A pair of very tragic, very French movies based on a novel. They’re two seperate movies, but basically it’s just like Part 1 and Part 2.
JEAN DE FLORETTE
Warning: this movie is extremely, extremely bleak. Keep Part 2 on hand as an antidote.
Jean de Florette is a brilliant movie. The title refers to the protagonist, a hunchback named Jean; and his mother Florette, who has recently died and who was once the beauty of the village that her son moves to with his family (his wife and young daughter). The clever part is; even though Jean is the “good guy”, he isn’t the main character. Most of the story is taken from the pont of view of the two antigonists, Papet Soubeyran and his simple nephew Galinette Ugolin. The two hatch a plot to acquire Jean’s land for cheap because they want to use the spring hidden there to build a carnation farm. So before Jean’s family move into the farm that had been left to them by Florette, Papet and Galinette plug up the spring. The land is useless without a water source, so they figure they can step up to buy it when Jean realizes this and then unplug the spring for their benefit (it’s set in the old days before pipes and everything).
Jean is smart and resourceful and has big plans for his new country lifestyle. However, the summer brings the dry season and the family runs out of water, just as Papet and Galinette planned. But instead of moving away, they stay… to face TRAGEDY. AHHHHH IT SUCKS. I can’t do this. This movie is too bleak. Also, be prepared to get really really thirsty. And thankful for the fact that you have pipes. And water.
MANON DES SOURCES
Less bleak, but no less tragic. Very, very French. And subtle. Remember this was written a long time ago.
Manon des Sources, or Manon of the Spring (as in spring of water, not the season) takes place 10 years after the crap, crap ending of Jean de Florette. It brings back Papet and Galinette, and re-introduces the grown Manon, daughter of Jean, the hunchback. Can’t say too much without giving away the plot, but I can say that it’s very good and well-written. And it’s just subtle enough.
What can I say? It’s all just very good.