The Beast in the Jungle (2023) Movie Script

Inspired by the novel of Henry James
This wildcat is beautiful.
He scares me.
The first time I saw May,
she was coming down
the night club steps with her friends.
Openings turn me on!
It was opening night, she wouldn't
have missed it for the world.
It's like a rocket launch.
I wanted to tell her to leave
because I knew she would
get trapped in that club
like a fly in a web.
But who was I to tell her that?
I myself had been
one of those starlets
that nothing in the world could stop
from getting lost in the night.
You up there...
What's the name of this club?
It doesn't have a name,
it's the nameless club.
And another one.
- Hello, May.
- Yassine!
Where have you been?
You stopped coming to The Lizard.
- It got so boring.
- I'm so happy to see you.
- Want some coke?
- No, I'm looking for a boy.
I'll be right back.
Move it, kids...
- Sorry, mister, I'm broke.
- Broke, huh?
You have the nerve
to visit my toilets with no money?
You owe me two francs, now.
Thanks, but I don't
owe you anything.
'Course not, I'm joking.
Got no sense of humor?
- Yes, I do.
- Thank goodness.
Some coincidence,
meeting up here, huh?
- We've met before?
- Yes.
I don't think so.
We have.
I thought I'd never see you again,
certainly not here.
You really don't remember?
It was in the Landes.
In summer.
I'm disappointed.
I bought you a beer, and you
don't even pretend to remember.
I think it's coming back to me.
It was 7 or 8 years ago, right?
10 years ago.
10 years?
Where exactly?
At the Sardinade,
the party in the parking lot.
The Sardinade?
I'm ashamed to say
it's all a blur.
Now you look truly disappointed.
I am.
If all you want to do is chat,
the bar's upstairs.
Shall we have a drink?
I have no money.
I had to buy this sweater
from a hooker on the street.
To get in here.
That's why...
I can't let you
buy me another drink.
I already owe you a beer.
I'm a bit of a misfit.
Actually, I never go out.
So what are you doing here?
- Meeting with a colleague.
- Is she waiting for you?
I don't know.
I'm avoiding her.
- Do you live in Paris now?
- Yes.
I've been here a month.
What do you do?
Not much.
You must do something.
Nothing interesting.
- Want me to go?
- No.
Well, I don't know.
As you like.
You know nothing, want nothing,
it's "as you like"...
I'm no good at this.
I'm a bit of a misfit.
That night, you said something
I've never forgotten.
On the bleachers.
Something dumb?
If it had been dumb,
I would have forgotten.
The boy with the secret.
What became of him?
The boy on the bleachers,
who had a secret.
You told me your secret.
I told you about that?
There you are,
I looked everywhere.
Who are you?
You think you can talk
to my friend?
Come on, let's dance.
You'll talk tomorrow.
- Come on.
- Coming?
I'd appreciate it
if you'd move your butt.
You're blocking the way.
This is the story of May and John.
It was 1979.
I remember that boy,
who looked lost and hunted.
You, come.
John looked like he was
suffering from something
that no one could understand.
I can read faces, it's my job.
Thank you, madam.
I thought you never went out.
Come and meet my friends.
I was looking for you.
I want to buy you a drink,
I owe you that.
- Come and dance.
- No.
I want to buy you a drink.
What's your name?
You're John.
Even back at the Sardinade,
you wouldn't dance with me.
You really remember everything?
Ah, now we're
on a first-name basis.
Yes, I remember everything.
That evening, I danced like crazy,
with two friends.
I thought you were
checking me out.
You were such an outsider,
so alone.
I came over and asked you
to dance with me.
You said no.
Then you told me
you had a secret.
Did you understand what I meant?
I understood
you didn't want to kiss me.
What I told you was for real.
I know.
- Has it happened?
- No.
Not yet.
You think I've given up,
but I haven't.
- I didn't say that.
- It's what you're thinking.
I think you could kiss me
this time.
To make up for lost time.
Kissing has no meaning
as long as the thing
hasn't happened.
Something will happen to me
and it will change my life.
That's what I told you.
Do you understand
how incredible it is, how crazy?
Ever since I was a child,
I know I have been chosen
for something exceptional.
And this extraordinary thing
will happen sooner or later.
And my whole life
will be rocked to the core.
So everything
that comes before that...
You still believe?
I'm sure.
Now you think I'm crazy.
I feel as if I understand
what you're saying.
I'd rather you didn't
tell anyone.
I've never been able
to talk about it.
- I was afraid people would think...
- You're not mad, John.
I really hope it will happen.
And that you will be happy.
At that point, May could still
have taken a different path.
She could have chosen that life,
a life lived for itself,
with lightness and certainty,
safe from the abysses.
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear May
Happy birthday to you!
But you're still cute.
You may have another
5 or 10 years,
before you're married,
with 5 children.
That's so sweet of you, bitch.
Happy birthday!
They're beautiful!
They must've cost a fortune!
You're nuts.
I love them!
your birthday falls on
a total eclipse of the moon.
That says it all.
You'll be even more beautiful
at 30.
Excuse me.
I need to talk to you.
- What?
- Come, please, it's important.
- Come.
- I'm busy right now.
You OK?
I'm coming.
I'll be right back.
Don't worry, Pierre.
Let's watch the eclipse.
I have something to ask you.
May, will you join me?
Join you?
- But I'm with Pierre.
- That's not what I mean.
It's something else.
May, stand watch with me.
We'll stand watch together
until the thing happens.
It will be like a journey...
an extraordinary journey.
A true adventure.
Will you do it?
It's strange.
As if I'd been waiting
10 years for this moment.
When do we start?
We'll always meet here.
I love it
when life is like a novel.
Want to dance?
I don't dance.
I can't dance
and I'm proud of it.
My mother wanted me to go
to the opera tonight.
To see Swan Lake.
Feathery tutus for hours!
I like Mom,
but I can't stand her friends.
Rich bitches
with pearl necklaces,
who worry about my future,
know what I mean?
What if the thing you're waiting for
involved a country,
a real journey?
Is that what you think?
Someone would stop you
on a secret street one night.
They'd tell you to pack,
right now,
go to the airport
and take the first plane,
to Japan.
- Why Japan?
- It's the craziest place, right?
It's Sunday already.
Has been for five hours.
I should be in bed,
I have an exam Monday morning.
It's such a bore!
But I love learning mysterious things
about mysterious paintings.
I really do.
I love it when
there's a secret in a painting.
I dreamed about you last night.
A crazy dream.
You were wearing a sequined suit
and dancing on your hands.
Did you dream of me?
If I told you my dreams,
you'd probably run away.
Aren't you so full of yourself?
Every time she was near John,
she felt a horizon
open inside her,
that she could
neither understand nor name.
You could ask me
if I passed my exam.
- Did you pass your exam?
- Of course.
What if the thing
had to do with money?
An inheritance, maybe.
A big sum of money.
I have no family.
Follow me, we'll go up there,
on the balcony.
I can't, my friends are here.
- How come you don't have any friends?
- I don't know.
Don't you want any?
I hate being alone.
I don't care.
You know why.
It's extreme.
Now I have a friend.
This thing
we're watching out for,
has it ever been seen before?
You mean am I the first man
this thing will happen to?
So you want something
no one else has ever felt?
What I want isn't the point.
I don't want anything.
Destiny will unfold according to the law
and there's nothing we can do.
"Destiny will unfold
according to the law
"and there's nothing we can do."
Where did you get that?
I don't know.
What if it's something you have to do?
Like a work of art?
I really don't know.
I don't think it's that.
Is it religious?
What is certain is that it's...
something bigger than us.
Something absolute.
Yes, perhaps.
So it's truly the great unknown.
Dry your tears.
Go on, wipe away your mascara.
There's no tragedy yet.
I like you, but you should
make an effort to dress better.
In you go.
Pierre, John. John, Pierre.
There, that's done.
- Childhood friend, right?
- Yes.
I remember you.
I don't remember you.
Pierre seldom comes.
He says he hates clubs,
but he used to come
all the time.
Only to flirt with you.
I hate having to shout.
And you can't see anything.
I like to see people's real faces.
Ooh, deep.
- You're late tonight.
- Yes, I'm sorry.
What do you do,
apart from your Saturdays here?
Nothing special.
He works in a printing house.
No, now I work in a warehouse.
To pay for your studies?
It's not very interesting, I...
Sorry, it's none of my business.
Hey, tell the girl that heartache
is always forgotten.
- Excuse me...
- I look dreadful!
No, you're very pretty.
Number 303, please.
I hope you're not bored with me.
Mitterand! Mitterand!
Bye bye, assholes!
- Everything will change today, John.
- Shall we go to the Bastille?
Shall we join them?
Let's go!
And bring everyone
back here, OK?
I'm counting on you.
Let's go too.
Leave here?
One in the morning,
a storm rages over Paris...
This is a historical night, John.
Do you realize that?
In 50 years, I can tell my grandchildren
I was here.
It was the first time John and May
were on the street together.
John was afraid.
D'you really think
people can share things?
We do, don't we?
That's true.
It's very unexpected.
Hey there, lovers!
Don't walk around,
this is a night for fucking!
I don't mean to pry,
but are you seeing anyone?
We never mention it,
as if it was taboo.
It's not taboo.
I'm not seeing anyone.
- Don't you need to make love?
- Yes.
From time to time,
like anyone else.
How is that possible?
You went outside.
What a strange idea.
This is where it all happens.
It's been a long week.
Yes, it has.
Let's get out of here,
go get some oysters at Deauville.
- Will you drive, Pierre?
- Sure.
You know, Greta Garbo
walks around with a sunshade.
She's afraid
the walls are spying on her.
- Let's go to Deauville!
- No.
- Sunrise over the sea will be great!
- Sorry, it's not for me.
Not for you, huh?
Who does he think he is?
Are you asocial, or just lonely?
What would it change?
Whether or not people like you.
I don't care about that.
I'm going to stay.
Jeez, you're a pain.
A real pain!
Can't you leave him,
just for once?
Pierre, please, he's my friend.
Yes, I know.
- You told me to trust you.
- Yes.
That's still the case.
Trust me.
I don't know.
You're choosing him.
You're not with me any more,
and you don't even realize.
I live with you, I see you every day.
I only see him here.
You love him, May.
It's killing me.
You don't understand.
With him I'm just...
taking a big step
to the side of life.
I don't understand
what you're saying. To go where?
I don't know.
To an unknown zone.
He's full of it, May.
- It's something else.
- Something else?
May, you're hurting me.
That's the last thing
I want to do.
You're becoming an early layer.
You shouldn't bring your man
to the club, live your life.
I never take mine anywhere.
- Thanks.
- Thanks.
You're not dropping me, are you?
She won't drop you.
Klaus Nomi is dead.
May hadn't stayed away for long.
But the mood
had already changed.
Lots of stuff happens here.
Love stories start here,
crimes of passion, too.
20 years ago,
I worked in a dance club
and I saw a guy stick a knife
in his rival's back.
His whole life was ruined.
Look at those eyes.
Such pretty eyes.
Be careful.
I'm going to London with Pierre
for Christmas.
For how long?
Just a few days.
You seem very much in love,
you and Pierre.
Are you married?
If we were,
I would have told you.
After all this time.
Don't you ever wonder
about my life outside of here?
Merry Christmas, John.
It's silly, but I haven't
received a gift for years.
I wonder if I'm not doing
something really shitty.
What d'you mean?
By asking you to accompany me
on this adventure.
I decided to come with you.
Nobody forced me.
It's got a 10-year guarantee.
Will we still be here, together,
in 10 years?
This is Pablo.
- Is he your son?
- No.
Do I look like someone
who'd have a kid?
He's my man's son,
I'm the wicked stepmother.
Pablo, my love,
meet John.
Will you tie my bow?
Recognize me?
Cline, the cloakroom girl.
Want to dance?
C'mon, dance!
You cheated.
I see no red.
Pierre asked me to marry him.
That's good.
Don't you want to know
if I said yes?
I'm sure you'll make
the right decision.
I'm on my break.
Cline, May.
May, Cline.
I'm going to dance.
She held your hand?
- 5...
- I love your dresses.
- Where do you buy them?
- 4...
- I don't remember.
- 3...
- 2...
- I buy everything second-hand.
- Thanks.
- Happy New Year!
- Want to dance?
- Yes.
She's a nice girl.
Did you tell her
about the thing?
The thing?
You could have.
- Don't be an idiot.
- I'm not.
Yes, you are.
You ask questions
as if you hadn't understood.
I don't ask you
if you've told Pierre.
I know that you haven't.
When you love someone,
you want to tell them everything.
Do you love Pierre?
Yet you didn't tell him
about the thing.
You see, May,
you're an idiot
to ask those questions.
Well, this idiot is leaving.
Goodnight, John.
Why are you avoiding me?
John and May were lost.
And I watched them getting lost.
John was looking for May,
but never reached her.
May would have liked
to get away from him, but couldn't.
Around them,
AIDS was wreaking havoc.
John and May were there,
living in that death-wracked club,
breathless and twitching.
Look at me!
- I look like some dumb chick.
- No.
Everything disgusts me.
I've done nothing but drink
this week.
Everything's vile right now.
Hang in there, OK?
Hold it together.
No one can take that
away from us.
John has a girlfriend.
I've never seen him with a girl.
I thought he was
the most lonely guy in the world.
I don't get it.
I'm lost.
Totally lost.
You're jealous, May.
You're right.
I'm sick with jealousy.
I'm so ashamed.
You won't look at me?
You don't return my calls.
You're insane, huh?
Completely insane.
Is that it?
I don't want a guy like you,
who feels nothing, isn't alive.
Have you seen May?
Sorry, John, I haven't.
Maybe you should leave her be.
She got married.
AIDS had killed so many
that the club was empty.
Me and the toilet attendant
couldn't leave the club.
We were waiting,
but we didn't know what for.
Perhaps the next generation.
What's going on?
Something crazy
is happening, John.
A new world.
Did you see
what's happening in Berlin?
Crazy, isn't it?
Everything is still possible.
Perhaps this is a good time
to say goodbye.
What do you mean?
Where's Cline?
It's over between us.
It was not meant to last.
"It was not meant to last."
the man with the grand,
mysterious words.
I'm quitting, John.
It's over.
- I'm giving up on you.
- You can't do that!
You don't need me.
I need you.
The thing that has to happen...
what if it was simply love?
It can't be only that.
The thing is much more bizarre.
Much more crazy.
It's got nothing
to do with love, May.
That would be too trivial.
Too trivial.
You love Pierre.
Love is also the end of love.
It's the risk
of destroying everything.
So the thing is not love.
There will be no end
to the two of us.
No end to the two of us.
we must be patient.
The thing will happen.
All we have to do is wait.
All we have to do is wait?
That's all.
May, come.
John took May to the balcony.
His gesture
resembled an exfiltration.
She followed him,
she believed again.
They believed together
in this thing hidden in the shadows,
which was going to leap out,
show itself,
this thing that would
upend their lives.
Time no longer exists.
It's wonderful.
I wish it would never stop.
Until the thing happens.
Until it happens.
And after?
What will we do after?
When it's happened,
will it be over?
It's as if you've never
thought about that.
D'you ever think about that?
John, can you hear me?
You asked me a question
long ago.
You were talking about
when the thing
actually happens.
You asked
what we would do after.
I asked that?
I thought about it.
you'll be free.
I think that's the answer.
You mean, you'll be free.
You'll be free.
We'll both be free.
Is that it?
Free to do what?
I no longer exist, huh?
- How are you? It's been so long.
- Yes, it has.
I'm good.
I have work, and a kid.
A child?
what are you doing now?
Still graphic design.
I'm designing the new cover
for "Actuel".
When they want something
funny or punk, they call me.
Yassine died last year.
- Yassine is dead?
- Yes.
He held out for a long time.
He died in my arms,
at the hospital.
No one was there.
It was so sad.
- You should have told me.
- You changed your number.
You told nobody.
And you?
Any children?
Still with Pierre?
How is he?
He's spreading his wings.
So, you still come here?
You didn't notice
I'd stopped coming.
You didn't even call me.
We laughed at the old hags
wearing too much make-up,
wriggling on the dance floor.
We were pretty dumb.
One day, I'll be one of them
and that's fine with me.
But you don't have a wrinkle.
I have tons of crow's feet.
You're as cute as ever.
Would you and Pierre
like to come for dinner next Saturday?
Next Saturday, I'll be here.
Like every Saturday.
Let's not pretend.
What if it's not
something great,
something beautiful?
What if something dreadful
awaits me?
What if it's not us
watching out for the thing,
but the thing
that's lying in wait for us?
The beast is hiding,
lying in wait for us.
Since the beginning.
The beast?
The beast.
Dear friends, today is
the birthday
of the secret flower of this place.
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you, May
Happy birthday to you!
Remember this song?
Happy birthday, May.
Thank you.
I never thought
I'd turn 40 one day.
We've been coming here
for 15 years.
15 years.
That's your real name, right?
You have done nothing
with your life.
You are nothing.
Without the lights and the music,
you disappear.
You crumble.
The saddest thing
isn't when a story ends.
Stop it.
You've been so patient with me,
for so long.
Say nothing, May, or I'll die.
It's over between us,
is that it?
I'm the one
who'll always be there for you.
Not him.
What's happening?
May would have liked
to hold him tight.
When she placed her hand
over his heart,
she suddenly
understood something.
You know what's going to happen?
You know everything
and you're afraid to tell me?
You don't want me
to find out what it is.
I don't know everything.
But I think
my curiosity will be rewarded.
Painfully rewarded.
But John was blind.
He couldn't see what
was becoming obvious to her.
Both of them had lived
on the edges of life for years,
not daring to dive in.
Perhaps things won't happen
as they should have.
You say "should have",
as if you're starting to doubt.
As if you thought
nothing more will happen.
You don't get it.
No, I don't.
Quite simply,
I believe my curiosity will be rewarded,
but not how I expected.
Do you know May?
Her name in real life
is May Bartram.
You didn't know?
John is John Marcher.
And this place
finally has a name:
The Beast in the Jungle.
As for me,
carry on calling me
the Physiognomist.
I have known John and May
for a long time.
I know them
since their beginnings.
I know them
as if they were my children.
John is wandering the club,
looking for May.
He hasn't realized
that she won't be back.
As he hasn't realized
that the beast has never been so close.
Hiding in the darkness,
ready to pounce on him.
Is May here?
She doesn't want to see anyone.
I'm sorry, John.
I'm a lousy drawer,
don't look at it.
You know something I don't.
We haven't yet faced the worst.
Is that it?
What makes you think I can help you
to see the worst?
You hinted at it.
I hinted at nothing.
You admitted it yourself
when you said
that your curiosity
would be painfully rewarded.
I beg you, tell me the truth.
If you don't help me,
it's tantamount to abandoning me.
No, you can see,
I'm here, with you.
I haven't abandoned you.
At least tell me
if I'm going to suffer.
You're not going to suffer.
What more could one wish for
than not to suffer?
You think there's nothing better?
What could be better?
I understand.
What do you understand?
You know now that I'm just a fool
and nothing will happen,
is that it?
Not at all.
You were right from the start.
Something is really
going to happen.
Are you sure
I've not been waiting,
just to have the door
slammed in my face?
The door isn't closed.
So something will happen to me?
It's not too late.
You must go now.
- Are you ill?
- No.
I'm just very tired.
John had understood nothing,
seen nothing.
Totally blinded
by his own anxiety,
he hadn't understood
what had happened.
Dance with me.
We've never danced together.
What had to happen, happened.
The other day, at my place.
The thing has happened.
We're on the other side now.
Everything is fine.
I'm going on a journey, John.
You must be strong.
It's Alice.
I'm calling to tell you
that we buried May yesterday.
Just the family
and a few friends.
I thought you should know.
Goodbye, John.
It's Alice.
I'm calling to tell you
that we buried May yesterday.
Just the family and a few friends.
I thought you should know.
Goodbye, John.
Though she had been dead
for years by now,
he still looked for her.
But perhaps it would be truer
to say it was not her he searched for,
but traces of their past together...
I'm afraid it's not possible.
Pablo, it's me, John.
I knew you as a child.
I recognize you too, but...
it's complicated.
No adults allowed.
You'll have to leave.
Up until now,
he'd never been to see May's tomb.
John had let May slip away.
He had not been able
to love her.
The beast really did exist
and now it had pounced.
This bitter
and tardy realization
nevertheless tasted of life.
I have a secret.
Do you want me to tell it to you?
I do.