This remarkable rural drama which is one of the most depressing yet significant films to emerge from France in recent years depicts the harsh realities of working on the land.
Based on the true story of the film’s director Edouard Bergeon’s own childhood, it details the gradual mental and physical decline of a happily married man, his wife, and their two teenage children when the erroneous decisions he makes regarding the expansion of his farm, intermingled with unfortunate events, lead to devastation and ultimate tragedy.
The opening scene of a distraught farmer aimlessly walking on brazen land sets the somber mood which brings audiences to the realisation that the viewing ahead will be heavy and miserable.
The story then sets back to 1979 and unfolds through to 1996 by which time the family is ultimately in debt by two million francs. The farmer suffers a breakdown brought upon by exhaustion, stress, and alcohol abuse.
Guillaume Canet delivers a powerhouse performance as the farmer who would not heed expert advice from his father.
This shattering and universally topical story may leave sensitive audiences emotionally fatigued and with a new outlook upon these hardworking and generally resilient farmers who live stressful lives to feed the communities of the world. (MMo)