Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Manon des Sources (aka Manon of the Spring)

Manon des Sources picks up the story a few years after the end of Jean de Florette, when Jean's daughter Manon has grown into a beautiful young woman in the guise of Emmanuelle Béart. Manon, being the country type her father never was, is keen on taking naked swims in the hills. I don't think it's ever mentioned how old she is or how many years have passed, but knowing the French she's probably about 15, so it's a tad creepy... (in the pic here, she's considerably older).

It is during one of her swims that she is chanced upon by the dim-witted Ugolin, played by Daniel Auteuil, reprising his role from the first movie. He immediately decides to court her, and so begins his path towards inevitable disappointment.

This story line is but one of several flowing neatly through the movie. Another includes the discovery by the villagers of just who Jean and his family are, and that the information had been kept from them by Ugolin and Cesar (Yves Montand) for their own benefit. On the subject of the bad guys, once again we are drawn in by multifaceted characters, and as much as you dislike Ugolin in particular for his past actions, you can't help feeling sorry for the poor sap.

It's perhaps true that a lot of loose ends from both parts of the story are tied up a little too neatly, but I liked the circularity of the whole. I think it's imperative to watch both parts, and to watch them in the right order; I couldn't imagine seeing them any other way.

A great movie. Not quite as great as Part 1, but pretty close.

Acting: 16
Story: 16
Direction: 16
Enjoyment: 17
Involvement: 17
Total: 82

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