I first saw this movie when I was young, on TV. I just watched it again, and found it good again.
The novel is a really hard one, and the adaptation of Jean Louis Bory is good. Gratefully he removed some of the worst sequences. Hervé Bazin's novel can be classified as a french classic, the masterpiece of Herve Bazin, and this adaptation is quite close. We learn it at school here, but it's not easy, and it is really hard and cruel. This is definitely not a movie suitable for young children or for a family audience, and it may be quite difficult for international audience outside France ( and even in France, we are not different from other people).
It's about children-mother relations in rural France. Overall the acting is good, as in the novel the story is first person, told by the second son, "Brasse Bouillon". Yes, but the real main character is Folcoche, and Alice Sapritch is wonderful. Years later, she still kept the "folcoche syndrom". In the 2004 remake, it is a big challenge for Catherine Frot to make as good as A. Sapritch. I didn't watch it yet, I can't tell.
What more ? Pierre Cardinal made some good TV movies, and this one has nothing more, nothing less than others. On today's basis, it's not a "great" one. Jean Louis Bory did a very good job considering the difficulty of the novel. The result is a hard and cruel movie, very close to the novel. Very, very good, even for a TV and still after 30 years. Thumbs up !
It may be very difficult to find outside France. Too bad
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