In the documentary Sons of the Earth, produced in 2012, which followed the journey of a breeder overwhelmed by difficulties and debts, the journalist Édouard Bergeon discreetly evoked the figure of his father, Christian, who left too early at the age of 54. Yet it is fiction that he chose to tell his story, that of a peasant’s son who witnessed his slow descent into hell and his suicide.
→ ANALYSIS. Agriculture: in ten years, 100,000 farms have disappeared in France
The film, released in 2019 and defended by its main actor Guillaume Canet, met with great success in theaters, managing to be as close as possible to the reality of its subject – the difficulty of peasants in the age of globalization – and to intimately embody the journey of one of them.
Two generations, two eras…
More a family chronicle than a thesis film, the story follows Pierre’s slow disenchantment since taking over his father’s farm in 1979, his head full of modernization dreams, the pressure on productivity and yields twenty years later, which constantly forces it to expand without allowing it to meet its borrowings. Forty years of evolution in the agricultural world pass before our eyes in the complex relationship that Pierre maintains with his father, Jacques (Rufus).
Two generations, two eras that oppose each other and do not understand each other. One got rich at the time of the Glorious Thirties when it was necessary to fill the plates of the French, the other suffered the brunt of globalization and found itself in the hands of cooperatives, which pushed it to spend ever more. Placed in the position of Thomas (Anthony Bajon), the son of Pierre, we helplessly witness the spiral of modernization and debt in which the farmer engages and which will lead him to the edge of the abyss. If the film suffers from too much demonstration, Édouard Bergeon manages to sensitively restore the daily life in the countryside, the beauty of it, the memories of happy days in a united family despite the difficulties.