Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Well-Digger's Daughter (Rhoades)

“Well Digger,” An
Honorable Remake

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Film snobs are likely to dismiss this remake of the 1940 French film “La fille du puisatier,” a classic by Marcel Pagnol.
If you’ve ever seen “La fille du puisatier” (Translation: “The Well Digger’s Daughter”), you know that it’s about the eldest daughter of a well digger who gets pregnant by the son of a wealthy shopkeeper. Set in the South of France at the beginning of World War II, it’s a sweet drama about a workingman’s attempt to maintain his family honor.
The film details the ensuing feud between the two families.
Now actor-director Daniel Auteuil (“Caché”) has had the audacity to redo the beloved film, taking the lead role of Pascal, the well digger, for himself.
Actually he does a good job with this homage.
Gamin-like actress Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (one of the mermaids in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”) is perfect as Patricia, the saintly daughter who falls from grace. She will remind you of a Spanish-French version of Jane March.
Nicolas Duvauchelle (you saw him in “Polisse”) is convincing as Jacque, the handsome young man who knocked her up before going off to war.
Kad Merad (“22 Bullets”) is poignant as Félipe, her father’s co-worker who offers to marry the pregnant daughter.
And Jean-Pierre Darroussin (“La Havre”) plays the father of the seducer, a bourgeoisie shopkeeper who humiliates the well digger and his family.
Pascal declares that you can’t trust people "who sell tools, but never use them."
“The Well Digger’s Daughter” – currently playing at the Tropic Cinema – is a moving story. And the colorful depiction of the Provence countryside delivers a delight to the eyes. You will fall in love with the south of France, if you haven’t already.
This is a simple story:  boy meets girl, girl has his child, things turn out okay in the end. It’s a faithful adaptation of Pagnol’s original story. Snobs have little to complain about here.

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