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Listen to the Prairies

Directed by Gudrun Bjerring Parker
Canada, 1945 (documentary, 21 minutes, black and white, English)
Also known as "A City Sings", "Le chant des prairies"
Listen to the Prairies
Photo © National Film Board of Canada
Video (National Film Board of Canada) [French]
Video (National Film Board of Canada)

Film Description:
"Manitoba's annual Musical Festival is the subject of this film, which brings to the screen several of the young people whose talents have made the festival a leading event in Canadian musical activity. Choruses by boys' and girls' choirs, violin and piano solos, an excerpt from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, and songs by a soprano and a contralto are among the numbers included in the film."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Gudrun Parker
Produced by: Gudrun Parker, Guy Glover
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada
Additional Credits: Commentary [commentaire]: Budd Knapp

Quotes about Listen to the Prairies

"Gudrun Bjerring-Parker's poetic documentary Listen to the Prairies (1945) reconfigures the Canadian landscape tradition by juxtaposing singers at a Winnipeg music festival with the topology of Western Canada."
-- Kay Armatage, Kass Banning, Brenda Longfellow, Janine Marchessault (source)

"The young Canadians [at the National Film Board] felt that a quieter, more tentative approach came closer to what they wanted to express in their films. Gudrun Parker, who had been at the Board during the war, led the way with her Listen to the Prairies (1945), a film of observation marked by the slow rhythm of its editing. An indigenous style was about to unfold."
-- Piers Handling (source)

"Much of the reputation [of Listen to the Prairies] appears to come from the final shots -- a series of slow dissolves of a mixed chorus that continues singing Bach over panning shots of immense wheat fields and tiny grain elevators on a long horizon."
-- C. Rodney James (source)

"Although Gudrun [Parker] is twenty-six years old, she has produced a number of successful films [...]. Listen to the Prairies which was released theatrically as A City Sings, concerns her native Winnipeg, and tells the story of its annual music festival. So dramatically did she produce this film that when it was seen in New Brunswick the people there decided to inaugurate a similar festival."
-- Betsy Mosbaugh (source)

Web Sites about Listen to the Prairies

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