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 »
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 »
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.
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 World War II, a small French village struggles to put the war behind as the controlling Communist Party tries to flush out Petain loyalists. The local bar owner, a simple man who ... See full summary »
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 young boy's life in turn-of-the-century France. Marcel, witnesses the success of his teacher father, as well as the success of his arrogant Uncle Jules. Marcel and family spend their ... 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>
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?
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Reducing Zola's masterful but monstrously long novel to a movie is the problem that Claude Berri does not seem to have resolved. He sticks close to Zola's text, which means that we get lots of undeveloped snippets of what were very developed scenes in the novel. If you don't know the novel, this probably causes a certain sense of confusion. If you do know the novel, and it is well-known in France, you have the sense that you are just skimming the surface. I think that Berri would have done better to be less faithful to the novel, or at least less comprehensive in his adaptation of it.
That said, there are most certainly good things in this movie. Miou Miou delivers, in my opinion, the movie's best performance. No, she is not at all the earth mother that Zola's la Meheude is. But she acts with her face, saying far more with a facial gesture than many words would have said. In a movie that skims over a lot of material, that makes for very effective acting. Depardieu is sometimes very good - physically he is perfect for the part of le Maheu - sometimes he seems to deliver the lines without thinking about them. The actor who plays Souvarine is very striking.
The cinematography is nice, but does not convey a lot of what Zola emphasizes in the novel: the heat and lack of space in the mine tunnels, etc.
A good movie if you haven't read the novel; a disappointing one if you have.
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