Ugolin Soubeyran(Daniel Auteuil) undertakes a flourishes business in carnations after growing them in the land bought from Jean Cadoret’s widow. Cesar Soubeyran(Yves Montand), Ugolin’s uncle, helps his newphew in realizing the latter’s dreams. Meanwhile, Jean Cadoret’s widow has moved away the village. But his daughter, Manon(Emmanuelle Beart) stayed back with the family who lived on their property. Now, she is an young woman who detests Ugolin and his uncle Cesar.
One day, Ugolin sees a naked Manon taking a bath in a spring in the property. After seeing her, Ugolin falls in love with her and wants to propose her. He confesses his love to Cesar. Cesar is initially skeptical. But the skepticism vanishes once Cesar sees Manon. Unbeknownst to them, Manon is attracted to the school teacher Bernard who is well educated and knows a lot of about farming. During this time, Manon by chance overhears two villagers conversing about the deceit of the Soubeyrans. She is heartbroken to know there was spring in her father’s property that was blocked by the Soubeyrans. If Jean had known this, he would have been alive and successful now. How Manon takes revenge on the Soubeyrans forms the rest of the story.
Claude Berri directs the sequel to Jean de Florette based on Marcel Pagnol’s novel. Like the first part, the movie scores on the performances and direction. The events are spread over months. Yet, the director beautifully captures the passing of time; through either seasonal changes in the farms or physical changes in individuals. The director emphasize more on the turmoil of Cesar instead on the revenge by Manon which makes the movie appealing and dramatic.
Yves Montand is excellent as Cesar. Yves’s nuanced performace captures all shades of a wrong doer. Cesar is unapologetic and defensive of Ugolin when confronted by the villagers. Soon after suffering a loss, Cesar repents. It is in this phase, Yves makes the viewer sympathize with the lonely old man. Emmanuelle Beart’s Manon relies less on dialogues and more on personality. Her beauty and innocence distracts the viewer. Daniel Auteuil’s Ugolin has less to do in this movie as compared to first part.
Go for it. Make sure you see Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources back to back for a more enjoyable experience.
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