It is not uncommon to see reviewers describe a film as “Like a love letter” to something. In the case of French documentary, Wine Calling this is also true, but given the subject matter a toast seems more appropriate. This film is a deep dive into the worlds inhabited by a group of passionate and organic vineyard owners in the south of France. The result is something that is très bien.
Bruno Sauvard directs this film. It contains some beautiful shots of some French vineyards and countryside. It was captured during the 2016 harvest. Rather than offering up some talking heads, Sauvard uses the screen time to really follow the vineyard owners in their natural habitats. In approaching it in this way, you get a greater sense of how much work is involved in organic and biodynamic farming.
This film includes an excellent soundtrack. Songs by The Clash, B.R.M.C, The Fratellis and LCD Soundsystem feature. This makes for an interesting and great pairing. The growers here are portrayed as rebels and artists releasing their vintages every year just like musicians with their albums. This is a small group (just 3% of French growers produce things using these natural processes) and these methods of wine production require a hell of a lot of patience, determination and passion in order to succeed. One interviewee says it takes ten years to even get your head above water.
Those people concerned about provenance as well as things like: taste, colour and artistry, will appreciate this film. There are vox pops here, where people are enthusiastic about the wine and they frequently extol its virtues. The organic wine tastes nice and it doesn’t give you the kinds of headaches that are customary with the blends that rely too heavily on pesticides in their production process.
In sum, Wine Calling is a respectful, feature-length documentary about organic wine. It celebrates the growing and bottling processes, and the sustainable practices employed by this dedicated group of individuals. They work hard with the land, geography and climate to draw out the living characters of their wines. This film will give you a whole new appreciation for what goes into your humble drop.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Wine Calling is screening as part of the Alliance Française French Film Festival, which runs from March 5th to April 10th nationally. For more information and tickets please visit HERE