Introduced by Angel Gil-Ordóñez and Joseph Horowitz
Guest host: Tom Zaniello (author “Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds and Riffraff”)
This PostClassical Ensemble film, created by Behrouz Jamali, explores two classic American documentary films: The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936) and The River (1938). The musical soundtracks, by Virgil Thomson, are iconic Americana. Our film uses clips from our Naxos DVD, in which the musical scores are newly recorded by PCE conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez.
Featuring commentary by Gil-Ordóñez, PCE Executive Producer Joseph Horowitz, historian David Woolner, and film-historians Neil Lerner and George Stoney, we investigate the present-day pertinence of these government-funded documentaries, which employ art to address the crises of the Great Depression.
The topic of “The New Deal and Race,” complicated by a devil’s pact with Jim Crow, is addressed; other topics include the influence of Sergei Eisenstein and montage, contradicting Hollywood practice and the New Deal and the arts.
67 min, 2020, U.S., documentary