Impromptu (1991) Movie Script

Aurora! Aurora!
Hear me,
O Corambe.
thou who art man, woman and god in one,
hear me.
I free this bird in thy name.
Come to me, sublime being.
I want to know the meaning of life.
And I want to find perfect, perfect love.
I free this lizard in thy name.
Don't be dead.
Oh, balls.
My little ritual in the woods
didn't always go smoothly,
but I was never discouraged
and I never gave up hoping for an answer.
- That won't work.
- Fish are attracted to a bright colour.
Your fish will die of fear first.
- Are you coming?
- Mallefille will come looking for us.
- We're supposed to have our lessons.
- No, he won't.
He's sleeping with Mummy.
She doesn't get up till noon.
He's not sleeping with Mummy.
She doesn't like him any more.
My love?
My soul?
My sweet?
My heart?
George, please let me in.
Are you from the printers?
We've been waiting...
Madame Sand. Pardon. Please excuse...
Madame Sand is on her way up.
Don't do that!
It is rather far.
- I'll have to face her, that's all.
- Alfred!
I'll be perfectly behaved.
Even a little scornful.
No, you won't. You'll be impossible.
I don't want a scene. Now get in there.
And hurry up!
Hello, George!
I wasn't expecting you till next month.
- How are the children, the country?
- Fine.
Listen. I need another 3,000 francs.
What happened to the advance you got?
You know my expenses.
The children, the estate,
my mother's nursing home...
The divorce took half of everything.
All right. But let me have
one more instalment first.
How? I've got no place to work.
What's wrong with the country?
Mallefille is there.
The children do need a tutor, but...
I just can't
stand the sight of him any more.
I tell him outright I want him to leave
and he plainly refuses.
I'm a coward, of course. I can never
simply boot my lovers down the stairs.
- Ha!
- What?
Why don't you stay here
in Paris and write?
Because Alfred's here.
I've got to go somewhere.
Anywhere, I don't know.
Maybe I should just
curl up and die, yes?
Listen, Buloz. I need 3,000 francs now.
Let me read this... and we'll talk tonight
at the Baroness Laginsky's party.
I hadn't planned to attend.
Alfred might be there.
I know for a fact that he won't.
All right.
- What's that?
- Marvellous.
- Her memoirs? Am I in it?
- No!
This bit's about her childhood.
You'll come in later, after she chews up
her husband and a hundred others.
It's true. She's a cannibal.
She'd drink her children's blood from her
lover's skull and not feel a stomachache.
Alfred, go home.
Put it into verse, I'll publish it.
Then and only then you'll get paid.
Thanks to you
I can't go to the baroness's party.
- In fact, I'll have to leave Paris.
- No more advances.
I don't need your money, old sow.
I've had an invitation to the country.
From a duchess, no less.
Good day.
This summer dust is ruinous to my lungs.
I hope the air will be better in Angers.
The Duchess d'Antan has invited you too?
- Well, yes.
- How delightful.
Please continue, dear fellow.
- Good day, Countess.
- George!
I'm sorry I frightened you.
I had the most fearful dream.
Blandine was a terrible creature
with fly's wings
that was draining my life from me.
They are deadly little charmers.
Chromatic glissando.
The wings of a butterfly.
Or the wrath of God.
He wakes the baby,
then complains about the crying.
- How is Franz?
- He's a saint. Sublime.
He'll even stay that way
if you don't marry him.
Yes, well, there's no danger of that.
The count won't divorce me.
Since I left him, he won't even allow me
to see the children.
Well, now you've begun a new family.
Still, I prefer to be married.
I know you thumb your nose at all that.
It's funny.
I thought I'd die of suffocation
when I was married.
Now it's my freedom that's killing me.
Tell me, have you been invited
to Angers next week?
The Duke and Duchess d'Antan
have asked us to their estate.
Sophie! Where is that wretch? Excuse me.
I will see you.
You're not going to Angers too? Eugene!
A whole fortnight
among some tiresome old aristocrats.
A fortnight of free food,
exquisite scenery and no bills.
And all you have to be
is brilliant at dinner.
She doesn't seem bothered
she's being eaten alive.
She'd probably say
"Better to feel something than nothing."
Even if it's teeth.
Madame Sand!
Oh, what a great honour
you do my humble salon!
Delighted to meet you, Baroness. I'm
looking for my publisher, Monsieur Buloz.
He's in the salon with the others,
but you'll have to wait to go in.
I've so longed to meet you!
I knew your father when he was young.
- Really?
- Yes.
We girls were enraged
when we heard he'd married that dancer.
- You mean my mother?
- Oh... of course.
- Is she still living?
- Yes.
- But she's ill now.
- How sad.
And what a tragedy
your father died so young.
The Count de Saxe. So dashing.
Those idiots!
Excuse me.
Not yet!
Madame Sand! Is it true
that you're writing a memoir?
- Do you pray, Baroness?
- If you must know, I'm secretly devout.
- Do you ever hear an answer?
- To my prayers? Well, no.
There... is the answer.
Ah, you mean Monsieur Chopin.
How clever.
It's very rare
to hear him play, you know.
The Duchess d'Antan is having him for
a whole fortnight at her house in Angers.
I could only wish I were
a fly on the wall.
Except that they already have
crowds of flies down there.
I do find the provinces beastly.
Now, Monsieur Liszt will play next.
- Ah, George. I read your...
- In a minute.
You'll want to sit over here, my dear.
The respectable people are over there.
- Could you point out Monsieur Chopin?
- Chopin? But he left.
Don't you know him?
He's frail as a holy wafer.
Look at those hypocrites.
They've shunned me all evening.
I'm thrilled not to be one of them
any more. Their lives are so boring.
You see?
Every single one is throbbing for him.
They know perfectly well
why I ran off with him.
For his teeth.
Grab it! Grab it!
Charles! Charles!
I've had the most extraordinary letter!
Madame George Sand is quite brazenly
inviting herself to the fortnight!
You know the one. She wears men's
clothes and leads a most depraved life!
I'm dying to meet her.
She writes that marriage is barbaric,
They say no marriage is safe around her.
Just think, she might take a fancy
to your turkey wattles.
Didier! Don't touch that! Come here!
I'm in a quandary
because I've invited Alfred de Musset.
Everybody knows he and Madame Sand
practically tore each other to pieces.
I'm petrified that if they
so much as clap eyes on each other...
Has anyone ever met this duchess?
Must be one of those titled tarts stuck in
the provinces with an uncouth husband.
She's probably famished for culture
and determined to import it at any cost.
- Where are you going?
- Hunting.
- Goodbye. I'll be back in a few days.
- But you can't!
- Our guests arrive today.
- Precisely.
You blockhead!
These are the great geniuses of our time,
gathered together in our home!
They are a gang of parasites.
After a few days in their company,
I expect you'll come to your senses.
You'll humiliate me
if you don't receive them.
You don't want me to be a success!
Attach little bags of seed
to the branches.
I want thousands of birds singing
when they come up the avenue.
You're not dressed properly.
Go and put on your pink waistcoat.
That murderer!
There won't be a bird left in the sky!
Yes. Come on, Helene.
In my house, you are the nobility.
The nobility of genius.
Madame Sand!
- Hello. How was your trip?
- Madame Sand!
I'm melting with delight!
Oh, and you've brought your two boys!
- I'm a girl.
- Ah.
Here, Master Delacroix.
I have given you my own studio.
The light, you can see, is perfection.
When is Monsieur Chopin arriving?
Or so he wrote to me in his letter.
Here is the theatre!
Sometimes we indulge ourselves
in little amateur productions.
And here, Madame Sand, is your workroom.
If you open the doors, perhaps
our southern moonlight will inspire you
to write those sublime novels
which I so admire.
George! Up, quick!
We have food for a picnic!
And a donkey!
before the dreaded duchess finds us.
Come on!
What is wrong with our Georgie?
She is incurably disgusted.
With what?
Love, no doubt.
She should only have
what Marie and I have.
Only God deserves love.
I adore this silence.
George has gone off, it seems.
- Shall we go and look for her?
- Can you walk?
Not presently.
I need this rest.
My tour next month is 20 cities.
- Where are you going?
- Vienna, Geneva...
You're going on a tour?
Darling, did I forget to tell you?
What of your writing, your work?
What of me? Am I going with you?
We'll talk about it later.
We're going back.
Thank you, young man.
What a magnificent horse.
Must have been a great hunter.
I'd invite you to my home for a drink,
but I've got a house full of fops.
Guests of my wife's.
I won't let her move to Paris
so she's trying to bring Paris here.
Still, it's her money.
And I love her for it.
Where are you staying, lad? At the inn?
That is either Monsieur Chopin
or Monsieur de Musset.
- You haven't invited Alfred?
- I'm afraid so.
Do you think it'll be a disaster?
Why do you laugh?
This will be judgement day for George.
She should pay for her sins
like any other fallen woman.
She can't avoid everything
by being a man.
That's not Alfred at all.
This gets better and better.
- Who is it?
- Felicien Mallefille.
- He's the children's tutor.
- He can discipline those two savages!
I wonder where I shall put him, though.
In George's room, of course.
That's what he's accustomed to.
He is a handsome brute!
How does she merit all these men?
He looks angry.
I don't think he appreciated
being left behind at Nohant.
- George!
- George!
I'll give you a horse
to ride back to the inn.
- There's something I must confess.
- Drat! We've been seen!
Not that one, monsieur! He's a devil!
By God! What a fine seat
that fellow George has.
Madame George Sand, dear. The authoress.
- Are you ready now to face me?
- God, Mallefille! Not now!
Yes, now.
No kisses? Where's my greeting?
Didn't you get my letter?
Yes. Your message was clear indeed...
between the lines.
- I will defend my position.
- Oh, balls!
You're not in the army any more.
You had an affair, not a pitched battle.
Oh, Mallefille.
Poor boy. It won't hurt for long.
- I know it must seem unfair.
- George.
- You promised to love me.
- I didn't promise to succeed.
- Whom did you come here to meet?
- No-one.
Help me off with my boots.
He should write his epitaph
because I'm going to kill him!
Your rival is imaginary!
If you're not going to help, go and find
somewhere to sleep and leave me!
Make that two epitaphs,
because I'll kill you if I find...
Oh, my God, you're hurt!
You're bleeding.
Be a dear. Ask Ursula
if she's got something for a bandage.
Of course. Don't move.
Oh, don't stop!
Monsieur Chopin, you were in the middle
of a miracle. I'm not quite yet cured.
How did you get in? Who are you?
I am your slave.
And you have summoned me
with your music.
Oh, yes. I think I know who you are.
I have heard you described.
Madame Sand,
rumour has it you are a woman,
and so I must ask you
to leave my private chambers.
Have I offended your modesty?
I apologise.
- Play me one more piece and I'll go.
- This is ridiculously improper!
And frightening as well.
Please leave now.
Still, I am content.
I've seen you at last.
And I am delighted to find
you're not a man at all.
You're an angel.
Hands, halo, wings...
Good night, my dream.
My poor lady, you are a wreck.
I am a resurrected wreck.
Move over.
Citizen Maurice,
the prisoner is ready for execution.
Viscount de Swamp, you are guilty
of crimes against the people of France.
To the guillotine!
To the guillotine! To the guillotine!
The king has escaped!
- Catch him!
- I will!
Tyrant! You will be brought to justice.
Long live the republic!
- The king's guard! We're surrounded.
- We'll hold the king as hostage.
We'll shoot the viscount and throw them
his body and demand their surrender.
Do we have enough ammunition
to hold them off?
- I don't think so.
- I can help you.
- My papa's got plenty of gunpowder.
- This could be very useful.
Good morning... master.
- Morning, Excellency.
- Claudette.
Ah. Velvet flowers.
Did you make these, Claudette?
I have a tiny talent
and an enormous amount of time.
But have you come to work?
I will leave you in peace.
Oh, no.
It's very bad.
No, don't!
That's really quite good.
One, two.
You're a fine shot, sir.
I can see you're not
one of those perfumed prancers in there.
- What do you say to a little hunting?
- I am standing guard on my mistress.
That one? She doesn't need your
protection, by God. Fascinating creature.
I'm sure she'd rather
come hunting with us
than sit around arranging her flounces.
"One warm word from you and I live.
One brutal word and I die."
"It doesn't matter,
for I am not afraid of death any more."
"I have already visited the beyond
in your music."
- Will you take it to him?
- Why don't you take it to him yourself?
I've been avoiding him all morning.
He's had a poor first impression of me,
I fear.
Before I meet him again, I want him
to be convinced of my complete sincerity.
Well? What do you think?
Look, you know him. How will he respond?
I can't imagine any man resisting
this prose. It would melt the Alps.
But tell me,
why do you pounce on our poor Chopin?
My dear, he's got one foot in the grave.
No, no.
We shall all be in our graves
soon enough.
But Chopin is eternal.
The only permanent thing about him
is his cough.
- All right.
- Thank you, my friend.
Madame Sand, will you delight us
with your company on a hunt?
I must decline, Your Excellency.
My maid is fitting me for a dress
this afternoon.
A dress?
Darling, George proposes
a game of croquet.
Excellent idea. Chopin will join us.
Oh, no. Please excuse me.
I do not really like the sun.
Dear friend...
I do not wish you to be burned.
Excuse me. I'm sorry, my friend.
May I speak with you?
Something very terrible has happened.
- Oh!
- Ah!
- George seems more cheerful.
- Mm. She has a crush on Chopin.
The Polish corpse?
- They couldn't be more different.
- Then they will definitely fall in love.
I suppose as friends
we should help them along.
Absolutely not!
Franz, you and I must put ourselves
between them at every opportunity.
- Marie! Your turn.
- Yes.
He is so frail, darling.
You know George will finish him off.
- The countess made advances to you?
- She is my friend's mistress.
- She has borne his child.
- He wouldn't mind if she changed hands.
Really, I don't understand
the attitude of you people.
Are we at a livestock sale?
She's a woman, not a goat.
- Are you in love with her yourself?
- Of course not.
"I'm not full of virtues
and noble qualities."
"I love, that is all."
"But I love strongly,
exclusively, steadfastly."
No, it's like something out of a novel...
like that dreadful woman writes.
- If you can call her a woman.
- George?
She makes a great hash of her life,
but she's got a good heart.
That's why so many men
don't want to let go of her.
George knows how to love...
while she loves.
The countess has an extraordinary style.
I'd not have guessed
there was a volcano under that ice.
We can't find anything, citizen.
The viscount
has been completely obliterated.
- Good to see you.
- Good evening.
They're all in here. Follow me.
What the devil...
Good God, Claudette!
Go back upstairs and change!
- Pooh!
- Ow!
Hello! Welcome.
Well, he left the salon at that moment.
Claudette's decided to dress as a man
for some reason. Do you want a drink?
At that stage everyone started to laugh.
At last! Madame Sand!
Everybody's staring at me.
It's a revelation wearing trousers.
I feel quite the bully!
George in a dress?
Red and white,
the colours of the Polish flag.
That's a bit of overkill.
I tell you, we'll discuss it...
May I take your arm?
My husband's in a temper tonight
because I'm wearing his britches.
George, Chopin does not deserve
to be collected.
He's so fragile, you know he might...
What's this? A secret?
Is he the one you came here to meet?
Mallefille, if you can't behave,
go to your room.
I am quite marooned.
Will you... partner me?
Of course.
- Bon appetit.
- Bon appetit.
I understand
many of you artists are atheists.
Atheists? Oh, no.
No, we feel that God exists.
He's just not considered
worth all the trouble of denying him.
Oh, really!
The baron is baiting you.
He maintains there is
no scientific evidence of God.
And I reply "Because civilisation
has poured dust on his traces."
God has been buried by science.
But alive!
God exists.
But he is no longer loved,
so he hides away
to conceal his broken heart.
Certainly it is difficult
to find God in our age.
And artists are the only hope.
But we shall locate him again.
We are a search party,
if you like, of orphans,
with our emotions
as a lantern in the dark.
Our greatest hope
may be Monsieur Chopin,
in whose music
we find both emotion and science
in the most perfect rapport.
Hear! Hear!
Thank you.
May I, in turn, propose a toast
to our host and hostess?
For without the noble patronage of
the aristocracy, we are orphans indeed.
They understand and nurture us.
They are our model and inspiration.
Thank you.
George, you're not drinking.
You must pardon Madame Sand.
She is allergic to the aristocracy.
Surely that can't be!
Madame Sand, my hobby is genealogy,
and if I am correct,
you are a baroness by marriage
and your father's mother was a countess.
Yes, but my mother's father
was a bird-seller.
There you are, philosopher.
Scientific proof of God.
The lion may lie down with the lamb,
and the baroness with the bird-seller.
Since you must know birds, Madame Sand,
what do you think
of our local partridge?
We flushed four of them
in a field this afternoon.
Your friend Mallefille here
shot three of them.
I only wounded the last one.
It flew away.
I don't know how it could fly...
one wing was nearly torn off.
When we were wandering back,
we saw it thrashing about in the garden.
The dogs had got it! One of the bitches
had bitten off its head.
- Feathers were flying everywhere...
- Charles!
Now see what you've done!
What the devil's the matter with him?
He has trouble with his lungs.
Makes a misery of his life.
He should be bled.
We have an excellent physician.
He's developed a special variety of leeches.
Painless, and they leave
very little mark.
Better yet,
send in George to Monsieur Chopin.
She leaves no mark at all.
Hungarian humour, George.
- You are too familiar. Apologise.
- Sit down, you ass!
- You think I don't know what's going on?
- She has made love with Monsieur Liszt?
Apologise or I'll rip your throat out!
- Agh! Alfred!
- St George!
- What are you doing here?
- I'm the dragoon. I was invited.
Duchess, I've only just arrived.
Thank God I was in time
to defend Madame Sand's honour.
- You followed me.
- He's the one?
- You're starting up with him again?
- I'd sooner chew glass.
Choose your seconds
and meet me at dawn, sir.
- No more duels!
- This is men's business.
- I accept.
- Men? You're not fit to be men!
Morons! Idiots!
Choose your weapons, Mallefille.
Red or white?
Leave her alone!
She's going off to write about us.
It's time for her nightly regurgitation.
20 pages.
The only reason
she needs you or me or anybody
is to provide characters
for her ghastly novels!
- I trust you have no objection to pistols.
- What?
- For tomorrow.
- My boy, I really don't care.
Thank you for the loan, my dear.
It was most instructive.
You'll be up before dawn for the duel,
so I shall sleep in my own bed.
Ooh! I do wish
I could be there tomorrow.
You will make sure nobody's killed?
I abhor killing,
but a good fight's something to see.
- Good night.
- Good night, Claudette.
- Good evening.
- Ohh!
What do you...
Those lips.
Show me your tongue.
What is that scent?
Oats. Oats de Cologne.
Mm. My darling.
Damn it.
Let's go and see.
- Goodbye, George. I'm going to my death.
- What are you ranting about?
- But before I die...
- Oh, my God!
- One kiss from you is all I ask.
- What are you doing?
Let go of me.
Get that horse out of here.
I will be dead soon.
Mallefille is going to shoot me.
You two can't be serious. Please.
Please, Alfred, don't go.
- I'll talk to Mallefille.
- No.
- I want to die.
- Oh, Alfred.
Darling, I want to be
on your conscience.
You destroyed my youth.
You buried my springtime in shadows.
I was much too good for you.
I spoiled you.
I gave you money.
I nursed you when you were sick.
Yes. And then you fucked the doctor.
God, Alfred!
You were sick
because you'd been out every night
screwing all the whores in Venice
while I was sitting at my desk writing
so that we had a...
The horse is a critic!
Get out! Kill yourself, I don't care!
I hate you!
- Gentlemen, are you ready?
- Yes.
I want to go home.
Mummy said
we can't go till the roads dry up.
But it's been raining
for three days now.
It's no use. We're prisoners.
Prisoners of the Bastille.
Guards are everywhere.
- We'll blast our way out.
- Yes!
Monsieur Chopin, it sounds
so like the raindrops, it's quite magical,
but I must ask you to produce
a little sunshine for us instead.
I'm about to go mad with the sound
of horrid rain, day in, day out.
Ordinarily I would just take a bromide
and go to bed,
but one has guests to entertain.
Stupid, stupid rain!
No need to entertain us,
Your Excellency.
Rather, it is our turn to entertain you.
- I've just written a play for your theatre.
- Oh, how gay!
Eugene will paint the scenery.
The maids can do the costumes.
- Chopin will provide an accompaniment.
- Delighted.
We'll play the parts and you will enjoy
this tribute from your grateful geniuses.
The style's a bit precious.
Do you mind if I rewrite it?
Not at all. We'll have a horse sent in.
What is the subject of your play?
- Noah and the flood.
- How appropriate!
Oh, this heat! Will it never end?
Here sits my stupid lout of a husband.
I don't know what God sees in him.
I hate those things. Can I see that?
You don't remember them
because you didn't write them!
I can't remember them
because they're shit!
Ah, children.
You are wanted in the theatre. Now!
There you are!
You must hurry.
Hurry up! Get into your costumes!
I am as excited as if it were an
opening night at the Comedie Francaise.
- You rode over in all this rain!
- A new play! This is a real treat!
Our artists have been up all night making
their costumes. It's terribly exciting!
You're not acting in this piece?
I have no stomach for farce.
I am here to cue you.
When I signal you like so,
you must play something
which suggests rain.
I expect this will be very amusing.
Alfred and George have really
outdone themselves this time.
Do you know, I think they are still
in love with each other.
- Clap.
- Good evening.
I am God.
I have grown disappointed
in my master creation, the human race.
I endowed them with everything.
The riches of the land, sea and air.
And enough intelligence to worship me.
But they have become
arrogant and pampered.
I shall destroy them.
All except for one man and his family.
This is my servant Noah
and his wife Noette and their children.
Into their hands
do I place the future of mankind.
Oh, this heat! Will it never rain?
Here sits my stupid lout of a husband.
I don't know what God sees in him.
Ah, who can express
the despair of youth married to age?
My husband is 600 years old
while I am but 150!
A dove! Ha!
What luck!
There will be good hunting today!
It has begun to rain!
Stupid, stupid rain!
Yes, I have sent the stupid rain
to fall upon the earth
and stupidity
shall engulf all its inhabitants.
Hurry now to the ark
and fill it with two each
of the creatures of land, sea and air.
Lord, we have no need for animals.
Art alone will save the world.
We'll need two of everything.
Two poets, painters, musicians...
They will not come... your conversation
is not witty and you have no ideals.
But we shall also give them free food
and lodging for 40 days and nights.
We shall also need two playwrights,
two composers,
two makers of velvet flowers.
Now you go too far.
But it is an art, surely.
Noette, come quickly!
This stupid rain is up to our waists!
We are now half-stupid!
Soon we shall be completely stupid!
No matter! We shall have geniuses
surrounding us on the ark
and so our stupidity shall be concealed.
I want no further part
of this production!
Madame Sand, you insult our hosts.
But... it's in the spirit of fun,
Monsieur Chopin.
You disgrace our position as guests.
I for one was not brought up
to repay generosity with impertinence.
You want everything dusted with sugar,
like your music, Chopin?
You should know art does not apologise!
I shouldn't grieve if I never saw
another artist again in my whole life.
At last you've come to your senses.
Do it the way you did it last time.
Something that makes me look
a little younger, please.
You always look young to me.
Perhaps I should
chop it all off like you.
Except that I'm not that crazy.
surely you can afford a dress by now.
I've got used to trousers. They're
comfortable and I can move around.
Can you feel that draught?
It comes straight through that wall.
I've told you before, Mama.
Don't stay here.
- Come back with me to Nohant.
- No, I want to be in Paris.
Besides, you don't need my company.
You have that young man.
What's he called?
Malle... Malle...
- Mallefille.
- Mallefille!
- A very dashing fellow.
- I wish he'd fall off the map.
You're always looking
for something better, Aurora.
If you'd stayed married,
you'd have money.
- You shouldn't beg for scraps like I did.
- I'm doing fine.
The only money I ever saw was what
your grandmother paid me not to see you.
You didn't have to take it.
That's rather nice.
I think I'll go dancing tonight,
get out of this dungeon.
- Can I be your partner?
- Certainly not. I want a proper man.
It's only for six weeks.
You only just got back.
It's humiliating!
I know you. Six weeks means six months.
My concerts raise money for the refugees.
The floods this year were devastating.
It's my country,
these are my people and they need me.
you're the patron saint of Hungary!
I couldn't stand
between you and mankind.
I'll return as soon as I can.
My beautiful archangel. I'll miss you.
- You made my milk come out.
- Hadn't you better feed the baby?
I gave up everything for you.
I disgraced myself for our dream, Franz.
All I wanted was to kneel at your feet.
- Don't start, Marie.
- Inspire you to write music.
- I can't get anything done here!
- Nor anywhere! You're impotent!
- Musically, that is.
- Get up!
You're a performing bear!
Are the countess and Monsieur Liszt
at home?
I will see, madame.
Is that the new baby?
She's adorable. Can I hold her?
- Countess!
- Hello, George.
I just saw the new baby. She's adorable.
Was it a difficult labour?
Very. What brings you to Paris?
- My mother's ill.
- Oh.
I've been so depressed.
Seeing friends again will do me good.
How's Franz?
He's very well.
Have you seen the charming Chopin?
- Why do you ask?
- Marie...
I've tried so hard
to put him out of my mind.
You want him very badly.
For a few heavenly minutes
I thought I had him, too.
In Angers, remember,
I wore that dress. Our eyes met...
You won't get him with a dress.
On the contrary, my dear.
I know the man.
He is not a man. He is a woman.
He's all emotion and refinement.
He has very few defences.
You must win him as a man wins a woman.
If anyone can do it, you can, George.
This is enlightening. Tell me more.
How does a man pursue a woman?
He flings himself at her feet,
follows her everywhere.
Wherever she turns, he is there,
pouring into her ear
only what she most wants to hear.
His passion frightens her,
but a woman
will always bend toward a strong man,
just as the vine stretches
toward the wall.
A woman is always on the point
of abandoning herself anyhow.
It only takes one firm push.
You are sublime!
A true friend.
Yes. Those are marvellous.
This is from...
George Sand.
Thank you.
And I want something
with a much thinner, narrower line.
Yes, that is good, I think.
In fact, you could make this
even more...
No, I don't want this.
Take it off, please.
You are so good to escort me tonight.
People shun me unless I am
on the arm of someone respectable.
I do not understand your concern. You
will find nothing but friends at Eugene's.
Friends? Ha!
- You are fatally sweet.
- Hm.
I wonder if George will be there.
She has the most alarming way
of turning up everywhere I go.
I'm beginning to find it unnerving.
She has a desperate purpose.
What do you mean?
A while ago she was out drinking
and gambling... she leads a rough life...
and she boasted that...
Let's not talk about it. I fear I am
about to commit a tremendous faux pas.
Socially she is too bizarre, but somehow
I find her very compelling.
I wonder if she is different when alone.
She boasted
that you are to be her next lover.
Alfred was there.
He's still the love of her life.
He put money on it
you wouldn't be seduced.
Yes, they made you the object of a bet.
Well, you know
she's eternally in need of money.
Here we are.
You have the most priceless expression
on your face.
There's Mallefille.
We can be sure George is here.
He's still following her like a tail.
Darling, it's so good to see you.
- I didn't know you'd be here.
- I didn't either.
Chopin hates my paintings.
No. Dear friend, I am just a musician.
What do I know?
They... They are very...
- Are you ill?
- No.
I only wish to lie down for a minute.
I have a room just to the side
where you can relax.
It's all right, everyone.
She's going to be all right.
- What do you suppose is wrong?
- She's probably pregnant again.
There's George.
Excuse me. I have no desire
to speak to that woman.
Chopinsky! You hiding from George too?
You would know the reason.
I don't want to spoil a good
drunken stupor by imagining your reason.
Ever since the latest chapter
of her egregious memoir was published,
I can hardly show my face anywhere.
Did you read her latest novel?
It's not literature, it's drainage.
She only wrote good books
when she was with me.
Every morning while she was sleeping
I'd cross out half her adjectives.
Hercules could not have done it.
He'd have rather
cleaned out the bloody stables.
Know what's funny?
- She doesn't come.
- Oh.
She makes a lot of pretty noise,
but she can't come.
Like her books... lovesick posturing
and pretence for quick money.
Oh, what a whore she is.
This is despicable. You are drunk.
My only regret is that I didn't put 20 francs
on the mantelpiece the first time.
I can assure you, monsieur,
that Madame Sand will gain no money
from you on my account.
Where's angel fingers? I've lost him.
- He's taking the Countess d'Agoult home.
- Oh.
If you plan to invade Poland,
you should know that the countess
has placed her troops at the border.
What are you talking about?
- I read a love letter she wrote to him.
- What letter? What did it say?
Marie's jealous of you.
She couldn't stand it
if you got a better composer than hers.
I don't know why I dress up.
Nothing here but old men.
You should bring
that Mallefille fellow with you.
- He's at Nohant tutoring the children.
- So you took my advice and kept him.
No. It's all over with us.
- What does he say to that?
- Oh...
He threatens to kill me and himself
if I leave him.
He's been reading
too many of your books!
- Let's stop here.
- Mama, it is too cold for you here.
No, it's a lovely day.
Why should the last thing I see
be a priest with the face of a dustbin?
I'm not afraid to stand before my maker.
God can accuse me of many things,
but I defy him to say I haven't loved him.
Yes. Yes, that's pretty.
Now the ribbons, hm?
No, it's too heavy.
Yes, in a bow.
So hot.
Will you be going back to Nohant?
Yes, Mama.
I want you to take me with you.
- You always hated it there.
- No, I didn't.
I felt excluded, that's all.
I never excluded you.
I needed you.
You never needed anybody.
Always running off alone in the woods.
All the servants out calling "Aurora!"
- Where did you go?
- In the woods?
I wasn't going anywhere.
I was just running.
Mama? Mama?
Good. Yes, you've learned
a great many notes, Your Highness.
I think it's just a question
of joining them together... legato.
Simplicity is the hardest thing.
It's the final thing.
Well, er...
- Next week, then?
- Yes.
Good day, Your Highness.
Monsieur, Baroness Dudevant is here.
Baroness Dudevant?
I don't think I know her.
Well, send her in.
This is the first time
I've found a use for my title.
You are incredible!
I only need a minute of your time,
then I'll go.
Very well. I'll give you
exactly one minute.
I am leaving Pa...
I am leaving Paris.
You can't have failed to notice
I've been pursuing you.
I'm in love with you.
I don't know you at all...
I don't know you at all,
but I know this:
you are great.
You have made a single instrument
speak the language of God.
And I wanted to learn it from your lips,
you see.
Anyway, you...
You don't want me and...
it's become complicated,
like everything between two people.
It seems to me a pity,
because it could have been so simple.
I'm begging you to give this up.
I know that you're in need, with your
children and your mother's funeral.
Why don't you take this?
Then you can call off the bet.
What bet?
I know you have sworn to seduce me,
and at this rate you will succeed, so...
That's a disgusting lie!
Who told you that? Marie?
She's a good friend,
I have no reason to doubt her.
Once I wrote you a letter
and asked her to deliver it.
I found out
that she signed her own name to it!
Surely you realise
she wants you for herself?
- Dear lady, please...
- Don't worry, I'm going!
She's right. We're not suited.
I'm not full of virtues
and noble qualities.
I love, that is all.
But I love strongly,
exclusively, steadfastly.
You remember?
- Is madame at home, please?
- Yes, monsieur.
- Madame? Please excuse me.
- Sophie!
There's no more. I'm empty.
That's the last you'll get from me.
- I will return another time.
- Don't go.
You haven't visited me for a long time.
Forgive me. My health has been hateful.
Franz is away.
All the royal houses of Europe have
invited him to play, it seems. Even Russia.
Like most peasants, he has
a weakness for crowned heads.
You may turn around.
Please sit.
Thank you.
Do you hear anything from Madame Sand?
- Will she be coming to Paris this year?
- I am no longer her friend.
She severed herself from Franz and me
with no explanation.
- You have her latest book, I see.
- Yes.
- Have you read it?
- I wouldn't touch such trash.
Madame, last summer
you gave me a letter.
Yes, I took a chance...
you would forgive me
speaking the truth of my heart.
In fact, I was appalled.
But I could not reject it entirely.
Something touched me.
A phrase, like a tune one can't forget.
- Shall I remind you what you wrote?
- Do.
"I am not full of virtues
and noble qualities."
"I love, that is all."
"But I love strongly,
exclusively, steadfastly."
Imagine my surprise
when I found that here.
I see I must confess.
When I wrote you that letter,
my tender feelings for you
so overpowered me
I could not find words
of clarity and persuasion.
I was desperate.
I looked around me for help.
I saw George's book
and stole what I needed.
But a year ago
this book had not been published.
Or even written, I suspect.
I think I've found the truth,
for which I thank you,
and I owe Madame Sand an apology.
Perhaps now
she and I can become friends.
Don't be content
with just a little truth.
George will never be content with just
your friendship. She wants your manhood.
Your virtue, your genius, your soul.
Listen to me! That woman is a graveyard!
But I can help you.
I can inspire you.
This is the novel and that's
the last chapter of the memoir.
- It's a bit on the thin side.
- So's my life.
- Do you know of a good tutor?
- I'll ask around.
By the way,
Mr Chopin came to see me last week.
He asked if you would call on him
when you were in town.
Mmm! Do I hear a duet?
Perhaps this is not
the last chapter, eh?
Give me my money, you jackal!
Madame Aurora Dudevant.
Aurora is the name I was born with.
Aurora. What a lovely name.
The dawn.
- I'm not happy with it.
- Why?
Because a perfect impromptu
should seem spontaneous and free.
No-one should be able to guess
at the desperate calculation behind it.
I've been struggling
with this for so long.
It's like being tangled
in a net. I feel...
I have terrible dreams at night.
I think if I ever finish it,
then it will have finished me.
You must suffer tortures
to find the perfect word
that will make it all seem effortless.
Me? Suffer for art? You must be joking.
I suffer quite enough for life.
I have no hope to be perfect.
I simply pump out pages for money.
No, your books are admirable.
I've been reading them.
Have you?
Is this your family?
No, that's my fiancee.
Well, we are no longer engaged.
Her family didn't feel that I was
a very good risk for a husband.
No-one expects me to live very long.
- Balls!
- I beg your pardon?
Look, I don't believe you're ill at all.
You just need more strength.
Take mine.
I have too much of it.
- No.
- Yes. I want you so.
- No.
- Oh!
Forgive me.
fear that we would harm the memory
of our beautiful afternoon.
Yes. Yes, of course.
All right.
Who's taught you to be afraid?
No wonder you're choking to death.
Someone's got to show you
how to breathe.
Come on. Come on.
You need light and air.
You need to move about.
Why stay inside wrestling
with perfection?
Come outside!
Perfection is flowing all around you!
- George!
- No!
Run, Chopin!
- Excuse me?
- Yes.
I won't kill you here as you deserve.
I will kill you honourably
at dawn tomorrow.
With any weapon you prefer.
You wish to fight me?
You have stolen my lady's affections.
- I wish the chance to avenge myself.
- Mallefille!
Very well, monsieur.
I will give you the opportunity.
But not the prize.
Let's go back. This is ridiculous.
What, run for my hole like a rabbit?
I could never respect myself afterwards.
Nor could you, Aurora.
I'm going to fight at dawn
for the right to see another dawn.
- Eugene.
- It's too late.
He's in love.
Monsieur. Madame.
The doctor is here.
These are my seconds.
The sun is rising. Shall we go?
I wonder...
Is there by any chance a cleaner one?
- Don't hurt him. Aim at the clouds.
- He is not much more than a cloud.
I'll come back to you.
I'll never see him again.
Just stop these silly heroics.
You have placed me
in an impossible position.
All I have left is a show of strength.
Besides, women like that sort of thing.
Are you insane?
Pretty dress.
Are you ready, gentlemen?
And... one.
Seven. Eight.
Nine. Ten.
- This man has fainted!
- That man is wounded.
Too bad! Help us lift him.
Come back!
I knew it! It's the frail one!
Oh, my God! Is he dead?
I hope the damp hasn't killed him.
- Show us your finest room.
- I have one ready.
Give him milk when he wakes up.
Try not to excite him.
Thank you, Doctor.
And now you'd best
have a look at this rump.
- You've humiliated me.
- Good.
You'll be too embarrassed
to speak of it.
No-one must know what's happened.
- Gentlemen, do I have your word?
- Yes.
And you, monsieur?
After all the time we spent together,
how could you?
In cold blood?
It was easy.
You're a menace to the future of art.
Remember what the doctor said.
Try not to excite him.
- He needs peace.
- I know what he needs.
Go home. Paint something dead.
- Aurora?
- Yes.
I feel very weak.
- Have I been wounded?
- No.
No. On the contrary, you wounded him.
In his shooting arm, too.
He never even had time to fire.
It was a brilliant fight.
And then I fell?
I suppose I swooned away like a woman.
You were overcome by...
the violence of what you'd done.
You're a sensitive man.
It was very hard.
- I remember the gun was shaking so.
- You see?
You're stronger than you knew.
And I thought you needed me.
But I do need you.
Drink your milk.
Where are the others?
They've gone.
- Gone?
- Mm-hm.
But how will we get back to Paris?
Why don't we stay here for a few days?
It's peaceful.
It's discreet.
Do you love me?
God help me, I do.
You are superb.
What is wrong?
I'm frightened.
Of me?
Certain acts are unseemly.
They are unsuitable.
It's an act of love.
It's the divine mystery itself.
You must think I'm inexperienced,
but I assure you,
I was baptised in the brothels of Paris
when I first arrived.
But, um...
I'm so ill,
and I have been for such a long time,
and my body
is such a great disappointment to me
that I've already said goodbye to it.
I'm not really in it any more.
I'm just happier
floating about in music.
And if I should come back
inside this miserable
collection of bones,
then I am afraid that
it would probably collapse altogether.
Forgive me.
- I am ashamed.
- No, no.
Forgive me.
I'm a fraud, you know.
Divine mystery!
I've never experienced that with anyone.
I've always had
disastrous relationships.
- I've never managed to stay in love.
- Why?
I don't know.
I want too much.
I think.
Except when I hear you play.
And when I'm around you.
I simply want to be with you.
The rest doesn't matter. Really.
Do you think we could just...
be together?
Like this?
Yes. Yes.
Well, I have at last heard "yes".
So... that's enough.
And I'm happy.
So we'll go back to Paris.
Will you please take them for a walk?
Throw them in the Seine! I don't care!
So George has caught another butterfly.
Why shouldn't he fall in love with her?
He hasn't fallen in love.
He has succumbed to her.
The poor man was simply standing there
and was crushed under her wheels.
It's not too late.
Franz, you must go over at once
and talk to him.
Excellent. Thank you. Show me.
That is perfect. Thank Monsieur Villon
for me. We can be off.
Franz. I... I didn't know you were back.
- Countess.
- You're going out?
Er, yes, I'm just leaving.
The Etudes are published. I didn't know.
Let's have a listen.
Could you take those downstairs for me?
And this trunk has to go.
Franz, Chopin's going out.
We'll come with you so we can talk.
I'm going to meet Madame Sand.
- This is wonderful!
- You play it better than I.
You're going on a trip?
Chopin is going to meet Madame Sand.
Franz thinks you're making a mistake.
He's in a position to caution you.
He once had his own experience
with George.
- Marie, I told you nothing happened.
- So you love to claim.
You must listen to him,
because, one way or another,
Franz knows exactly who she is.
I've always wanted to know.
See here, darling.
Chopin has dedicated the Etudes to you.
To me?
It is a tremendous honour.
What did you do to deserve it, I wonder?
Marie is an angel of inspiration.
It's good to see you, Franz.
You should come back
to Paris more often.
We all get into such trouble
when you're away.
Where are you taking him?
For a long time now I have blamed myself
for your unhappiness and suffering.
And when I think
of the music I might have written
if not for the guilt which has
murdered my vitality all these years!
But Chopin has seen
a happier side of you, it seems.
You can't think that I...
that he and I were lovers?
I'm not sure it was a good idea of yours
dedicating the Etudes to her.
Why not? We are in love.
We can afford to be generous.
They're running away together!
It's a catastrophe!
- It sounds like fun to me.
- Oh, I see.
Ever the wily peasant you are.
With Chopin out of Paris, your music
no longer suffers the comparison!
They say Majorca
is the most magical island in the world.
The sun will bake that silly cough
out of your lungs in no time.
Think of it! Spain!
Don't you understand? She'll kill him!
She'll kill him!
May we shut this, please?
No, darling, the air is good for you.