Information film that was an important part of the rural electrification campaign, set up as part of the New Deal policies of president F.D. Roosevelt. Privatised electricity companies of the U.S. cities saw no profit in bringing electricity all the way to the sparsely populated countryside, so the ministry of Agriculture tried to convince farmers to set up co-operations which in turn could buy power from the government.
Ivens selected a model farm and family, the Parkinsons, and shows the daily life on the farm before and after the installation of electricity. The films was seen by over 6 million people until 1961 and houses besides the two main components of American culture (untamed pastoral nature versus industrial progress) many autobiographical aspects. The whole film is staged with the farmer’s family acting as themselves. Today we’d call this a docudrama. The Parkinson’s farm had already been electrified several months before the shooting. Read More »