Maria Chapdelaine, a young woman living with her family on the frontier in Quebec, Canada, endures the hardships of isolation and climate, and chooses between three suitors: a trapper, a farmer, and an immigrant from Paris.
Madeleine Renaud plays the title character--a young woman living in the French-speaking part of rural Quebec--the part that almost always seems like it's freezing cold! She falls in love with a trapper who has plans of settling down and becoming a farmer (Jean Gabin in one of his early roles). However, he wants to finish up the season and then come back to marry her. Eventually, however, he freezes to death and is eaten by wolves--leaving Madeleine miserable and being pursued by two new suitors. While this is the plot, the film really is much more of a meandering slice of life film. It shows life in a rural village with all its many privations. About the only joy I saw was around Christmas (and the people singing was quite lovely) but then only minutes later Madeleine got word about her dead fiancé! What a great way to celebrate, huh?!
While this is a very lovely film to see, it's also a very, very slow film. If you are French-Canadian, you'll no doubt enjoy it much more. And, if you are a sociologist or history teacher, you might also get more out of the film--as it records a lost way of life. But, for the rest of the people out there this will probably be very slow going. Tedious at times and grim, you may need to force yourself to stick with this one.
Source : IMDb