DER Documentary

Michel Marlétaz, Cooper


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From the Wood Crafts series
by Jacqueline Veuve
color, 30 min, 1988




Non-profit and K-12 pricing also available
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Michel Marlétaz lives in Les Echenards, a seven-person hamlet without an access road. After a bad car accident left him injured, he had to find a new livelihood, and so he learned the cooper's trade in classes set up for mountain farmers.

He now makes his living from the manufacture of small wooden ware, like pots, spoons, butter churns, buckets, and milking pails. Marlétaz is the only cooper left who knows how to make the large butter churns used in the high Summer pastures.

In November, he cuts the wood he will need - elm, spruce, cherry wood - then, during the Winter season, he makes the pieces he will deliver in the Summer.

"What Jacqueline Veuve's film shows us, is all the hand movements which go in to the making of a big wooden butter-churn. These are movements which call for the technique of fingering, an creativity. Although they could also be done by a machine, they would then lose their soul." — Bieler Tagblatt Seeländer Bote Biel, 1989
"The film is much more than a precise demonstration of the basic steps of the trade, it also calls for respect and admiration for a dying trade which is part of our culture" — Franz Ulrich Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 1989

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Quality award, DFI

View more photos on www.flickr.com

This film is also available as part of the Wood Crafts collection.

other films in the Wood Crafts series:
Armand Rouiller, Sledge-maker
Arnold Golay, Toy-maker
The Bapst Brothers, Carriers
Claude Lebet, Luthier
François Pernet, Carpenter and Sculptor
Joseph Doutaz & Olivier Veuve, Shingle-makers
Marcellin Babey, Turner
Pink Mountain Sand
A Little Corner of Paradise (Un Petit Coin de Paradis)



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