This film is part of Free

In the Garden of England

The Barnes Brothers explore the farming year in rural Kent - with moody and dramatic photography and a hint of Soviet cinema

Amateur film 1938 19 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This lyrical film, from the Barnes Bothers, is a homage to the Kent countryside and the people who work on the land. Our year starts with winter ploughing. Using dramatic angles and lighting, redolent of Soviet cinema, we see horses and men turning the frozen earth. Next a man sows seeds and crops grow. In an orchard full of blossom we see new-born lambs where later women pick apples and plums. Hop-pickers are busy as the wheat harvest is gathered in before winter returns.

Twin brothers John and William Barnes devoted their lives to film, making many important documentaries on Kent in the 1930s. As one can see from this film, they were very well versed in film composition where the end results have much in common with the 'heroic' and dramatic visual style of the Soviet film maker, Sergei Eisenstein. The brothers also developed a vast collection of film apparatus, publications, photographs and ephemera relating to the early history of film-making in Britain. Part of their collection of artefacts is now held by Hove Museum, Brighton and Hove. John Barnes has also written extensively on pre-cinema and early cinema history.