Filmmaker Raymond Depardon is a committed man. He traveled to the remote and isolated Haute Garrone region of southwest France for a solid decade, meeting and interviewing an ever-dwindling community of farmers who had chosen to work the land in the way of their ancestors.
This was never remotely a reality TV project: Getting these overworked, tired out, sun-bleached Frenchmen to open up and say anything must have made pulling teeth look like child’s play. Over a period of many years, Depardon managed to win their trust and establish a semifriendship that gained him access into farmhouse kitchens and inside some barns and arrive at a quiet, mutual understanding. The farmers knew that Depardon isn’t interested in sound bytes, exploitation or sensationalism; he’s there because of a simple desire to hear them out. Often the camera spends long moments transfixed on a single face, waiting patiently for a reply to some question of Depardon (heard only from a discreet distance) and when it doesn’t come, remain politely in place until the next question.