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:: CHILDREN OF THE MARSHLAND

Narrated by five year-old daughter of Riton, Cri-cri reminisces about the adventures shared by four eclectic friends – Garris, Riton, Mr Richard, and Amedee – who live in rural France in the 1930s. Garris (Jacques Gamblin), a self-sufficient, demobilised World War I soldier, and Riton (Jacques Villeret), who seeks solace in bottles of “pomerol”, are marshdwellers. Their daily lives consist of seasonal work and visits from their ‘city friends’, Mr Richard and Amedee. 

Mr Richard, fondly dubbed Pepe, lived on the marsh for forty years collecting scrap metal, which eventually lead him to run his own lucrative scrap metal factory. Although wealthy, Pepe regrets leaving the marsh and the harmonious life of co-existing with nature.
Together, the four friends celebrate friendship, a hatred of war, life in the open air, and the independence of spirit. The great presence and strength of the actors bring to life this simple story. The film is carefully woven with anecdotes about the complexity of human behaviour and questions the motivations behind people’s actions. Director, Jean Becker uses many shortcuts to lull the audience through the gentle rhythms of comedy and tragedy. Becker’s use of an unobtrusive “mis-en-scene” and cinemascope allows the audience to concentrate on the “poetic realism” of the story, and the visual simplicity of life in rural France. A truly enjoyable film, glorifying the arguably ‘still-relevant’ values of loyalty, sincerity and unselfishness.