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 »
Marc Lacroix is a psychiatrist, a student of the brain, with a rocky marriage, a mistress, and a ten-year-old son. He also has a secret laboratory where he's built a machine he thinks will ... See full summary »
Marie has had a tough childhood ever since her mother Elisa committed suicide. She has spent most of her life in an orphanage and now makes a living as a small time criminal in Paris. Now ... 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 »
Gervaise Macquart, a young lame laundress, is left by her lover Auguste Lantier with two boys... She manages to make it, and a few years later she marries Coupeau, a roofer. After working ... See full summary »
Every holiday Marcel and his family go to their cottage in the Provence (France). He likes the hills in this region. Before they arrive at the cottage they have to walk about 5 miles. With ... See full summary »
Two whimsical, aimless thugs harass and assault women, steal, murder, and alternately charm, fight, or sprint their way out of trouble. They take whatever the bourgeois characters value: ... 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 »
Berri once again turns a book into a near masterpiece, as he did with "Jean de Florette" and "Manon of the Spring". This adaptation of Emile Zola's dark polemic novel abut the hard lives of French miners in 19th century France is both political and epic, with neither element drowning out the other.
Very strong performances abound. Miou-Miou is heartbreaking and, at times, frightening in her rage, as a mother and wife trying to help her family survive on the slave like wages paid buy the mine -- her anger growing ever harder to control as the mine literally consumers her family. Gerard Depardieu is also excellent as her husband, a big, likable fellow who is finally pushed too far by the bosses and working conditions. He joins with a more educated newcomer to the area, played by the also excellent Renaud, to help start a strike against their bosses, who plead poverty, and the inability to pay the workers more (indeed they want to cut wages), but who live in "Let them eat cake" splendor.
While the film may be heavy handed at times in its cross cutting between the lives of rich and the poor, it escapes the trap of making "the poor" just a lovable, or pitiable mob .These are well drawn individuals, with light and dark sides, (some with more of one than the other) and the violence of the mob is shown as ugly and brutal, if also understandable. Berri is not above acknowledging that it sometimes takes violence to force change, but even if that change may be for the good on the large scale, the violence also always leads to tragedy in the realm of individual human beings.
The film is beautifully shot and art directed, the grim hard life in the mines brought to startlingly real life, full of details and specifics that help, once again, the film transcend generalizations about being poor. These men and women take pride in their difficult, dirty and dangerous work, even as they have reached the end of their tether with their poverty.
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