Depth of Field
Depth of Field
Farmland and Farm Life in Contemporary French Documentary
This chapter investigates the field of contemporary French documentary as a source for cultural representations of farmland and farm life, a segment of the national territory that has undergone profound change in the past half-century. Farmland, which represents over half of the surface area of metropolitan France, provides employment to an ever-smaller percentage of the population. The amount of land needed to make a living continues to grow, and farms are increasingly run by corporations rather than by people who live and work on the same property. Since 2000, a significant number of French documentaries have explored to the changes wrought to the landscape and to farm life by the agricultural industrialisation of the previous half-century. By reading across a broad collection of recent documentaries on farming, this chapter reveals the contours of a broader conversation about the emergence of, and need for, new forms of reconnection between the inhabitants of rural and urban France. The contours of this conversation emerge both in the documentary forms and practices in the films as well as new forms of interaction between films and their audiences.
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