Edouard Bergeon: “In the name of the earth has awakened many awarenesses”

Edouard Bergeon: “In the name of the earth has awakened many awarenesses”

The most viewed French film of 2019, this drama led by Guillaume Canet returns free-to-air this Sunday on France 2.

First: After working as a journalist for France 3 and France 2 then signing a documentary, what made you want to venture into the field of fiction?

Edouard Bergeon: I had this desire for fiction for a long time. And then one day, the producer Christophe Rossignon, also a son of farmers, called me. He had seen my documentary The Sons of the Earth. We had lunch together and very quickly the idea of ​​a fiction came up. But he gave me time for this project to see the light of day. Time to get to know each other and above all time to write. An essential time when writing a film about your life.

How did the writing ofAt name of the land ?

I first collaborated with a documentary director, Bruno Ulmer, who knew how to put In the name of the earth on the right track by giving life to the plot that I had in mind. After 2 years, we arrived at a version of 200 pages. And Emmanuel Courcol, the screenwriter of Welcome, took over to tighten up the plot and above all create the thread of fiction that we were missing.

Is it complicated to talk about yourself and your loved ones without remaining private?

I had already done a lot of resilience work around the death of my father with The Sons of the Earth. This documentary was a real tidal wave in my life. After finishing it, I left everything behind, including my partner. It is with this desire to start from scratch that I approached In the Name of the Earth, with a feeling of freedom further increased by the fictional dimension. I had sorted out a lot of things from this painful past. And I ended up gaining a huge foot

Once on set, however, did memories of your own youth resurface?

You know, what we experienced in “real” life is much more tragic and violent than what the film depicts. My grandfather behaved much worse with my father, our farm burned down twice, my father’s descent into hell lasted two and a half years… So, obviously, painful images come to the surface. But I had the great chance to shoot the film over two seasons. On the first part, I learned on the job, often making mistakes. But I tried to trust myself, particularly with this completely new exercise for me that was directing actors. I had spent 15 years filming “real people”, so it taught me to read the truth of feelings. And I built on that experience with a story that I knew no one was going to know better than me. So I just was myself and told them my feelings. Then I edited this first part and partly rewrote the second, the densest, the most intense which we shot in winter. There, I was able to manage my set in complete peace of mind and I enjoyed it, freeing myself in a way from the ghosts of the past.

Speaking of actors, what prompted you to call on Guillaume Canet to play your father?

William had seen The Sons of the Earth. And on the set of My boy by Christian Carion, he spoke about it to Christophe who produced it. He explained to her that he wanted to tell this story in fiction, to make it his next film. Christophe then told him that I was already working on it and immediately Guillaume expressed his desire to play the role of my father. We were then very early in the shoot. And during these two years, I saw him gradually slip into my father’s skin by feeding on photos, videos… His presence obviously allowed us to finance the film. But his earthly roots and his involvement above all took the film further with his energy. Looking back, I don’t see who else could have played my father.

What struck you the most in the way the public embraced the film to make it one of the biggest French successes of 2019?

I was initially worried about whether the farmers would find their people there. And their first reactions reassured me. Then I have the feeling thatAt name of the land sits at the crossroads of many social debates, whether on ecological transition, global warming or junk food. And then there is this terrifying figure which is accelerating: a farmer commits suicide every day in France! But it is the farmers who fill our plate. And our plate is our health. We are finally starting to pay attention to it and this film has awakened many awarenesses which end up going beyond it. Our little family story ended up telling the great agricultural story and I am obviously very proud of it.

In the name of the earth: Canet, great little peasant (Review)

Similar Posts