Daily Archives: January 1, 2008

Manon Of The Spring

If Jean de Florette, the first chapter in Claude Berri’s two-part adaptation of Marcel Pagnol’s novel L’eau des collines, was all windup and no delivery, this sequel finally brings about the comeuppance of Cesar Soubeyran (Yves Montand) and his nephew Ugolin (Daniel Auteuil), the greedy peasants of Provence who indirectly brought about the death of Jean de Florette in the first part. Now Jean’s daughter Manon (Emmanuelle Beart) is all grown up and living with Baptistine (Margarita Lozano), the widowed well keeper, and Ugolin becomes smitten with her. While part one sets up the possibility of regarding the villains as a French counterpart to Faulkner’s tragicomic Snopes clan, part two brims over with too much cosmic justice to keep that analogy viable. Montand and Auteuil remain effective, Beart is unusually pretty, the rural settings are still attractive, and the qualities that make this a national myth persist; but Berri also remains a boringly uninteresting director, dotting every i and crossing every t with nothing much on his mind but platitude. With Hippolyte Girardot, Elisabeth Depardieu, and Gabriel Bacquier (1986). (JR)… Read more »