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Films about Farming and Food Production in the Niederösterreich privat Collection: Nostalgia vs. an Optimistic View of Progress

The movies examined in this pilot study focus on working in fields and meadows, on farms, and in vineyards in many parts of Lower Austria. While the farm machinery in some movies is both seen and heard, other movies document (historical) working methods, like tending fields with a horse-drawn plough. Films about farming can be divided into two groups: Portraits of farmers as seen from the farmers’ perspective, and portraits as seen from an outsider’s perspective. Each has different intentions in front of and behind the camera. Movies from different decades that show farmers sowing and threshing, people pruning grapevines, or scenes of cows grazing on meadows are all rich sources of material that can be used in a variety of thematic exhibitions. These movies make different working methods more graspable and easier to understand, while also documenting many technological advancements. For this reason, they can act as starting points for studying cultural landscape, climate, architecture, agricultural engineering, tourism, gender, and generational relations.

Mähdreschen, Weinviertel, 1980er-Jahre
Heuernte, Mostviertel, 1950er-Jahre