fbpx The Guardians | Gene Siskel Film Center
Chicago European Union Film Festival 2018
Chicago premiere!

The Guardians

Les Gardiennes

2017, Xavier Beauvois, France, 135 min. With Iris Bry, Nathalie Baye, Laura Smet.

Show Times

  • Sun, Mar 25th 2:30pm
  • Thu, Mar 29th 6:00pm

"A strikingly beautiful work." - Wendy Ide, Screen Daily

"With narrative restraint and a lapidary visual style, Mr. Beauvois opens up this isolated world with stirring emotional force." - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

The year is 1916, and rural France is an empire of women. The men are either fighting at the front or already dead. It is the women who till the fields, harvest the crops, and fill the church on Sunday, many wearing the black veil of mourning. The Sandrail family needs a farmhand, but, since all the able-bodied men are gone, they hire a housemaid named Francine (Bry). The strapping red-headed orphan proves equal to the task, becoming a fixture in the family and falling in love with one of their soldier sons, until allegiances of class and blood trump those of gender and affection. Adapting Ernest Pérochon's 1924 novel, director Beauvois (OF GODS AND MEN) delivers a model of absorbing, classical storytelling, set against a ruggedly beautiful backdrop of rural life. Baye is commanding as the Sandrails' iron-willed matriarch, but the film is dominated by newcomer Bry's revelatory tough/tender performance as Francine, the farm girl who quietly but firmly carves out her place in the world. In French with English subtitles. Courtesy of Music Box Films. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)

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