Movie Review(s) -
The duology "Jean de Florette" and "Manon of the Spring"
A French tragedy in the best Greek tradition ...
The first part follows Gerard Depardieu's "Jean de Florette" as he attempts to farm the land at his newly inherited property outside a little French town. He automatically has two strikes against him: he is a hunchback and a city boy.
Unbeknownst to him and his family, unscrupulous neighbors (an uncle and nephew team) have blocked a spring on the farm in an effort to force the sale of the land. (As revealed in part 2, all the townsfolk know of the spring's existence.)
The farm has struggled along for several years when a long drought ruins the crop, almost certainly the final nail in Jean's dreams of country living.
Part 1 closes with a death in the family, the farm sold off to the unscrupulous neighbors, and Jean's little daughter Manon witnessing the neighbors uncorking the spring.
Admittedly, I fell asleep during a couple of parts of this movie ... I don't feel that I missed much.
- My one little pet peeve, you just don't block springs with a piece of wood and concrete. The water will find its way around, or the spring will change course. (Having lived through various exclamations from the significant other during my movie career, "Gasoline does not do that", "Helicopters don't do that", "Planes don't do that", and so on and so forth, I felt it necessary to return the comments in kind.)
Manon, having run away to live in the country while her remaining family moves back to the city, has grown into a beautiful young woman. She attracts the attention of the unscrupulous neighbors, who decide she will be a good marriage candidate to the nephew (a rather charmless and disurbingly amoral creature). Understandably, Manon disagrees with the nephew's alarmingly declared love and marriage request.
In a fit of pique, having followed one of her goats into a cave and finding the head of the water supply for the whole town, she blocks said water source and makes her way into the town to enjoy the fruits of her labor.
Fingers point, confessions begin, and for a short while, town life comes to a screeching halt. Yes, the townsfolk knew of the spring, but said nothing because the new owner was a hunchback. Outsider snobbery at its best.
Part 2 closes with a suicide, the desperate procession of the townspeople, an additional death, a wedding, and life returning to much the same as before.
I found the reactions off at several points in the movie, and, once again, disagree with "a little bit of stone and mud can block this spring upwelling for several days." Jawohl, fraulein ... oops, wrong language.
I found part 2 more engaging than part 1, though I enjoyed them both to some extent.
*** There is a bit of "wholesome" female nekkid-ness in part 2: neither disturbing nor disgusting, but rather carefree and light-hearted.***
Known actors - Gerard Depardieu, last seen in "The Man in the Iron Mask," he and Jeremy saved that movie, while Leonardo and John tried to sink it.
No other familiar faces were glimpsed in these movies.
Considering its English subtitled, French speaking language (and that I neither speak, nor understand French), the action and storyline kept me present and accounted for ... disregarding a few nod-offs during part 1.