Keswick Film Club - Reviews - The Guardians

Reviews - The Guardians

The Guardians

Reviewed By Vaughan Ames

The Guardians
The Guardians
The Spring Season of our Twentieth Year got under way last Sunday with a film chosen in a vote by the club members – a first for the club which we will try again next year. 'The Guardians' turned out to be a beautiful movie which was well liked by nearly every one of the 158 people who came to see it.

The film tries to show many of the problems faced by people during a war, but it does it by concentrating almost completely on one farm in World War One. It starts with some shots of the battle front, but after that the only soldiers we see are those returning to the farm on leave. The rest of movie shows the war from the point of view of the women left to look after the farm with all the men taken tofight.

So: we are on farm in France; even though the buildings are dilapidated, there are signs that it is not one of the poorest farms; from the beginning Hortense is planning to buy modern equipment to replace the horse and people power that is needed in 1915. By 1920, when the film ends, her returning husband is met with the sight of a tractor and harvesting machinery to make him feel happy. That said the grist of the film is based around a young woman – Francine – who Hortense hires to help her and her daughter Solange run the place. From the beginning Francine proves to be a good worker and is soon offered a longer contract; as the film and the years slip by, she feels she has become part of the family, which is emphasised by her budding love for Hortense's son Georges on his brief returns from the war. Unfortunately for Francine, his last visit leaves her pregnant at exactly the moment Hortense feels the need to defend her family's honour when she discovers Solange with an American soldier: Francine is fired and forced to have her baby elsewhere...

The film is beautiful throughout, with shots of sunsets and farm scenes to warm anyone's heart, but the director manages to let us see into the hearts and minds of the women, following their day to day problems and desires. He is ably assisted here by some great acting, especially from Iris Bry who plays Francine – amazingly an amateur recruited from the street...

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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

Since then, the club has won Film Society Of The Year and awards for Best Programme four times and Best Website twice.

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