Friday, July 27, 2012


One night last week, I was watching a documentary about the Library of Congress and the National Film Registry's effort to preserve American motion pictures and was immediately struck by a short film called "Cologne: From the Diary of Ray and Esther."

This charming piece of Americana, shot by Minnesota residents Ray and Esther Dowidat, documents the people and everyday life in Cologne, Minnesota, circa 1939. Compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 18 American film archives, "Cologne," was one of the 50 films in the four-disc DVD set called "Treasures from American Film Archives."

A stunning portrait of a bygone era, Raymond Dowidat used the narrative tool of his wife writing in her diary as a tool to drive the images in "Cologne." The short film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." More on the film HERE.

Thankfully preserved by the Minnesota Historical Society, a description on it's home on Daily Motion reads as follows: "Cologne: From the Diary of Ray and Esther is a 1939 short documentary film which deals with the German-American community on the eve of World War II. It was directed by Esther Dowidat and Raymond Dowidat."

It's quite simply a snapshot to another time, a portal to the past and, for my money, an Edward Hopper painting come to life.

Enjoy it below...

Cologne: From the Diary of Ray and Esther (1939) by Lost_Shangri_La_Horizon

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