MANON OF THE SPRING
DIRECTOR: CLAUDE BERRI
COUNTRY: FRANCE 1987
CAST: YVES MONTAND, DANIEL AUTEIL, EMMANUELLE BEART
SUPER FEATURES: THE ACTORS
And this is where the story really starts. Manon, now a grown teenager decides to take her revenge in her own hands, on the people who destroyed her father.
With the help of an outsider boyfriend they begin planning their attack, until the old farmer's accomplice is found out and kills himself. At that point the old farmer is lost, and has little strength to keep up the chore of plugging the well every time it swells up. The problems mount until 2/3 of the way the film drops a brick on your head.
An elder woman, who lives elsewhere, comes to visit. She was one of the old farmer's flames, and dearly loved him. She loved him so much that when she got pregnant she kept the child. And she tells the story of the child growing up away from dad. And in the meantime Yves Montand's face begins to turn sad, that the woman he loved the most, never told him the story before, and they never married, which they both wanted.
As it turns out, she was the mother, and he was the father. In essence he was the murderer of his own son. And he now has to live out the rest of his life, knowing of his guilt. He absolves himself, apologizes to Manon, and clears himself before he dies, a disappointed man, sad in love, and sadder in life.
The beauty of this film is the turnaround between what is really a set of criminal actions, and the karma which begets him. What he did to others, he now pays in full unto himself. The suffering he applied to others, he now has to face in full. And he does, thus showing his strength and ability.
Manon and her husband unplug the well, the town is happy, and the prosperity will now start.
It isn't often that a story is told, and keeps you in, only to find out that all that matters is not gold. And when it does, the story has to deal with
it without throwing it away. This film does, and delivers with as much beauty as there is.
If you have the patience to see this film, do so. You will be stunned, but you will like it. It delivers, like most films don't.
A MUST SEE. But it only makes good sense if you see both films, since the first film explains the outcome and actions of the second film.
SUBTITLES, you say, so what. A film is a
film, and to take care of the action like this novel does is an accomplishment
not often done in film. This is LITERATURE at its best on film. This is not
ENTERTAINMENT. And as literature, it teaches and helps us along.
ENJOY IT. The Acting is superb, and this was Yves Montand best role ever. He won several international awards for it. It's a tour the force, and a real shame that he gets ignored for the Oscars. There isn't much better work around that can stand up to this kind of material. Brilliantly written and taken care of with just as much care. Wonderful music and visuals through out, as it has 'poetic' moments every now and then, giving us the seers a chance to catch our breath, and evaluate what went on.
If you like good work, this is as good as it gets, or are likely to find.
Please email me with questions and/or comments
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