Another poetic realism
in Marcel Pagnol
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Marcel Pagnol's rural melodramas moved him closer to writing directly for the screen by drawing inspiration from literary sources rather than transposing pre-existing plays. While his first cycle of rural films, Jofroi, Angèle, and Regain, were largely faithful adaptations of texts by popular Provençal writer Jean Giono, in each case they incorporated elements specific to Pagnol, especially performative speech and comedy, that made the work inimitably his own. In addition to winning over reviewers who had previously dismissed Pagnol's work as canned theatre, these films occupied a unique place within the style known as poetic realism and appealed strongly to Depression-era spectators as an antidote to France's perceived cultural decadence. In late 1936 Pagnol took his aesthetic of ethnographic melodrama to new heights by adapting Giono's novel Regain, an elemental parable of civilisation-from-savagery in which an isolated man and woman come together to rebuild a crumbling rural village.


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