Guillaume Canet plays the role of a farmer crushed by debt who loses the foot.
July 27, 2020
Updated on July 31, 2020 at 4h02
In the name of the land: Crushed by the cursed machine agricole ****
CRITICAL / Stupidly short, in The name of the earth tells the story of the fall of a man who loses a foot under the weight of its debts and no longer has anything to which it can cling, even his loving family. But here, it’s the context that counts. Because Peter Jarjeau is crushed by the cursed farm machine that forces him to turn the family farm into industry. Result is a wonderful and stirring social drama, superbly interpreted and realized.
In the name of the land began in 1979 when Pierre (Guillaume Canet), 25 years, returned to the country to find Clear (Veerle Baetens) and take over the family farm.
Twenty years later, the couple has two children and runs even happy days. It will not last. To avoid sinking, the farmer resigns himself to take the expansion, despite the disapproval marked the paternal (Rufus), well seated on his fortune.
The debts accumulate, but it is necessary to invest. The Jarjeau are sucked into a vicious circle and it is Peter who finds himself at the bottom, exhausted by the work and his willingness not to give up. Until the loss of contact with reality…
The bucolic landscapes of rural France contrast sharply with the titanic work and the pressure that comes with it. The film goes on the scenes, the more poignant one than the other.
Edward Bergeon is not the first (nor the last) to consider the tragedies that afflict the family agriculture and the relentless pressure of the industrial world (one only has to see the recent scandal of pesticides in Quebec).
Recently, Sébastien pilote, with The dismantlement (2013), Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette and Émile Proulx-Cloutier, with the documentary the floor of The cow (2015), if there were to be challenged in a beautiful way. We should also mention the superb Small farmer of French Hubert Charuel, best first film at the Césars 2018, or even Roxanne (2019) of Melanie Auffrey.
Without taking anything away from the other productions, in The name of the earth has a surplus of soul — that we know or not that the director was inspired by the own drama of his father (he had first addressed the issue with a documentary, The sons of the earth, in 2012). Bergeon knows instinctively filming the gestures, the fields and the farms.
Certainly the staging is minimalist, lacks a bit of audacity, but it echoes to this naturalistic aesthetic, focusing on the “real”, of which Ken Loach is the cantor. The evocation is not casual. As the master filmmaker of Me, Daniel Blake (2016) and the Wind that shakes the barley (2006), Edouard Bergeon goes to the heart of the social with a humanist view of the people they are filming (and the beasts).
In this regard, it is necessary to underline the great incarnation of Guillaume Canet, who is pleased sometimes to make the fop or, conversely, of surjouer. This time, the actor is totally incarnate, and it has nothing to do with his metamorphosis physical. The plight of Peter takes the full screen. Veerle Baetens, in the role of wife and mother courage, who keeps the family at arm’s length, is not at rest.