Manon of the Spring (1986) is the sequel—or more properly, second part—of Jean de Florette (1986), which the Hendersonville Film Society showed last week. In essence, this film tells the rest of the story—what happens after Jean de Florette (Gérard Depardieu) dies. The film takes place 10 years later with Jean’s daughter Manon (Emmanuelle Béart) fully grown, living more or less wild as a shepherdess. Circumstances cause her to learn of the duplicity that drove her father to his death—and the culpability of not only Cesar Souberyran (Yves Montand) and his nephew Ugolin (Daniel Auteuil), but everyone in the area. While Manon decides to revenge herself on them, Ugolin becomes obsessed with marrying her—an idea that appeals to Cesar, who wants the family name to continue.
The two films are very much of a piece stylistically and might almost be just one long film. This second half is perhaps a little more satisfying, since it’s a more active drama than the first. Though they really should be assessed together, either film is comprehensible without the other.