Daniel Auteuil (Manon of the Spring) directs and stars in this melodrama set in Provence during World War I. Auteuil plays Pascal, the title laborer, a widower and proud father of five daughters. A handsome young pilot from a wealthy family charms his oldest, 18-year-old Patricia (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey). Meanwhile, Pascal’s hapless friend Felipe also courts Patricia. Pascal, meanwhile, only wants a male heir, and will go to any lengths to get one. This simple rustic tale is based on the novel by Marcel Pagnol, who directed a 1940 film version. Auteuil faithfully retreads the original, and despite a verbose script and the kneejerk sexism of Pascal, the visual beauty and narrative simplicity make the film a pleasure. Among the excellent cast, Bergés-Frisbey — with her ripe-cherry lips and smoldering sexuality — proves a stunning throwback to a bygone era.