1649. With poverty and unrest sweeping England following the Civil Wars and the failure of the Levellers to secure voting rights for non-landowners, a group of impoverished people, the Diggers, form a settlement on St George’s Hill in Surrey…
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After years of Civil Wars, Gerrard Winstanley, a 17th century St. Francis forms his own Christian community to settle down in harmony with God. This is much to the discomfort of the authorities! In silent-cinematic imagery, Brownlow and Mollo questions democracy, not religion as one might expect. Winstanley's wreath of thorns is a reminder of the power of the individualistic spirit, no matter politics or creed.
Absolutely brilliant! It was great to see how historically authentic it was; the film just looks and 'feels' right. If I had any criticism it's that in some ways it's too much a product of it's time (ie. the 70s) and there is perhaps an overemphasis on the quasi-marxist elements of the Diggers, and not enough on the intensely religious aspect of the movement. But despite that criticism, I loved the film as a whole.
Une oeuvre d'une grande puissance politique et revendicative qui par son constant souci d'authenticité historique, son refus attractif et séduisant d'un filmage à connotation esthétique et folklorique, rejoint les grands créateurs du documentaire fictionnel, du côté des Shirley Clarke et autre Peter Watkins... www.cinefiches.com
After a long hiatus, this film reaffirmed my love in cinema's potency and power, brevity and universality. The film is as much a love letter to the people it depicts as it is to film structure and economy, and it shows remarkable respect for both. An underrated masterpiece.