After his film studies at the INSAS in Brussels, Jean-Jacques Andrien made multiple short films of which a few have been presented at the Cannes Film Festival. His first feature film, Le fils d'Amr est mort !, wins the Grand Prize at Locarno in 1975. His second feature, Le grand paysage d'Alexis Droeven (1981), a poetic and dramatic film with Nicole Garcia, Jan Decleir and Jerzy Radziwilowicz (L'Homme de marbre), shows a young farmer who reflects on his heritage. He returns to the subject more than thirty years later in his documentary Il a plu sur le grand paysage (2012) after having made Mémoires in 1984 and Australia with Fanny Ardant and Jeremy Irons in 1988. For a long time he has planning to return to Australia to make Le Silence d’Alexandre, together with the Aboriginals in the Tanami desert.
Jean-Jacques Andrien’s cinema is characterized by a long immersion, prior to the making of each film, in the very places his films are set.
Jean-Jacques Andrien is the producer of all his own films as well as those of Yasmine Kassari, including L’Enfant endormi (Venice, 2004). He co-produced Genesis by Mrinal Sen (Cannes 1986) as well as the first film by Lucas Belvaux Parfois trop d’amour (1992). He is at the base of the creation of several professional associations in Belgium such ass the ABPRF, l'ARRF, l’ARPi… Until 2009 he taught at INSAS, the Free University of Brussels, the Charles de Gaulle University - Lille 3… and until 2018, he led introductory courses in cinema techniques at the AKDT in Neufchâteau in Belgium.
By giving farmers a voice and showing their struggle for survival, this sensitive portrait of farmers shows a contemporary peasant world, revealing its profound culture and interrogating the present state of the world.
Eastern Belgium, beset by linguistic confrontations and an agriculture in decline. The film’s emotional context is just as dramatic: the death of a young farmer’s father. Will he decide to take on the farm or build a new life in the city?