Jean de Florette / Manon des Sources (1986)
Director: Claude Berri
It was those tragedies, those tragedies so filled with sorrow and irredeemable regrets that it will wrench your heart. On the hills of Provence, where serene farms surround quaint hill town, where life is tranquil and air is fresh, this heartbreaking tale has unfolded.
Papet and Ugolin are the prominent Soubeyran family in the village. They plotted to take over the neighbor's farm in order to control a hidden spring in the property. The Soubeyrans were about to start a carnation planting venture. In this arid region, access to water is vital. This spring was critical for their carnation’s irrigation.
When the owner has died in an accident, they believe they can buy the land cheap. To their great astonishment, its heir did not sell out. Instead they have decided to move in themselves. Jean Cadoret, a tax collector from the city of Crespin, was the owner's nephew and the son of the Florette, who has left the village to marry to a blacksmith when she was young. Jean bring along his wife and young daughter Manon to fulfill the dream of his life, to start their new life in the country.
Jean has a great plan for the family farm. He brought along capital, tools and modern agriculture knowledge from the city. On top of that he toiled tireless with unwavering determination. But his crux is water. Once the drought has set in, he saw his hard work withering away. Ugolin has befriended Jean on his arrival but contrived to sabotage his effort. Above all, he has done everything to ensure Jean would not discover the hidden spring, those water under his feet that would have absolved all his problems. For all his passion and diligence he was undermined by the merciless nature, the devilish neighbors and his own faults. The pain ended in little Manon's unforgettable shriek.
The story continues in part 2. After losing the farm to Soubeyrans, Manon has run away and stayed in the hill. She made a living by herding sheep. The carnation planting has bought financial success. But Papet was worried that Ugolin has not fathered a descendant for the clan. When Ugolin finally did fall in love, by fate he falls madly in love to Manon, who has then grown up into a young beauty but an elusive spirit. Manon would become the avenging star to the Soubeyrans, making them pay for the crime they have committed. Once again water shortage has inflicted great distress on the farmers. This time it was the Soubeyrans on the edge. Their punishment has come down on them so hard that, by the end, I have grown compassion for the sinners.