"UNE ÉMOUVANTE RÉUSSITE" LES ANNÉES LASER
Film sum up
In the 19th century, the pace of life in the Midi region of France was dictated by work in the vineyards. The grape harvest was the high point of the year. Rich vineyard owners built beautiful homes, today referred to as "château pinardiers" – or "wine castles". But when wine prices plummeted due to over-production and a lack of legislation, prosperity dried up and poverty moved in.
In 1907, Marcelin Albert, a simple pub-owner and winegrower in the village of Argeliers near to Narbonne, triggered one of France's biggest popular uprisings: the Revolt of the Winegrowers. Above and beyond any political, religious or social issue, it expressed the desire of a people who wanted to live by labouring their land.
Marcelin Albert set out to fight the swindlers who made artificial wine cheaply, using sugar and chemicals. He launched a peaceful and modern movement with a simple motto: wine must be a natural product, made by fermenting the juice of fresh grapes.
He set off with a group of 87 protesters from Argeliers, organising events from village to village and creating a protest paper called "Le Tocsin" (or "Sound the Alarm"). After Sallèles, Bize, Ouveillan, Coursan, Capestang and Lézignan, 100,000 people went to demonstrate in Narbonne.
In light of this success, the town's mayor, Monsieur Ferroul, joined the movement. But the government continued to turn a deaf ear and no measures seemed to be forthcoming. Marcelin Albert's crusade continued as did the demonstrations: Perpignan, Béziers, Carcassonne, Nîmes. Marcelin Albert was idolised. Women would hold their babies up for him to touch. He was called the saviour, the apostle, the redeemer.
A demonstration in Montpellier was a phenomenal success with 600,000 people on the streets clamouring for their rights. Pretty young girls in their summer bonnets rubbed shoulders with old peasants and demonstrators of every social class sporting felt or straw hats. All spheres of the population were united.
The government, with Clemenceau at its head, continued to ignore the movement, which caused the entire population of the Midi to despair. But the revolt continued. Mayors resigned; their town halls closed; a tax strike was launched; the 17th infantry regiment based in Agde rioted in Béziers in support of the winegrowers; and the prefecture in Perpignan was burned down. The balance of power seemed to be shifting.
So Clemenceau sent in the army. It opened fire in Narbonne on the 19th and 20th of June, killing six innocent victims. Demonstration leaders were arrested and put in jail. But Marcelin Albert could not be found. Where was he? What did he have up his sleeve? He was hiding in the church tower in his village. Now that his brothers-in-arms were in prison, what could he do? He finally decided to go and see Clemenceau. Disguised as a driver, he took the train to Paris, determined to convey the despair and the demands of the Midi.
He was granted a one-to-one meeting with The Tiger, Clemenceau's political nickname. Marcelin Albert, a poor winegrower from Argeliers, alone against the President of the Council? Was this wise? After the meeting, The Tiger called a press conference. A skilled strategist and manipulator, Clemenceau knew what he was doing. He went on to destroy Marcelin Albert's reputation. Reading his words as reported in the newspapers, the winegrowers felt betrayed and wanted to hang Marcelin Albert. The man they had called their "saviour", who had rallied the entire people of the Midi, had suddenly become an undesirable. He wanted to re-establish the truth and waited his entire life for a trial. But banished by his people, Marcelin Albert died alone, amidst total indifference.
Although the Revolt of the Winegrowers stopped in its tracks, it had managed to gain recognition for the importance of product quality. New laws and bodies were to follow. 1907 stands out in the memory of the Languedoc as a legend, a feeling of unfinished revolt that could spring back to life at any moment
This concept comprises an envelope, a mini-DVD and a postcard for sending a personal message. Simply stick a stamp on the envelope at the normal letter rate, then pop it in a post box. The mini-DVD can be viewed on any DVD player, gaming device, PC or MAC. The postcard measures 10.5cm x 15cm.
Director : Christian Salès
Music performed by Groupe OC
1 Post card + 1 DVD with a 20 minutes film (including bonus) in 5 audio languages : English, French, Occitanian, Spanish, Italian (Subtitles : English, French, Occitanian) + one enveloppe to pop it in a post box.
Format: 4/3 SD PAL