⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2 (out of 5)
In this modern world, we merely go to the grocery store and purchase our produce without much thought of the food's origins, while we should be thankful for the farmer. Yet, the farmer's plight has been at the heart of the human story throughout history. This ongoing battle between modernisation, land ownership, and family transcends time as it is brought to life by award-winning writer-director Carla Simón.
Throughout the generations of the Solé family, one of the traditions that have brought them together is their picking of peaches from their orchard each summer. All the farmers work together within this tight-knit farming community of Catalonia (Spain) to get the most for those within the community. Yet, this year will be the final year for Quimet (Jordi Pujol Dolcet) and his family. As the local landowner buys the farms to build solar panel farms instead, this pushes most farmers out of business. This predicament divides the family as they must determine what they are to do if they can no longer utilise the land for their source of income.
Simón made a name for herself in a short time by making films based on her experiences living in Southern Spain. Her debut breakthrough Summer 1993 was a critical hit, and Alcarràs has extended her international acclaim. Beyond being a personal story of this farming community, the celebrated director decided to cast local unprofessional actors to deliver this heartbreaking generational tale. Each character is given a distinctive role, and each is brought to life by these novice thespians. Yet, the stand-out part goes to Josep Abad as the family patriarch, Rogelio, who manages to convey the emotional anguish the whole family is experiencing with minimal dialogue and well-timed conversations with his grandchildren.
From the simplicity of the casting to the harsh lighting of the Spanish summer, the surprising aspect of the film is the immersive nature of the storytelling. Audiences will feel that they are watching the real world unfolding before them as they see how each generation is impacted by the unforgiving farming lifestyle. This relatively new filmmaker cuts the edge of documentary and drama that captures the family’s struggle and desperation while trying to maintain their home life. Alcarràs is for those who love a beautifully told tragedy within a community that relies on the earth to provide for them, all the while it is being sold out from under them.
Reel Dialogue: Do we need farming?
The value of the farmer cannot be overemphasised enough since the world would not eat if not for these workers of the soil. They have been written throughout history and are the subject of numerous films, but no one would glamourise this lifestyle. Yet, these men and women are critical for humanity’s existence, which is shown throughout the Bible, too.
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. - Genesis 1:29
From the opening chapter of the Bible through to the end, the role of the farmer gets centre stage as part of life on earth. In numerous parables, Jesus spoke of the farmer and even pointed to God’s expression as the supreme provider of life. This humble, hard-working career epitomises how we are all meant to live, cultivating our lives to serve our community and God.
The word becomes film
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