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”.

Z

  • Directors: Costa Gavras
  • Producers: Jacques Perrin, Ahmed Rachedi
  • Writers: Story, Vassilis Vassilikos, Screenplay, Costa Gavras
  • Genres: Drama, History, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Jean Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jacques Perrin

The location of the action is never expressly stated (filming took place primarily in Algiers), but there are hints (such as a Greek typewriter) that it is Greece in the early 1960s. Furthermore, in the opening credits there is a counter-disclaimer which reads (in translation): “Any resemblance to real events, to persons living or dead, is not accidental. It is DELIBERATE.”

The story begins with the closing moments of a rather dull government lecture and slide show on agricultural policy, after which the leader of the security police of a right-wing military-dominated government takes over the podium for an impassioned speech describing the government’s program to combat leftism, using the metaphors of “a mildew of the mind”, an infiltration of “isms”, or “sunspots”.

The scene then shifts to preparations for a rally of the opposition faction where the Deputy (Montand) is to give a speech advocating nuclear disarmament. It is obvious that there have been attempts to prevent the speech’s delivery. The venue has been changed to a much smaller hall and logistical problems have appeared out of nowhere. As the Deputy crosses the street from the hall after giving his speech, a delivery truck speeds past him and a man on the open truck bed strikes him down with a club. The injury eventually proves fatal, and by that time it is already clear to the viewer that the police have manipulated witnesses to force the conclusion that the victim was simply run over by a drunk driver.

As the closing credits roll, before listing the cast and crew, the filmmakers first list the things banned by the junta. They include: peace movements, strikes, labor unions, long hair on men, The Beatles, other modern and popular music (“la musique populaire”), Sophocles, Leo Tolstoy, Aeschylus, writing that Socrates was homosexual, Eugène Ionesco, Jean-Paul Sartre, Anton Chekhov, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, Mark Twain, Samuel Beckett, the bar association, sociology, international encyclopedias, free press, and new math. Also banned is the letter Z, which was used as a symbolic reminder that Lambrakis and by extension the spirit of resistance lives (zi = “he (Lambrakis) lives”).