A truly impressive French film destined to become a modern masterpiece, Jean de Florette
is an evocative adaptation of the highly regarded French novel. Two 1920's farmers engage in a bitter rivalry as one tries to tend to a plot of land and the other deviously undermines his efforts in order to conceal a valuable spring. The peasant farmer (Gérard Depardieu) who comes to the countryside to tend the land he has inherited is a naive and trusting soul seeking only to provide for his wife and daughter, while his neighbour (Yves Montand) is intent on doing whatever he can to discourage and demoralise the farmer so that he can take the land for himself. This simple tale unfolds in a wrenching fashion to a tragic conclusion, bringing forth questions about human nature and the prevalence and price of greed. Along with its follow-up, Manon des Sources
, this film will leave an indelible impression on anyone who sees it. --Robert Lane
Australia released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), French ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: The plot of Jean de Florette is as melodramatic as any soap opera, but its treatment is just a little askew, just off-center enough for the film to evolve into a moving and powerful pastoral tragedy. The film is a naturalistic story about the dehumanizing effect of greed on a community and on the human soul. Watching the hunchbacked Jean de Florette (Gйrard Depardieu) struggle against all odds to keep his small farm alive, maintaining to the bitter end his optimism and naпve faith in his reference books, is like watching Sisyphus make his daily toil up the hill. Only here, it is not the gods who have trapped the victim, but the xenophobia and covetousness of his neighbors. Director Claude Berri shoots the countryside in grand scope, dwarfing the human figures whose daily exertions hardly make a mark on it. As the story moves inexorably to its tragic conclusion, the wicked plotting of the simultaneously likable and vicious father (Yves Montand) and son (Daniel Auteuil) leaves the audience pleading for divine retribution. However, humans created this cruel world in Provence, and they will have to mete out their own justice. The sequel, Manon of the Spring, realizes this desire for revenge with perfectly poetic magnitude. Nominated for nine British Academy Awards (BAFTA) in 1988, Jean de Florette took home three awards.
SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Ceasar Awards, Golden Globes, Moscow International Film Festival, ...Jean De Florette