In the heart of France - sitting astride three departments : the Allier, the Creuse and the Puy-de-Dôme - lies a forgotten territory called the Combrailles. Old mining region, the golden age is now far behind.
Monika Marton, a 58 years-old woman of polish origins, settled there 15 years ago now. She had a hard time when she came here, when her neighbours. « It’s an everyday fight to get accepted here », she says. She breeds a flock of ewes and calves and refuses the mecanisation of agriculture. She has gone through a hip surgery at the beginning of 2016, a surgery she had been potponing for years because of her work. Despite this, she continues to work during lambing time.
Local boy, Michel Message, 63 years-old, has fought for a long time against his people. Height years ago, he gave in a part of his grounds to a goatherd who was not from the region. A part of his flock was slaughtered and Michel’s barn was burnt down. Weary, the latter took his land back and the goatherd moved to the region of Nantes. The conflict was never solved. Since then, Michel had always refused to yield in front of those who were for him at the origin of the conflict : his neighbours. A golden ticket in terms of european financial assistance, the land continued to be coveted. Tired, he finally decided a few months ago to stop fighting.
Solitary and isolated, Michel and Monica only live a few kilometres away from each other. Yet, they never met.
This story tries to relate the relationship to the territory through two figures, one that voluntarily settled, the other who was born there and never left it. And yet, in the same way, there is a question of attachment to a place. Do we belong to a territory? Can we bound ourselves to one place ? Until we discover that it is no more an option to leave it?