Germinal is one of Zola’s most famous novels and is a bleak depiction of a mining community before, during and after a strike. The book, as usual for Zola, is packed with characters and events that bring the story alive.
The 1993 film adaption of the novel was directed by Claude Berri and starred Gérard Depardieu as Maheu. The film also had Renaud as Étienne Lantier and Miou-Miou as Maheude. Further information can be found at IMDb.