Another Farm Movie
A couple months ago I mentioned having seen Peter and the Farm. This isn’t a movie blog, but I’m compelled to put in a recommendation for The Auction. It was produced in Quebec and subtitled in English. I would have preferred the more literal translation of its French name: The Dismantling (Le Démantèlement).
The story follows Gaby the farmer as he decides to sell his farm to help his daughter. The farm itself forms the central, hulking silent character, a beautiful black hole sucking in all the love a family can give and requiting nothing. Unlike Peter and the Farm, The Auction is fiction rather than documentary and the farmer is a more sympathetic person who communicates more through meaningful smirks and frowns than raving outbursts. The presence of neighbors (the eager and complicated kid who helps out after school, the baffled widowed farmer next door, the dairyman unable to keep milking cows, and all the locals who show up for farm sales) form as true-to-life a portrayal of the social network in farming as one could ask for.
Certain aspects of the movie rang so true for me that I had some weirdly immersive moments watching it. From the auction side conversations to the specific pitch of the whining fuel pump on the early-90’s Ford pickup truck, much of the movie seemed to be built from a collage of my own day-to-day experience. And how’s this for coincidences: I had been listening to Ripple while doing the feeding chores and then came in to watch the movie only to find that the opening scene is the farmer doing his chores while listening to Ripple. I suppose a trippy Deadhead wouldn’t find anything strange about that…
If you are our customer or a regular supporter of another farm, I’d like to recommend that you watch this movie. It won’t tell you how to choose organic over conventional or pastured over confinement or anything like that. It won’t tell you how love for the soil conquered all. But it will convey something important about the visceral aspects of the codependent relationship between the farmer and the farm. Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.
Right now it is on Amazon Prime so you can watch it for free if you are signed up. I’m not familiar with all the other streaming services but I’m sure it can be found elsewhere.