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‘We Don’t Want to Let It Go’: A Family Farm in Ireland Prevails

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‘We Don’t Want to Let It Go’: A Family Farm in Ireland Prevails

Nov. 28, 2023, 5:00 a.m. ET
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By Matthias Joulaud and Lucien Roux

Mr. Joulaud and Mr. Roux are documentary filmmakers.

Ever since we were children, we’ve been fascinated by pastoralism. We both come from families with farming roots but grew up in the city. This enthusiasm brought us to Achill Island, off the west coast of Ireland, where sheep graze over the grassland.

In a vast peat bog in this corner of the world, the 14-year-old Cian and the 78-year-old Martin stand side by side, surrounded by more than 100 sheep. “Away! Come by!” they shout in turn at a dog that appears to be out of control. Cian would prefer to spend his summer playing soccer with his friends, but Martin, an aging farmer, sees that it’s the right time to introduce his grandson to work on the farm.

Here, we closely trace Cian’s introduction to animal husbandry, as the teenager questions what his future holds and absorbs the workings of his homeland. This documentary captures the patience and tenderness required to learn and pass on a craft from one generation to the next.

Lucien Roux and Matthias Joulaud are both filmmakers from Grenoble, a city in the Alps region in France.

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