Farrebique

Georges Rouquier
,
FR
,
1946
,
35mm
,
b&w
,
90'

There is no lack of so-called realistic films about some insignificant event or other or some slice of life. There is no lack of peasant movies, either. Why is Farrebique labeled as the ugly duckling among them, then? In my opinion, this is due to Rouquier’s genius, to his ability, if you will, to stand an egg on one end. He has understood that verisimilitude had slowly taken the place of truth, that reality had slowly dissolved into realism. So he painfully undertook to rediscover reality, to return it to the light of day, to retrieve it naked from the drowning pool of art. (...) There is no story here, or very little, and there are no stars, no actors: only a reality that everyone, in the secrecy of his good or bad conscience, personally recognizes. “Look,” shouted the first viewers of the Lumière cinematograph as they pointed at the leaves on the trees, “look, they’re moving.” The cinema has come a long way since the heroic days when crowds were satisfied with the rough rendition of a branch quivering in the wind! And yet, after fifty years of cinematic realism and tremendous technical advances, nothing less than a little bit of genius was needed to give back to the public the simple and elementary joy that the fictionalized and dramatized cinema was no longer providing: that of recognition. (André Bazin)