The oft-used phrase “write what you know” can be applied to Marcel Pagnol, a revered scribe and filmmaker who has made an indelible mark in French cinema. Pagnol’s magnum opus, the Marseille Trilogy, makes its debut January 4th at New York’s Film Forum. All three films (Marius, Fanny, César) are being presented in new 4K restorations, and the trailer shows that Pagnol’s beautiful images of humanity hasn’t dimmed over the years.
The trilogy centers on the lifelong bond between star-crossed dreamers Marius and Fanny. As we begin with 1931’s Marius the titular protagonist (Grand Illusion’s Pierre Fresnay) is in love with cockle monger Fanny (Orane Demazis). Marius, however, has dreams of sailing the seas and doesn’t want to be shackled down as a barkeep. Honoré (Fernand Charpin) is the middle-aged, rich man who completes this love triangle, as his outright devotion to Fanny leads to a fateful decision.
Pagnol’s influence on cinema has inspired generations of filmmakers. Actor/director Daniel Auteuil, who starred in the classic Jean de Florette (based on Pagnol’s novel), has spent the past several years remaking the Marseille Trilogy (the first two installments have already been released).
The three films are set in Pagnol’s hometown of Provence, and the first two installments were helmed by different filmmakers (Alexander Korda took on Marius, with Marc Allégret directing Fanny). Pagnol fittingly directed the final chapter in Marius and Fanny’s adventures.
Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think!
Marcel Pagnol’s Marseille Trilogy will also have a run at Los Angeles’ Laemmle Royal starting January 27.