It is a 1986 French period drama film written and directed by Claude Berri, based on a novel by Marcel Pagnol. The film takes place in rural France, where two local farmers plot to trick a newcomer out of his newly inherited property. The socially awkward Ugolin Soubeyran (Daniel Auteuil) returns from military service to his family home halfway up a green mountainside near his uncle César’s house.
Ugolin looks to César (Yves Montand), whom he calls “Papet,” for guidance as to how to carry on the family name, particularly since he is the family’s last member. Ugolin decides to grow carnations, which he hopes will make him rich. Although initially dubious about the scheme, Papet changes his mind when he considers purchasing a land from his neighbor. After accidentally killing the man, Papet and Ugolin block up a spring on the property with a scheme to buy the land cheap. However, the plot goes wrong when ownership of the land shifts to the recently deceased Florette de Berengere, whose hunchback son Jean (Gerard Depardieu) moves back to his ancestral home with his wife and young daughter Manon. A recently retired tax collector, Jean is a well-read man with a fine strategy to plant a farm and a rabbit-breeding facility that will provide for his family until his death. As the film progresses, our attention narrowly focuses on the principal characters and their evolution. We are not distracted by outside events. At the same time, we are torn between the two conflicting wishes for the success of two conflicting projects.
Director Claude Berri’s epic period-drama masterpiece of French cinema features impeccable performances by reknowned French actors- Yves Montand, Gerard Depardieu, Daniel Auteil. Their brilliant ensemble work here highlights the rich history of French Cinema. The high-budget picture elegantly captures the natural setting, social customs, and personal prejudices of French villagers whose source of spring water is manipulated at different times by manipulative individuals.