cover image Pagnol's Provence

Pagnol's Provence

Rudolf Steiner, Julian More. Pavilion Books, $29.95 (161pp) ISBN 978-1-85793-356-7

A visitor to Marseilles or any of its surrounding villages might not think twice about the frequency with which he hears certain children's names--Marcel, Cesar, Manon, Fanny, Marius; they are common enough French names, but in this region of Provence, they are often a tribute to a favorite son, Marcel Pagnol, the film director, playwright, novelist and memoirist--perhaps best known to American film audiences for his Jean de Florette, Manon of the Spring and The Baker's Wife. Their charm pleased audiences throughout the world, and his artistry influenced generations of filmmakers and won him the rare honor of an election in 1947 to the Academie Fran aise. His creations are memorialized not only in the children named for them but also in numberless schools, streets, boats, bakeries, bistros, restaurants and inns scattered throughout the region. In this handsome book that's part biographical sketch, part film history and commentary and part vivid evocation of the special Proven al ambiance, More (Views from a French Farmhouse) leads a traveler around Marseilles and through the adjoining countryside and villages in an unusual tour of special appeal to Pagnol fans; but others will also appreciate his extensive knowledge of the region and its people and his suggestions for out-of-the-way places to stay and dine. A clear, hand-drawn map of the sites and many pleasing color photos that capture the beauties of Provence accompany the text. (Feb.)