Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
The poverty-stricken rural life in the Eifel area of western Germany is once again the subject of a thoughtful documentary on the never-ending burden of work that faces farmers who cannot survive by farming alone. Writer and director Dietrich Schubert and assistant director Katerina Schubert follow a day in the life of the farming Schmitz family whose chores are shared in an effort to manage as best they can. The father leaves for work on a construction job early in the morning while the mother tends to the milking of the cows and the care of their other livestock. The oldest daughter goes to work in a village hotel and when she comes home from that job, she has to help her mother around the farm. The younger daughter is in school during the day but also has chores to do along with her homework. When the father gets back from his construction job, his wife tends to the household as he finishes up with the livestock and other duties. By the time the evening meal is on the table, the family eats in silence -- too tired for the lost art of conversation, or simply just happy to focus on one of the small pleasures of the day. There is no "vacation" for these farmers with animals and fields that demand attention 365 days out of the year, whatever the weather, whatever the health of the family. By the end of the documentary, it is not hard to see why farming is losing out to jobs in the city with paid vacations, five-day work weeks, and eight-hour days.