Donald Brittain

film 1 of 6

Fields of Sacrifice

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 26, 2015

This reminds me a lot of Agnés Varda’s 1958 documentary film essay, Du côté de la côte. Both films quite strikingly avoid human subjects, concentrating instead on a carefully formalistic assembly of monuments that these absent subjects have built to themselves. Varda’s essay is self-conscious, ironic, piquant. It seems to be in the service frivolousness, but at the same time hints at unsuspected profundities. Some of that lies in the fact of its great beauty. The same goes for Donald Brittain’s film, though it is otherwise, in subject and approach, utterly dissimilar. Fields of Sacrifice is all gravity. It’s quite out of the ordinary, very, very impressive. Impressive enough to signal the impending of a world class, world-beating talent? Yes, not. Brittain would become quite an anomalous master, what with the aggressive modesty of his supremity. He’s ever looking outward, though this early entry does have a pleasing, youthful precociousness. Anyway, something of the shape of things to come. Or, he’s here, right from the start.