Angèle

Fanny introduced us to Orane Demazis, but Angèle is her pièce de résistance. It's about a farmgirl whose résistance is low to a city slicker who, unbeknownst only to her, plans to set her up as a prostitute in Marseilles. She is rescued from the life by the kindly farmhand Saturnin (Fernandel, cast against type for his finest role). But he cannot save her from her family; with her baby, Angèle is kept locked away like a dirty secret. When she emerges into the harsh Provençal light, it is thanks to the amour fou of a young mountain man and the grace of his fellow itinerant worker, perhaps the most noble of all Pagnol savages. The film, too, is saved from its melodramatic premise by love-of the land on which it is filmed, the much-traveled roads, the creaking windmills, the peasant farmhouse with its big kitchen table, to be seated at which marks one's acceptance as a member of the human race.

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