A revelation at the French box office that’s also bound to resonate with heartland New Zealanders, In the Name of the Land humanely and bittersweetly celebrates the life of a stoic farmer over four decades of struggle.
This film is screening in select cinemas and venues across the country. See here for details.
In this heart-aching family saga set in the Mayenne district of France, the elemental and emotional challenges of farming are depicted with poignant, personal force. French star Guillaume Canet, in a deeply affecting performance, plays Pierre, who takes over his father’s farm as a young man in the late 70s. Marrying his sweetheart (Veerle Batens) and raising a son and daughter on the land gives rise to many joyous moments, but also never-ending adversity against the changing landscape of modern, corporate-driven agriculture. Finance and misfortune eventually take their toll, as Pierre goes to a dark place that echoes the vulnerability of farming communities everywhere and the pressures they face to survive, much less prosper.
Based on his own childhood and dedicated to his parents, Édouard Bergeon’s debut feature comes from a genuine place of admiration for the resilience of men and women like his father. It also sensitively broaches the subject of mental health and the boundaries of masculinity explored as indelibly in our own national cinema with its archetypal portrayal of tough rural life – most memorably at this festival in The Ground We Won (NZIFF15) and last year’s Bellbird.
About the Filmmaker
Édouard Bergeon is a journalist with a background in writing and directing documentaries for television. Inspired by the life of his father Christian Bergeon, who became a farmer in 1979, In the Name of the Land is his first narrative film.