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Jean de Florette

It's a mystery why Claude Berri's 1986 epic (and its sequel Manon des Sources) should be granted a re-release now. But thank goodness they have, because both films are beautifully photographed portraits of human greed and suffering set against the picturesque Provence countryside. In this first film, set in the 1920s, kind-hearted farmer Jean (Depardieu) is driven to his death by rival landowner Cesar (Monand) and his scheming son Ugolin (Auteuil) who have always had their eyes on Jean's land (which contains an underground spring). The ravishing cinematography perfectly contrasts the extraordinarily downbeat path of Berri's film, as Jean is plunged deeper and deeper into despair by his neighbours and by outrageous misfortune. The trio of lead actors are impeccable.