As far as they can remember, the Solé family have spent every summer picking the peaches from their orchard in Alcarràs, a small village in Spain. But this year’s crop could be their last, as they face eviction. The new plans for the land include cutting down the peach trees and installing solar panels, which causes a rift within the large tight-knit family. For the first time, they face an uncertain future and risk losing more than their home.
Alcarràs is a tiny village in deepest Catalonia, where the families grow peaches. They inherited the land and it's care. It's about to value our family’s legacy and their dedication to farming. We learn to appreciate the trees they cultivate as something that could someday be destroyed. This is how the plot of “Alcarràs” comes to live, a family of farmers, the Solés, are about to lose their peach trees as the owner wants to put solar panels in his fields. Human beings have cultivated the land in family groups since the Neolithic. It’s the most ancient profession of all time. But the truth is that the story of the Solé family comes at a time when this way of agriculture is no longer sustainable. There's the real question of what agriculture means to us today. The film wants to pay a nostalgic but unsentimental tribute to the last resistant families of farmers still hanging on to their traditions.
This is also a film about family relationships, generational tensions and the importance of unity in times of crisis. It's conceived as an ensemble piece due to our desire to express what it means to be part of a huge family. Crossed dialogues, opposed energies, chaos, small but meaningful gestures, emotions that cause domino effects. Each member of the Solé family tries to find their own place just as they're about to lose their common identity. We see non-professional actors from the area of Alcarràs who've a real attachment to the land. In order to present themselves as a real family, they spent so much time together that now they call each other by their character's names.
"Alcarràs" tells the story of a large family of farmers. It's a chronicle of a death foretold. The Solé family learns they will have to leave the land they’ve cultivated for three generations near the Catalonian country town of Alcarràs at the end of the summer. The owner wants to uproot their peach trees to put solar panels in his fields. The family gathers to pick the last harvest, but their differences about how to face an uncertain future threaten their unity. This is an ensemble piece where each member of the Solé family tries to find their own place in the crisis, at the very moment when their shared identity is at risk. On one hand, the film is a reflection on agriculture today. Many believe that the land should belong to those who work it, and the Solé family has been farming the same fields for many years. But they only arrived at an unofficial understanding with the owner during the Spanish Civil War.
Now a contract is worth more than any verbal agreement, and the new owner wants them to leave. Human beings have cultivated the land in small family groups since the Neolithic. It’s the oldest job of all time. But the truth is that the Solé's story comes at a moment when this way of doing agriculture is no longer sustainable. Big companies buy the land to cultivate it extensively, the low fruit prices force the replacement of trees in exchange for higher yield uses, and young farmers leave their homes to try to find other employment. The models are changing, an old world is ending, and the film is a nostalgic tribute to the last families of farmers who still resist. Despite the bad auguries, we hope ecological agriculture will be the bright tomorrow for those who want to keep cultivating the land in small groups. This is a reflection on the need of adaptation, as the film portrays the last days of a universe that it's inhabitants believed to be eternal.
It’s also a reflection on the lack of communication between family members, and how sometimes everything would be easier if we said out loud what we think and how we feel. We think of "Alcarràs' as an action movie. There are no explosions, gunfights, or spectacular special effects, but the characters live on an emotional roller coaster that shakes up their relationships. Everyone has their own axe to grind, but they all need to find a way to live together. Agriculture is something that affects us all; it’s what we get to eat every day. Thinking about who provides us with food and how they do it's something we should all do. Structurally, the replacement of traditional farming by the agricultural industry is a world-wide phenomenon.