An exciting and visually beautiful 1997 period film from Austria by writer-director Stefan Ruzowitzky, set in a farming village after World War I. A tyrannical farmer is found murdered, and in his spiteful will he leaves all his holdings to his peasants. A rival farmer tries to buy the farm at a discount, but the peasants rebel and decide to run the place themselves. An enormous number of ideas get played out in this bucolic mystery-action-comedy-drama–about class, collectivity, bigotry, and independence–but Ruzowitzky makes it work dramatically as well as intellectually; with some justice he calls the film an Alpine western, and his sense of place and landscape is especially sharp. Fine Arts. –Jonathan Rosenbaum
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.