• The ramon of Emile Zola,


    , is the subject of a new film adaptation in a series whose first of six episodes will be broadcast on Wednesday on France 2.

  • This


    sauce television was shot in part on the Wallers-Arenberg mining site, in the North, where Claude Berri had made his adaptation in 1993.

  • Two former miners, who participated in both adventures, give their point of view.


, the return.

Emile Zola's famous novel is the subject of a new film adaptation in a series, the first of six episodes of which will be broadcast on Wednesday on France 2. This


sauce television was shot in part on the Wallers mining site -Arenberg, in the North, where the producer and director, Claude Berri, had created the sets and shot his own version of the book, almost thirty years ago.

20 Minutes

met two former miners who experienced both shootings.

This time, the two retirees did not work in front of the camera, but behind the scenes.

“Now we're too old to play the role of minors,” they joke.

"Berri's film was star business"

In any case, both agree that this new version displays greater realism.

"Berri's film was star business," Aimable Patin said.

We, the extras, were used as furniture.

I didn't recognize myself in the atmosphere at all.

This time, in the first two episodes I saw, I ate minor.

I can see myself a lot more.


Even if the time of


, written at the end of the 19th century, did not ultimately have much to do with that which this ex-miner knew in the 1970s and 80s. “It's a way of life which is passed down from generation to generation.

My parents told me.

You can easily imagine how it was when you live in it, ”he emphasizes.

And the collective imagination is also nested in the smallest details.

Hence the interest for the production of having an experienced look at the sets.

Especially since Aimable Patin worked for 27 years 700 meters underground, precisely in this Arenberg pit, near Valenciennes, where the new sets were built.

"I found the wood of the galleries too light"

“I was contacted by the decorator, Isabelle, who wanted an opinion each time she set up a set,” he recalls.

As the retiree is regularly on site to make historical visits to the site, the collaboration was easily established.

“Sometimes I found the wood in the galleries too light.

In my memory, it was darker, because of the dust, but also perhaps because of the lack of light, ”he explains.

Before admitting: "But frankly, they worked well".

In 1993, Aimable had done figuration for Claude Berri, along with many other former miners, alongside Renaud and Gérard Depardieu.

At the time, the last coal mine in the north had just closed in Oignies, in the Pas-de-Calais.

The film made it possible to preserve the Arenberg site and to see the birth of an association for the preservation of heritage.

From now on, the place is the subject of regular visits to retrace the history of the daily life of underground miners.

"Cinema is not reality"

Another member of this association, Edmond Pruszak, also played occasional consultants.

“Two or three times, the team took advantage of my presence on the site to ask my opinion, but it was Aimable who supervised all this,” admits Edmond.

Claude Berri's film, he also keeps a mixed memory.

“It was an extraordinary experience, I had worked 70 days on the film,” he says.

But, one day, a remark was made about a worker who was chopping wood incorrectly.

The director told us that cinema was not reality.

He was right, but suddenly it made us feel weird ”.

Hired at the age of 14 and a half in 1963, Edmond Pruszak worked for twenty-five years in various pits in the region.

He does not forget that "it is after all thanks to Claude Berri that the Arenberg mining site still exists today".

New series on the mine of the 1970s?

In addition, he would like the cinema to focus on a period other than that of


to evoke the mine.

“The post-war years were the years that caused the most damage to miners due to silicosis.

My brother died at 50 and my brother-in-law at 51. We don't talk about it enough, ”he regrets.

Oblivion will perhaps be quickly repaired.

“I learned that a team had to shoot a new series on the mine which would evoke, this time, the 1970s, slips Edmond Pruszak.

It'll speak to people more, I think.



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