Daniel Auteuil continues to dust down Marcel Pagnol's Marseilles Trilogy with this second instalment of a gentle dramatic cycle made famous by a beloved 1930s adaptation.
Picking up where Marius left off, Fanny follows its titular heroine as she pines for Marius, lately departed on a five-year voyage around the South Seas. She soon discovers that she is pregnant and a marriage is quickly brokered with an older widower with a sail-making empire. Marius's father and Fanny's mother seems content with the arrangement. But this a Pagnol drama, so tragic and romantic complications are sure to arise.
Daniel Auteuil is the perfect custodian for Pagnol's trilogy. The former star of Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources (both Pagnol adaptations) made his directorial debut with The Well Digger's Daughter in 2009. These Marseilles pictures are a little less lux than the earlier presentations.
Though handsomely mounted and faithful to quaint period detail, Marius wasn't exactly cinematic. If anything, Fanny is even more stage-bound. Cinematographer Jean-Francois Robin maintains a tight focus as the drama swells.
What the film lacks in physical scope it amends with emotional clout. To this end, Victoire Belezy is splendid as the compellingly compromised heroine.
We look forward to Cesar, the final instalment in the trilogy.