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”.

Bienvenue chez les Ch tis

  • Directors: Dany Boon
  • Producers: Claude Berri, Hirsch, Les Productions du Chicon, TF1 Films Production
  • Writers: Dany Boon, Alexandre Charlot, Franck Magnier
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Actors: Dany Boon, Kad Merad

Philippe Abrams is manager of the postal service (La Poste) in Salon-de-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône, in southern France. He is married to Julie, whose depressive character makes his life miserable. Philippe does everything to get a job at an office on the Mediterranean seaside to make her happy. Because this favorable position will be granted to somebody who is disabled he pretends to be so. However, the management finds out. As punishment, he is banished to Bergues, a town near Dunkirk in northern France, for two years. Northern France, and the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in particular, is considered “the sticks” – a cold and rainy place inhabited by unsophisticated ch’tis who speak a strange, barely understandable dialect (called “ch’ti” in local parlance, and “cheutimi” in the South. He has to spend his first night at Antoine’s place, who is one of his co-workers. First Philippe dislikes Antoine for his rudeness and because he thinks Antoine is gay (actually, he found photographs of Antoine dressed as a woman, but they were taken during a carnaval party). Finally, Antoine and Philippe will become best friends.

To Philippe’s surprise, Bergues proves to be a charming place teeming with warm, friendly people and co-workers. Soon, he is completely won over, eating smelly Maroilles cheese, talking to virtually every local (by delivering their mail, and accepting the recipient’s invitation for a drink), playing at the beach, playing the bells at the bell tower together, drinking beer like a local and so forth. He tries to describe the happy turn of events to his wife who has remained in the South with their little son, but she does not believe him. This inspires Philippe to tell her what she wants to believe: that his life is wretched there.

Three years later, Phillipe receives a transfer to move south. Accepting the offer, Phillipe and his family move south. Just as he is about to say goodbye, he is reduced to tears, proving Antoine’s theory on the Chitis proverb (“A visitor cries twice at north, once upon his arrival and once at his departure).