Just as in his short film Du soleil en hiver (2005), director and farmer's son Samuel Collardey returns to his roots in his feature début L'apprenti. He sketches a sympathetic picture of the farmer Paul, who helps his daughter with her homework and also has a work placement student he tries to help and guide in a relaxed way.
According to the director, the film was partly inspired by Le vieil homme et l'enfant (Claude Berri, 1967), in which a father-son relationship develops between a boy in hiding and a farmer who's a collaborator. A similar relationship also develops in L'apprenti between the pupil and the unconventional farmer.
A farming life is harsh, as is proven by the slaughter of a pig in the first five minutes of the film. When Mathieu, a student from agricultural college, rummages in the sow's intestines with his hands, he comments that it's nice and warm. The things that Mathieu learnt at school do not apply on Paul's farm. He does not regard his animals as products and thinks he shouldn't have to work all day. Slowly Mathieu loosens up and learns to enjoy the rhythm of the seasons. The gap between him and his divorced parents, who don't understand his choice of study, continues to exist, however.

International title
The Apprentice
Filmmaker
Samuel Collardey
Country
France
Year
2008
Medium
35mm
Length
85’
Language
French
Producer
Gregoire Debailly, Michel Reihlac
Production Company
Lazennec & Associés, ARTE France Cinéma
Sales
Lazennec & Associés
Writer
Samuel Collardey, Catherine Paille
Cinematography
Samuel Collardey, Charles Wilhelem
Editor
Julien Lacheray
Sound Design
Vincent Verdoux, Julien Roig
Music
Vincent Girault
Cast
Mathieu Bulle