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Garris and Riton are the last inhabitants of marshland on an unnamed spot near the Loire River. Riton is afflicted with a crabby wife and three rowdy kids, and drowns memories of his first wife in red wine. Garris lives alone—a hard worker, humane, generous, he gives everything he earns from fishing, gathering flowers, etc., to feed and care for Riton's kids. The crew is completed by Tane and Amédée, who often visit their friends in the marshland. Tane has a job: every day he drives the local little train. Amédée is a lazy dreamer who likes reading the classics, lives with his bankrupt father and slightly crazy sister Marie in a large, dilapidated house. One day, Marie crosses Garris's path.
"What fun! No murders, no special effects, no car chases. Nor any despair over unemployment. Nor moodiness by disenchanted thirty-somethings. 'Children of the Marshland' seems to date from the dawn of time, from those 1950s when people talked about 'French quality' before the refreshing but overly radical whirlwind of the New Wave. True enough, that connection is suggested by the director's name, since it is none other than Jean Becker, son of Jacques (and director of 'One Deadly Summer' and 'Elisa'). A trio of friends enjoys fishing expeditions, snail hunts, innocent games in the green paradise of childish love, sun on the pond—a real, old fashioned film that takes its time, shrugs off tragedy, mentions death without schmaltz, life with a smile, and love with starry-eyes. How refreshing!"
("Les Echos," March 3, 1999)