Lambert, a burned-out case, works the night shift at a gas station, rarely speaking, living alone, drinking. Bensoussan, raised in foster homes, now a small-time pusher for a bar owner ... See full summary »
Colonel Chabert has been severely wounded in the French-Russian Napoleonic war to the point that the medical examiner has signed his death certificate. When he regains his health and memory... See full summary »
A love story or a tale of the resistance, this poignant movie tells both the haunting story of a French resistance cell in Lyon but also the love of Lucie Aubrac for her husband, and the ... See full summary »
After having lost his job for having saved a child accused of shop lifting, Frédéric Barbier decides to become a school teacher with some funny results.The great comedy actor Coluche is excellent as a simple school teacher.
It's late 17th century. The viola da gamba player Monsieur de Sainte Colombe comes home to find that his wife died while he was away. In his grief he builds a small house in his garden into... See full summary »
A bisexual petty criminal named Bob encounters a married couple arguing in a bar. Bob breaks up the fight and proceeds to seduce first the wife and then the husband. Then Bob teaches the ... See full summary »
1863. Etienne Lantier, who has been fired from a railway company for being involved in union activities, lands a miner's job in the North of France. He finds bed and lodging at the Maheus',... See full summary »
It's mid 19th century, north of France. The story of a coal miner's town. They are exploited by the mine's owner. One day the decide to go on strike, and then the authorities repress them Written by
Michel Rudoy <email@example.com>
Italian censorship visa # 89353 delivered on 2-3-94. See more »
Near the end of the film, when Etienne and Catherine are looking for the way out of the mine, we see the shadows of the lamps on the right wall of the tunnel. It's to be supposed that the only light inside the mine came from the lamps. See more »
Coal mine owner:
A strike is a disaster for everyone. Within a week you'll all starve. Then what will you do?
See more »
Tackling a book such as Germinal is a mammoth task - and one that I always thought was extremely difficult to transfer onto the big screen.
There are two ways you can do it, keep it simple or explore everything and bore the audience to death. You can see here that the director has decided to keep the story as simple and straightforward as possible.
This means there are a few gaping holes in the film, as it ignores some of the intricacies of the story and many of the sub-plots which punctuate the story and add to the feel of the book.
In one sense he succeeds, as the tempo of the film is high and it rattles along at a fair pace, not reading like a 2 and a half hour story.
But the major drawback of this tactic is that Germinal ends up looking like a simplistic noble workers versus the greedy bosses story, when the novel is anything but that.
Scorn is poured on both sides with equal contempt by Zola, and plenty of sympathy is given to some of the "wealthy" protaganists in the book.
Having said this, I do understand that in order to keep the film from turning into a 4 hour behemoth, you need to try and keep it as simple as possible.
On the whole, however, it is pretty well acted and the art direction is utterly breathtaking. The villages, the pits, the landscapes, the mines are fabulously shot. You really can feel the poverty oozing from every inch of the screen.
Gerard Depardieu (Maheu) and Renaud (Ettiene) put in some pretty convincing turns but feel that Jean-Roger Milo rather over-egged Chaval, turning him into some pseudo incredible hulk type character who is incapable of speaking normally. Judith Henry also seems a little to young and fresh faced to play Catherine.
I think I let my interpretation of the book cloud my judgement, and as a result I was disappointed because I expected more from the film than I should have.
Rating: 3 out of 5
12 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?