Xavier Beauvois’ The Guardians, a beautifully filmed chronicle of rural life in the French countryside, plays Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Salmar Classic. (Photo contributed)

Column: Lush visuals bring to life rural France during war

Cinemaphile/Joanne Sargent

Rogerebert.com had me at, “like a series of Monet paintings come to life.”

This was their description of The Guardians, a beautifully photographed chronicle of rural life in the French countryside. It is Xavier Beauvois’ respectful look at the roles women played at home while their men were off fighting in the First World War.

It’s 1915 and matriarch Hortense and her daughter Solange (played by real-life mother and daughter) are left to tend the Paridier family farm in western France. Both of Hortense’s sons and Solange’s husband are at the front, and the women are struggling with the workload.

Hortense reluctantly hires an outsider, the beautiful orphan Francine, who instantly impresses with her hard work and cheerful attitude. We are reminded how back-breaking farm life was early in the 20th century, and yet cinematographer Caroline Champetier makes something beautiful out of their unglamorous daily drudgery.

Related: Searching offers unique mystery based in social media

As years go by and the war rages on, new equipment allows the women to triumph over the land and they acquire newfound independence, yet emotions are stirred, especially when the men return from the front on short leaves.

Hortense comes alive when her favourite son Georges is home on furlough, but a dramatic shift occurs when the hunky Georges, although informally betrothed to a local girl, takes a keen interest in Francine. Also, local gossips are suggesting that Solange is selling herself as well as the farm’s homemade brandy to the American soldiers. Impulsively, and fierce in her determination to protect her family’s name, Hortense takes action.

Fiercely acted yet quietly emotional, The Guardians recognizes the sacrifices of those on the home front. The takeaway is that war affects us all negatively; it horrifies those who go and devastates the ones that stay behind.

In French with English subtitles, The Guardians plays Saturday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Slaughterhouse in Salmon Arm site of another protest by activists

Incident at meat processing plant under investigation by Salmon Arm RCMP

Avalanche control scheduled today on Highway 1 east and west of Revelstoke

Avalanche control work is scheduled today for two different locations along Highway… Continue reading

Snowfall warning issued for Highway 1 from east of Sicamous to Golden

Environment Canada says to expect 15-30 cm of snow by Thursday evening

Single-bridge option chosen to replace RW Bruhn Bridge

Five-lane span selected over plan with second bridge at Main Street

UPDATED: Absolute discharge for mischief charge against Sagmoen

Trial starts at 9:30 a.m. in Vernon Law Courts

Your morning news in 90: Dec. 13, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Okanagan Symphony presents Yuletide Tales

Christmas concert features three classic Christmas stories

Woman forcibly confined, sexually assaulted between Creston and Cranbrook

The suspect forced the woman into her vehicle before driving along Highway 3

Giving the gift of nature

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

‘I thought I was dead as soon as I saw the gun’

Keremeos gas station attendant tells story about man with gun coming to store

‘People talk about deep sadness:’ Scientists study climate change grief

Some call it environmental grief, some call it solastalgia — a word coined for a feeling of homesickness when home changes around you.

As protectors abandon Trump, investigation draws closer

Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes.

Senate delays start of sittings in new home, delaying start of broadcasts

The Senate and House of Commons are moving into temporary homes for the next decade as a result of long-planned and badly needed renovations to the Centre Block.

UK leader seeks EU lifeline after surviving confidence vote

EU leaders gather for a two-day summit, beginning Thursday, which will center on the Brexit negotiations.

Most Read