France 3 television series on the occupation during World War II had already been adapted into a novel, now " A French Village »Lands on the comic shelves of your bookstores. However, the pitfalls of low-end transposition are avoided and an original scenario is proposed transposing the characters of this series 25 years earlier: during the declaration of the First World War. A good surprise therefore for this saga which clearly seeks to rally loyal viewers and readers motivated by the centenary of the Great War.
From TV series to comic book saga
Everyone knows, at least by name, the successful series "A French Village" broadcast on France 3 since 2009 and which has now reached six seasons, ie no less than sixty episodes! A seventh and final season is also expected ...
The setting for this soap opera is the town of Villeneuve, a fictitious sub-prefecture of Jura whose daily life is upset by the arrival of German troops in 1940 and which will undergo the occupation and its setbacks, then the Liberation and the purification . This Villeneuvois microcosm, close to the line of demarcation, is the opportunity to meet all the typical profiles of the Second World War: Pétainists, collaborationists, communist and Gaullist resistance fighters, militiamen, Jewish industrialists ...
Taking advantage of the good audiences, the series was quickly adapted into novels and we are therefore only half surprised to see the license appear today in the comics department.
However, this comic should be somewhat detached from the TV series and its novels. Indeed, if the TV series and the novels tell the same story, the comic only keeps the spatial framework and the characters, but upsets the chronological framework to go back twenty-five years: at the outbreak of the First World War . The strategy put in place is obvious, it is about surfing two waves: enjoying a large audience of fans of the series on the Second World War, and taking advantage of the craze for the Great War created by the centenary. . A little big commercial strings that did not give rise to much good hope, and yet ...
The Larcher in 1914
The Larcher are key characters in the TV series, Daniel the mayor of the town, his brother Marcel, a communist activist, and his father Théophile, a convinced patriot who does not accept the commitment of his son Marcel. This comic book retrospective allows us to find them in their youth, when Daniel finishing his military service is still a medical student, when Marcel is not yet working at the sawmill and is trying his luck as an operator of a small farm and when Father Larcher is an imminent figure of Villeneuve, divided between his business and his mistress and relations more than strained with his son farmer and his wife. This genesis of the series is also the opportunity to meet other famous characters such as Hortense, waitress in Paris, Micheline or Raymond Schwartz who finds himself in spite of himself at the head of the sawmill!
The adaptation of a TV series to a comic book is often disappointing or redundant, the transposition from one war to another could suggest that it was only a recovery of the attraction of the moment for 14- 18 and we expected a bland BD. However, this is not the case, this comic can be read pleasantly by mixing well historical context and fictitious intrigues specific to this Jura microcosm. You don't have to be a regular viewer to immerse yourself in Jean-Charles Gaudin's script. The realistic drawings of Vladimir Aleksic allow a real immersion in this disastrous summer. On the principle of following a small group of geographically and socially linked men and women, gripped by the declaration of war, this new comic book saga is somewhat similar to the "competing" "14-18" saga proposed by the Delcourt editions. However, while "14-18" plans to deal with the whole war at the rate of two volumes per year of conflict, "A French village" seems to want to form only a triptych. Too bad that comics do not take the time to go deeper into the characters and situations over time, like the TV series, but that should be enough to satisfy fans on the genesis of the protagonists. Finally, since it involves a very large audience of viewers and amateurs more or less neophytes of the Great War, it would perhaps have been interesting to conclude the work with a small documentary dossier on the declaration of war and / or the French in 1914, which would have given comics a significant educational value.
A french village
- Volume 1: 1914
Screenplay: Jean Charles GAUDIN
Design: Vladimir ALEKSIC