Manon of the Spring
Dir. and writ. Claude Berri; feat. Yves Montand, Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Béart, Hippolyte Girardot (PG)
Regular patrons of Texas Public Radio's film series may have caught the French film Jean de Florette a few months back. Now the group delivers the rest of the story, with a sequel that was shot by the same director in the same year, 1986. In Jean, you will recall, a young man inherits some land in rural France, and moves there to make his living from it. A local landowner (played by Yves Montand), feeling his territory is being threatened, cuts off his water and ruins the fledgling farmer.
In Manon, years have passed. The farmer's daughter is a beautiful woman who is being courted by Montand's nephew. Once she discovers what her suitor's family did to her father, she plots revenge. This being France, her plan doesn't involve Bronson-style mayhem — instead, it's all very serious and engrossing, with layers of beautifully poetic justice. — John DeFore