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Les gardiennes by Xavier Beauvois: the first clapperboard slams in August

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- The director reunites Nathalie Baye and Laura Smet to head up the cast. A Les Films du Worso production with Switzerland that will be sold by Pathé

Les gardiennes by Xavier Beauvois: the first clapperboard slams in August
Director Xavier Beauvois (© Philippe Bertheau)

Filming is set to start on 17 August in Haute-Vienne on Franco-Swiss production The Guardians, the 7th feature film by Xavier Beauvois following on from Nord (nominated for the César for Best Debut Film in 1993), N’oublie pas que tu vas mourir (which won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 1995), According to Mathieu (shown in competition at Venice in 2000), The Young Lieutenant [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(Venice Days 2005), Of Gods and Men [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Xavier Beauvois
film profile
]
(which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2010 and the César for Best Film in 2011), and The Price of Fame [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Xavier Beauvois
film profile
]
(shown in competition at Venice in 2014). The cast features Nathalie Baye (who has been nominated for the César for Best Actress seven times and has won twice, in 1983 and 2006, and was recently seen at Cannes in It’s Only the End of the World [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and will hit screens on 17 August in Moka) and her daughter Laura Smet (Yves Saint Laurent [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jalil Lespert
film profile
]
, Eden [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Charles Gillibert
interview: Mia Hansen-Løve
film profile
]
), newcomer Iris Bry, Olivier Rabourdin (who was nominated for the César for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Of Gods and Men in 2011), Cyril Descours (Complices [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Frédéric Mermoud
film profile
]
), Xavier Maly (Once in a Lifetime [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), and Mathilde Viseux.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Written by the director together with Frédérique Moreau and based on the book of the same name by Ernest Pérochon, the story opens in 1915, in a France that’s characterised more by agriculture than industry, where men have had to leave their homes to go and fight on the front line. Women, who have, up until now, been subordinate to their husbands, find themselves having to manage their farms all by themselves. Among them is Hortense (Baye), who is looking after the farm of her pregnant daughter, Solange (Smet). Before the harvest, Hortense hires Francine (Bry), a young public welfare worker, to help her. Working in the fields is difficult, but Francine is tireless and a bond of mutual respect forms between Hortense and the young woman. Hortense’s life revolves around what she is allowed to do by men: Clovis, her farmer son-in-law and Solange’s husband, and Georges, her youngest son, who’s promised to the daughter of the local baker. But Hortense ends up losing one of her sons, and must put up with Solange’s refusal to be submissive, as she dreams of a different life. In this archaic world where everyone accepts her authority and capacity for work, there comes a point when Hortense loses control. Francine and Georges fall in love, disrupting her plans to marry Georges off to Marguerite. Clovis is taken prisoner and Solange starts leading a casual sex life, inconceivable back then. To save her daughter’s reputation, and in spite of Georges suffering, Hortense sacrifices her biggest ally: Francine. She sends her away, leaving the young woman, who has fallen pregnant by her lover, to find the energy to struggle on alone. Hortense tries to get Solange to put an end to her promiscuous ways and pays with loneliness, the price of the sacrifices she makes to keep all these ‘guardians’ together.

Produced by Sylvie Pialat and Benoît Quainon for Les Films du Worso, Les gardiennes is being co-produced by France 3 Cinéma, Pathé and Swiss company Rita Productions. Also pre-purchased by Canal+, Ciné+ and Radio Télévision Suisse, the film is being supported by an advance on receipts from the CNC, Eurimages, the Limousin region, Cinéfeel, Procirep and the Soficinéma, Indéfilms and Cofinova SOFICAS. Filming is set to take place in Haute-Vienne from 17 August to 30 September, then from 21 November until 16 December with Caroline Champetier at the helm as director of photography. The film will be distributed in Switzerland by Praesens Films, whilst distribution in France and international sales will be handled by Pathé.

(Translated from French)

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