There’s snow on the ground and shepherds Carole and Pascal are heading through French-speaking Switzerland with three donkeys, four dogs and 800 sheep. Skirting main roads, railway tracks, suburban houses, and industrial estates, moving over fields and through forests. They meet local people, the farmers they are friends with, as well as those unwilling to let the sheep cross their pastures. They sleep in the open air, warm themselves by the fire and wash in streams.
This is what it can look like when nature meets culture: a sheep on the veranda of a terraced house. A meal of oysters around a winter campfire. A huge herd of sheep by a noisy motorway or housing estate. Combining its beautifully photographed images with a keen ear for sound, the film places the almost obsolete seeming profession and lifestyle of the shepherd within a changing environment. The shepherds’ exertions, hard work and silent contentment, the animals’ gazes, bodies and movements, the breeder’s business concerns and the reactions of passers-by stand side by side, allowing a portrait to emerge which departs from the myth of the shepherd’s idyllic existence without devaluing it in the process.