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The Well-Digger's Daughter (2011)

La fille du puisatier (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 20 April 2011 (France)
In 1930s southern France, a father is torn between his sense of honor and his deep love for his daughter when she gets in trouble with the wealthy son of a shopkeeper.

Director:

Writers:

(early screenplay), (adaptation)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Emilie Cazenave ...
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Coline Bosso ...
Chloé Malarde ...
Brune Coustellier ...
Ilona Porte ...
Jean-Louis Barcelona ...
Patrick Bosso ...
Le garçon
François-Eric Gendron ...
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Storyline

Provence, the days before World War II. Rustic well-digger Pascal Amoretti, a widower, encourages fellow laborer Félipe Rambert to date his virgin eldest daughter Patricia, the only of his five who attended a Parish finishing school. Getting drunk, Felipe unwittingly helps her date wealthy general store owner Mazel's handsome, womanizing son, dashing air force pilot Jacques, who gives her a motorbike ride home, make love and get her pregnant. Shortly after, both men are called for military service. On leave, Felipe finds out the truth and still proposes. Jacques is reported missing in action, his family refuses to recognize the baby, so Pascal sends Patricia with it to his outcast sister. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

20 April 2011 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Filha do Pai  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,273 (USA) (20 July 2012)

Gross:

$385,406 (USA) (15 March 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jacques motorcycle is a Triumph Speed Twin 5T. See more »

Goofs

When Pascal is preparing to meet the Mazels, Patricia ties his tie very short, with the back extending several inches beyond the front. You then see him moments later with it tied correctly. See more »

Connections

Remake of The Well-Digger's Daughter (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle (as Claude Rouget De Lisle)
Les Grandes Marches de la République
Orchestre d'Harmonie des Gardiens de la Paix de la Préfecture de Paris
Avec l'autorisation de Cprella-Le Label des Vents
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Yes, even if you love the Pagnol-Raimu version, see this
27 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Remaking a Pagnol film is asking for trouble. Film snobs will dismiss the remake without giving it a chance, though 60 years ago those same film snobs probably dismissed Pagnol as a film director, finding him hopelessly inferior to Renoir or ... Afficionados of Raimu, an unquestionably great actor - when he had a good role - will say that no one can do what he did. And they would be right; no one can out-Raimu Raimu. A force of nature, because Raimu at his best was a force of nature, cannot be imitated or equaled. But a role can be done a different way, even if the words are the same, just as different great actors can succeed at Hamlet or King Lear. And yes, I speak of Shakespeare. Theater/literature snobs can guffaw, but who cares? Let them go about their business.

And I will go about mine, which is to talk about this movie, which is remarkably moving. Moving in part because Pagnol's script was a masterpiece, yes, but also because this is a very well-done realization of it.

The first thing that struck me about this movie was the color, when you see the scenery. Pagnol, for whatever reason, really didn't do a lot with scenery in his black and white movies. This movie shows what that deprived us of. It is done in the best tradition of the color versions of Jean de Florette, Manon des sources, La gloire de mon père, and Le château de ma mère. The countryside around Salon de Provence comes alive, and is beautiful.

I was also struck by the use of music, which again is not a high point in Pagnol's version. The Italian song, so wonderfully recorded by Caruso, is used in very moving ways here. Auteuil has a better sense of how to use music in a film than Pagnol did, at least with this script.

But the heart of this movie is Pagnol's text, and this cast, a great one, does it beautifully. True, at times, as I marveled at the genius of Pagnol's text, I wondered if that meant these actors were acting it, rather than becoming the characters. That may be true in some cases, though not for Kad Merad, who becomes Philippet every bit as much as Fernandel did. I can hear Raimu reciting the lines Daniel Auteuil speaks, and beautifully, perhaps because they are so different, certainly because Raimu delivered them in a way that engraved them in my memory. But Auteuil makes them very moving as well. He is not a force of nature as Raimu was, but his Pascal is also a real character.

What I realized, over and over again watching this movie, is that the script was indeed written by a playwright, and Auteuil respects that. We still have fully-developed scenes, as movies used to have when they were still imitating theater. And, as a result, with this great script and these great actors, we have deeply moving moments, such as when Pascal says goodbye to his daughter, sending her off to raise her bastard child elsewhere. Or, even more deeply moving, when the parents of the father of her child, having just lost their son in the war, come to see the child, the last remnant of their now lost son. Every line of that scene is deeply moving: Pascal's pride in his grandson, the parents' grief and longing for their son. (I didn't care for the mother's final admission that she burned her son's letter rather than deliver it to Patricia; that was better done in the previous version.)

A film script is like a play: it can be done in more than one way, if it's worth doing - as this script most certainly is. It will not wipe away memories of Pagnol's 1940s version, nor should it. You don't have to forget Olivier's Hamlet to love Jacobi's, or Branaugh's, or ... I suspect the very film snobs who dismiss Pagnol's own work will cause this film not to enjoy the success it deserves, but that would be a real crime. This is, in fact, a wonderful realization of Pagnol's very beautiful, very wonderful script.

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I watched this movie again this evening, and really have nothing to add to what I wrote before, other than to say that it is a beautiful realization of Pagnol's script. Auteuil, Merad, and Darroussin are three of modern French film's finest actors, and they all give first-rate performances here. The often wonderful dialogue is delivered as in a great movie or play, lovingly and beautifully. Watch this. It's a deeply moving and wonderful movie.


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