In Brittany, the fight for a cultural identity

The Great History of Britain

Wednesday May 4 at 9:10 p.m. on France 3

This land that I work, our agricultural roots are in it (…), they will rediscover the language of our ancestors, their dances and their cultures. We cannot pass somewhere without thinking that they have passed before us. » Sitting on a haystack, Yann Manac’h, a farmer from the Cornouaille region in Brittany, sums up The Great History of Britaindocumentary directed by Frédéric Brunnquell: a tribute to the Breton soul, to past generations of peasants who left their mark on the land with their traditions.

Far from the fishing ports of the usual postcard, this very instructive documentary, despite some vague time markers, stands out by emphasizing the evolution of this peasant society, from the second half of the 19and century to the end of the XXand. From the appearance of the train linking the region to Paris to the great oil spill of 1978, passing through the trauma of the two world wars, Frédéric Brunnquell paints a remarkable portrait of this ambiguous Brittany, oscillating between exacerbated regional identity and dependence on the central power of Paris.

His documentary alternates between numerous colorized archive films and interviews with the heirs of this world of yesterday. They come back in a very personal, sometimes poignant way, on their family history, like Alphoñs Ragénes, farmer, who evokes with emotion the sale of the last farm horse of his parents at the time of the agricultural revolution of the post-war boom period.

Common theme of the film, the relationship, sometimes complex, to the regional language long banned by the republic offers a relevant angle of the fight to keep the Breton identity alive. A fight all the more current as the regional council of Brittany voted Friday, April 8 the wish to request the opening of discussions with the State to obtain more autonomy.


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