Berlinale: Programme


Film file

Retrospective

How Green Was My Valley

Schlagende Wetter

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South Wales, around 1900: a rural idyll long since eaten away by a coal mine. Gwilym Morgan and five of his sons work there. The film evokes memories: of patriarchal family life, strikes and working-class songs, death and the emigration of brothers, the marriage of the daughter (who is in love with the vicar) to a man in Cape Town, her divorce and exclusion from the church, and finally of the father’s death in an accident. It is told from the standpoint of the youngest son, Huw, who also enters the mine and now has to leave his home, because all that remains of the green valley is slag. Ford’s last film before the USA entered the war in December 1941 was greatly influenced by F. W. Murnau, whom Ford knew personally. A subjective camera, the staging of space and a inspirited nature dominate. It also includes processions of workers, as in Panzerkreuzer Potemkin (1925) and the milieu in G. W. Pabst’s Kameradschaft (1931), appropriated in a melancholy manner. In 1946, Vsevolod Pudovkin recognised Ford’s central statement: “Everything in our life is not as it should be. There can be dreams of a beautiful world, but how to find the path to this beautiful world I know not.”

USA 1941, 122 min

by

John Ford

with

Walter Pidgeon
Maureen O'Hara
Anna Lee