An American depression


DirectorSylvain Desmille

AuthorSylvain Desmille



Duration 52 minutes

Ninety years after the outbreak of the 1929 crisis, this film documentary, 100% archival (photographic, films institutional and amateur) and built as a fiction documentary, analyzes the consequences of the Great Economic Depression in the United States by relying on the work of photographers from the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Under the supervision of Roy Emerson Stryker, head of the Historical Section, this agency created by the new administration of President Roosevelt has painted a documentary portrait of America in crisis by focusing on the invisible and the silent (the urban poor, black and Puerto Rican populations), those left out of the system and those who had lost everything. Photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Arthur Rothstein focused on the plight of farmers driven from their land by the ecological crisis, drought and the Dust Bowl. Becoming migrant Americans, and considered as such by the large Californian farms, homeless workers fixe having believed in the promise of a better life before being thrown into the worst misery, they have become the face of an America confronted with its reality. Echoing John Steinbeck's articles, these images, documentaries and humanists, which have become artistic and photo-journalistic references, bear witness not to anger but to economic and psychological depression, terror and resignation. They take a singular look at the setbacks of the American model. The Rooseveltian New Deal attempted to change this state of mind by multiplying reforms and restructurings. Enthusiastic and critical, the photographers of the FSA reveal its successes and limitations, especially at a time when international tensions force a change of point of view and positions .

Avec la participation de Toute l'Histoire et de LCP Assemblée nationale
International Distribution - ZED