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The Guardians (2017)

Les gardiennes (original title)
R | | Drama, War | 4 May 2018 (USA)
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Women are left behind to work a family farm during the Great War.

Director:

Xavier Beauvois

Writers:

Xavier Beauvois (scenario), Frédérique Moreau (scenario) | 2 more credits »
11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nathalie Baye ... Hortense Sandrail
Laura Smet ... Solange
Iris Bry ... Francine Riant
Cyril Descours Cyril Descours ... Georges Sandrail
Gilbert Bonneau Gilbert Bonneau ... Henri Sandrail
Olivier Rabourdin ... Clovis
Nicolas Giraud ... Constant Sandrail
Mathilde Viseux Mathilde Viseux ... Marguerite Sandrail (as Mathilde Viseux-Ely)
Xavier Maly ... Edgar
Marie-Julie Maille Marie-Julie Maille ... La Monette
Madeleine Beauvois Madeleine Beauvois ... Jeanne, la fille de la Monette
Alain Artur Alain Artur ... Le maire
Adrien Denizou Adrien Denizou ... Le maire de la Monette
Yann Bean ... John - un soldat américain
Michel Lamy Michel Lamy ... Le père
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Storyline

1915. Life at the Paridier farm has changed dramatically since the men of the family (Constant, Georges and Clovis) left home to go and fight on the front line. Hortense Sandrail, Henri and Constant's mother and Clovis' mother-in-law, has taken over courageously but, although helped by her daughter Solange, she finds it hard to get by with all the workload. When harvest time comes, she makes up her mind to hire a farmhand but she is too late and no man is available. The mayor then recommends her an orphan named Francine Riant, who could do. Hortense agrees and the choice soon appears a blessing, as the girl proves perfect: well-mannered and respectful, she is also a hard worker who does not balk at any task. Hortense, Solange and her form an effective trio, who make the most of the situation. One day, Georges comes back to the farm on leave and he falls in love with Francine. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

France 1915. Men on the battlefield. Women on the homefront.

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Switzerland

Language:

French

Release Date:

4 May 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

As Guardiãs See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,479, 6 May 2018

Gross USA:

$177,331

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,167,608
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (as Dolby 5.1)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. See more »

Soundtracks

La chanson des blés d'or
Lyrics by Camille Soubise and L. Lemaître
Music by Frédéric Doria
(1882)
Sung a cappella by Iris Bry
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the most beautiful films in cinema and a best of the year.
30 May 2018 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"Two years of hell, some people went mad." "After the war, it will be different." Constant (Nicolas Girard)

The WWI soldier, Constant, in director Xavier Beauvois' The Guardians, captures the ambivalence of the "the war to end all wars": combat insanity that comes home with soldiers and the hopeless hope the world will be a better place. The only "better" is the film's depiction of strong women taking the reins of a farm, modernizing it and making a profit.

It's a small village whose story begins in 1915 and ends in 1920 in rural France, just long enough for women to take prominent places in the farms at home and for their returning men to find adjustment a challenge as they carry the memories of unspeakable horrors in the trenches of that "great war."

Hortense (Nathalie Bye), an aging owner of a working farm, rides the plow while she attends to the politics of the large farm without the crutch of a domineering male. She does well enough to engage the services of a young maid, Francine (Iris Bry), who is a change agent for Hortense and her soldier son and a signal of the complications war brings to the world.

The cinematography is a perfect reflection of the tranquil country side lost in a trance of bucolic tasks until the war's change agents arrive. Leave it to French cinema to languish over faces and landscapes, as if Manet or Constable were the artistic director. The slowly panning shots of laborers are as softly powerful as paintings in the camera's movement.

The Guardians is one of the most beautifully photographed and quietly told stories of women abiding the tyranny of war with an aplomb unseen in modern cinema. This minimalist epic is one of the year's best films and an appropriate emblem of the French ability to make cinema art. All other cinema pales by comparison.


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