Manon of the Spring

Director: Claude Berri

Cast: Yves Montand, Emmanuelle Beart, Daniel Auteuil, Hippolyte Girardot, Margarita Lozano, Yvonne Gamy, Tiki Olgado, Jean Bouchaud, Elisabeth Depardieu, Gabriel Bacquier, Armand Meffre, Andre Dupon, Pierre Nougaro, Jean Maurel, Roger Souza, Didier Pain, Pierre-Jean Rippert, Marc Betton, Chantal Liennel, Lucien Damiani, Fransined, Francoise Trompette

Manon Cadoret (Beart), a beautiful young shepherdess, lives in a ramshackle house and roams the hills and valleys near the village of Les Bastides in southeastern France. Manon avoids the town, and spends her time tending her goats and hunting rabbits and birds. As a child, Manon lived with her father and mother in a nearby farm called Les Romarins. Her father, a city man, had moved to Provence filled with enthusiasm, intent on raising rabbits in the farm he had inherited. But the water source for Les Romarins was blocked. Her fatherís promising enterprise was ruined and he died while searching for water. Ugolin (Auteuil) now holds Les Romarins. Having restored the farmís water source, he runs a prosperous business growing carnations. While out hunting, Ugolin comes upon Manon and watches from a distance as she dances nude. He is mesmerized at the sight of her. Ugolin takes frequent jaunts through the hills, following Manon about and spying on her. Cesar Soubeyran (Montand) notices a change in Ugolinís behavior, but his nephew keeps his infatuation with Manon to himself. In an oblique way of displaying his love, Ugolin places in Manonís traps small game he has caught. For a time Cesar, who is childless, has been pressing Ugolin to marry so that the family line may be continued. The older man is delighted when Ugolin tells him that he loves Manon and intends to make her his wife. Overcoming his shyness, Ugolin seeks out Manon and blurts out his feelings for her, but she refuses his advances and runs from him. While out in the countryside, Manon overhears a conversation between two hunters, Pamphile (Dupon) and Cabridan (Rippert). The men talk about how Cesar and Ugolin had plugged the water source to Les Romarins, and mention that the people of Les Bastides knew what had gone on. The villagers had not told Manonís father about it out of a sense of local solidarity and a lack of integrity. The Soubeyrans were a powerful local family, while Manonís father was a city-bred newcomer. Manon runs away, devastated by the knowledge of Cesarís and Ugolinís evil deeds and the tacit complicity of the villagers in her fatherís ruin. Bernard Olivier (Girardot), a schoolteacher recently arrived at Les Bastides, also has an interest in mineralogy. When he and Manon meet they are soon drawn to each other. One day, Manon discovers a cave containing the source of the spring which supplies the water to the Soubeyran lands and to the fountain at the village of Les Bastides. Realizing she has been given the instrument to avenge her father, Manon blocks the spring. The flow of water at the fountain in Les Bastides soon slows to a trickle and then stops, and the spring at Les Romarins goes dry. Water can be fetched for a time from distant sources, but without a local source, Ugolinís flowers will die and Les Bastides will become a ghost town. Manon and Bernard grow closer to each other. The villagers become exceedingly distraught. The priest (Bouchaud) expresses his feeling that the disaster they face is Godís way of punishing a crime committed by one of them. Manon has it in her power to impose a terrible vengeance on those that had so cruelly treated her father. But Bernard, who has come to know Manon better than anyone else, suspects she has something to do with the sudden loss of the spring water, and he tries to persuade her to restore the flow. Based on the novel Manon des Sources (Manon of the Spring) by Marcel Pagnol. This film is a sequel to Jean de Florette.


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