In the documentary “Only the earth is eternal”, François Busnel and Adrien Soland collected the last secrets of Big Jim, looking like old Sioux.
Even dressed up like a tramp dusty and greedy, whose uncertain leg is controlled by a cane, with a trembling hand, a toothless smile, a skin of old leather tanned by tobacco – always a cigarette in his mouth – and one eye less, Big Jim is still showing off. He is a person who wants to please but doesn’t cheat. It’s all the more poignant that he believes the end is approaching. “Death, I don’t care”he blurted out to his friend François Busnel, who came to find him in his blue house in Montana, during the summer of 2015. A second shoot was planned for the following spring, but the author of “A good day for die” died on March 26, 2016, at the age of 78, without having finished the book he dreamed of writing and would have been entitled “the Girl who loved trees”.
The beautiful film by François Busnel and Adrien Soland, “Only the earth is eternal”(in theatres March 23), His testament is his sumptuous photographs of large, uninhabited spaces. It is a joyful, humorous, pantheistic and eco-friendly testament. Even though he may limp, American Jim Harrison never stops moving. His white SUV takes him from Wyoming to Utah and Arizona to reach his ranch in Patagonia. He says that he has everything he needs on the road to get there. “Wash away the dirt of civilization”. Also, on the water. He wears a cap on which the phrase “Fly fishing”, is written in French. He climbs into a boat and casts his line in Yellowstone River. Outdoor writer. He is the novelist of “Dalva” as well as the short story writer of “Legends of Autumn”, which was written in just nine days. “The landscape can absorb all your sorrows”He assures that his garden is surrounded by elk, and invaded by rattlesnakes.
Under photos of bears and horses, Rimbaud and Dostoyevsky, he continues to work on his secrets in front of his desk. He also has an Indian medicine bag and a skull of a coyote. He does not forget the little girl who pierced his left side with a piece glass and the driver who killed his sister and father on the road when they were 20 years old. He thanks nature for its gift of life. “Never hurt me”See the literature “Scout the soul”It is possible to have it “transformed”birds, Indians, Bic pens He also referred to Jack Nicholson who was his patron when Jack was broke. He said: “I believe more readily a novelist than a senator”And he reveals his epitaph “He did his job. »Big Jim does an amazing job even though he’s dead thanks to this twilight movie in which he looks almost like an old Sioux.
READ ALSOJim Harrison’s autobiographical memoir on alcohol, sex and literature
Published in L’OBS, March 17, 2022.