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Jean de Florette /Manon of the Spring
on July 2, 2012
Two part film, that was 1st released as two separate features. Terrific telling of a complex story of intertwined farming families in rural France in the early part of the 20th century.
The acting is mostly of the highest order. Yves Montand, one of the most suave men in history is completely believable as a rough hewn, self-centered farmer, Gerard Depardieu, also cast against type, as a gentle, educated city born man trying to make it as a farmer also is astounding. Almost as good is Daniel Auteuil as Montand's not-very-bright son.
Only Emmanuelle Beart, gorgeous though she may be, doesn't quite convince me as the wild woman of the fields. Some of it is performance, some of it is how perfect she looks.
The story is wonderful in a Dickensian sort of way, with clues and character elements showing up early, only to pay off three hours later. I love the first part even more, somehow it feels more truly tragic and dense, the 2nd part just a bit too neat by the end. But still a grand, intelligent, great looking entertainment.