“Auction Day” captures a precious national custom that may soon disappear. Filmed in Wales in the UK, the film shows a community of farmers, sheep dealers and auctioneers on ‘market day’.
Farmers with storybook faces nod, wink and send secret signals to the auctioneer; They are 21st century shepherds with a heritage rooted in biblical times. Dealers with canny eyes shake hands and heads, looking for bargain lots, while bewildered sheep are offloaded from trucks and trailers to be prodded, preened and then pushed into the sales arena. Their teeth, wool, the shape of their heads and their pedigree are all carefully assessed before the bidding begins.
Finally, the sold ewes and rams are packed into vans and are on their way to new home ground. Their lambs will survive tough lives in the high hills and mountains and will be coming to another “Auction Day” next year to continue the farmers cycle that holds the countryside as a unique national asset.
In the film, the relationship between farmer and wily auctioneer – part of a long heritage of symbiotic friendships – is delightfully revealed in humorous cameos. The gentle auctioneer, Meirion Morris, tells his “sheep tales” with delightful charm.