Well-Digger's Daughter, The (La fille du puisatier) (2011)

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Released 23-May-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 104:42
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (59:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Daniel Auteuil

Madman Entertainment
Starring Daniel Auteuil
Kad Merad
Sabine Azéma
Jean-Pierre Darroussin
Nicolas Duvauchelle
Astrid Bergès-Frisbey
Emilie Cazenave
Marie-Anne Chazel
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Alexandre Desplat

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Marcel Pagnol is a famous French author and film maker whose novels have been used as source material for multiple films, sometimes made by himself, sometimes by others. The most famous of these would include Jean De Florette, Manon De Sources & My Father’s Glory all of which achieved great recognition in France and around the world. Another film, made by Marcel Pagnol himself in 1940 was La fille du pusatier or The Well-Digger’s Daughter.

     Back in 1986, Daniel Auteuil, one of the best modern French actors, starred in two of the films I mentioned above, Jean De Florette & Manon De Sources, winning various awards for his acting including Cesars and BAFTAs. He retained an association with the estate of the famous writer and became involved in discussions about bringing La fille du pusatier to the screen again. When the topic of who should direct came up, Auteuil put himself forward to make his directorial debut. Soon it was agreed and Auteuil was confirmed as the director for this project.

     He has done a good debut directing job here, creating a very believable and well-acted drama set right at the start of World War II in rural France. Since making this film he has gone on to direct a trilogy of Pagnol films which are still in production.

     The story here is fairly simple but emotionally resonant. Auteuil plays Pascal Amoretti, the titular well digger who is a widower and the father of six daughters aged from 4 to 18. His eldest daughter, Patricia (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) is dutiful and very pretty. She lived away from home in Paris for a few years when she was younger, attending a convent school due to the largesse of a female patron as Pascal struggles financially to support his six children. One day, whilst taking Pascal and his partner, Felipe’s lunch to them, Patricia meets the handsome son of the local wealthy merchant, Jacques Mazel (Nicolas Duvauchelle). He is attracted to her and starts to chase her affections. He is a pilot in the French Air Force. The middle aged Felipe (Kad Merad) also harbours hopes to marry the beautiful Patricia, although the next sister has her eye on him. Before too long, both Jacques & Felipe are sent off to fight but Patricia is left unmarried and pregnant. How will her traditional father respond? Will either Jacques or Felipe return from war? How will Jacques’ well-to-do family respond?

     The acting is universally high quality in this film and the story is engaging and well told. The scenery is beautiful and the cinematography is excellent. The music by Alexandre Desplat is another highlight. My only criticism is that due to the beauty of everything, the sunshine and the relaxed atmosphere, it is hard to believe that World War II is up and going which reduces the impact of the drama. Everyone just seems a little too happy, despite the dramas of the script. Also, the returning Jacques, supposedly shot down and held captive seems just as beautiful and unharmed as before he went whilst seemingly having had a change of personality.

     Regardless, this is a quality film which will be enjoyed by fans of quality world cinema and thoughtful light drama.

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is decent but somewhat disappointing.

     The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     The picture was only middlingly sharp with distinct softness in backgrounds and some noticeable MPEG grain. Shadow detail was good.

     The colour is quite good, highlighting the bucolic setting.

     There was some mild grain at times and a little macro-blocking during motion along with fairly obvious aliasing such as at 59:00 .

     There are subtitles available in English which are clear and easy to read. They can be turned off, which is not common in foreign language films.

     The layer change occurs at 59:30 and causes an obvious pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is very good, perfectly suited to the material.

     This disc contains a French soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1. Generally, the soundtrack was quite front focused.

     Dialogue seemed easy to understand.

     The music by Alexandre Desplat is beautiful and perfectly suited to the tone of the film. Some classic opera by Enrico Caruso also added to the atmosphere.

     The surround speakers provided some mild atmosphere and the subwoofer supported the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    One minor extra


    The menu featured music.

Theatrical Trailer (1:46)

    French with subtitles.

Trailers for other films

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is a Region 2 UK version of this film which seems to be exactly the same.


    A gentle family drama from France which is based on a novel by Marcel Pagnol.

    The video quality is decent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    Only a trailer in the extras department.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, December 08, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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