The French peasantry is dying. The cinema bears witness to this through dramas such as In the name of the earth by Edouard Bergeon or Albatross by Xavier Beauvois. Farm Folies translates this grim reality into a much lighter mode. Deep in debt, David (Alban Ivanov, ersatz of Grégory Gadebois) snatches two months of reprieve from the judge before the seizure of his farm. To cheer himself up, he goes to have a drink at the corner bar, then throw a last one at the cabaret opposite where the acrobatic number of the beautiful Bonnie (Sabrina Ouazani) amazes him.
The illumination comes to him later: and if to bail out his exploitation he put on a show of varieties where one serves the specialties of the soil? He has to start by convincing Bonnie. Endowed with a volcanic temperament, this one is a priori unconvinced at the idea of venturing in stiletto heels in the soil. We must face the skepticism of relatives and the anger of a vociferous grandfather (Guy Marchand), totally allergic to the idea that acrobats interfere with agriculture. Because “we are not in a fairy tale. Pumpkins do not change into carriages nor barns into cabaret!”
Then you have to find the artists who will do the show. David and Bonnie explore the villages of Cantal. They unearth two sisters who dance the Charleston, a deaf pork butcher who does magic, a sleepy old hypnotist, a Dalida look-alike… However, they do not hire the little father who imitates the cow and the hen.
An atypical director of metronomic regularity, Jean-Pierre Améris has been making films of various inspirations for a quarter of a century, an adaptation of Victor Hugo (The man who Laughs)dramatic comedies with Benoît Poelvoorde around shyness (The emotional anonymous) or loneliness (A Family for Rent)or the overwhelming journey towards the light of a deaf and blind teenager (Marie Heurtin).
With Farm Foliesinspired by the true story of a farmer who saved his estate thanks to the caf’conc’, the director polishes up a comedy feel good very sympathetic who shows a tenderness grolandaise for the without grade and respects the specifications. Thus the opposites are reconciled, the lesser affirm their hidden greatness, the intelligence of the heart marks its preponderance, the surly grandpa finds his child’s soul, the wife who had left returns, the lovers finally confess their love, rural prejudices bite the dust, the local products are healthy and tasty… and the farm is saved.
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Farm Folies, by Jean-Pierre Améris (France, 2022), with Alban Ivanov, Sabrina Ouazani, Michèle Bernier, 1h49.