Art imitates life

Die Siebtelbauern, (The Inheritors), takes place in Austria in the early 20th century but I found it easy to think the events were taking place in the 19th.

A miserly and cruel farmer is murdered and, in his will, he perversely leaves all of his property to the peasants who work on his farm saying that he hopes they all murder each other in fighting over it. Far from it, the seven peasants band together, throwing the farmer's brutal foreman off the land and making a go of it. The other farmers and the townsfolk are scandalized at the thought of peasants owning land or being on an equal footing with themselves and they, particularly another land owner named Danninger, do all in their power to sabotage the luckless seven.

The film is bleak, although not entirely humorless, and the characters, other than the seven peasants, uniformly evil and rather one dimensional. The farmer's murder is a mystery soon solved and it reveals only more heartbreak and suffering. The film ends, however, with hope, however slight.

In films like this one looks for meaning, for a message one can take away. One practically aches to be able to say one learned something when one sees in a film what one sees every day in current events. All I saw here was that the peasants had no chance against the gentry, that might makes right, and that money talks and bullshit walks.
  • Current Mood: This film needed Clint