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Manon Des Sources (1986, Yves Montand, Emmanuelle Béart)



The second half of Claude Berri’s two-part epic was filmed immediately after Jean De Florette , although the action takes place a decade later. In the original movie, Gerard Depardieu played the postal clerk Jean, who inherited a remote Provence farmstead, unaware that the property was situated on a spring that supplied the area’s valuable water supply. Envied by the conniving village elder Cesar (Yves Montand) and his nephew Ugolin (Daniel Auteuil), Jean is driven to ruin when the pair block the spring and cause his crops to fail.

For this, the sequel, Emmanuelle Beart plays Jean’s daughter, Manon, now a shepherdess. Her father is dead, killed by a faulty explosive device while trying to dig for water, and his land was bought by the opportunistic Ugolin for a rock-bottom price. Ugolin has unblocked the spring and now runs a thriving carnation business, but he finds himself becoming increasingly attracted to the beautiful Manon. She, meanwhile, has uncovered Ugolin and Cesar’s deception and turns the tables by blocking the spring herself, threatening Ugolin’s livelihood and causing both to have a crisis of conscience.

Another superbly filmed and acted drama, Manon Des Sources may lack Depardieu’s towering presence, but some terrific performances by Montand and especially Auteil give the film the gripping moral climax that was promised by the first. And almost imperceptibly, Berri slips in a subtle political comment on the growing industrialisation of the French countryside that saves the film from mere sentiment and nostalgia.

production details
France | 120 minutes | 1986

Writer and Director: Claude Berri
Novel: Marcel Pagnol

Yves Montand as Cesar Soubeyran
Emmanuelle Béart as Manon
Daniel Auteuil as Ugolin
Hippolyte Girardot as Bernard Olivier
Margarita Lozano as Baptistine
Yvonne Gamy as Delphine
Ticky Holgado as le spécialiste
Elisabeth Depardieu as Aimée Cadoret



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