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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
My Father's Glory/My Mother's Castle
Directed by Yves Robert
MGM Home Entertainment 06/91 DVD/VHS Feature Film
These related films are adapted from the memoirs of Marcel Pagnol. With beauty, simplicity, and a keen appreciation for the commonplace, director Yves Robert captures the turn-of-the-century childhood of Marcel, the precocious son of Joseph (Philippe Caubere), a diligent schoolteacher, and Augustine (Nathalie Roussel), a seamstress.
In My Father's Glory, Young Marcel (played by Benoit Martin and then Julien Ciamaca) becomes an avid reader, acquires a younger brother and a sister, accompanies his aunt to the park where she meets her husband-to-be, and befriends Lili, a country boy whose poverty has made him into a keen observer of nature. Later, in My Mother's Castle, Marcel falls under the spell of an exotic girl whose father is a poet.
Although these coming-of-age experiences are treated respectfully, director Yves Robert is most impressive in his presentation of Marcel's love for the Provence countryside. After his first trip to the area where they rent a summer cottage, Marcel feels he belongs to the place. The region provides him with large doses of mystery, adventure, and fun. Returning to the city with his family, he feels a magnetic pull to the hills of Provence. Eventually, his dream is fulfilled and they trek to the countryside every weekend.
The embrace of place enables Marcel to stretch himself and to nourish his inner identity. The rich exploration of this theme in both My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle will take you back to your childhood memories and the imprint of place upon your personality and consciousness.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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