Considering the Ends
Belgium, France, 65 min
In 2016, videos showing the slaughter conditions of farm animals shocked public opinion. For Elsa Maury, the stupor that they caused brought “the problem to the centre of our plates”. She chose to follow Nathalie, a young shepherd in the Cevennes living in co-dependence with her flock, as she works without a sheepfold and has her animals graze every day. The filmmaker brings a knowing perspective to this relationship made of daily care and attachment, which she films, favouring close-ups, like a corporal conversation taking place between the protagonist and her sheep, from birth to death, from pasture to abattoir—because she cannot yet kill a beast she has raised. A dialogue that Nathalie also develops in her heart of hearts, the cards that punctuate the sequences are taken from a logbook in which she profoundly questions her practices. With rare acuity, Considering the Ends draws a portrait of a woman who has chosen to face her contradictions in the middle of life. Her progression sends us back to our own.