In Provence in the 1930s, city-bred hunchback Jean (Gerard Depardieu) brings his family to his mother's old farm with plans for an idyllic life on the land. However, his scheming neighbours, Le Papet (Yves Montand) and Ugoli (Daniel Auteil), covet his farm's little-known water source, and the resulting feud escalates towards tragedy. The story was continued in a second film, 'Manon des Sources', released later the same year.
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
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