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Juan David Restrepo
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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
Beautiful, subtle film about women's day to day during First World War
Xavier Beauvois just does the most beautiful films. As with Of Gods and Men, The Guardians is full of quiet dignity and humanity, and it gets the emotions just right. There are so many films about the battlefront, it's great to see one focussed on the scene back home and on women's work, their hopes, their endurance, their grief, and even their betrayals. The pace is slow, and follows the events of the narrative as much as the seasons and the labour they entail. Beauvois is someone who takes the time to show people who are not often seen on screen go about their everyday life, their toil. When do we get to see women shovelling dirt, feeding fodder to cattle, or doing the harvest? It's sometimes hard to believe this takes place between 1916-20 and the contrast with our post-post-modern world is all the more valuable. We're lucky that a director of such talent chooses topics like this for his work.
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