Salamander, The (1981) Movie Script

A color film in monochrome.
Hello? Paris?
May I speak to Louis Roy?
Louis Roy, like your
King Louis, backwards.
It's Pierre.
I'm fine, thanks.
Two months of lovely weather,
and otherwise ghastly.
You'll have them in a month.
Three articles, like we agreed.
What bullshit!
The Paris newspaper won't
take me on at the moment.
Didn't they promise, more or less?
Not definitely.
They've got financial problems.
And I will too, soon.
Won't they pay for the Brazil
Yes, but not much.
I'll have to freelance.
Take up Bernard's offer
for that television job.
Oh, right.
I can't write a script for Bernard
and my Brazil articles.
Write it with someone else.
With whom?
I don't know.
Your hairy writer friend, Paul.
Not a bad idea.
Paul! A call for you.
Who is it?
Richard Nixon. Or Leonid Brezhnev.
I don't know which. One or the other.
That's fine. Thanks, Paul.
See you soon.
I might not come to work
on Monday morning.
Or Monday afternoon.
Maybe not for the whole month.
We're fed up with your
comings and goings.
That's our arrangement,
I'm not at your beck and call.
He works when he feels like it.
Great! Isn't it?
Elsewhere, I work harder for nothing.
That's your business.
Exactly, that's my business.
You got on our nerves
with your mucking about.
Pack it up!
Paul lived in a secluded spot,
but not for love of nature.
He appreciated tranquility,
but it was a small house,
and the rent was only
100 francs a month,
and he appreciated that even more.
We find ourselves in the
country's western frontier,
two steps from the border,
and Switzerland seems to be left
We turn our backs on her.
On the other side of this
no-man's land lies France.
A country where one never
knows what the next year,
or month, will have in store.
Despite appearances,
which one should never trust,
Paul was not a plasterer,
or a singer,
but a writer.
This was October 25th.
The weather was rather dull.
Come in!
Come in!
You've brought a suitcase?
Are you gonna take the job?
- Have you decided?
- No.
But I live 10 miles away, and it's
I've brought my things, in case I
Good thinking!
You know Bernard, the guy from TV?
- No.
- Nevermind.
He's a friend. I'm doing a job for
him because I need the cash.
I've got to write a story, a script,
based on a year old news item.
He wants to film it, and
he'll pay in advance.
But since I have to write
my Brazil articles,
I'd like for you to help me with it.
- It depends.
- Depends on what?
Lots of things.
Has your scribbling ever brought
in 2,000 francs in a month?
Not counting the poems your wife
Listen. We'll make 4,000 francs.
We can do the job in one
month, they've allowed three.
What more do you want?
I'd like to know the subject,
and how we tackle it.
I don't work to order.
- Tell me about the event.
- Very simple.
A story which fizzled out.
A man whose niece lived with him
claimed she shot him with his Army
The bullet hit him in the shoulder.
She denied everything.
She claims the old man hurt
himself cleaning his rifle.
There were no witnesses, they
both maintained their statements,
and the case was dropped.
That's all.
There's a press clipping about it, up
Bernard would like a sort
of sociological study.
The girl's name is Rosemonde.
Rosemonde? I'd forgotten that.
Doesn't sound bad, Rosemonde.
Hold on.
Are you staying?
- Interested?
- Yes, I am.
How will we work?
Together is more complicated.
We'll make it however you like.
Have you got a calendar
with Saints' Days?
- Saints?
- Yes, saints.
Maybe in my diary...
Yeah, here they are...
- What are you looking for?
- Hold on.
Here. I found it.
April 30th, St. Rosemonde. As
I thought, it's a calendar name.
So what?
- That explains it.
- Explains what?
That the girl wanted to kill her
Our names are in the calendar,
but we don't kill uncles.
Let me explain.
It happened like this:
Rosemonde comes from a big family.
In big families, when the usual
names have been exhausted
on the first-born brats,
the parents run out of ideas,
and start using calendar names.
Thus: a big family...
...a swarm of noisy little brats.
A big family means a country family.
They couldn't afford the
housing racket in town.
So they live in the country,
but not any old stretch of country,
Catholic country, still a little
Contraception unknown, calendar
saints, and all that.
The father's a blockhead,
education leaves a lot to be desired.
And why does Rosemonde live in town?
That's easy: the father can't make
ends meet.
He'll never make a go of things.
Salvation: a brother in town,
comfortably off,
room to spare, easily put upon.
So he's landed with the girl,
and there's one less at home to feed.
What does Rosemonde do in town?
She does miserable jobs, unskilled
She starts to run wild.
Uncle tries to straighten her out.
They quarrel.
One day he's cleaning his army rifle,
and inevitably, Rosemonde being who
she is,
a shot's fired.
Not a bad story.
I'll stay. What's your opinion?
Not bad. There's just one little
Which is?
What about the facts?
I've been stating the facts for five
apart from some minor details.
I feel I've earned my living, today.
Good. But it may all be a dream.
Why use your imagination
when the story actually happened?
The girl and the uncle exist.
They live here somewhere.
I'm interested in facts, in reality.
We must start by coming to grips with
You can elaborate later.
First we make inquiries.
I'm not a cop.
- Like a journalist!
- I'm not a journalist!
You work as a plasterer so that
you can write what you like.
Good. Let's not get ahead of
I'll make some coffee.
When you get the sausage, make sure
to tie it well.
So we've agreed?
The water's ready.
We'll go about it based on your idea.
You'll write the girl's story as you
see it.
I'll visit people with my tape
and collect as much information as I
so that you can build your story
around it.
Later on we'll go over it all
Sound good?
Yeah. Don't forget, I don't want
to know anything about her.
Bring back all you can get on the
Warm woolen underpants for winter!
Warm woolen socks for winter!
A pad of special paper!
A deluxe fountain pen!
- And where's the cash?
- In the Bank.
- Sugar?
- Two lumps.
My wife needs my share now.
Whenever you like.
First, Pierre had to find Rosemonde.
Despite some difficulties
due to Rosemonde's personality,
Pierre conducted his inquiries with
She didn't stay more than a month.
You should've seen her room.
An unholy mess!
We've had all sorts here,
but she took the cake!
I always say, whenever
someone can't be on time
--She was often 15 minutes late--
something's not right.
- Where does she work now?
- I don't know.
She lives in Onex. I've got
her address in my bag.
The investigation began
on October 27th.
Today was November 1st.
May I speak with you? I'm a reporter.
Would you like to come in?
It's a little hard to explain.
It's about your spot of trouble last
although that's not the main thing.
Really, I'd like to get to know you.
I'm writing a story about someone
like you.
I'd like to chat.
I can come back later, if you're busy.
This may sound odd, but my
job is made up of odd things.
Isn't it Rosemonde you want to speak
- Aren't you Rosemonde?
- No. I'm Suzanne.
- But she does live here?
- Yes, but she's not in yet.
Would you like to wait?
- Are you on the Pill?
- Yeah.
All the time?
You should be like a Boy Scout:
always ready.
Roger was ready for anything.
Rosemonde prepared herself for
Are you a reporter?
Anyway, no more about that uncle
That's been shelved.
Let's talk about other things.
Like what?
I don't know...about you,
for instance. About your job.
That can wait until hell freezes over!
What can one say about a job?
If Rosemonde tells you about her life,
as you say,
would you pay her for that?
That could be arranged.
- Is it too long?
- No, I think it's fine.
- I found the girl!
- Bravo!
- Do you want to meet her?
- Definitely not.
She's a bit alright.
I already knew that.
She's even better than you imagine.
I can't see her with a rifle.
I doubt she fired the shot.
Still, everything points to the
This is Vladimir.
He practices here when his
wife can't stand it any longer.
He can keep you company.
Where shall I go?
Up to my room.
You didn't say much on the phone.
But I've got nothing to hide.
You're a journalist?
Yeah. Have I disturbed your dinner?
No, no, I just finished.
I always eat very early.
Is this the famous rifle?
Yes, that's my army rifle.
Isn't it terrible,
to think I was almost killed by it?
The weapon I served with for 30 years?
Through years of looking
after it, one gets attached.
It's become more than just a rifle.
For us, it's almost a symbol of our
It means something to us.
To see it turned on you one day...
True, that's somewhat of a paradox.
She had run-ins with the police
It was over a stolen car.
Not to mention, her illegitimate
At seventeen!
She's a bad lot!
My brother's not a bad guy,
but he never did anything with his
Still, it was a big, fine family.
She came from a big family?
Yes, she was put in my care
when she was fifteen,
so that she could go to school in
It meant one less mouth to feed at
At fifteen she ran around with
got up at 10 in the morning,
and finally ended up meddling in
Did she have any cause?
No, that's just it!
That's what I don't understand.
While she was here, we treated
her like our own daughter.
But she couldn't escape her destiny.
It could well have cost me my life.
- Do you want to see my scar?
- No, it's not necessary.
The worst place is where the bullet
came out.
I get awful pains when we
have our famous north wind.
Unlike the uncle,
Paul liked the wind very much.
Paul waited for two days, but there
was no wind.
I've had it.
After work, I always feel like
yelling or breaking something.
When I feel up to it, I go swimming.
Be patient. In 40 years, you can
Have you worked there long?
Three months already,
but it feels like a lifetime.
I'll stay six months at the most.
- Will you get a pension?
- No.
That's my big regret.
Sometimes I imagine how
I'd get up at 10, flop around in
make some coffee, run a bath, go down
and fetch the paper.
At lunch time I'd rustle up a meal.
What a life!
A monthly pension.
Card games at the pub. A dream!
Yes, but by then one's too old.
That's true.
One no longer makes love.
There's a jukebox. Do you have a coin?
Sit over here.
A cup of coffee. Do you want anything?
And a coke.
This isn't ideal for a chat.
You can take me home later.
We can talk there.
What are you doing?
Taking your picture. Is that okay?
I look a sight.
What will you do with them?
Nothing. They're for my friend, for
our work.
- Really?
- Of course. What did you think?
But I want to see them.
I'll give them to you if you like.
Wait, let me tidy up.
You look gorgeous, stay like that.
I'll be right back.
Move a little. Walk a bit, from right
to left.
Now sit on the table.
Just relax. Perfect.
The last ones are the best.
I think that'll do.
Anyway, this is less dangerous than a
Was it a shotgun?
No, an Army rifle.
- Will you see my uncle?
- Probably.
He'll say I tried to shoot him, the
old liar.
He hated me, because I'd
had it with being his maid.
I couldn't even have lifted his rifle!
Those things are heavy!
Did you see it happen?
No, I was in the other room.
He was fiddling with his rifle.
Cleaning it for the umpteenth time.
I'd seen him the moment before.
Suddenly I heard a huge bang.
I rushed in and found my uncle on the
You should have seen it!
I called the doctor.
Afterwards he called the police.
That's how it all started.
He put the blame on me.
- Did you hate him?
- Me? No.
He's just an old prick, that's all.
As simple as that?
Aren't you working?
- I'll finish this game first.
- Are you working upstairs?
No, down here.
I need space to walk around.
I have a lot of people:
A big family, a maimed uncle,
a big rifle, defense of our freedom,
and that's not all.
For your poems you only have to
picture the inside of your skull.
How's it going with Pierre?
Fine. It's a good time.
It's a change for me.
I'm between a blank page
and a construction site.
Do you want something to eat?
No, I'm not hungry.
Are you crazy?
They'll throw us out.
Should we go to my place to record?
If you want.
Finish your drink.
When I was small,
I went on lots of country
walks with my older brother.
His big specialty was breaking
especially in winter, when
he could make snowballs.
He was real strong.
His snowballs were like stones.
Once my father thrashed us,
but he discovered my brother
was stronger than him.
He never touched us after that.
I've always loved the sound...
...of breaking windows.
You mentioned your father.
Oh god, my father...
He never had a steady job, it all
When he had too much to drink,
all hell broke loose at home.
He works at a sawmill now.
And your mother?
I love her, she's great.
We get along.
I visit her from time to time.
With all the kids she's brought into
the world...
How many brothers and sisters?
- Eleven, counting you?
- Yeah. I was the seventh.
Mother's never worn out.
She adores the little brats.
When I had a kid...
- A kid?
- Yeah, that was six years ago.
- I wanted to keep it.
- But you couldn't. Why not?
You weren't married, were you?
No, but I wanted to keep it.
Mother took him at once.
What was one more or less to her?
Simple as that.
What's the child's name?
- Jean.
- A boy?
Yes. My uncle thought that I was a
He wanted to put me in reform school.
No, that was after the car business.
That was nothing.
Albert, a friend of mine,
had taken a car to go for a drive.
We had a drink in the village,
and a cop asked for our papers
just as we were leaving.
They only took my name,
but they nabbed Albert.
No, wait, I had to go to court.
And reform school?
I never went. What for?
Then I started as a dressmaker's
That satisfied my uncle.
- Are you a dressmaker?
- No, I never finished.
Why not?
I don't like dressmaking.
Pierre thought that was as good a
reason as any.
And Paul wrote:
"Heliodore", that was
Rosemonde's name in the story,
"had little taste for what is called
a trade."
"Where one learns an honest,
which means poor, living."
"Where one's at everyone's beck and
"Where freedom means...
...a quick smoke in the bathroom."
I was told I was pretty enough to be
a hostess.
A stewardess, perhaps?
No, you need languages for that.
Some other hostess.
A department store hostess, with a
little hat?
Maybe, but I like to dress how I like.
I don't like uniforms.
What did you do after the dressmaking?
Mostly housework for my uncle.
I was used to such work.
There was always plenty at home,
scrubbing my brothers and sisters.
I did some other jobs too.
I was a salesgirl,
and I worked in a macaroni factory.
But not for long.
Others stay.
I never do.
I'm not quite normal.
At least that's what people say.
"It slowly dawned on Heliodore
that it was not the others,
but she who was normal."
"That her desires were basically
"Consequently, what wasn't normal...
...had to be outside her,
since she and the world didn't hit it
Once I went to the Riviera with
He had his own car then.
My uncle informed the police.
I'd gone off without telling him.
He thought I'd gone off on the loose.
Anyway, they never found us.
It was fantastic!
We went where we liked, slept on the
One evening...
I nearly recorded some porn for you!
That was the last time I saw the sea.
Uncle takes his holidays in the
in a total dump.
He took me there once.
There were two old bags who sang
after dinner.
I never left my room.
He almost called the police to
have them pry me out.
You don't like them much, do you?
Who, the cops?
I couldn't care less.
Were you involved with them before?
Me? No, I never did a thing.
My brother, when he was
working on a farm, did something
stupid once.
The cops came to our house.
And then, when my father slugged a
they came again.
And after the thing with my uncle,
they hounded me for ages.
Until finally, they left me alone.
And now?
I feel old. Even more so than before.
I wonder what will become of me.
I never used to worry about that.
But nevermind.
That's enough for now. Turn that
thing off.
How often must I tell you that
people eat what you handle?
Tidy your hair or wear a cap.
Come in!
Is that you?
No, it's me..
What are you doing here?
Aren't you working today?
Is it raining?
No, I went swimming.
A day off?
No, I quit.
Did they fire you? Lay you off?
No, I left. I was fed up.
- Do you need money?
- No.
I wanted to see you.
Good idea. No, bad idea.
It's a good idea, but now's not a
good time.
I was hoping you might cheer me up.
Not now.
I don't want to lose my train of
Come back this evening.
You're not much fun!
I don't want to go anywhere.
May I stay here?
I won't say a word.
If you like.
The question of Swiss capital
investment in Brazil
gave Pierre trouble.
Two hours have passed since Rosemonde
Outside it was pitch dark.
It's pitch dark out.
I'm staying.
Fine, stay.
I'm sleeping here.
Fine, sleep here.
I'm sleeping in your bed.
I'm staying, I'm sleeping in your bed,
and I'm sleeping with you.
I'm staying, I'm sleeping in your bed,
and I'm sleeping with you.
I'm taking off my skirt.
Where's the bathroom?
First door on your left. No, right.
Is your novel almost finished?
Is your novel almost finished?
Is it all about me?
No, it's about Brazil.
Have you been there?
The Carnival in Rio, is that in
Have you seen it?
Can I watch TV?
Very quietly.
How's it work?
Turn the little knob on the left.
I'll be done in a couple minutes.
Are you a nice guy?
Very nice.
Me too.
It depends on the person.
Sometimes I'm terrible. I'm wild, you
But I'm easily tamed.
I believe you.
That's it. I'm stopping.
I'm hungry. Are you?
I'll heat the stew Paul made for
Who is Paul?
My friend. We work together.
I'll have some too.
Can I stay?
I don't want to go out in this
I wouldn't have let you go, anyway.
Your thigh touched my hand in passing.
I noticed. How did it feel?
Here I am.
- How's your little family?
- Good.
Really good?
Yes, sure.
In the midst of total moral misery.
One makes do with what one can.
- And how are you?
- Alright.
- Have you been working?
- A little.
I left my deluxe pen here.
- It's in my room.
- You used it?
I told you never to touch it!
I used it to sign a letter. I didn't
eat it.
Go get it, see for yourself.
There's a girl in your room.
How do you know?
It smells good.
She's asleep.
Aren't you asleep?
Pierre said you were.
I was, earlier.
Good morning, then. Excuse me.
No harm done.
The girl wasn't asleep.
The girl is Rosemonde.
I got you, didn't I?
You've seen her, after all.
You didn't picture her like that?
She's pretty, isn't she?
I forgot to take my pen.
I came for something,
but I already forgot what it was.
You know how to make coffee?
Of course.
Will you make some?
Yes. I'll call you when it's ready.
I'll call you then.
Paul had problems.
Since he had met Rosemonde three days
everything looked different.
Only time remained the same. It
It's November 23rd.
You shouldn't have slept with
Why not?
Wouldn't you like to?
It's going to complicate our work.
What do you mean? We're almost done.
We know a lot about her
and about her past. I've talked to
her uncle,
her old boss,
her coworkers.
I looked up her file at the paper.
I've seen the cops. Now it's up to
I know.
I haven't written a line since I met
I knew it would change everything.
Die Ereignisse verwirren mich.
Two Rosemondes are one too many.
And which one's superfluous?
Mine, not the real one.
I've gotta start over.
I have to know more about the real
Where are the recordings?
In the bathroom.
I listened to them while I cut my
The entrance is around back.
Where's the door?
What do you want?
I'm a Civil Defense Inspector.
A real inspector or a phony?
Paul, come here!
A Civil Defense Inspector. A real one!
Spiritual Defense Section.
Spiritual Defense Section!
What do you wish to inspect?
I'm checking,
to see if everyone has their Red Book
on Civil Defense.
- I threw mine away.
- Are you sure?
I'm positive.
I must enter that in the
"Got Rid of Deliberately" column.
I regret that I'm obliged to do so.
It doesn't add up to much.
You're better at reporting
shady investments in Brazil.
Nevertheless, I'll take it.
I'll go home and rewrite the thing in
We'll never finish!
Now I feel I know nothing about
A reporter repeats his information.
I look for the meaning in mine.
Can you give me a ride home?
What about your bike?
Do you know
how cold it is out?
Why don't you buy a car?
It's pretentious to bike, these days.
I can't afford a car. You know that.
Get a loan!
Debts are the foundation of
sound household economics.
Anyway, they practically
give old Mini's away.
- Really? Where?
- Nearby.
Why don't you want to stay?
My daughter wants to see me.
Why have them at all?
It's the first law of nature.
So that we feel the burden of
It's to clip our wings.
- For all that.
- In this case...
So, I'll take you home.
Let's have coffee first.
I'm sad.
I think I'm going to sing.
Don't forget to give me the uncle's
Her attitude at school
was only the start of her delinquency.
The police soon got to know her.
It ended with an attempted murder.
A rifle bullet at point blank
range spares no one.
See for yourself. I'll show you the
No, I don't need to see it.
You're like your colleague,
frightened to see a wound.
We both live sheltered lives.
Three days earlier, on November 25th,
the migrant worker-trashmen
suddenly went on strike.
It was called "A brutal strike!"
because it was unexpected
and therefore intolerable.
In actuality, the strike
was a threat to order and
cleanliness, nothing more.
Have you seen the famous scar?
Me? How awful! It would turn my
Has he ever insisted that you see it?
I haven't been there since it
What was it like when you
went to live there at sixteen?
When I was sixteen?
Help me answer an ad,
and I'll tell you all about it.
I'll tell you everything
I did when I was sixteen.
You'll be so shocked,
you'll leave me alone.
I already told big Pierre, and I'm
not going over it again with li'l
C'mon, help.
Programmer. What's that?
Not a job for me, I bet.
Secretary, cook, concierge...
I always talk back to the customers.
Housekeeper, bookstore helper...
Assistant, male, female...
I'll end up stuffing sausage
in a bloody factory.
God! My neck aches from the thought
of it.
I always catch it in my neck and
I'm never going back to their
bloody, shitty sausage factory!
Not me! Never again!
That's it. My neck aches.
I'm gonna go make myself an aspirin
I have a cure for that.
Here, let me.
I met a girl at Pierre's,
her name's Zoe.
We made love.
I think it was mainly because of her
She had very round breasts.
It's the first time
since we've been together.
That shows how time passes.
You're getting old, Paul.
I worked, too. Badly.
Because of Rosemonde, not Zoe.
Your life's a bit complicated
at the moment, darling.
A bit.
I'd like to read you a piece
by Heine, which I just found.
He wrote it in 1828.
I'll read it to you.
"We'll have a lovely day!"
called my travelling companion."
"We'll have a lovely day!"
My heart repeated the words...
"in adoration, and trembled
with joy and melancholy."
"Yes, it will be a beautiful day,
"the sun of freedom will warm
the earth with more happiness...
"than the noble night stars."
"A new generation will arise,
"conceived in freely chosen embraces,
"not in the bed of duty, or
under control of the clergy."
"With free birth,
"free thoughts and feelings will be
born, too,
"of which we, the enslaved,
have not the slightest inkling."
"Oh! Just as little as they will
"the frightful night of shadows
in which we had to live,
"and the horrible battles we
fought against hideous specters,
"obtuse owls, and criminal
Don't forget to type that page.
Here's the loveliest of all roses.
Are you working?
Aren't you always working?
I earn a poor living, by the sweat of
my brow.
Your fridge is almost empty.
That doesn't surprise me.
Paul's economizing.
He feeds me nothing but potatoes.
He prepares them twenty-seven ways.
That's impossible.
Ask him. He's got a sack full in the
I'll put some on to boil.
I saw butter in the fridge.
Potatoes at four o"clock?
I'm hungry.
Suzanne's been gone for days.
There's nothing left at home.
You don't have any money?
I'll give you some.
This goes in the same line?
No, this line goes first,
then this one, then the other.
I'm going to visit my mother and my
Take Paul with you.
He's dying to meet your family,
and know your background.
Why don't we all go?
To the country?
I've got to work.
Our village has a quiet little
inn, you could work there.
A quiet little inn?
With big country beds,
and down comforters?
On the road to adventure!
What quiet!
I think that Paul is going to sing.
No, I was wrong.
Did you bring warm clothes?
My gloves are in the glove
Winters are chilly in our valley.
Paul, according to you, what are we
Riding down the road in a car.
What I mean is,
Do you think this trip will help our
Or are we merely wasting time?
This isn't very serious.
But it's very nice.
I think it's indispensable.
I'm astonished by your doubts.
You don't have any?
Sure I do,
but they're different.
After two hours,
all distances being short in our
little country,
they arrived in a beautiful valley.
So, here we are in this awful valley.
Stop here. I'll walk the rest of the
But it's raining.
If my father sees me arrive
with you two nitwits,
he'll smash everything.
I'll see you at the hotel.
I'd say that you're the nitwit.
No, you are!
Hey! Where is the hotel?
Down there, on the left.
God, it's cold in this dump!
What a godforsaken place.
Sublime and lugubrious country!
I'd like to see where she lives.
I'll wait till her old man takes off.
What a delightful spot.
What shall we do?
Find the hotel. I'm cold, hungry,
and I need a drink.
My back aches and I'm fed up.
It's not bad, really.
I'll be able to write in peace,
while you roam around.
You can report back to me every
As you say, it's not bad!
Still, watch out for Rosemonde's
Approach him slowly, little by little,
encircle him.
Like the Indians in westerns.
Should I stick feathers in my hair?
Good god, it's cold here!
When you get off
the plane in Rio,
the first thing that hits
you is the humidity.
You smell a mixture of sea salt,
pepper, slight putrefaction,
pimento, dust, mangroves,
A fantastic sensation...
I'm gonna explore.
And I'm gonna go back to Brazil.
See you later.
Paul wrote in his notebook:
"The lovely little salamander...
"belongs to the lizard family."
"It's black, with yellowish-orange
"The salamander is venomous.
It's the fire's spirit.
"Flames cannot harm it."
Pierre thought:
"What's the point of realizing
there's a connection...
"between the crushing of bodies down
"and the crushing of the spirit here?"
One could only know it, say it...
and still it would roll like a pebble
down the gray stream of news.
That's where my father works.
Is he there now?
Yeah. That's him, the guy over there.
So now's a good time to visit your
He wouldn't have eaten you.
I fry the onions separately,
and put the sauce aside for the
He couldn't care less about your
But I do.
He's not a cook, he writes books.
You write books?
I always say, "Education's a great
Rosemonde's mother,
who usually judged people correctly,
was wrong this time.
Paul had never studied.
He left school at fifteen.
Did you go to school here?
Yeah, but only for a year.
Before that,
we lived in a small town in France.
We moved a lot.
We lived in a sort of farm over
there, once.
How was school?
Here it was alright.
But in town it was a disaster.
I don't know. I didn't like it
It's really not too warm here.
- Are the winters long?
- Here?
It drags on for at least six months,
- You get used to it.
- I couldn't.
You do look sad!
Pierre says you sing when you're sad.
Sing something. It'll warm you up.
- My voice is frozen.
- Try it anyway.
What should I sing?
"Once there was a Swedish countess."
"She was so beautiful and pale."
"Forester, forester,
"my garter is undone."
"Forester, kneel and fasten it, do
not fear."
When you sleep with a woman,
do you do the usual,
or do you have special tricks?
Very special!
Peasant clod!
This is what happened.
The uncle was here, Rosemonde was
He cleaned his rifle like this.
The bullet hit the wall back there,
behind him.
I checked the room. Think about it:
How could Rosemonde have shot that
with the table there?
What's your point?
You talk a lot of nonsense.
And you get on my nerves!
We're stuck.
What are we doing here?
Can you tell me?
Nothing, absolutely nothing.
We're just mucking about.
Oh, happiness is so close!
I feel it coming. Don't you?
Oh, happiness is so close!
Oh, happiness is so far away...
...and prehistory is so long!
Slowly we approach death.
Before capitalism,
in all its perversity, kicks the
and before bureaucracy, with
its dull dogmas, passes away,
there'll be a lot of bloodshed!
Oh, happiness is so close!
Oh, happiness is so far away!
Are we lost?
No, we can get out that way.
On the path.
- That path?
- Yeah, this way.
This is the way to the Promised Land!
You think?
The exit looks rather blocked.
We have no choice.
It's either this way to the Promised
or this barbarism,
and the programmed intoxication
brought about by technocrats.
With the approval of the silent
That's right!
Oh, happiness is so close.
Oh, happiness is so far away...
A silent majority
is composed of people like us,
with arms and legs,
who, from time to time,
isolated by the secrecy of
polling booths lined up like urinals,
vote for louses and scoundrels.
Here's the bill for our four days
That's not bad.
No, but it's bad if you consider
that we're practically broke.
How much have you got left of your
Not much, once we pay this.
Where'd it go?
Did you blow it all in a month?
I paid a few things.
You had debts, too?
No, just things to be paid.
- Let's do our accounts.
- What for?
If there's no cash, there's no cash.
How much did you give Rosemonde?
Five hundred, I think.
We owed her that, at least.
We've gotta find a way out.
That's for sure.
We're gonna have to take emergency
What's more,
I feel like our story has reached a
dead end.
A dead end?
We have to start over.
In the first person this time.
We know Rosemonde too well.
It hampers our story.
Only she can put us straight.
I'm twenty-three.
If I had been born six days later,
I would've been named Heliodore.
My breasts are small.
I like the shape of my legs.
I'm blonde.
I've always fended for myself, and I
like it.
Are you awake?
Estelle quit,
so I spoke to the boss about you.
You can start tomorrow, if you want.
They have a hard time getting
You spoke to him?
It's easy, honest.
I'll help you at first.
People hate my independence,
they try to break me down.
They say I'm lazy,
unruly and hysterical.
Shoes, shoes, shoes...
Why do you always take on
pretty girls who are hopeless?
Look how she's dressed: for the beach!
Old crows don't sell anything
nowadays, mother.
She told one customer his shoes were
Tell her to do her job properly.
Go on, tell her! Get a move on!
How do you like it here?
It's alright.
How would you like to go for a ride
in my Alfa?
I'd prefer a motorcycle.
Do you have a motorcycle?
No, I don't.
Too bad. I guess you'll have to
take your mother for a ride then.
We won't bother you again.
But to finish this, we need
to know a few more things.
You were 15 when you left home.
How'd that come about?
What were your thoughts at the time?
When I was fifteen?
When I was fifteen,
I had cute little feet.
One day I went to the ball in glass
There I met the King's son,
who had great big feet,
with big toes.
Nicer than yours.
And your shoes are ugly and dirty!
I'm like a dog on all fours these
seeing nothing but feet.
All I see in the street are
people's dreadful shoes.
All I hear are the sounds
of their soles, it's terrible!
And all those disgusting socks!
You look so funny.
Like Laurel and Hardy.
No work today.
- Why not?
- Because it's Sunday.
Because we're stuck.
We're at a dead end with Rosemonde.
What do we do now?
- We'll read the papers.
- They give me hives.
We're bored, aren't we?
Well, it is Sunday.
Do you want to sing?
No, I'd rather chew my balls.
there's an idea I've had for a long
It needs two to work it,
and you're just right.
What cheek!
Pestering us like that!
On Sunday, no less, and in our Geneva
This is inconceivable!
Give us some peace and quiet!
No one complains!
Are you all cowards?
All you do is read the paper!
Haven't you had enough of
Italians and Spaniards
without Turks, too?
It's unbelievable!
I'm telling you, sir.
Listen to me, madam.
Soon we'll have negroes dancing in
our trams!
Drums and all.
Cowards! You're all cowards!
Can't you make him shut up?
Do it yourself, if you're so clever.
You keep your mouth shut!
He's right, we're foreigners.
Exactly, foreigners in our own
It was December 12th.
The tram business nearly
came to a nasty end
when they told the passengers
it was only a joke.
Sleeping like angels!
It's awkward for you.
Only you and the boss have keys.
That would seem to narrow
the line of questioning.
You went to bed early last
night and slept soundly.
I told you. Suzanne can confirm it.
Work here long?
A few days.
- And before?
- At Sogex.
Why did you leave Sogex?
I didn't like it.
Do you like it here?
It's okay.
Hi. How are you?
What time is it?
Not working this afternoon?
And you? Is your story almost
We're rather stuck.
You don't look very chipper yourself.
I'm not going back to the shop.
Why not?
I left, that's all.
It's not the first time.
Get in a fight?
We can't help you much, this time.
The finances of our little household
are in crisis, about to pass from a
to an endemic state.
Know what that means?
This is cyclic. And this is endemic.
I haven't asked for anything!
What happened?
She quit, as usual.
We could title our story:
"Rosemonde, Just Passing Through."
The cops are after me again.
They were in the shop today,
questioning people.
The shop was robbed last night.
Naturally they questioned me most of
I know they suspect me, it was clear.
So I acted a bit pissed at them.
After lunch, I didn't go back.
To hell with the place!
You had nothing to do with it?
Of course not.
Was there a break-in?
That's just it.
Someone had the keys.
My key was in my coat.
I'm not a sleepwalker!
- And Roger?
- What about him?
He could have taken the key.
No one touched it!
And I haven't seen Roger in a week!
What is he to you?
I like him.
It's the same with him as it is with
What can be done?
You, Rosemonde,
pulled the trigger on your uncle.
Yes, it was me.
I didn't mean to,
it happened in the heat of the moment.
I'd been fed up with the
old fool for some time.
He always found piddling jobs for me,
like in the Army.
He preached at me all the time.
I've been scared of my temper ever
I don't know what to do anymore...
You better go away.
I know people you could stay with in
Why should she go to Paris?
You should go to Paris.
That's a stupid idea,
it'll only confirm the police's
It won't be long until she
finds a clue leading to Roger.
- She has to go back to work.
- I won't go.
Not long. Just a few days.
Just long enough to dispel their
I won't go!
Just a few days.
I'll pick you up tomorrow morning.
What shall I tell them about
yesterday afternoon?
I don't know...
Say that the questioning upset you.
Let's go.
I don't want to go.
I'm not going.
Come on.
Why are you looking at me like that?
Because it's amusing.
What's amusing?
I've lived with your
doppelganger for a month.
Whenever I went to my room,
I knew you'd be there.
I invented you.
Only the shot at your uncle was a
Now you're a reality. That amuses me.
How did you know I pulled the trigger?
It was a gamble.
I could've gone to prison for a long
- How long?
- I don't know.
I imagined you differently,
a little fatter, more countrified.
How fat? Fat as a pig?
No. Lovely, strapping, beautiful.
Do you like girls like that?
Is your wife like that?
No, she's very slim.
You were very funny.
You knew what you wanted.
And what do you want?
From life?
No, from me.
What do you want?
Me? I don't know...
But you do know.
I want people to get off my back.
That's not easy.
No one wants me the way I am.
No one? Am I no one?
And Pierre? And Suzanne?
You had three lovers in my story.
- All at once?
- No, one after the other.
You preferred one of them.
What did he look like?
He was...brawny.
Like this.
Like a construction worker I know.
- Was he handsome?
- Magnificent.
He had big hands.
Above all, he was clever.
He showed you the difference
between breaking a window
and breaking a window.
He taught you how to distinguish
friend from foe,
and not to break windows
on your own anymore.
He explained why your
enemies are your enemies.
Did I understand?
Yes, you got the gist.
Why do you write stories?
I'm just doing my bit.
In your story, do they know...
...the truth about the rifle shot?
- Who?
- The cops.
No. It was quite natural.
It wasn't your fault the rifle was
It had to be of some use one day.
It was better the bullet went here...
...than here.
Did you explain why your fat girl
She couldn't not be her true self
But the act itself wasn't important.
The important thing is
what set things in motion.
The freedom to be yourself
is systematically denied... too many people.
- Tell me her story again.
- You'll be late.
- Who were her enemies?
- The same as yours.
And who are my enemies?
Obviously the foreman at the
...the little boss of the shoe store,
his mummy... uncle's cops,
and the shoe store's cops.
The boss of law, the boss of sausages,
the boss of boots, and the boss of
I'll stop by the shop later.
Good morning, miss.
I'd like to buy a pair of shoes.
This way.
What do you have in mind?
I'd like shoes to put my feet in.
Shoes to walk in,
simple shoes.
I think I've got just the thing.
How did it go?
It went alright.
Is he the little boss man?
Shall I punch his face in?
Have you got cash on you?
Yes, twenty francs.
Well, aren't you rich!
I'll see what I have at
that price. What size?
Like this, perhaps?
Nice and warm. Too warm.
These are no good.
Neither are these.
These are practical.
A bit big.
That's better.
So are these...
That's the left.
And the right?
That looks nice.
But a little too small.
They fit like a glove!
You think?
They're elegant!
Then I'll keep them on, if they're so
- Sure you're alright?
- Yes, don't worry.
Thank you, mademoiselle.
Au revoir, mademoiselle.
Au revoir, mademoiselle?
The second one this week
buying tennis shoes...
In December!
Couldn't we use these notes?
No, you can't rehash stuff like that.
So we'll forget the adventures
of the lovely Rosemonde?
It's not my decision,
it was decided by the facts.
Rosemonde engulfed us.
What about the television money?
Another little debt.
Anyway, you didn't want to work on it.
I did at first.
I lured you into it.
I'll take responsibility.
That'll teach me.
Someone's knocking.
- Someone to inspect the place.
- Again!
Spiritual Defense were already here.
I represent your landlord's interest.
I'm here to evaluate your furniture.
Huh? Why?
You signed a lease,
which you clearly did not read.
It states that your belongings must
the value of eighteen months rent.
In your case that's exactly 6,300
What's the point of all this?
In case non-payment of rent
necessitates seizure of your effects.
In case you didn't know, your rent has
not been paid in four months.
- Four months?
- Yes.
- Are you the boss?
- Excuse me?
Are you director of the estate?
No, I'm head clerk.
Now, how much is this lot worth?
I don't know. Do your job, estimate,
You sure have a strange job.
What do you mean?
You're not the boss but
you have to act like you are.
I'm his legal representative.
What will become of you
when property is nationalized?
That day still seems far away.
I'm not sure it will ever come in our
And even if it did,
there are ways to get around it.
It just takes imagination.
I know a guy who succeeded
by inventing a new way
of squeezing mayonnaise.
Before, they were ordinary bottles
and the mayonaisse squirted out.
He had a brilliant idea
of chamfering the edge of the hole
so the mayonaisse comes out
all twisted and ribbed.
It looks great on sliced hard-boiled
He made a fortune, and now he's the
The value of the furnishings
amounted to scarcely 750 francs.
And that was a generous estimate.
The inspector took note, and left.
What a mess!
I made a decision.
I'm going to Paris.
I've had enough of this awful town.
And the papers, too.
Here or there...
Paris is also unbearable.
That's their problem.
At least I'm not at home there.
Does the Paris paper pay you?
A little.
I'll get by. I'll find a place to
And I'll run up debts.
Devaluation is faster in France,
and lawsuits are slower here.
I'll sell my car.
Catherine will take the apartment.
If you need a room in town...
Let me give you my phone number.
What's the matter? You must be crazy.
It looks nice.
You have nice legs.
What are you doing? Are you mad?
Sir! Your salesgirl is mad!
She's getting fresh with me!
What happened?
I don't know what came over me.
I'm sorry. Excuse me.
I'm sorry, madam. I'll handle it.
I've never seen the likes of it!
Do you need money for Christmas?
When's Christmas?
In five days.
Unfathomable sadness!
- How many days off do we have?
- Three.
What a waste! Jesus and Maria!
He's sad. He's going to sing.
It's too early. I never sing before
Written anything lately?
The story of a girl who
tried to kill her uncle.
A serious thing? An erotic tale?
Not at all.
What are you doing?
Yes, sir?
Come here!
You must leave here at once!
Get out!
You're completely mad.
You're a little slut!
Go on, get!
Goodbye, madam. Sir.
Thank you very, very much.
It was the 20th of December.
The so-called holidays approached
The crowds assaulted the shops,
in accordance with mercantile law.
A tendency towards marked
schizophrenia was evident,
a sickness which threatened to engulf
the entire social strata.
It still hadn't snowed,
which, for this time of year,
was actually not the least bit