Posted by: John McGerr | August 3, 2009

Movie Musings5


Over the years I have developed a fondness for foreign language movies, which I prefer to watch in their original language with subtitles. I know there are some people out there who hate subtitles and I have watched films where the subtitles are almost impossible to read but it has not put me off watching. One of the first foreign language films I can remember watching was ‘Yojimbo’, mainly because it had been the basis for ‘A Fistful of Dollars’  I also watched ‘Seven Samurai’  because it was so close to ‘The Magnificent Seven’. Both films were black and white, Japanese, and it was sometimes hard to tell who was who, but watching them it was easy to see the influence they had on the later westerns. Both movies were directed by Akira Kurosawa and among the other films of his I have seen I also liked Rashomon. Two French films that freqently feature in any list of favourites I compile were ‘Jean de Florette’ and Manon des Sources’. They are two parts of the same story and introduced me to Emannuelle Beart one of my favourite actresses. ‘Jean’ deals with the way that a closed in rural community treats outsiders. A hunchbacked ‘town dweller’ inherits a farm and decides he wants to live there. Unfortunately for him the farm is coveted by two neighbours an old man and his grandson and they have covered in a well on the property as part of their plot to get rid of the hunchback. The hunchback, his wife and daughter work long and hard to try and survive and in the end it kills the hunchback. ‘Manon’ takes up the story with the Hunchback’s daughter grown up and seeking a way to revenge herself, not only against the neighbours, but all the local people who she feels connived in the death of her father. How she gets her revenge and the unexpected twist that happens at the end I won’t spoil for you. Having also read the books these movies are based upon they are a faithful adaption and the lead roles, Gerard Depardieu(as the Hunchback), Yves Montand(as the Grandfather), Daniel Autiel(as the grandson) and Emmanuelle Beart(as Manon the hunchback’s daughter) are beautifully portrayed.

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