Pare Lorentz, USA, 1938, 31 minutes, DVD
In The River, Pare Lorentz deploys powerful images, a poetic Pulitzer Prize-nominated script and another score by Virgil Thomson to illustrate the problems of flood control on the Mississippi River and the efforts to correct it. While arguing that the building of dams would put an end to the destruction of crops and property brought about by the havoc of annual floods, Lorentz reveals the ways the river has been misused, and presents a stirring paen to America’s natural landscape, and the proud history with which it is imbued.
The Fight for Life
Pare Lorentz, USA, 1941, 69 minutes, DVD
In this short feature, based on a book by Paul De Kruit, Lorentz presents a staged re-enactment of an emergency childbirth in an urban hospital. As the story of the mother’s difficult delivery and death in spite of valiant efforts by the doctors to save her unfolds, The Fight For Life reveals the crisis of health and pre-natal care among the urban poor of the period, and explores the impoverished lives of the working people of the cities, who live in slums and tenements where they are forced to suffer from the disabling diseases endemic in such environments.