Tag Archives: Georges Rouquier
Biquefarre is a small farm in Aveyron. The changing economics of farming lead Raoul, in late middle age, to decide to sell and move to Toulouse. At least two neighboring farmers want to buy Biquefarre: Lucien and the young Marcel. Behind the scenes, Henri, whose brother is Marcel’s father and who is also Lucien’s brother-in-law, negotiates with Raoul so that Marcel’s father can secretly sweeten Marcel’s offer. Will dad and uncle succeed? In the background is the hard daily work of farming: milking cows, harvesting at night, and finding help when a farmer falls ill. Progress brings challenges: polluted water, factory farms, and skyrocketing land prices.
Farrebique, the first feature-length effort of French documentary filmmaker Georges Rouqier, is widely regarded as his finest film. Rouqier concentrates on a single French farm family, following them through the four seasons. As in the works of Robert Flaherty, the human characters and the land surrounding them are “one”, and Rouqier never misses an opportunity to parallel their lives with the eons-old phases of nature. The final symbolic images of Spring, achieved through time-lapse photography, are almost unbearably beautiful. The winner of several festival awards, Farrebique nonetheless did not immediately result in an outpouring of financing for Rouqier’s follow-up films (this was a common problem in the financially strapped French film industry of the 1940s). Perhaps as a result, Rouqier did not make his sequel, Biquefarre (filmed in the same region, with some of the same “actors”), until 1983.