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UK, 1998 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: David Leland

Land Girls is a beautiful, lush period drama which places Britain's women centre-stage. As part of a British war effort during WWII, three adventuresome young women take to the fields to farm while their male counterparts are off fighting for their country. Prue (Anna Friel) is lively and adventurous, Ag (Rachel Weisz) quiet and reserved, and Stella (Catherine McCormack) is a dreamer whose thoughts are away with her marine officer boyfriend. Between milking and plowing they form a bond that changes their lives forever. Joe (Steve MacKintosh) works on the farm, but is soon to be enlisted. In spite of the presence of war all around them, relationships build and fall, often with Joe as a key player.

Adapted from Angela Hunt's riveting novel, Land Girls provides a poignant account of this often-overlooked area of wartime endeavour. Director David Leland positions the heat of the war as a glowing reminder of inevitable fate on the horizon. As such, strong characterisations are pressed to the forefront, finding an intimate and refreshing angle on the period film genre. Cinematographer Henry Braham makes full use of the vast tranquillity of rural England, creating a space of happiness and respite in a time of conflict and uncertainty. Land Girls is a film of endearing friendship and often painful decisions under extreme circumstances.

David Leland was born in Cambridge in 1947. As both film and stage actor, he founded the Drama Centre at Chalk Farm, London. Leland's screenplays include Mona Lisa (1986); his work as director: Wish You Were Here (1987), Checking Out (1989) and The Big Man (1990).

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