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AU NOM DE LA TERRE (2019, FRANCE)

Edouard Bergeron is a French documentarian, journalist and restaurant owner who introduced himself with a film about his own upbringing on a farm. However, “Au nom de la terre” or “In the Name of the Land” is not one of those sweet and melodramatic stories about life in the nineties, but a tragic story about the problems of French farmers like his father and himself. believed he would become. This film was also an exceptional hit in French cinemas and was watched by more than a million people in the first three weeks of its release, and Bergeron managed to assemble a quality cast.

The famous French actor and director Guillaume Canet is Pierre, who as a 25-year-old from America returns to France to take over his father’s farm and marry his youthful love Claire (Belgian Veerle Batens, who we remember from the marvelous “Broken Circle Breakdown”). However, the stubborn and old-fashioned father (Rufus) will not only give his son the farm, but Pierre will have to take out a loan to pay his son 1.3 million francs. The young and ambitious idealist believes that this is no problem and that he will very soon succeed in his plan to turn his father’s sheep farm into a modern and successful farm, but after we travel 19 years into the future, i.e. to 1996, we will realize that these plans they did not achieve.

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Instead of sheep, Pierre now raises goats, and his 16-year-old son Thomas (an excellent young actor Anthony Bajon) helps him in his work, and they also have a younger daughter. Although at first life on the farm may seem idyllic, we understand that it is a life full of problems that may have led Pierre to baldness too soon, but they manage to live somewhat decently and modestly. But the loans are behind their necks, Pierre is too proud to ask his father for money, and the final weight around the neck for this family will be shown when Pierre decides to expand production by raising chickens. What may have seemed like a great business opportunity at first, will turn into a complete disaster when Pierre takes on additional debt to build a new plant and become a member of the cooperative. The cooperative will co-finance his plant, but Pierre has to take not only chickens from them, but also food and all other raw materials, and he will enter a vicious circle of ever-increasing debts and becoming almost a commodity who works for others.

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All this will lead to a tragedy for this whole family and Pierre’s mental breakdown, and the great “In the name of the country” shows how the transformation of French farms from traditional to modern production looked like. From a young idealist and optimist, a workaholic and a man who wants to engage in agriculture, Pierre will turn into his shadow when he realizes that he literally worked from morning to night like a horse for years and years, and that only in order to leave his family debts that are impossible to get out of. extract. Bergeron recorded a story that is intimate and personal because it is after all the story of his family, but at the same time it is also universal because similar to what happened to French farmers, their colleagues were experiencing throughout Europe, probably the world.

The harsh capitalist principle that one must constantly expand, increase and constantly invest in something new has certainly put countless people in a similar situation as Pierre. In this emotional and poignant drama, Bergeon brilliantly portrayed what that vicious circle looked like from which there is no way out, and although food production is the basic and most important branch of industry, it is completely clear to us why fewer and fewer people want to deal with it. Work from morning until tomorrow, for which the reward comes with insecurity, resentment and anger because these people have already been tricked and tricked hundreds of times, bribed and often dragged into debt, and while they are black people, various middlemen and fraudsters profit from their blood and sweat.

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