Raymond Depardon encountered a series of French paysans and the culmination of ten years work resulted in the release of two films, Profils paysans, chapitre 1 : l’approche and Profils paysans, chapitre 2 : le quotidien over a space of four years.
In this film, he returns to the people he met in Ardèche (les Cévennes), to find out some more about the people, their lives, their hopes and their future.
By meeting and talking with them for years, Depardon has been able to earn their confidence, and they allow him into their kitchens, their stables, their lives. I’ll now have to wait patiently for the next installment in a few years time to catch up on the news.
At this point in time it’s a race to see whether they can continue to eke out an existence until the end of the fossil age and maintain the required knowledge to work the land by hand, or whether the effects of the big industrial combinats will force them off the land, merely to survive. In a more sombre moment of the film, a young woman, Amandine, announces to Raymond that she’s giving up. The life she imagined for herself and her family is unlikely to unfold the way she planned.
If you don’t speak French fluently, though, I recommend making sure the film is subtitled. I found it quite difficult at times to follow what some of the older farmers were saying.