FAREWELL (2009) 90minutes
— with restored found footage of the Graf Zeppelin in a fictional drama of the first round the world journey by a Lighter Than Air ship —
A giant shadow glides across wheat fields, cities, open plains. As it passes silently overhead, the faces of thousands of people turn skyward. The Graf Zeppelin, the granddaddy of all airships and a behemoth of 776 feet, is on its first round-the-world flight.
Sponsored by American newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, the Graf took off from New Jersey in August 1929 with English reporter Grace Drummond-Hay on board. An actress reading for Lady Hay, the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by air, narrates FAREWELL.
Told in the form of an invented diary set to breathtaking documentary images of the zeppelin’s majestic flight, the film brings to life Lady Hay’s vivacious personality and the buoyancy of the 20s, when technology seemed to be ushering in a new world of tomorrow. Though dedicated to her writing, Lady Hay is distracted by her feelings about traveling with respected fellow journalist Karl von Wiegand, a married man with whom she has had an affair. But Lady Hay’s simple longings and optimism will soon be things of the past. The era of the great airships will slip away, and faith in the future will be overshadowed by depression and war. –B.B.