Anna Isabel LopezOct. 4, 2011 Movie ReviewFilm Jean de Florette Jean de Florette is a film that revolves on human interest especially to that of materialism that resulted to greed and envy. Beneath the main theme is the loyalty and unity of family even if the characters’ actions are immoral. Situations of Cesar and Jean were contrasting as Cesar portrayed a role of an antagonist. He had no family. Galinette enters the picture as Cesar’s nephew. He treated him as his son because he wanted him to inherit his farmland. He wanted the bloodline of the family Soubeyran to go on in their town.
It is because of this that Cesar wanted Jean’s land so much. It is not for the money because in the beginning, it was already established that Cesar was rich. This can only be done by acquiring the land of Jean because it contained the spring that is the source of water. This is where their immoral schemes started. Cesar was instructing Galinette on how to play his cards when it comes to John. At first, Galinette befriends him then he gains John’s trust. Consequently, Galinette reports back to Cesar his findings. As the narrative moves forward, John couldn’t sustain his farmland anymore to the point that he would sell it to the Soubeyrans.
Whereas in John’s situation, he has his wife and daughter with him even up to the hardest times when they had no water. They went through the hills together, eat meals together and when John was about to die, his wife and his daughter were at his bedside. I could say that it was straightforward because that it clearly shows the results of the blockage of the spring water done by the characters Cesar and Galinette. One irony was when Cesar sent a letter to Jean’s mother, Florette. The reply said that Florette died on the day that the letter has arrived.
Another is that the fact that Jean’s family including him, his mother and his uncle died within a really short period of time. Lastly, as Galinette and Jean’s friendship is supposed to be a fallacy, Galinette ends up being a true friend of Jean. The main characters, Jean, Cesar and Galinette all had one thing in common, their individual attachment to material things. In the beginning, Cesar wanted to plant trees in his farm but Galinette wanted to plant carnations. Cesar later on agreed to Galinette’s idea but their one problem was water supply that was available in another farmland, which was not for sale.
Because of greed Cesar killed the owner of the land. Galinette, even if in doubt and scared still sided with Cesar and kept following his instructions. Again, this embodied loyalty to family even if it is morally wrong. They embodied envy because they wouldn’t stop pestering the landowners of the lot with water supply until they get what they want. They were bitter when Jean had been yielding good crops from his farm. They were also very greedy because they already have their own land and yet they were not contented. They really wanted the other land that they went as far as depriving the other farmers of water.
On the other hand, Jean has a lot of plans to make himself rich through the development of the land. His physical flaw was his hunchback. It made viewers more sympathetic because he would feel more difficult in his situation than normal human beings do if they were in the same situation. Furthermore, Jean’s role was not a stereotype of hunchbacks who have low self-esteem, uneducated and remains to be hidden in the shadows. Jean was a total opposite of this. He had big dreams of developing his land through science and research.
He failed a few times but then human interest and materialism led him to keep on going even though the stakes are too high. Given that he was already willing to risk his wife’s necklace and his inherited house from his mother, greed came along. The chosen characters were just right especially to that of Cesar and Galinette since they were very versatile. They had characters that were double-faced; they can either be good or bad. One character that was also fit is Manon. She was a child that was innocent of human interest resulting to greed and envy that’s why from the very beginning she saw right though Galinette and his bad intentions.
The viewers could sympathize more on her when she found out that Galinette and Cesar blocked the water supply that caused her father’s death at the end. It is because she is just a child and it would traumatize her in a way that she’ll grow up without a father. As a whole, the characters were not the typical ones you’d see in Hollywood films. They embody emotions that are human in nature, may it be morally right or wrong. Furthermore, the film heavily relied on its mise-en-scene to further enrich the narrative and make it more realistic.
As John’s optimism slowly turned to despair, the green grass, fresh numerous produce and the healthy bouncy rabbits also turned to brown and dehydrated land, and thin, dying rabbits. His white wine turned into red table wine. His bread from merchants turned into bread from a local shop. The clothing of Jean and his family went from clean ones to filthy ones. The setting was in a rural area without electricity since they had to do things manually; there were no skyscrapers present. All they had were vast farmlands and hills showing the countryside of France.
To make this more realistic, there were a lot of long shots and extreme long shots in the film to show the horizon and the scenery. Another noticeable technique in the film that I noticed was the tonality that was used during a windstorm. A yellowish-orange hue was used that made the feeling of the viewers more intense, as if they feel the risk that Jean was about to take. The sound was diegetic except for the introduction. The sound of nature like the chirping of the birds and how water flowed through the stream and how the rain sounds when it drops is very distinct.
The sound before the explosion of the dynamite was very soft except for the dialogue. Then when the dynamite exploded it was loud to create a more intense effect on viewers. The melody played by Jean through his harmonica implied sadness and heavy emotions because the tempo was slow. This signified that his life was not easy and it was challenging. The film was one of a kind with a well-driven narrative not identified by genre but by itself alone because it embodied human emotions and yet it can’t be melodrama since it wasn’t heavy that can cause viewers to tear up.
The film provoked a powerful emotional response because it makes viewers realize the harsh realities when human interest sets in. It shows authenticity of relationships especially to that of the family because Jean and his family did things together even up to the hardest times when they had to bring water up to their farm land. Even Cesar and Galinette schemed against John together because they were family. The film was cinematic because it was not our everyday Hollywood story due to the complexity of characters, the rich narrative and the exploration of salient techniques that supported the narrative.
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