The Sower (2017) - full transcript

Violette is old enough to get married when her village in the Lower Alps is cruelly deprived of all its men by the repression that followed the republican uprising of December 1851. For the...


Open the door!


- You can't do this!
- Let's go!

- Dad!
- You can't do this!

- Camille!
- Stay right there.


- What are we being charged with?
- Let him go!

You have no right!
They're innocent.

It's a state of emergency, madam,
we can do what we please.


- Stay put.
- We'll be back soon.

- You can't take them!
- Stay back!

Long live the Republic!
Death to Louis-Napoleon!

Dec. 1851. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte
dissolves the Second Republic.

A brutal crackdown
on Republicans ensues.

It'll be alright.

Do you still have a gun,

No, they took it.

That leaves us four.

Tonight we'll divide them
amongst the villagers.

The men...

What will become of them?

They probably took them
to the Prefecture.

How long will they hold them?

It won't last.
They just want to stop the rebellion.


Where's Rose?

At home.


Eat something.
You can't stay like this.

Since when?

Five months ago.

Have you ever been involved
with a boy?

- Are you sure?
- Yes.

I have to know
if I'm to care for you.

It's the truth.

After the men left,
it's like I feel dead inside.

I've even stopped dreaming.

What did you used to dream of?

I would often see a bird of prey.

- Did it threaten you?
- No.

Quite the opposite.

Then think of this bird
when you fall asleep at night.

Call it, so that it may visit you.

Now get dressed.

Do you think dreams can heal?

It sometimes happens.

But if there's no change
within a month,

come see me again.

- Have you seen Rose?
- No.

I've looked everywhere for her!

She can't be far.

this would've been her wedding day.

She finally fell asleep.

She'll feel better in a few days.

I doubt it.

Why's that, Violette?

Because we can't
go on waiting like this.

We must find out
what happened to the men.

They must've been tried by now.

- I'm willing to leave.
- Me too.

Nobody's leaving the village,

Doing so will advertise our presence.

Do you want to be at the mercy
of a constable or priest

who forces himself on us?

I'd sooner die.

It depends whether
they're held for days or months.

If it's months, what then?

Would you find work as a maid,
or let your children go hungry?



Pierre, let's go.

- You're harsh, Marianne.
- Understand, we have no choice.

Mrs. Maillot?

Where were you?

Mrs. Maillot is dead.

It's ripe.

Get comfortable, girls.

Who cares?
There's not a man for miles.

Bind your hands.
You can't continue like that.

The children are exhausted. It's too hot.

My back really hurts.

- A storm's coming. We'll lose the field.
- We're not animals.

Enough, Josephine,
you slow everyone down.

You barely do half your share.

A fourth, maybe.


if you're tired of harvesting,

take the children swimming
in an hour.

At least the mothers
have something to live for.

They got me soaking wet.

After a year of marriage...

nothing came.

And it wasn't for lack of trying.

You mean Etienne was eager?

And gifted.

I only hope
someone spoils you all as much.

Antoine was skilled, too.

You're not a virgin?

- It's happened to others.
- Really? To whom?

Some things are better left unsaid.

- They're all dead!
- Stop it, Mom!

My son is dead!

My son is dead!

They're all dead!

- Mother!
- Stay here.

My son is dead!

My son is dead!

- They're all dead!
- Let go.

Let go of me! Let go!

It's over.

Shed get up and pace at night.

She hadn't slept in days.

I haven't been sleeping either.

I'm tired of being alone.

The men will return.
They didn't just vanish.

But in what state?

What about us?
What will happen to us?

You're young and have no children.
You can leave.

But this is our home.

Now that we own the land,
you want us to leave?

Antoine is buried here.
I won't leave him.

What worries me is our isolation.

Why hasn't a shepherd
or a peddler passed through?

It's never happened before.

It's like everything has stopped.

Maybe it's because
there are no men left.


- What if there was one?
- Just one?

What would we do?

- We could share him.
- Share him?

For life to continue,
to have children...

You'd have children with a stranger?

Would you rather be a spinster?

No, but I wouldn't sleep
with just anyone.

If he was the only one left,
you wouldn't fuss.

You'd be happy
to wrap your legs around him.

What if he refused?

- To sleep with you?
- No, with all of us.

He'd have no choice.

If he wanted one, he'd get us all.



Me too.

More importantly,
he'd help us with the work.

But for now,
our own arms are all we've got.

With a good nut harvest,
we'll be alright.

We may be alright...

but our daughters,
did you hear them?

They've been talking nonsense.

They're old enough
to be women and mothers.

But that future is bleak.

If this keeps up, they'll leave.

Violette? How old were you
when Dad taught you to read?

I was about your age.
A little younger.

Why didn't he teach me?

He was planning to,
you know that.

Mother says he was arrested
because of the meetings in the valley.

Dad knew what he was doing.

At the assembly, he met others
who believed in the Republic.

Do you think he'll ever come home?

I hope so.

But if you want to learn to read,
I can teach you.

No, Dad will.

It's so gloomy.

I hate this season.

Have you thought about our discussion
after the harvest?

What discussion?

About a man coming.

Not much. Have you?

It helps take my mind off Antoine.

So, how do you imagine him?


about 30, blond...

- Like Adam in the Creation.
- That's right.

The one with buttocks
round like apples.

What I remember most are his hands,
long and slender.

Imagine him coming to us at night.

He'd climb into bed...

and run his hands up our legs.

What's it like the first time?

It's strange.

It's like nothing else.

It's icy and hot at the same time.

- The barn's leaking!
- Warn the others!

The barn's leaking!

The barn's leaking.

Good thing you were here, Violette.

The grain is mostly fine.

- An “R”?
- Yes.

And how does it sound?

You like that one, huh?

Go back to your seat.

Does knowing the alphabet
mean we can read?


After the harvest,
when we start class again,

you'll learn to read whole words.

And then you'll be true readers.

Go play.

He's not one of ours.


I'm a blacksmith.

May I sleep here tonight?

Follow me.

Are the men harvesting?

We begin tomorrow.

Wait here.

I'll open a house for you.

Usually I'm offered a barn,
or a granary.

Where are you coming from?

A farm in the valley.

Summers I work as a journeyman.

Did they send you this way?


Help yourself.
You must be thirsty.

I'll get the bedroom ready.

Do you have animals to reshoe?

One horse and two donkeys.

But none is shoed.

Have a man fetch them,
and I'll shoe them for lodgings.

All the men are gone.

How is that possible?

They were all arrested after the coup.

And none have returned?

- How do you manage alone?
- We get by.

We're armed.

Have you been
back to the valley since?

Why do you ask?

Did you know Napoleon
was named emperor three months ago?

This time the Republic is really over.

Do you know anything
about the prisoners?

There are rumors, but...

Apparently some are dead
and others have been deported.

I have to go. They're expecting me.

If you want to help with the hay,
we're shorthanded.

But we can't offer you more
than room and board.

So what did he say?

He's staying.

- Why'd he stop here?
- Is he trustworthy?

It's hard to know.

- Where's he from?
- He didn't say.

He looks like a foreigner.
He has an accent, no?

Why'd he take the ridge?
Usually only the shepherds come that way.

What's your gut feeling?

I don't know.

I couldn't figure out if he was
for or against Louis-Napoleon.

Did you ask about the prisoners?

- I didn't dare.
- Good. Don't trust him.

We'll lock all the doors tonight.

We'll know more tomorrow.

The harvest
is a good test of character.

He came at the right time.

- Time to bring in the sheep.

No, Violette.
You'll cook him supper.

You got him settled,
it's best if you look after him.

If you need anything, come see me.


- Did he say why he came this way?
- No.

What about where he's from?

Anyway, he chose you.

He didn't choose me,
it was an accident.

An accident or destiny,
does it matter?

The bread is stale.

It's normal in this heat.

I can't give him this.

He'll make do like us.

Is that for the stranger?


Pierre and I just spoke with him.

His name is Jean and he's 39.

Stay away, Quentin.
We don't know that man.

What did he say?

He asked when
the chateau got torn down,

and if you could still
climb the tower.

Is that all?

And he asked
if there were other villages nearby.

Why? Did he say he was leaving?

No, nothing like that.

Is anyone here?

It's hot but better than yesterday.

There's a breeze.

If it stays like this,
we'll have finished by next week.

Seven days to out the whole field?

- Impossible.
- Why not?

With your help...

we'll work faster.


How did you get on last year?

We harvested alone.

I admire you.
It couldn't have been easy.

- How long did it take?
- Nine days.

What are you trying to find out?

Just curious how you live here.

We need somebody
to work at our side,

not praise or compliments.

It's not either-or.

You're right.

We're just out of practice.

- Want some fruit?
- Later, thank you.

What's gotten into your mother?

Don't mind her.

She pinned so much hope
on seeing Dad arrive.

She can't stand it being
someone else.

I think he likes you.

- What?
- It's obvious.

He only just got here.

These things happen fast.

What do you think?

I don't know.

He has pretty eyes and nice hands.

We got lucky.

True, he's a handsome man.


He's just not what I imagined.

What do you mean?

I pictured a younger man.

Come, Violette. Who cares?
We're not going to marry him.

Halt, halt...

Is there water for the horse?

On the right,
under the passageway.

What got into you earlier?

You can't talk to him like that.

Did you hear him?
They're short of men in the valley.

We can't count on anyone's help.

Now that hes here,
like it or not,

we plan on keeping him.

Come in.

I've been waiting.

I feel like I haven't eaten
in three days.

It's the altitude.

I forgot what you said yesterday.

Where are you from exactly?

I never told you.

But you live in France?

Thank you.

I've been on the road
for a few months.

I go wherever I find work.

Is travel allowed since the coup?

As a blacksmith, I have papers.

You know how to read?


Who taught you?

My father.

What about you?

An uncle who was a priest.

Is that the Bible you're reading?

Have you read it?

Do many of you
know how to read?

I'm the only one.

I have to go join the others.

Take it. I've already read it.

I doubt I'll have the time.

Keep it while I'm here. We'll see.

You know, if your father had
a Republican education,

his detention is no surprise.

They're the ones being silenced.

I fear I'll never see him again.

Don't tell the others
about the prisoners.

I won't.

Thank you, Jean.

Violette, shall we wait for you?

No, we don't have time.

Let's go.

I read a few pages of Voltaire.

Which did you start with?

Zadig or The Book of Fate.

I like those tales.

You'll see, they're funny.

I'm not used to so much levity.

Which writers do you have?

Lamartine, Racine...

- Victor Hugo.
- I haven't read Victor Hugo.

Sorry, but I can't lend it to you.

Our few books belong to my father.
They're his prized possessions.

Don't worry, I understand.

But if you like
I can read to you at dinnertime.

I used to read to my father.
And to the children last winter.

Did they like it?

Very much.

In that case, I accept.

The harvest is already half over.

Time flies.

What are you getting at, Rose?

You tell me.

You can tell if Jean likes you, right?

Not especially.
But he gave me a book.

He can read?

You think he's really a blacksmith?

I don't know.

But I've never met a man who can read
other than my father.

You have to seduce him, Violette.

The others are beginning to wonder
if you're capable.

- Which one did you chose?
- Victor Hugo.

Sit down.

- Should I start?
- When you want.


What shall I call thee
O troubled hour

All the brows glisten
with pale sweat

On heaven's throne
and in the hearts of men

Everywhere darkness
mingles with light

Creed, hope, anticipation and despair

Nothing is fully day
and nothing fully night

And the world's deceptive air

is half-cloaked in a glowing shadow

The shadow's sound deafens thought

It contains everything, from birdcalls

to the whisper of the crumpled page

which may hide a nest

or cover a flower

It contains everything:

the wayward steps

finding their way
through the open fields...

The rustle
of the reeds' shimmering stems

The distant prayers,

echoing to the sky

The ivy quivering
in the cracked arches

The lost sailor
bracing the baleful wind

The chariots inhibited
in their turns..."

A slice of bread?

Yes, please.


Eat sitting down.

You'll be standing all day.

Go wake up Quentin.

Before you do the milking.

- What did you find?
- Valerian.

Look, it's just bloomed.

The first blossoms
make the best medicine.

I haven't spoken with Jean yet.

Do you think
he'll finish the harvest with us?

I don't know.

Try to ask him.

Let me know.


- Rose, do you need help?
- No, thanks.

I'll take two.

Thanks to Violette,
Jean will stay a little longer.

It's decided then.

“Where are you going?

Toward blackest night

Where are you going?

Toward brightest day

And you?

I'm looking for my faith

And you?

I'm going toward glory

And you?

I'm going toward love

You're all going to the tomb!

Toward the unknown

Eagle, vulture or dove

You're going where all falls
and nothing returns

Where dawn goes

Where night goes

Why all these woes?

Why take such great pains?

Drink from the fountain

Shake acorns from the oak


and go back to sleep"

We can wash his clothes, too.

Isn't your time with him up soon?

You must be tired.
The nights are short.

Remember our agreement?

Yes, I remember.

So what are you waiting for?

You think it's easy?

Not as easy as climbing
into bed with him.

What do you want?
You want him on a silver platter?

Go ahead, then.

Ask him and see.

That's exactly what we'll do.

You Want us to just roll over
and play dead like dogs?

You're worse than dogs.

- Violette?
- Leave me alone.

Let's go.

Let's go!


Wait for me!

I have something to tell you.

I'm listening.

I like being with you.

I like being in your arms...

I'm not asking you for anything.

- I imagine you're bound to someone.
- No.

I'm bound to the other women.

I don't understand.

We were alone up here.

The men hadn't come home,
and still haven't.

So we agreed if a man came someday...

he'd be all of ours.

What does that mean?

Just any man?

Do you realize what you're saying?

God, you're all mad! Stark mad!

Don't you understand?
We almost died!

No one came for months!

What if the men return?

What'll you tell them?

How many will return?

I have no choice, Jean.

You're free to stay or to go.

I'm free, you say?

You don't know anything about me.

Where were you?

What's going on?

I was starting to worry.

Have you seen Jean?

No, I thought he was with you.

Jean's still not back?

Did you tell him?

Isn't that what you wanted?

- What did he say?
- He said we were mad.

Then he disappeared.

He'll come back.

Why would he?

For you?

A man needs time
to adjust to the unexpected.

You forced me.
It was too soon.

Now if he leaves
you'll know why.

I've made my decision.

I'll sleep with the others.

You can go tell them.

Are you staying
because you need to hide?

Did you look through my things?

Jean said yes.

He just wants a few days
for the two of us.

Thank you, Violette.

I never doubted
you'd be able to convince him.

The meal is ready.

I'll eat later.

I know, Jean.

I saw her talk to you.

I'm seeing her tonight.

Hold me.

Hold me tight.

Stop it!

Stop it! He can't breathe!

Are you alright?

Here. Stay with me.

I see what's happening.

You're falling in love.

But I'm sticking to our agreement.

I'll see him tomorrow.


It's the right time for me
to get pregnant.

- I don't want you to lose out.
- Lose what?

What I'm feeling now
nobody can take away.

You once trusted a man.

And loved him.

It's not the same.

Nothing will ever be.

Tell me why you came here.

I have to disappear for a while.

Did you do something serious?

I killed a man.

It was me or him.

When you got here...

Where were you going?

I was following the ridge
to the border.

If I'm arrested, I'll be hung.

I have to leave France.

Do you plan on leaving soon?

If you weren't here,
I'd have left already.

You know my real name now.

To me, you're Jean.

Have others come to see you?

You're the first.

Does Jean know?

Not yet.

Wait a little.

Don't tell him yet.

What shall our first word be?

- “Book.”
- “Bird.”

- “Mountain.”
- “River.”

OK, “bird.” Come, Pierre.

Go on.

Jean, I'm pregnant.

I was waiting for you to tell me.

I was afraid you'd run away.

It's not you I'm running from.

Would you leave with me?


This is Maxime.

We were deported
to the same camp in Algeria.



Where are the others?

I don't know.

We got separated and...

I only know about those
who were sent to Algeria.

Pierre and Augustin
should be on their way.

They were liberated
three days after us.

Hear that?

Daddy's coming home.
He's alive!

He's alive!

Bastien and Joseph died over there.


What about my son?

Where's my son?

I don't know.

For the others...

I don't know.

What about Camille?


I heard he was sent
to a penal colony

in Cayenne.

Apparently he died there.


I'm afraid shell let herself
waste away.

She'll survive.

She'll hold on for your child.

I'm lucky Daddy's alive.

But I'm afraid of his reaction.

Other men will come back
these next few days.

Life will begin anew in the village.

Nobody has a right to criticize us.

But to protect your children,

you must stay united,
and never speak of this.

Violette, you know what that means.

Jean has to leave now.

That's impossible.

Not now.

Not now.

There's no two ways about it.

If he goes, I go.


It's up to you.

- What are you doing?
- Nothing.

I'm cooking for tomorrow.

Did you have a nightmare?

I heard noise outside.
I'm scared.

Stay with me awhile.

We still have school tomorrow, right?

Go back to sleep.

We'll see tomorrow.


My future is uncertain.

But I'll write
to tell you where I am.

Right now your life is here.

You'll give birth to our child
where you were born.

And maybe someday
we'll meet again.

But whatever happens in our lives,

promise you'll tell this child

that he was born of the love
of a free man and woman.

I love you,


Subtitles: David H. Pickering

Subtitling: HIVENTY