In the mid-1970s, Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville adopted the medium of television in order to denounce its usual content. In Grenoble in 1975-1976, they made a series of six 100-minute programmes, each subdivided into two episodes (an essay and a long filmed interview) devised in view of being broadcast to as wide a public as possible. In this episode, Louison, a farmer, mulls over his problem aloud: producing a litre of milk and all that follows and precedes it (the underworked worker and the overworked farmer).
In the middle of his fields, Louison is talking passionately about farming. We’re offered a reflection – one we might think unusual for the time – on what it means to work the land. Louison lists the stalemates of productivism, the system(at)ic recourse to chemicals, the daunting challenge of feeding the population of the planet, the big international circuits that decide upon and restrict trade, etc. But he talks about the beauty of his work too – his relationship with the earth, tending the soil every day, and the production cycle, which all make his profession worthwhile. As though looking into a mirror, Godard, with a certain modesty, films his dream of a small, independent entrepreneur: both farmer and filmmaker, both worker and boss. But Louison, who thinks with his hands (“You can feel it when you plough”), takes this a step further… the soil, like the water and the air, is a common good, and owning it is a problem in itself: it always makes you aggressive. “Property turns people into assholes…”
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