DIRECTOR: Melanie Auffret (debut)
STARRING: Guillaume de Tonquedec, Lea Drucker, Lionel Abelanski
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
Raymond, a chicken farmer in Brittany finds himself threatened with bankruptcy when the big supermarkets decide to cut out the local farms from their trade.
A lovely little film about the funny ways in which one can find one’s voice, Roxane follows Raymond, an independent organic poultry farmer who has a daily routine of performing for his hens excerpts from the play Cyrano de Bergerac.
When the Monopsonist co-operative decides to stop purchasing eggs from small organic farms including Raymond’s, in favour of an intensive supplier with lower prices, he feels powerless and adrift, his work discarded and dismissed.
His pragmatic wife Anne-Marie urges him to be proactive about finding a new stream of income, to sell his shed and equipment and take up carpentry, for which he has knack. However, his heart lies with his hens and Cyrano and he sets about to make a viral video of himself performing scenes from the work, with the help of his pet hen Roxane and the rest of his flock. He aims to bring attention to the threat his farm and others like it face, and to help garner interest in their survival.
Though it seems only that he succeeds in making himself the laughing stock of the town and finding dismay and incomprehension from his family, who wishes he could be more practical given the circumstances.
Roxane explores the choices Raymond makes following the bad news about the future of his hen farm and others like it. It does so with a good-natured but light touch, shying away from exploring fully the strains upon families and individuals that attacks on livelihoods can have. However, this doesn’t necessarily detract from the entertaining way that Raymond seeks to resolve the crisis facing his family’s livelihood, especially as he gains new friends, allies and self-actualisation along the way.
Roxane is a charming film that shows that creativity and self-expression need not be incongruous with the practicalities of daily life, that someone’s passion can be an asset rather than something to be considered only after work and on weekends. That there is more to a chicken farmer than what appears on the surface.