- Shepherds in the snow 4/3/2014 12:00:00 AM by PoppyTransfusion
This is a beautiful documentary that follows two shepherds, Pascal and Carole, as they lead 800 sheep on a winter trek across Switzerland. The shepherds and sheep are accompanied by 4 border collie dogs, including new puppy Leon, who is the son of head dog Titus, and 3 donkeys. The documentary feels like just that; a film documenting and showing what happens naturally. Of course there are editing choices that disrupt a faithful translation of what happens onto film but the film team are silent and unobtrusive throughout the journey made by the group.
We observe the relationship dynamics between Pascal and Carole and some of these are mirrored in the interplay of dogs and sheep. The trio of donkeys are more egalitarian and when one of them, Figaro, develops abscesses on his hooves that mean he has to be replaced, the new member, Paulo, is met with a frosty reception from the other donkeys. Later there is a small but significant scene where Paulo gets into difficulties and the 2 donkeys show their concern. He has been accepted at last.
Along the way sheep are taken off for market and one such sale affords Pascal and Carole money for a Christmas meal of oysters, fois gras and chocolate roulade with wine, enjoyed around a fire in the night of winter.
The winter is mostly white and when the snow ceases we see verdant hills and fields that the group cross. Along the way there is respite for Pascal and Carole as strangers and friendly acquaintances provide refreshment, hot food and even hot showers. The film captures their sensate experience as we feel the chill air, the bitter cold around the heat of a fire whose flames burn the cheeks, the sloughing off of dirt by a hot shower and the deliciousness of hot food and drink. There are other pleasures such as cuddling Leon, he being a hot water bottle when he needs carrying, the interactions with woolly sheep and dogs licking faces and hands. These feelings are evoked by the crisp footage on the screen. The only sounds are bells, bleating sheep and the odd baying donkey. Occasionally there is traffic and one amazing scene sees the whole troupe cross a bridge above a busy road. The traffic, sights of cars and the infrequent ringing of Pascal's mobile phone feel intrusive and alien in this pastoral film.
Such an existence is undoubtedly hard but brings its own rewards as humans and animals co-exist peacefully for a short time as travelling companions in a landscape with which they are one.
- Unexpected exotic! 3/3/2016 12:00:00 AM by ggoudet-54406
No need to go to Patagonia, in the steppes of Central Asia to shoot really not ordinary people. That in 2012 people in Europe, Switzerland !, devote their lives to this kind of activity and live in this way there is breathtaking and makes the heart warm. And that the director makes good. little dialogue, everything is in the picture, relations between the couple shepherd or to animals, atmosphere, climate and its rigors, etc. And almost always, the feeling of being in kilometers of civilization as she is always close but that animals should be avoided and the lands of those who refuse pasture. Photography is good even if the filmed scenes are spectacular. But they make good the atmosphere of the place. The steady rhythm of the film follows the sheep and suggests a passing time at a speed that few people know in 2016! A nice slice of life.