The fictional realism of Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North inspired actor-director Georges Rouquier to depict French farm life in the postwar period 1944-1946 in clearly staged scenes. Rouquier's style made waves, and film critics awarded the film their most important award at the inaugural Cannes Film Festival.
Rouquier chose to focus on the village of Goutrens, in his home region of Aveyron. Farrebique is the name of a farmstead that has been owned by the same family for generations. Now, quarrels about its inheritance by the eldest son stand in the way of a much-needed renovation. Rouquier attempts to show the similarities between the people and the land: the cracks in the walls, the furrows in the freshly plowed fields, and the lines on weathered faces. Over the course of four seasons, visualized in rare time-lapse sequences, Rouquier creates a saga about people who would otherwise never have appeared on-screen.