The Well-Digger’s Daughter

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Twenty-five years after rising to international stardom in the Claude Berri adaptations of Marcel Pagnol’s Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, beloved French actor Daniel Auteuil returns to the world of Pagnol for his debut work as a director with this engrossing remake of Pagnol’s celebrated 1940 classic. Auteuil stars as the eponymous well-digger Pascale, a widower living with his six daughters in the Provence countryside at the start of World War I. His eldest, Patricia (the luminous Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), has returned home from Paris to help raise her sisters, and Pascale dreams of marrying her off to his loyal assistant Felipe (Kad Merad). But when she’s impregnated by a wealthy young pilot (Nicolas Duvauchelle) who promptly abandons her for the frontlines, Pascale is left to contend with the consequences. Shot in the beautiful landscapes of the Vauclose, The Well-Digger’s Daughter beautifully captures the humanist spirit of Pagnol: there are no villains here, and each character tries to do their best with the hand they feel has been dealt to them.