Ruiz's version of Jean Giono's novel - about a young Provençal peasant (Casta), given lodgings, clothes and friendship by two rich philanthropists (the ineffably elegant Dombasle and a ludicrously coy Malkovich), who finally wreaks revenge on her toff-hating husband (Diefenthal) after his dire financial speculations have ruined them - is at once surprisingly conventional costume drama (save for his now familiar trompe l'oeil effects), and, by the second half, barely comprehensible in terms of narrative detail. It's as if Ruiz had torn pages willy-nilly from the script (written not by himself but by four others), such is the discontinuity and ambiguity - though the latter is purportedly a feature of the book, too. Whatever, Eric Gautier's fine 'Scope compositions of the brooding Provençal landscape notwithstanding, there's little of substance to savour.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Alexandre Astruc, Mitchell Hooper, Alain Majani d'Inguimbert, Eric Neuhoff|