This darkening parable of pre-WWII farm life is a variation on the German 'Heimat' film - a genre of idealised, romantic depictions of rural communities that developed in an increasingly sentimental direction in the inter-war years. Writer/director Ruzowitzky has a revisionist agenda. Seven peasants are bequeathed an alpine smallholding following the mysterious demise of the elderly landowner. Having inherited their earth, can these unprotected 'communards' survive the twin threats of internal divisions and the external opposition from the outraged burghers of a nearby town? This cold-eyed movie combines keen observation with political/historical critique - but one at the expense of the other. The peasants are a motley bunch: a libidinous charmer, an authoritarian foreman, an icy spinster, a naive halfwit. And it is in intimately detailing their stratified daily lives in all their variety that allows Ruzowitzky to lighten the preponderantly portentous mood.
Cast and crew