(Death of the Grandfather or: the Sleep of the Just)
CH 1978 86'
A tale, told by his five daughters, of the life and death of a man very representative of a Protestant Switzerland in the early 20th century where life was conditioned by the work ethic. He was first a farmer, then a factory worker, then the head of a small family affair where his daughters became his workers. The business grew into an large factory that would be eventually taken over by the only son. The five stories show us the family and professional context of the first half of the 20th century. They are also five different versions of the serene death of a man who felt he had done his duty. The film illustrates the ideas of Max Weber, known for their importance in understanding the Western civilization that emerged from the Reformation.
If the film of Jacqueline Veuve seems both admirable and touching, it is in fact, for this reason: besides a fund of information of the building up of a family enterprise in a time of industrial liberalism, she has successfully shown or suggested the thousand ambiguous aspects of love, of family love.
Jean-Paul Fargier, Cahiers du Cinéma