Jean de Florette

  • Directors: Claude Berri
  • Producers: Pierre Grunstein
  • Writers: Claude Berri, Marcel Pagnol
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Yves Montand, Daniel Auteuil

The story takes place in a small village in Provence, France, shortly after the First World War. Ugolin Soubeyran (Auteuil) returns early in the morning from his military service, and wakes up his uncle César– known as ‘Le Papet’ (Montand). Ugolin stays only briefly to talk, as he is eager to get to his own place further up in the mountains. Here he throws himself into a project that– at first– he keeps secret from Papet. He eventually reveals that the project consists of growing carnations. Papet is at first skeptical, but he is convinced when the flowers get a high price at the local market. They decide the project is worthy of expansion, and together they go to see the local farmer Pique-Bouffigue, to buy his land. The land in question is apparently “dry”, but Papet knows of a source of water, a spring, that can solve that problem. The neighbour does not want to sell, and an altercation breaks out when he insults the Soubeyran family. In the fight Pique-Bouffigue is killed, but rather than feeling remorse Papet sees this as an opportunity. After the funeral, they dig out the rubble that is blocking the spring, plug the hole and cover it with cement and then earth. Unknown to them, they are seen blocking the spring by a poacher inside the house.

Aimee and Manon are now forced to leave the farm, and Papet offers to buy them out. As the mother and daughter are packing their belongings, Papet and Ugolin make their way to where they blocked the spring, to pull out the plug. Manon follows them, and when she sees what the two are doing, understands, and gives out a shriek. The men hear it, but quickly dismiss the sound as that of a buzzard making a kill. As Papet performs a mock baptism of his nephew in the cold water of the spring, the movie ends with the caption “end of part one”.

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