The Guardians (Les Gardiennes)
Rated 14 Accompaniment (Mature Theme, Sexual Content) ~ Runs 134 minutes
Dir.: Xavier Beauvois, France
Nathalie Baye, Laura Smet, Iris Bry, Cyril Descours
In French with English subtitles.
“Director Xavier Beauvois (Of Gods And Men) is back with Les Gardiennes, a beautifully crafted production which tells the story of the women left behind in rural France after the majority of fighting-age men were conscripted to fight in WWI. In a simply told and beautifully conveyed account of the devastating events which will eventually lead to the emancipation of women throughout Europe, Beauvois offers an alternative war movie, one where the fight takes place at home rather than on the battlefield. Adapted from Ernest Perochon’s 1944 novel, Les Gardiennes spans two years in the lives of the women who inhabit Le Paridier, a family-owned farm run by Hortense (Natalie Baye), a resilient matriarch trying to make ends meet in the absence of her husband and two sons, and her daughter Solange, whose husband is also away at war. In need of some help as the harvest approaches, Hortense hires young farm-hand Francine. When Francine proves to be more than capable and even indispensable to her new employer, the matriarch agrees to keep her on indefinitely. Saving every penny she earns and taking responsibility for her own destiny, Francine comes to symbolize female emancipation and strong will. Things take a turn, however, when Hortense’s younger son Georges returns home on leave and starts a secret courtship with Francine. Les Gardiennes is a stunning production, which manages to thrill and move its audience beyond all expectation. Beauvois is faultless in his ability to recreate the past, down to the last thread of every costume and every piece of equipment used on the farm. A genuinely astounding piece of filmmaking, which is as beautiful as it is essential.” - Linda Marric, HeyUGuys