Alex Gaze, Ellen Williams, Rob
Lennon and Hannah Williams
General themes/issues
Star/scene analysis
• Based on novel “L’Eau des Collines” by Marcel
• Sequel to Jean de Florette (shot as 1 film but
released as 2)
• Seen by over 7 million people
• Ten years later, Manon, now grownup lives in the grotto
with Baptistine, the well-keeper, and tends her goats.
• One day Ugolin sees naked Manon as she bathes in a
mountain pool and falls in love with her.
• However, Manon is repulsed by him physically (and
pyschologically) and is instead in love with Bernard, the
schoolteacher, whose knife she found.
• Manon plots her revenge and blocks up the source of the
• The film ends with Ugolin hanging himself after confessing
to his crime and being rejected by Manon.
• César dies in his sleep after realising that Jean was his son.
Un film de patrimoine
Powrie (2005):
– " 'Jean de Florette' and 'Manon des sources' launched the contemporary heritage genre in
French cinema”
– part of a postmodern tourism (Stella Artois)
– heritage films (emerged in France and UK in 1980s) - attempt to be historically and
topographically accurate (the costume dramas of the 50s and 70s concentrated on narrative here there is a change in emphasis to setting.)
– for many critics heritage cinema is seen as ideologically regressive and sentimentally nostalgic
- they note that French heritage cinema is frequently dark in tone (eg. melodramatic and
ultimately tragic conflict between father and son)
Mazdon (2001):
– Film was part of a concerted effort by socialist government and Jack Lang (Culture Minister) to
disseminate French cinema both domestically and abroad (vs. Hollywood).
– Promotion of films that drew on French heritage and provided popular entertainment.
Edposito (2001):
– “A time when family, community and the rigours of agricultural life gave a definite structure to
life in sharp contrast to the insecurity and mutability of modern urban living.”
Genre: Melodrama
• Melodrama definition
• family and inheritance
• Cross between pathos and humour-Powrie
symbolised through Auteuil’s character
• Talk of the Soubeyran line- central to plot
• JDF and MDS “by their nostalgic celebration of
mythical rurality, figure the most important social
change in France this century, the conversion from a
rural to industrial economy.” (Powrie 1997)
• Accent of farming class
• Everyone in the village knows each other and don’t
accept outsiders. (Manon accepted in the end)
• Farmer’s clothes/ dirtiness
• Greedy-money is main concern (keeps talking about
money and his uncle dying)
• Suit to impress Manon
• Manon’s education- “I’m wary of a poor woman who
• Film depictss stereotypical views on gender roles
• Men: breadwinner, male community (café)
• BUT elements of feminity:
– suggestion of male ‘impairment’ and excessive emotion through mise en
scène. (Powrie 1997)
– Ribbon sewn on nipple=feminine (Powrie 1997)
• Women: supposed to be pretty and able to work on farm
• BUT Manon contradicts this image
– Tomboy
– In control (stops and starts the water supply) rather than controlled
– “about as much like a goatherd as Catherine Deneuve in a promo for
Chanel perfumes” (Canby 1987)
– Silence fits with psychological motivation (Powrie 1997) (wild)
– Necessary precondition for male triangle- Father, ‘bad’ Son and ‘good’ real
Son=melodrama (Powrie 1997)
• Shows French Catholicism
• Positive light: priest thinks they are
hypocritical, people turn to church in times of
• Satirical approach: village believes that the
procession unblocked the spring.
• Ribbon= ritualistic
Daniel Auteuil = Ugolin
• Won the César and BAFTA award for best actor
• Character Traits:
– Simple-minded
– Lovesick for Manon- so deep he sews her ribbon
on his nipple. (WHY??)
– Childlike: secret crush scene
(show clip)
Critics Responses
• "However, in the final scenes, the film slides into a
Hardyesque fatalism, with the loose ends tied up a little too
neatly, resulting in an air of literary contrivance. It
nevertheless succeeds, like the earlier film, in tapping the
well-springs of one's emotions.” TimeOut
• “The popularity of JDF and MDS lies first in their reference
to Pagnol’s 1930s popular comedies (nostalgia for rural
community as well as nostalgia for the golden age of
cinema), and second in the fact that they are melodrama.”
Powrie, 1997.
• « En 1952, Pagnol faisait une comédie avec, pour toile de
fond, un drame ; en 1963, il écrit une comédie dramatique,
dont Berri ne retiendra que le drame en 1985. » Blanc and
Our Thoughts On Auteuil’s Popularity
Likeable despite debatable morals
Child-like qualities add to likeability
Down on his luck- pity
Ugliness adds to funniness- not typical sex
• Cécile Blanc et Céline Nannini, ‘Manon des sources : les éléments d'une
tragédie provençale dans les adaptations cinématographiques et
• Vincent Canby, “Manon des Sources”, New York Times, 1987
• Maria Esposito, ‘Jean de Florette: Patrimoine, the rural idyll and the 1980s’,
in Lucy Mazdon (ed.), France on Film: Reflections on Popular French
Cinema, 2001
• Lucy Mazdon, France on Film: Reflections on Popular French Cinema , 2001
• Phil Powrie, French Cinema in the 1980s, 1997
• Phil Powrie, ‘"I’m only here for the beer": post-tourism and the recycling
of French heritage films’, in The Media and the Tourist Imagination:
Converging Cultures, edited by David Crouch, Felix Thompson and Rhona
Jackson (London: Routledge, 2005), 143-53.
• :
TimeOut Review

Manon des Sources - University of Warwick