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Film / Manon des Sources
aka: Jean De Florette

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Think Game of Thrones, but with farming in Southern France instead of fantasy kingdoms.

"Remember, it's much easier to push something downhill than uphill, so push him in the direction where he'll fall."
Cesar Souberyan

Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources (Manon of the Spring) are a French movie duology concerning a city man and his family after they inherit a plot of land rich in resources in the French backcountry. They are adaptations of Marcel Pagnol's novels of the same name.

The first movie, Jean de Florette, involves the plotting of the farmer Ugolin and his cunning uncle César he calls Papet, as they work to subtly drive a young city man named Jean off the plot of land he has inherited from his mother, Florette.

The second movie, Manon des Sources, takes place 10 years later and involves Jean's daughter, Manon, as she solves the mystery of what happened to her father and deals justice to the village that condemned him.

An earlier film, also called Manon des Sources, was made in 1953, but due to writer/director Marcel Pagnol's dissatisfaction over the cutting of his intended four hour film led to the story being rewritten as a novel with the addition of a prequel, called Jean de Florette. The two volumes are known together as L'Eau des collines (The Water of the Hills). From these two books, the two films were eventually made.


Both films were critically acclaimed, and were nominated for and won numerous awards, including 10 BAFTAs.

Contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: In Manon of the Spring, Manon thinks this of Ugolin. The effect is only intensified once she finds out he helped plot her father's death.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ugolin for Manon, in Manon of the Spring. She is horrified.
  • Bad Samaritan: Ugolin in Jean de Florette. Under César's guidance, he feeds Jean misinformation, and provides him enough help to keep their friendship going, but not enough to actually succeed.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Soubeyrans, according to César. The marriage of cousins to cousins saved the family wealth, but resulted in suicides and madness.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Twice, after a fashion. As Manon is coming out of the church after her wedding, César is going to the cemetery to visit Ugolin's grave. Later Manon gives birth and César dies shortly after.
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  • Bystander Syndrome: "Mind your own business and don't mess with the Soubeyran" is the villagers attitude.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In this case, literally a gunman. The man sleeping inside the house in Jean de Florette comes forward to denounce Ugolin and César in Manon des Sources.
  • Confessional: Used and referred to several times in Manon of the Spring, as the village is Catholic. César suspects this is how the priest knows what he and Ugolin did — the villagers got carried away and started confessing other people's sins.
  • Death by Despair: César loses the will to live once he finds out the truth about Jean and Florette.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: César, though the circumstances for this were not what he first thought.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ugolin kills himself when he realizes Manon hates him. César asks some men to help cut him down and to keep it secret, so Ugolin can have a proper burial.
  • Fish out of Water: Jean in Jean de Florette. The movie centers on him, an ex-tax collector from the city, trying to adapt to country farming life. He believes he can learn and succeed at anything with enough preparation. He can't, though sabotage was involved, so he might have if he had been left alone.
  • For Want of a Nail: The plots of the movies wouldn't have happened if César had gotten the letter from Florette telling him she was carrying his child.
  • French Jerk: The old man Cesar accidentally kills early in Jean de Florette (after he insulted Cesar's family honor). He seems to be a mix of a stereotypical American Redneck (complete with wanting to be buried with his gun) and a stereotypical French Jerk (of the "I fart in your general direction" type).
  • From Bad to Worse: Jean's attempts to have a successful farm. It ends with him at the edge of sanity, then becoming impatient during a dangerous activity and getting himself killed.
  • Gossipy Hens: The village men, who gather around and drink while discussing farming. They are also crucial to the downfall of Jean, as César convinces them to not talk with Jean, thus not making him aware of the water spring buried on his land.
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: Ugolin becomes a Stalker with a Crush for Manon, and stitches a discarded hair ribbon directly to his skin, supposedly over his heart but actually on the left side of his chest. Not that the exact position really matters, as all it gives him is a revolting infection.
  • Heel Realization: Twice. In both cases they knew that they were being selfish/evil, but did not realize to what extent. First, the villagers finding out that the man they refused to help was not a stranger, but Florette's son. Second, César finding out that the man he drove insane and eventually caused to die was his son, and Manon his granddaughter.
  • Hopeless Suitor: See Triang Relations.
  • I Never Got Any Letters: César never received a crucial letter.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In the end, Ugolin for Manon.
  • Identical Grandson: Florette and Manon.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Manon.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Papet and Ugolin use this not once but twice: when blocking the source ("it's the rats!") and when unblocking it ("probably a hare that got caught by a hawk")
  • Justice Will Prevail: Manon's revenge.
  • Kissing Cousins: In Jean de Florette, César explains to Ugolin that the family line was ruined because of cousins marrying cousins. In Manon of the Spring the woman that Ugolin wants to marry, with César's support, turns out to be Ugolin's first cousin once removed.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The villagers believe their water drying up is a divine punishment for their complicity by inaction in Jean's death. It's actually due to Manon stopping up the source. Once they confess their guilt and denounce César and Ugolin, she unblocks it but lets them believe it's due to divine intervention.
  • Love Before First Sight: Bernard for the mysterious goatherder that almost no one has seen.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Ugolin for Manon. So crazy that he sews a ribbon of hers he found in the hills to his chest.
  • Meaningful Name: César is named for, well, Caesar. Fitting as he is the patriarch of both the Soubeyran family and Les Bastides Blanches in general.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rather heartbreakingly for César in Manon of the Spring. Much of César's motivation for the plot against Jean was spite, as he's the son of the woman who left César while he was fighting in the war. He only realizes the true extent of his despicable actions when Delphine tells him that Jean is his child, too — the letter Florette sent him on this topic was lost in the war.
  • My Greatest Failure: César's, involving Florette.
  • Nature Spirit: Manon in Manon of the Spring, always wondering through the hills with her herd of goats.
  • Nude Nature Dance: In tandem with the Outdoor Bath Peeping. Manon's dance is a rare example of this trope being played non-cheesily.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: In Manon of the Spring, a particularly creepy example occurs when Ugolin stumbles upon and watches Manon.
    • Bonus Squick in the books, as Ugolin is pushing thirty and Manon is fifteen.
  • Parental Substitute: Ugolin and César are undoubtedly very close, and César mentors his nephew very like a father would.
  • The Patriarch: César, who engineers the plot of Jean de Florette to the advantage of his nephew Ugolin and himself.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A protracted example. César's actions indirectly kill Jean, which he has no problem with however, he realizes much, much too late that he's killed his own son.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Ugolin and César, each of whom wills his property to Manon at their deaths.
  • Satellite Love Interest: The main thing we know about Bernard is that he knows about Rocks. His courting with Manon is mainly just flirty banter. In contrast, Ugolin has tremendous depth, but this doesn't make him any more desirable.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie was filmed in Provence, France, and has since brought many tourists to the region. Filming was planned to last long enough that the scenery would change over the course of the film as the seasons passed.
  • Scenery Gorn: Jean's farm in the first film when he starts to run out of water, especially his dying rabbits.
  • Secret Keeper: Manon, the villagers, César and Ugolin, and the old blind woman.
  • The Simple Life Is Simple: Averted harshly, as stated on the trope page. City Mouse Jean is the butt of jokes because of how bad he is at farming, but since the neighbors want his land, they also do nothing to help him GET BETTER AT IT.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Jean and his wife; Manon and Bernard, over Ugolin who disgusts her.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Ugolin, concerning Manon.
  • This Means War!: In Jean de Florette, this is César's response to another farmer disgracing the family name.
  • Triang Relations: Type 4 in Manon of the Spring. Manon, Ugolin, and Bernard.
  • Tsundere: César and Delphine's descriptions of Florette make her sound like a rather complicated example of a Tsundere: by turns, coquettish and cold and never told César that she loved him, though Delphine is firmly of the opinion that she did.
  • Twist Ending: Jean was César's son by Florette, who really did love him the whole time. Manon is César's granddaughter
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: The general attitude towards Manon after she grows up. Jean wasn't bad looking, but because he was a hunchback, the villagers considered him ugly.
  • Villain Protagonist: Both Ugolin and César have pretty despicable motivations — greed and petty vengeance, respectively. And although the deaths they cause are accidental, both times they show little remorse and quickly jump to how to take advantage of the situation.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: César's actions all stem from the fact that he loves his nephew and wants him to be successful. He just goes way, way too far to make that happen.
  • Wham Line: "Alive, yes... but a hunchback."
  • Wild Child: Manon by the time of Manon of the Spring gives this impression to the village people. However she still has the good education her father gave her, and spends much of her time reading.
  • You Killed My Father: Manon toward César and Ugolin.
  • Your Son All Along: In the first film, the protagonist wants the titular Jean to sell him his land, and plays many tricks on him to pursuade him to do so. It doesn't help that Jean is the son of his childhood sweetheart Florette, who left him and married another man while he was away at war. In the end, he successfully drives Jean to his death and takes the land. In the second film Jean's daughter, Manon, takes revenge for her father's death. It is only at the end of this film that the main character discovers that, contrary to what he thought, Jean was not Florette's son by her husband, but his own son, and that he has unwittingly caused the death of his only child and been in conflict with his granddaughter!

Alternative Title(s): Jean De Florette


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