Last night I watched on Netflix a wonderful French movie called “La fille du puisatier” (The Well-Digger’s Daughter).
I absolutely loved it and I am not ashamed to say that some scenes brought me close to tears, something that seldom happens when I watch American movies.
This film stars enduring Daniel Auteuil, luminous Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Kad Merad and Jean-Pierre Darroussin and is remake of Marcel Pagnol’s 1940 production.
It deals with a bygone era and is a refreshing change from needlessly crude and violent modern-day movies.
The plot revolves around a poor well-digger and his five daughters; it is set in Provence in the early 1900’s.
Just before the beginning of World War One, one of the well-digger’s daughter (Patricia), falls in love with Jacques, the son of a local wealthy merchant.
Shortly after Jacques has left for the front, she discovers that she is pregnant.
After Patricia confides in her father, they both pay a visit to the merchant and his wife and tell them what happened.
Hoping to marry their son to another wealthy family, they refuse to believe Pascal and Patricia and send them away.
I won’t tell you the whole story but I recommend that you rent this movie to find out how it ends.
The charm of this story has something to do with the time and the mores of a long gone era.
The main character (Pascal) is a poor but proud human being.
He pointedly reminds the merchant that there is a big difference between the people who work with tools and the people who sells tools.
The simple people starring in this movie show a nobility of character that makes them shine. They use a plain but poetic language that endears them to our hearts.
Despite some tension, no cuss word is ever heard.
Ingrate looking Daniel Auteuil who directed and starred in this movie did an above average job in portraying the main character.
Radiant Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey (Patricia) who was born in Barcelona, Spain, gave a restrained and extremely touching performance.
Kad Merad and Jean-Pierre Darroussin were equally outstanding.
The only miscast character was Nicolas Duchauvelle (Pascal) the wooden love interest of Patricia.
As a longtime fan of Marcel Pagnol, I heartily recommend that you save your money by avoiding pompous flicks such as Lincoln or Les Misérables and invest instead in this jewel of a movie.
Trust me, you won’t regret it!