert Flaherty's The Land a few years before financed Power and the Land to support Roosvelt's New Deal. Originally, Ivens' plan was different.The fir st screenplay hinted polemically at the war the big companies were fighting to get their hands on highly populated lands, not caring whether some isolated farms would get electricity or not. Of course these aspects could not emerge in a film financed by the government. In Power and the Land Ivens directed non-professional actors for the fir st time. The Parkinsons perf ormed themselves tout court. The cooperation was successful thanks to the family's helpfulness and their empathy with the director's aims. The film was distributed in over four hundred cinemas and met with the favour of both critics and audience.


Joris Ivens



Film submission

26° Festival


05 June - 11 June 2023

Competition registration




Subscriptions are now closed