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  • Writer's pictureEugene

Manon des Sources (1986)

6th April 2019

A story of fateful revenge, and yet it and its predecessor, Jean de Florette, are two of my favourite films. The setting and scenery are so beautiful. The evocative French village life in the 1920/30s, where nothing is secret, although not always spoken aloud, rival factions stack up, anger and humour alternating, is run on superstition and tradition. The filming and acting are superlative. Whilst Manon has my greatest sympathy, Ugolin, is also a victim with his slow comprehension and bumbling manner and speech. He does have a conscience and aims at putting matters right but characteristically goes about it in all the wrong ways. The haunting music that accompanies the film and is supported by Verdi's music and will run through my head all weekend I suspect. The short film before the interval also dealt with water supply. Set in India the film portrays the 'haves and have nots' of clean drinking water. A moving film where the callous bosses and officials dealt pitilessly with the menial worker who stole two bottles full of clean water a day to keep her family alive. Eugene very thoughtfully gave us a short resume of Jean de Florette which was followed by the very end of that film to remind us of the story up until then and so the main feature followed on seamlessly. The discussion group was small but 'bijou'. Everyone had enjoyed the film and expounded on their delight. Although two or three people said they went home depressed after seeing Jean de Florette, they realised that to fully appreciate Manon des Sources it was required viewing. Marcel Pagnol, the author of both stories was born in Aubagne in Province in 1895. Following a short career as a teacher of English, his dramatic writing became popular and the first film adaptation of one of his novels was made in 1936. He died in Paris in 1974. Sadly we did not discuss the short film as people began to disperse, but personally, I found it very thought provoking. Sonia

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