directed by Claude Berri
France 1986

In the mid-'20s, hunchback tax collector Jean Cadoret (Depardieu) inherits a Provence farm, moving there with wife and daughter to fulfil his naive city-dweller's dreams of an idyllic pastoral life. The map shows a valuable spring on his land, but the cunning Soubeyrans - Montand and son Auteuil - have stopped it up, and plan to wait for him to go broke so that they can buy up his property for a song. Depardieu, though, has some scientific knowledge up his suit sleeve, and at first his crops thrive...Berri and scriptwriter Gérard Brach brilliantly capture the rhythm of the countryside, where the pace of life is dictated by inexorable seasonal changes and the often cruel vagaries of the weather. An object lesson in literary adaptation, the film eschews mere illustration to favour an elliptical narrative which embodies, through the subtlest nuances of dialogue and the most delicate shadings of light and colour, the atmosphere and meaning of Marcel Pagnol's source novel, L'Eau des collines. But it is Depardieu who supplies the heart and soul of the film with a performance of towering strength and heartbreaking pathos. Manon des Sources, the second part of the diptych, followed in the same year.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide HERE

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DVD Comparison:

MGM (Double Feature) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM/UA - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Pathe (UK) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Ole of DVDBasen for the R2 - PAL Screen Caps!

(MGM/UA R1 - NTSC - Left vs. Pathe R2 - PAL - Right)

DVD Box Covers

 

   

 

   

 

  

Distribution

MGM (Double Feature)

Region 1  - NTSC

MGM/UA

Region 1  - NTSC

Pathe 
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 2:01:16 2:01:04 155:59 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.87 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.69 mb/s

NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.87
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

MGM/UA (new)

 

Bitrate:

MGM/UA

 

Bitrate:

Pathe

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0) French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Subtitles English, Spanish, and none English, Spanish, French and none White English (removable)
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios

 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen - 2.35:1

 



Edition Details:

• Manon of the Spring on opposite side

 

DVD Release Date: July 24th, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Mgm/Ua Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• 4:3 Theatrical trailer - 1:46

 

DVD Release Date: January 23, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Pathe Distribution Ltd

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Region 2 encoding (Europe, Middle East & Japan only)

• Widescreen non-anamorphic trailer 2:39

 

DVD Release Date: March 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 27

Comments:
ADDITION New MGM Double Feature July 07': Good news - the new MGM is anamorphic! - single-layered though with Manon on the opposite side of the disc (comparison coming soon). I give up on the colors - all three are different but to me the new, slightly sharper, MGM looks fine despite its leaning to brown and red (probably manipulated). It loses the optional French subs and there is no trailer, but the price has to have these be considered an essential buy in Region 1.

NOTE: The original comparison was done a long time ago and the French caps were resized down to suit the old MGM. It is also anamorphic though.

****

Arghhh... Only seeing the artifacted Region 1 first I was sure the anamorphic Region 2 would be far superior... I was wrong. The aspect ratio is slightly off on one version, and my eye says the R2. Also the color is off on the R2 Pathe version (way too much green) and as well the R2 is not as sharp. Bottom Line: It is softer but more vibrant. Now the R1 is also a mess: washed out colors and compression artifacts all over. VERY poor transfer although it does show some film grain.

Well, quite the disappointment.  I am sure the French Renn Films version is the best, but that may be for a future comparison. I already know it has better extras ( Interviews etc. ) and sound (5.1) where these two versions only sport a trailer and are both Dolby Digital 2.0. I believe The French version has no subs at all though. If you want this with Eng subs, I would say that there is not a worthy version out yet...sigh.  

- Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard The Art of Cinema by Jean Cocteau French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

Check out more in "The Library"



DVD Menus

MGM (new Double Feature) - Region 1 - NTSC

 



(MGM/UA R1 - NTSC - Left vs. Pathe R2 - PAL - Right)

 

 


Screen Captures

 

(MGM (new Double Feature) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM/UA R1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Pathe R2 - PAL - BOTTOM)



(MGM (new Double Feature) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM/UA R1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Pathe R2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


(MGM (new Double Feature) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM/UA R1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Pathe R2 - PAL - BOTTOM)



(MGM (new Double Feature) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM/UA R1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Pathe R2 - PAL - BOTTOM)


(MGM (new Double Feature) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM/UA R1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Pathe R2 - PAL - BOTTOM)



(MGM (new Double Feature) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. MGM/UA R1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Pathe R2 - PAL - BOTTOM)



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Report Card:

 

Image:

Double Feature

Sound:

-

Extras: Pathe
Menu: Pathe
DVD Box Covers

 

   

 

   

 

  

Distribution

MGM (Double Feature)

Region 1  - NTSC

MGM/UA

Region 1  - NTSC

Pathe 
Region 2 - PAL