Sous nos pas

Alexis Jacquand
France | 2014 | 82 min
World premiere
Language : French
Subtitle : English

In direct cinema, Alexis Jacquand observes the smallholding of a young sheep farmer who wishes to build up his business by respecting the principle of biodynamics. With trial and error and questioning, Jean-Marie and his acolytes, close to their flock, throw themselves into this rural adventure with the enthusiasm of believers and the uncertainty of novices. 

A borsalino or cap planted firmly on his head, hurried and determined, Jean-Marie paces up and down his new territory: a farm in Haute-Savoie on which, respecting the principle of biodynamics, he is breeding a flock of sheep to make cheese and “produce” pasture lamb. Alexis Jacquand follows the first year of this smallholding, run on uncertainty and trial and error. Putting your feet back on “solid ground”, so to speak, cannot be improvised: it involves constantly questioning the practices that you reinvest or invent, from the moment you’re trying to prove yourself in front of the oldest hands who observe you as if you were an inexperienced eccentric. The filmmaker captures this almost picaresque adventure with the same fervour as that deployed by the hero of Sous nos pas: his camera, with great fluency and flexibility, clings to the young farmer’s gestures, talks to him, collects his doubts – like that of becoming a “boss” – or shares his pride. As a confidant of Jean-Marie, Jacquand also brilliantly frames the movement of the animals by shooting in a style that suggests the physical link gradually being built between his alter-ego and nature.

Emmanuel Chicon

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