La Terre Amoureuse
In the Ardennes, the agriculture goes worse than anywhere else. Their are less ans less farms where the husband, the wife and the family work together. But the ground is like a woman when she is in love, she wants to be seeded. But how to live this passion when the woman or the ground goes away? And how to keep the control of the game when the finance doesn't care? The paysan's credo is no more what it was? Would God be no more than a beautiful mirage?
I wanted to live all that with four families of farmers of the Ardennes during one year.
Manu Bonmariage was born in Chevron, near Liège in Belgium on 29 March 1941. His mother was a farmer and his father a forest ranger. He lost an eye at the age of 6.
He later left his forest in the Ardennes to travel the world. After studying communications at IHECS, he first worked as cameraman in film, then as cameraman-reporter at the Belgian Teleradio (RTBF). It was there that he took part in Pierre Manuel and Jean-Jacques Péché’s Faits divers show (the precursor of the TV show Strip-tease).
He was mostly called upon for his dexterity with the handheld camera and filmed many in-depth reports for the RTBF. He filmed everywhere from Saigon to Bilbao, from Charleroi to Yaoundé. And of course in the Belgian steel mill town of Seraing!
At 38, Manu Bonmariage became a director himself and today is the author of over 80 films, many of them from Striptease, the show that made him famous. These also (re)defined a certain vision of truth in front of the camera.
Manu Bonmariage films close to people in their everyday lives and in their struggles great and small.
He is passionate about his work and his documentaries were shown worldwide being regularly awarded in festivals, films such as Du beurre dans les tartines (1980) ,which chronicals the restructuring process of a struggling mechanical tool company in Wallonia; Allô Police (1987) a human-sized portrayal of the social work carried out by the Charleroi police; Les Amants d’assises (1992) shows the changes in two lovers reunited by a crime; The Will of God (1993) about a Boer community in postapartheid South Africa; Baria et le Grand Marriage (2001) relates the forced marriage of a Marseille teenage girl of Comorian descent; Ainsi soit-il on the religious life of Father Jean who ends up marrying his clergy assistant; La Terre amoureuse (2002) on the everday life of four Walloon farming families in the region of Stavelot. His last film, Vivre sa mort (2015) shares the perspectives of two men in their fight for the right to die in dignity.
Because of its closeness and caring, Manu Bonmariage’s camera strings together moments of men and women’s lives, carving out a portrait of the world over these past thirty years.
Manu is a rugged traveller of more or less happy and exhilarating adventures. His most-used words are: thrilling / perpetual / disgusting / consecration / doubt.
a film by
director of photography
original Music by
official selection Docville 2013
official selection Millennium Festival, 2013
a Iota production
in co-production with
with the support from
le Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
Flanders Audiovisual Fund
THE MEDIA-programme of the European Union
the Belgian Federal Government Tax Shelter