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A Garden Under the Lines| 1hr : 55mins
Director: Bruno Baillargeon | Producer: Bruno Baillargeon
Focus Years: 2009 | Country: Canada
Subject Tags: americas, canada, ecology, environment, farming, food, global, simplicity, sustainability
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
In the heart of a North American city, a cast of retired Haitian and Italian immigrants tend their gardens, planted on a vast vacant lot soon to be replaced by a highway. The film takes place within this formerly agricultural wasteland, now dominated by high-voltage power lines, where each passing spring is witness to the rebirth of these gardens in exile. A lush, uniquely pastoral tableau emerges, while echoes of the omnipresent city resonate off-camera. Against this backdrop, a double menace lurks: that of the impending disappearance of this green space, to be replaced by asphalt, and that, more dramatic, of the disappearance of a generation of immigrants, born in the countryside but urbanized by fate, who have come here in search of their rural roots, reviving the age-old traditions of the land they left behind. Over the seasons of planting, harvesting and friendly conversation, the common theme that emerges is that of the land: the land where we are born, the land we leave, the land where we set down new roots, the land that welcomes or rejects us, the land we cultivate and that sustains us, the land we dream of or yearn for, the land where we die and are buried, and the land that others lay to waste to make highways… The resulting chronicle resembles a happy memory, where poetry and the individual destinies of the characters intermingle with the environmental and migratory issues dominating our century. The globalization of trade and the population movements of recent decades have profoundly changed humankind’s relationship to the land. Farm production, once largely based on traditional practices and self-sufficiency, is today ruled by business. Both land and food have lost that fundamental link to survival they still have for this film’s characters, for whom each square foot of uncultivated soil is a shameful waste. But this generation, with its deep rural roots, is in danger of disappearing, as are the insufficiently profitable villages and lands they left behind. There is little likelihood that the “return to the land” of the organic food movement will revive the terroirs that have been lost. On the contrary, this trend signals the end of the age of ecological innocence in which these aging gardeners still live, just as the now-inescapable global consciousness – both mercantile and environmental – marks the end of a form of individual belonging to local terroirs, along with all that is related to them: food, community, culture, art, etc. Documentary 117 min. – Italian, Creole, French, English – English or French subtitles NTSC Multizone – © Les vues du jardin / Bruno Baillargeon –
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