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.