Native Land ★★★½

Cross between Plow That Broke the Plains and Strike, where the silent material is probably better than the scenes with questionable acting, but enough sequences in this film are beautifully realized. As a documentary, it’s highly outdated and hardly makes a good case for the plight of the work (the deck is very stacked), but what’s being worked out by these scenes is a convincing portrait of what Americans deserve under their freedoms. Some sequences, such as two men being gunned down along a road, show the principles of Soviet Montage at work. It’s the kind of film that’s almost better by being dated in retrospect, because you look at it more for its aesthetic ambitions than its political ambitions and see a type of documentary filmmaking that’s quite the opposite of what you get today, using small vignettes to tell the story of a country’s push toward true freedom. Unquestionably liberal propaganda, but absolutely compelling within the moment.