Roger Ebert liked the former (and we did too):
Germain is a handyman in a sloppy flannel shirt and overalls, overweight and hulking. Margueritte is a little (85 pounds) old (95 years) lady. They meet on a park bench, where both know that exactly 14 pigeons hang out there, and both recognize them by sight. . . .
This happens in an improbably sweet film that will strike many as too upbeat. Germain is cuddled by his adorable bus-driver girlfriend Annette (Sophie Guillemin), and pals around with his buddies at a local cafe. He suffers through flashbacks to his unhappy childhood, but seems on the whole serene. He loves Annette but he declares himself "in love" with Margueritte.
So are we, a little. She is bright-eyed and high-spirited, and never overplays the heart-tugging. The director, Jean Becker, is the son of the great French noir director Jacques Becker, who was 8 when Gisele Casadesus was born. There's history here. The happy ending lays it on too thick, but what the hell: In for a dime, in for a dollar. Besides, the movie started me re-reading The Plague.
We enjoyed the upbeat ending and were happy to think about Margueritte, Annette, and Germain being happy. We did not start re-reading The Plague.
Instead, we started watching Seraphine, a 2009 movie based on the life and art of Seraphine Louis, usually called Seraphine de Senlis. We have visited Senlis before, driving there from Roissy to see the Cathedral (of the former diocese of Senlis) and eat dinner at Le Gril des Barbares. I would like to go back to Senlis our next trip to visit the museum that displays her work.
Seraphine does not have a happy ending, except that the title character may have received the care and peace she needed. When she created her beautiful artworks, the artist sang the Veni, Creator Spiritus, and she offers prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, painting at the inspiration of her Guardian Angel. Roger Ebert liked it, too, but he did not recognize the Veni, Creator Spiritus!
We might watch The Well Digger's Daughter the next time we have a Roku movie night. We've enjoyed the movies based on Pagnol's works before: Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources; My Mother's Castle and My Father's Glory, so we look forward to it.