Honoré Panisse is dying, cheerfully, with friends, wife, and son at his side. He confesses to the priest in front of his friends; he insists that the doctor be truthful. But, he cannot ... See full summary »
A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
"Fanny" is the second part of the "Marseille trilogy", made by Marcel Pagnol with the generic name of "Marius, Fanny and César". Fanny falls in love and is abandoned by Marius. Now she ... See full summary »
Marius has left, signed up for a five year hitch on a ship bound for the Indian Ocean. In his few letters to his father César, he hardly mentions Fanny. When she finds she is pregnant, she considers her options: suicide, to raise the child on her own, to wait for Marius, or to marry Honoré Panisse, the older merchant who seeks her hand. These choices are emotional: to raise a bastard, to trust in Marius' eventual return, to believe he'll want to marry her, to save her mother from shame, to fool Panisse, to give her child a name. In scenes dramatizing Fanny's honesty, she talks to her mother, then Panisse, César, and later Marius, and she makes her choices.Written by
Part Two of the magnificent Marseilles Trilogy of Marcel Pagnol
This is the second film of Pagnol's famous trilogy set on the quay of the Old Port of Marseilles. It follows immediately upon Part One, MARIUS (1931, see my review) and is succeeded by CÉSAR (1936, see my review), in which the action takes place many years later. These films were made over a period of at least six years, with a total running time of 375 minutes, with the same actors playing the same characters. Whereas Part One largely dealt with the character Marius (played by Pierre Fresnay), this film concentrates on the girl Fanny who is deeply in love with him. Fanny is wonderfully played by Orane Demazis, with haunting emotional depth. In Part One, after a night of love with Fanny, Marius then abandons his plans to marry her and instead follows his dream and goes to sea on a long five-year voyage on a sailing ship bearing scientists who want to measure the bottom of the Indian Ocean. He does not tell his father, César (played by Raimu), that he is leaving, because he knows he will try to stop him. This film commences immediately after the departure of Marius on the sailing ship. César and Fanny are both left desolate. César knows that Fanny and Marius have spent a night together, which at that time was considered deeply shocking and 'a loss of honour'. He had wanted them to marry, but now Marius has gone to sea and will not be back for years. Then, Fanny discovers that she is pregnant. At that time, such a social disgrace could not be endured if a girl remained single. If Marius were still there, they would have married and the problem would have been solved. But he does not even know about the pregnancy and cannot return in any case. What is Fanny to do? She is desperate, and so are her mother and Marius's father, César. They all live on the same quay together with the wealthy sail-maker Honoré Panisse, eloquently played by Fernand Charpin (sometimes known simply as Charpin). Panisse is made aware of the problem and renews his offer to marry Fanny and does not mind that the child is not his. So the wedding takes place and Fanny's honour is saved, and the child does not have to be given away, but can be brought up as the son and heir of Panisse. After the marriage, Marius returns unexpectedly and is horrified at what has happened. He wants to reclaim 'my wife and child' but is persuaded to go away and leave things as they are. So he and Fanny, both heartbroken at their fate, part again. All of this may sound like a trite story, but it is far from that as presented on the screen. This second film is directed by Marc Allégret, who does an excellent job, just as Alexander Korda had done with the preceding film. (Marcel Pagnol himself would direct the third and final film, CÉSAR, 1936, see my review). The earnestness and passion of the remarkable actors in these three films is so intense and real that one feels that one is really there on the quay with these people. Daniel Auteil is doing remakes of these three films, and has completed MARIUS and FANNY (both 2013), but the production of the final one, CÉSAR, has apparently not yet commenced, although it has long been announced. Auteil is directing the films and plays the part of César. The first two Auteil versions have been released and are readily available on DVD, but have not yet been released with English subtitles. One even wonders whether CÉSAR will really be made by Auteil, as perhaps some funding problem has arisen. Auteil's public association with filmed Marcel Pagnol stories began in 1986 when he played the role of Ugolin in JEAN DE FLORETTE and MANON DES SOURCES, which were hugely successful around the world. In 2011 he appeared in and directed Pagnol's story THE WELL DIGGER'S DAUGHTER (see my review), which was a superb film. Certainly Auteil's obvious love of the Pagnol stories is a most endearing characteristic of his. He himself is not from Provence but was born in Algiers. After this film finishes, many years elapse in the story before the episodes of the final film, CÉSAR (1936, see my review), which brings the intensely emotional saga to its conclusion.
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