With the famous actor Christian Barbier who played in movies with Jean GABIN, Alain
DELON, Patrick BRUEL and many others. Still in cinema with exclusive rights. We don’t
want to release it on DVD yet, to preserve its TV exclusivity. However CG Film decided
a priority release abroad in 2011.
This is a 100% independent French movie despite that independent cinema doesn’t exist
anymore in France since the 1990’s. With this film the director draws up a statement
of the political/financial problems that France knew between 1980 and 2000, while
the spectator is carried away in a human adventure midst magnificent landscapes in
the seven most beautiful regions of France. The shooting is not a hold-up. This movie
brings awareness about the values of our times, about a truth that sometimes disturbs.
But it’s also a breath of fresh air, a message of love, about union with life.
1856, south of France, Lower Camargue: industrial Henry Merle discovers a wild land,
beaten by wind and sun where only reed, glasswort and tamarix can grow… Searching
for an appropriate land for a salt exploitation, Henry Merle learns to tame and shape
these marshes. He orders the drainage of the water and this is the starting point
of the salt pans of Giraud. Looking for work, the first seasonal workers arrive from
the neighbouring regions. Most of them already came to work in the Camargue, in the
little salt works called du Badon, to complete their humble revenues coming from
sheep farming and picking chestnuts.
In their unceasing search for productivity, Henry Merle and later Alfred Rangod Péchiney,
mainly have workers from the European continent but also from all over the world.
Complete families leave their home land, attracted by the Camargue Eldorado. In this
extraordinary human adventure, these families, from different cultures and religions,
learn to live together and to understand each other.
Together they will shape the lakes where the salt will be extracted, symbol of alliance
and fidelity. And even if this brotherhood is sometimes put to the test, the salt
workers remain loyal to their adopted land.
Salin-de-Giraud, a foretaste of a United Europe, was born.
A few decades later, Ernest Solvay, great industrial and autodidact, inventor, politician,
with avant-garde ideas, establishes a factory for salt by-products. He installs a
personnel management, so called paternalistic, which will give him the best possible
efficiency. For practical reasons he constructs his factory on the banks of the Grand
Rhône River, far enough of the Merle and Péchiney district and he builds a model
city which respects the hierarchic and practical rules.
In these difficult times, everything divides this multi-cultural village, yet only
united in the exploitation of salt and its by-products. Hundred years later, the
street map of the village is a silent witness of this former division.
The company Henry Merle, which became Pechiney and then Salin du Midi, and the Solvay
factory, built little by little this cosmopolitan town, steeped in history.
The unlikely cohabitation of its inhabitants gave in a first time cause for regular
tensions between east and west of the village, mainly divided by their strong attachment
to both the parent companies.
Over the years, a particular identity has grown. But today, another huge transformation
is happening. The factory Salins du Midi has to lay off their workers, Solvay has
to sell partly, announcements of real estate projects are made, the beach, commercial
resource might close. The economic equilibrium is menaced and nobody knows where
all this will end.
And yet, the salt workers are looking ahead to the future, but will never forget
their roots, or their salt.
Because it’s here that their history is written, in Salin de Giraud, in the south
of France, in the heart of the wild Camargue.