For six years, Peter van Houten (whose work has been screened at IFFR more often) filmed his protagonist Jean-Marie to show how this pastor - now in his seventies - maintains the church life of 25 villages deep in the French Pyrenees. Van Houten follows him much the way a dog can follow his boss: patiently, reliably and lovingly, he continues to stay close. And he is quite right. I’ve seldom seen such a captivating ‘boss’. The strange pastor/farmer never stops talking, but does so with such a disarming honesty and spontaneity that you can’t help falling for him.
You really have to take your time - Van Houten has developed a slow cinema all of his own, with a camera that lingers more than it captures - but the investment certainly pays: For instance, with a truly beautiful declaration of love by the pastor to a local woman that lasts for several minutes.