The film that inspired a wave of British migration to the Provence region remains one of the most internationally successful French films. Featuring three titans of French acting, Gerard Depardieu, Daniel Auteuil and Yves Montand, it tells the story of rivalry between two farming clans, one headed by scheming ‘Papet’ (Montand), and the other by the urban upstart Jean (Depardieu). With its glorious, romanticised photography of French landscape, all spindly olive trees, wizened vineyards and crumbling cottages, Jean de Florette inspired an international obsession with both France’s countryside and its cinema.
In adapting Marcel Pagnol’s previous 1953 film (and novel), director Claude Berri decided to tell the story in two-parts, filming the sequel Manon des Sources simultaneously, in a production that was technically challenging and at the time the most expensive in French history. The film was rewarded with four Bafta Awards in 1987, including Best Film.