Pierre Grunstein

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Jean De Florette Review


Extraordinary
Very French, very melancholy, Jean de Florette tells the first half of the classic tale of the hunchback Jean (Depardieu), a city-dwelling tax collector who inherits a small farm in rural France. Unhappy that their attempt to buy the place failed (after killing the former owner, even!), Cesar and Ugolin (Montand and Auteuil) scheme to drive Jean away, primarily through plugging up the natural spring on the land, leaving it dry as Oklahoma. But when the poor Ugolin and Jean become friends, the deception turns out to be bittersweet.

Extremely well-made, Jean de Florette is director Claude Berri's finest work, a touching tale that is simple and succinct while not devolving into a confusing and minimalist mess. Depardieu and Auteuil are at their height as actors, and Berri's widescreen panoramas of the beautiful -- yet unforgiving -- French countryside are unforgettable.

Continue reading: Jean De Florette Review

Manon Of The Spring Review


Excellent
In the sequel to Jean de Florette, we find the tables turned on Ugolin and Papet as young Manon (now played by the lovely Emmanuelle Béart) has grown up, though she's slightly deranged and lives in the hills as a vagabond shepherdess. (Of course, she's a vagabond shepherdess that is very attentive to shaving her body hair and studiously applying makeup.)

Manon carries with her the knowledge that Ugolin and Papet indirectly killed her father by sealing off his spring, so when she discovers the mountainous source of the spring -- and the water for the nearby town -- she returns the favor in kind. Alas, poor Ugolin finds himself falling in love with the wispy wanderer, leaving him dying both from thirst and a broken heart.

Continue reading: Manon Of The Spring Review

Manon Of The Spring Review


Excellent
In the sequel to Jean de Florette, we find the tables turned on Ugolin and Papet as young Manon (now played by the lovely Emmanuelle Béart) has grown up, though she's slightly deranged and lives in the hills as a vagabond shepherdess. (Of course, she's a vagabond shepherdess that is very attentive to shaving her body hair and studiously applying makeup.)

Manon carries with her the knowledge that Ugolin and Papet indirectly killed her father by sealing off his spring, so when she discovers the mountainous source of the spring -- and the water for the nearby town -- she returns the favor in kind. Alas, poor Ugolin finds himself falling in love with the wispy wanderer, leaving him dying both from thirst and a broken heart.

Continue reading: Manon Of The Spring Review

French Twist Review


OK
The French title of this odd little film is Gazon Maudit, a French euphemism meaning "dyke." Any wonder why the title was changed for the American audience?

This picture, starring the radiant and naked-most-of-the-time Victoria Abril (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! and High Heels), is a schizophrenic tour of Loli's (Abril) life. Her philandering husband Laurent (Alain Chabat) walks all over her. The kids are a constant effort. And when Marijo (Josiane Balasko, who co-wrote and directed as well), a butchest-of-the-butch lesbian, shows up owing to car trouble, a sudden bond of friendship is formed. When Laurent's dalliances finally go too far, Loli finds comfort in the arms...and the bed...and even the bathtub of Marijo.

Continue reading: French Twist Review

Jean De Florette Review


Extraordinary
Very French, very melancholy, Jean de Florette tells the first half of the classic tale of the hunchback Jean (Depardieu), a city-dwelling tax collector who inherits a small farm in rural France. Unhappy that their attempt to buy the place failed (after killing the former owner, even!), Cesar and Ugolin (Montand and Auteuil) scheme to drive Jean away, primarily through plugging up the natural spring on the land, leaving it dry as Oklahoma. But when the poor Ugolin and Jean become friends, the deception turns out to be bittersweet.

Extremely well-made, Jean de Florette is director Claude Berri's finest work, a touching tale that is simple and succinct while not devolving into a confusing and minimalist mess. Depardieu and Auteuil are at their height as actors, and Berri's widescreen panoramas of the beautiful -- yet unforgiving -- French countryside are unforgettable.

Continue reading: Jean De Florette Review

Lucie Aubrac Review


Weak
Thought a WWII movie couldn't be dead boring? Think again. Lucie Aubrac is the story of the French resistance member of the same name, a woman whose entire job during the war apparently consisted of busting her husband out of jail after repeatedly being caught for stupid offenses against the Nazis. Carole Bouquet as Lucie spends most of her screen time staring defiantly into the camera whilst wearing a stupid hat. Filled with minutaie about resistence members, dates, codes, and more than a little melodrama. Blame the French. I know I do.

Continue reading: Lucie Aubrac Review

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French Twist Movie Review

French Twist Movie Review

The French title of this odd little film is Gazon Maudit, a French euphemism meaning...

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