Two films, one set about fifteen years
after the other telling a wonderful story, full of period and
regional detail, that takes your emotions on a roller coaster
The story is set in Provence in the South of
France in the early twentieth century, and centres on a farm with
a "source" (a natural spring) on it - a valuable commodity
in this region. But the deeper story is a classic Greek tragedy
in which Nemesis tracks Hubris with heartbreaking consequences.
Marcel Pagnol, the author of the book on which
the film is based, claimed to have been told the core story as
an actual event which took place in this area (where he spent
Brilliant performances by Yves Montand and Daniel
Look out for some words of the local language
(the Provençal dialect of Occitan, the language of the
Troubadours). Examples are Papet (grandfather) and fada (insane
- litterally "with the fairies"); note also the wonderful
rich southern accent.
The US title of the second installment is inexplicably
Manon of the Spring (singular) whereas the French translates
as Manon of the Springs (plural) - this is significant
because two different springs are key to the story, and at one
point a character clearly explains why the locals call her "Manon
of the Springs.
If you don't feel you've learned anything about
human nature by the end of the second part then you must be phenomenally
wise or uniquely dim.
By the way, it's worth learning French just
to be able to read the books by Marcel Pagnol on which these films
are based. They are even more riveting and moving than the films
- if you can imagine such a thing.
Click on the flags below for details of the
books, and how to buy through Amazon.
A note on Location.
Pagnol spent his childhood summers in the Provençal
countryside near to Marseille, described in his Souvenirs d'un
Enfance (Memories of a Childhood).
When he became a film maker he shot many of
his films here at the foot of his beloved Garlaban, including
an early version of Jean de Florette / Manon des Sources.
(His wife, Jacqueline, played Manon in his version)
Claude Berri came back to the Garlaban in the
1980's to remake Jean de Florette / Manon des Sources,
but found it so changed that he decided to shoot further east
around Cuges-les-Pine and Riboux. The village and Manon's well
were filmed in Mirabeau, in the Lubéron.
Today you can walk the Circuit Pagnol,
a hike in the arid garrigues (scrublands) around Marseille and
Aubagne. Drive to La Treille northeast of Aubagne and follow the
Genre: Historical drama / modernised Greek Tragedy.
JdeF 120 min, MdS: 113 min
Colour: Colour (Eastmancolor)
Sound Mix: Dolby
Director: Claude Berri.
Claude Berri (adaptation)
Gérard Brach (adaptation)
Marcel Pagnol (novel)
Pierre Grunstein (exec producer)
Alain Poiré (associate producer)
Original Music by
Non-Original Music by
Giuseppe Verdi (from the opera "La Forza del Destino")
Cinematography by Bruno Nuytten
Yves Montand, Cesar Soubeyran 'Le Papet'
Gérard Depardieu, Jean de Florette
Daniel Auteuil, Ugolin "Galette"
Elisabeth Depardieu, Aimée Cadoret
Margarita Lozano, Baptistine
Ernestine Mazurowna, Manon Cadoret (as a child)
Armand Meffre, Philoxéne
André Dupon, Pamphile
Pierre Nougaro, Casimir
Jean Maurel, Anglade
Roger Souza, Ange
Didier Pain, Eliacin
Pierre-Jean Rippert, Pascal
Marc Betton, Martial
Clement Cal, Méderic
+ for Manon Des Sources
Emmanuelle Béart, Manon
Hippolyte Girardot, Bernard Olivier
Yvonne Gamy, Delphine
Ticky Holgado, Le Spécialiste
Jean Bouchaud, Priest
Gabriel Bacquier, Victor
Click on the appropriate national flag for details of the DVD