Directed by Claude Berri • Drama • With Renaud, Gérard Depardieu, Miou-Miou • 1993 • 160 minutes
Winner of France’s prestigious César Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design, this epic film is based on the novel by Émile Zola.
During the Second Napoleonic Empire (the mid-19th century), Etienne Lantier finds employment as a coal miner in the northern French town of Montsou. He immediately encounters misery and degradation in the appalling conditions of the mine. There he meets men as unscrupulous as Chaval and, conversely, as generous as Maheu. In fact, a whole range of suffering humanity, laboring under the curse of capitalism. One day the decide to go on strike.
“The overall effect of the movie is much the same as the effect of Zola's novel: To present a time and place so realistically in fiction that the audience will be able to share the experience.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times