February is afoot, and the Tacoma Film Club’s films of “historical interest” continue. Come and watch Part Two of the grand cinema of Claude Berri’s MANON series, the near perfect interpretation of Marcel Pagnol’s epic two volume novel. As you know, the first film of the pair was simply the prologue, the exposition for this tale, and on its last frame we all read “End of Part One”. Filmed as an epic four hour experience in 1986, the producers were wise enough to have two openings, two sources of income. Join us this Friday night for MANON OF THE SPRING (1986), with most of the original cast intact, with the continuation of vision from director Claude Berri, stunning visuals from cinematograper Bruno Nuytten, and haunting musical score by Jean-Claude Petit.
Marcel Pagnol’s original film, MANON OF THE SPRING (1952), ran 200 minutes, was in black and white, and starred his wife, Jacqueline Pagnol.
MANON was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Film. It won the National Board of Review USA Award for “Best Foreign Language Film”.
MANON OF THE SPRING (1986)
Directed by Claude Berri @ 113 minutes. In French with English subtitles.
The film stars Emmanuelle Beart, Yves Montand, Daniel Auteuil, Elisabeth Depardieu, and Hippolyte Giradot.
Synopsis: Manon becomes a beautiful, but shy shepherdess, in love with a local school teacher–but she also plots exquisite revenge on the men who greedily conspired to get her father’s land, helping to cause his death. More than a sequel to JEAN DE FLORETTE, and it turns out to be as good, if not better than the original.
Tagline: Sweet revenge served cold.
Cesar Soubeyran: Do you know who she looks like?
Cesar Soubeyran: Yes, she does. She looks like someone you never knew. She’s the splitting image of her grandmother.
Ugolin: Did you know her?
Cesar Soubeyran: Florette de Camoins. A great beauty.
Roger Ebert wrote, “All of this takes place with the implacable pace of a Greek tragedy. It sounds more melodramatic than it is, because the events themselves are not the issue here. The director, Claude Berri, has a larger point he wants to make, involving poetic justice on a scale that spans the generations. There are surprises at the end, which I do not choose to reveal, but they bring the whole story full circle, and Montand finally receives a punishment that is perfectly, even cruelly, suited to his crime.”
James Berardinelli of REEL VIEWS wrote, “When Berri completed Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources, he may not have recognized that he had crafted one of the greatest French films of all time, but he certainly understood that the duology would be seen as an achievement. Few films develop characters as deep and multi-dimensional as those represented here. Rather than taking the easy and less satisfying route of relying upon stereotypes to form the background of his movie’s population, Berri expends the necessary time for the lost art of characterization. There are certainly protagonists and antagonists, but simplistic labels like “hero,” “villain,” “good,” and “evil” become irrelevant. There’s a karmic sense of justice in the way things evolve, but this isn’t one of those movies where the bad guys get their comeuppance in the final reel. Things play out more subtly, and with a much grander sense of tragedy.”
Join us this Friday, February 11, 2011, to see MANON OF THE SPRING. We are screening it at the TFC Meeting Hall located at 924 Broadway, in the historic Pythian Temple, street level under our grand new welcoming banner, across the street from Theater in the Square, in the heart of Tacoma’s Theater District. Arrive early, and join us at 6:15 p.m. for a meal prepared by the Phantom Director and Farishta. You may break wine and soft beverages if you want to share them. For now please do not bring potluck foodstuffs, for it seems to complicate the serving and planning. We will have our Club Raffle, selling tickets for one dollar, with the winners receiving either 40% of our evening’s raffle revenue, or a fine DVD from my personal collection. MANON OF THE SPRING will screen at 7:15 p.m. and it runs 113 minutes, so the film will be over around 9:20 p.m. See you at the movies!