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Germinal (1993)

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In mid-nineteenth-century northern France, a coal mining town's workers are exploited by the mine's owner. One day, they decide to go on strike, and the authorities repress them.

Director:

Claude Berri
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2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Miou-Miou ... Maheude
Renaud ... Étienne Lantier
Jean Carmet ... Vincent Maheu dit Bonnemort
Judith Henry Judith Henry ... Catherine Maheu
Jean-Roger Milo Jean-Roger Milo ... Chaval
Gérard Depardieu ... Toussaint Maheu
Laurent Terzieff ... Souvarine
Bernard Fresson ... Victor Deneulin
Jean-Pierre Bisson Jean-Pierre Bisson ... Rasseneur
Jacques Dacqmine ... Philippe Hennebeau
Anny Duperey ... Madame Hennebeau
Gérard Croce Gérard Croce ... Maigrat
Frédéric van den Driessche ... Paul Négrel
Annick Alane Annick Alane ... Madame Grégoire
Pierre Lafont Pierre Lafont ... Léon Grégoire
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Storyline

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 <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense depiction of suffering and class conflict | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Belgium | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

31 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Germinal See more »

Filming Locations:

Valenciennes, Nord, France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 164,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$378,854
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Italian censorship visa # 89353 delivered on 2-3-94. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Coal mine owner: A strike is a disaster for everyone. Within a week you'll all starve. Then what will you do?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK version is cut by about 30 seconds to remove scenes of animal cruelty (two cocks fighting) to comply with the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ils se marièrent et eurent beaucoup d'enfants (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

A decent attempt at a complex story
30 April 2004 | by adamflinterSee all my reviews

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


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