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Dir. Xavier Beauvois | France 2018 | 85 min | 15| Subtitled
Part of our WW1 programme.
The year is 1915. As World War I rages throughout Europe, the women of Pardier Farm, under the guidance of matriarch Hortense (Nathalie Baye), must grapple with the arduous workload while the men are at the front. Help arrives when the bank in the nearby village sends them 20-year-old labourer Francine (impressive newcomer Iris Bry) instead of the loan they sought to modernise their outmoded equipment. As well as doing her share of the ploughing, reaping and milking, Francine will also prove to be a surprising catalyst for change for the entire household.
Adapted from the 1924 novel by Ernest Pérochon, Beauvois’s film pays tribute to the women of the home front, depicting in lush, painterly compositions the working rituals and seasonal rhythms of farming life in a bucolic idyll unspoilt by the ongoing war. Natalie Baye is outstanding amongst a strong female cast, who detail the lives women led during the five-year conflict, and the challenges they faced.
Shot in a verité style, it eschews the usual look of a period drama. It’s a stunning achievement by the director of the acclaimed Of Gods and Men.
Tickets: £6.00 (inc. Poly Fund)