French romantic drama about young lovers separated by World War II and the class rift that divides their families. This is the first film directed by actor Daniel Auteuil, a remake of Marcel Pagnol's 1940 romantic comedy. Click here for session times.
French actor Daniel Auteuil was catapulted to international stardom in movie adaptations of Marcel Pagnol’s novels Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. A fine actor of great renown, The Well-Digger's Daughter is Auteuil’s directorial debut. A remake of Marcel Pagnol’s 1940 movie of the same name, Auteuil also adapted the script and plays Pascal, a hard-working widower, devoted to his six daughters.
Yes, in essence this is a simple story of a poor well digger’s daughter (Patricia Amoretti) who falls in love with a rich pilot (Jaques Mazel), but the wonder is in the telling and the delights in the detail. Set in wartime Provence, Auteuil’s precise direction ensures that not a moment of drama, romance or comedy are lost in a beautifully crafted tale that, bar the final scenes, succeeds in shirking maudlin sentimentality - largely due to a superb cast, in which Astrid Bergès-Frisbey shines as Auteuil’s much-maligned daughter, Patricia.
This is a gentle film that nonetheless has a great deal to say about class, honour, loyalty and love in portraying a feud between two families juxtaposed against the events of the First World War.
The score, by Alexandre Desplat, is the perfect accompaniment to the lush cinematography of Jean-Francois Robin which captures the Provence countryside in all its vibrant colour and natural glory. Plotwise, it may all wrap-up a bit too feel-good and trite for some tastes but, soppy ending aside, Auteuil delivers a fine slice of essential French cinematic delight - dramatic, funny, moving and tragic by turns. Magnifique.