The Debussy Film (1965) Movie Script

(indistinct shouting)
(Man) Right, yeah, we've got it.
(Man over megaphone)
Over here with the pumps, please.
Mr. Hamilton,
you're wanted over here, please.
Let's get them lined up
as quickly as possible.
(Horse neighing)
Make-up, please. Make-up over here.
Now, this great composer
has died of cancer.
He's known hundreds of people in his life
but because of quarrels
and because a war was going on,
there's hardly anyone at the funeral.
This was the worst period
of the war for Paris.
The city's being shelled,
Germans are threatening to take it,
France is about to collapse,
and hardly anybody notices
the death of a man
who has now taken to signing himself
"Musician of France".
His wife is there, of course,
and Chouchou, his daughter,
but hardly anyone else.
Now, when the carriage gets there,
to the end,
I want you to run out into the road,
look at the wreaths for the name,
run back, and say to your mother,
"it seems he was a musician".
All right? Good.
We'll wait until then.
Turn over.
(Director) More water to foreground.
Steady with the coffin.
Spray the hearse. More water!
OK, pull away now.
Start to zoom...
Follow them with the hoses.
There's more rain than you have here.
Just keep walking on.
It seems...
he was a musician.
(Melvyn Bragg) Claude Debussy,
born in poverty in 1862,
died friendless in 1918.
A film based on incidents in his life,
his own words and his relationships -
with Gabrielle Dupont, attempted suicide,
Lilly Rosalie Texier, attempted suicide,
Chouchou, died at the age of 13,
Madame Bardac.
wife of a wealthy banker,
and the man who took
most of these pictures,
Pierre Louys,
OK. That's it.
Pull out the arrows.
Break for lunch, everybody. Thank you.
(Man) One hour for lunch only, please!
One hour only.
- Eastboume Gazette.
- OK, thank you.
- Hello. How do you do?
- How do you do?
I believe you've been having some fun
on our beach this morning?
- You should've done your reporting then.
- Oh, yes?
The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.
When they first did this,
they wanted Sebastian
to be played by a naked woman.
Well, you didn't, er...?
I mean, she didn't, erm...?
(Clears throat) Are you doing it all here?
I thought he was French.
Most of it here and in London.
When we shoot in France, the unions
make us double up in all the crews and...
we can't afford it.
I see.
- That's Debussy, over there.
- Oh, aye?
(Director) This scene is when Debussy
is in his early twenties,
long before he came to England.
He is with Madame Vanier.
She was looking after him at the time.
He always needed someone
to look after him.
Always found someone,
usually a woman.
(Laughs) He gave her singing lessons,
she gave him money,
You know, he loved gambling at cards
and whenever he lost, which was often,
she would slip into his pocket
enough change to get him home,
and a packet of cigarettes -
consolation prize.
But it was with Madame Vanier that he
first played his own composition in public.
She sang the songs
he had written especially for her.
There's Monsieur Vanier.
He liked Debussy
but he doesn't seem to have known
all that was going on between
the young composer and his wife.
(Debussy) And before he could find out,
I met Gaby.
- (Director) Gabrielle Dupont,
- (Debussy) Gaby.
(Director) They met when Debussy
was 26. He lived with her for ten years.
He was back from the Prix de Rome.
He'd won this great scholarship
from the Conservatoire in Paris.
(Debussy) Forced labour, I hated it.
(Director) Gaby was as poor as he was.
He had a good time with her.
(I DEBUSSY: "Jardins sous la pluie")
(Director) Debussy was born poor.
(Debussy) My father was a soldier,
a shopkeeper, a prisoner,
a salesman, a clerk, and a layabout,
I never went to school.
He wanted me to be a sailor.
(Director) He only took up music because
of a meeting with Verlaine's mother-in-law.
She taught him the piano.
(Debussy) I owe her the little I know
about the piano. She knew Chopin.
(Director) He needed somewhere to live.
Someone to love him.
(Debussy) The only memory I have of my
mother is that she used to slap my face.
I can't afford to live at home, anyway.
My father expects my music
to pay for his billiards.
(Director) And Gaby was prepared
to be his housekeeper.
(Gaby) To go out and work for you.
To do anything you want.
(Director) He wanted to be free.
Free to roam Paris at night.
To meet poets, painters, critics.
To row with the Conservatoire,
to experiment.
(Gaby) As long as you stay with me.
(Director) Now he wrote his music for her.
(Debussy) "Gardens In The Rain",
for Gaby.
(Director) Most of the young students
and artists in France, in the eighties,
were impressed by the Pre-Raphaelites,
especially Debussy.
They seemed to choose the subjects
that he himself wanted to do.
For instance, one of the things he wrote,
while he was on the Prix de Rome,
was based on a poem by Rossetti,
"The Blessed Dam0zel".
You see, R0ssetti's situation was similar
to that of Debussy.
The poem is about this illiterate
Cockney woman, an English Gaby,
whom Rossetti is supposed to have loved
for her ethereal willingness.
He double-crossed her, of course,
just as Debussy double-crossed Gaby.
Art nouveau, aestheticism...
it was all going on, in Paris
and in London, in the 1890s...
(I "La demoiselle lue")
(Women's voices)
J La demoiselle lue s'appuyait
J Sur la barrire d'0r du ciel
Ses yeux taient plus profonds
que I'abime
J Des eaux calmes
J Au soir
J Elle avait trois lys a la main
J Et sept toiles dans les cheveux,,,
You know, they wanted all the arts
to be mixed together.
Now read this. This is by Baudelaire,
but Debussy said
the same sort of thing himself.
"It would be truly surprising if sound
were not capable of suggesting colour,
"if colours could not give the idea
of a melody."
He saw Turner's paintings
when he was in London.
He wanted his music to be like paintings,
to be paintings in sound.
His titles are for paintings -
clouds, moonlight, fog.
Sketchesfior La Mer.
Studies In Black And White.
Sorry, start again.
"It would be truly surprising if sound
were not capable of suggesting colour.
"If colours could not give
the idea of a melody,
"and if sound and colour were inadequate
to express ideas.
"For things have ever found expression
in reciprocal analogies
"since the day when God put forth the
world as a complex and indivisible whole."
(Gaby) Amen.
Oh, can't we go?
I'm bored.
Hm. Yeah, OK.
(Whispers) Ciao.
(Director) Wait.
Let me show you just one more.
(Director) Whistler.
He called his paintings "nocturnes",
and Debussy,
who wrote three nocturnes himself,
said that they were studies in grey.
The one I...
like best is...
A fantastic procession,
the vibrating, dancing rhythm
of the atmosphere,
with sudden flashes of light.
(P March-like music)
(Music obscures speech)
(Music fades)
- Is this Lilly?
- Yes.
- Hello.
- Hi.
Come along here, darling,
I want to talk to you.
- All right? Can I help you?
- That's OK.
- Are you cold?
- No.
- Did you have a nice swim?
- It was fine, thanks.
This is, er...Debussy.
(Lilly) Hello.
This is, er...
Sorry, darling.
- This is, er...0ur little Gaby.
- Hello.
And this is my secretary.
All right? Shall we go and see
the rough cut?
All right?
(Director) Oh, please. Not again!
You behave, old man!
- What am I going to see?
- Did you read that book I told you about?
Most of it.
I'm surprised.
And did you read this chapter
about Pierre Louys?
Well, I didn't get that far.
To follow this, you must know.
Well, er... Hm...
Can we hold it
for a few minutes, please?
Thank you.
Debussy is working in Paris, with Gaby.
Or rather she's working and he's living.
He earned next to nothing.
Then he met Pierre Louys.
Louys was rich.
He collected rare books,
oriental tapestries,
cocktail recipes, betting systems,
and as many experiences
as money and agility could buy.
Debussy became his favourite.
Or he sponged from him,
whichever way you want to put it.
Anyway, they were friends and, er...
worked together on various projects,
most of which collapsed.
But Louys introduces him
to all sorts of writers.
The two of them were going to share
a house at one time.
He wanted Debussy to come to
North Africa and the Middle East with him,
but Debussy didn't go.
(Chuckles) Louys liked young girls.
He wrote to Debussy
saying that he couldn't get on
with the work they were planning
because he did nothing with his fingers
except unmentionable things.
Mm. And the music behind this scene
is from L Zzprs-m/b?' 0"un zune.
Debussy took the poem from Mallarm.
- We're ready.
- All right... (indistinct)
What happened to Louys, the kinky one?
He got what he deserved. He...
lived to a cultured old...
dirty old age.
OK, let's run.
Who's playing LOWS?
(Whispers) I am.
That's me. That's Louys.
He wrote
a very successful pornographic book,
took lots of strange photographs.
What he really liked to do
was manipulate people,
a kind of Svengali.
And Debussy was good material for him,
always dreaming.
At one time, he and Gaby used to spend
more time at L0uiis's home than their own.
And Debussy would always be dreaming,
dreaming his way through the strange
beauty of all L0uis's possessions.
Dreaming his way through
a hot summer afternoon with Gaby.
They did play with balloons. I checked.
"Prlude Faprs-midi d'un faune")
(Director) It was new music. Really new.
Nothing like it
had ever been written before.
(Woman) Who's the slave girl?
Zara, a present from Andre Gide.
There he is.
It was he who went to Algeria with Louys,
instead of Debussy.
I don't know how to work it in.
Gide, Oscar Wilde, Mallarm,
Rodin, Monet.
All interacting, all so complicated.
(Jazz music)
- Rene Peter, Baudelaire...
- Mm.
- Mater... Materlich?
- Maeterlinck.
- Mallarm.
- Yeah.
- Louys himself?
- Yeah...
He based his music
on writings of all these?
Yes, 90 per cent of his music started
from a painting or a poem or a play.
They're just a selection,
they were all in Paris.
If I put down everyone
he worked with or knew well,
it would sound like the last roll call
of all the brilliant dead.
- Who were Chocolat and...Footitt, is it?
- Yes. Clowns, friends of his.
- And the Revue b/anche?
- A magazine.
He was the music editor for a time.
According to your list, he was patron
and pianist of every nightclub in time.
What did he do for kicks?
It's all in his music.
What's this g/gue bit?
Ah, it's a poem by Verlaine.
He came to London for a time,
to get away from scandals in France.
- What, like Debussy?
- Like Debussy.
Dansez la g/gue.
Dansons la g/gue.
That's the title of the poem.
"Everybody dance the jig".
- It sounds lousy in English.
- Yes.
Yes. He wrote it here, in Soho, in a cafe.
- The jig that's The Kee/Rom
- Keel Row?
Keel Row. It was being played
on a barrel organ outside.
It's about the streets.
Debussy based one of his Images on it. goes like this, er...
"Dansons la gigue!
"Most of all I like her dancing eyes
"Sharper than stars, malicious
"I love her eyes
"Dansons la gigue!"
"images - Gigues")
"She had the fine gift
of making her lover desperate
"And doing it so charmingly
"Dansons la gigue...
"Even more,
I liked the ripe feeling of her kiss
"Especially as she was dead for me
"Dansons la gigue...
"I remember, I remember those hours
"Those embraces
"My finest possessions
"Dansons la gigue!"
"images - Gigues")
(Debussy) "Even more,
I liked the ripe feeling of her kiss
"Especially as she was dead for me
"Dansons la gigue..."
(Director) Right. You are depressed.
You don't know where Debussy is.
You have no money.
He's gone to buy meat but he'll probably
bring back a bit of silk,
a statuette or something.
OK, walk it through. That's right.
Now remember: he was lazy.
All his friends said that he was lazy.
He never appeared to do any work.
He would only write the music
he wanted to write.
And he would only write it in his own time.
He took ten years
- ten years! -
over Maeterlinck's play,
Pel/as e! Ml/Sande;
turning it into an opera.
And you didn't understand any of it.
You're fed up with him.
He's probably with another woman.
Or talking.
Always talking
about things that don't interest you.
He won't even give music lessons
to help feed himself.
You have to look after him.
You serve him.
Is he going to be all right...this man?
Well, it depends how much I like him
and how much you can hate him.
- I hope he's not drunk today.
- Exactly.
- Is he always?
- I don't know.
(Wagner on record player)
- (Gun pops, cat shrieks)
- Death to Debussy!
Next time, it will be the real thing.
A real bullet...or me?
Let's have a drink, shall we?
(Turns music down)
- Do you mind?
- Yes, I do, since you ask.
I certainly bloody well do.
- Isn't it to your refined French taste?
- Yes.
But sometimes it tastes a little too strong
and I have to spit it out.
He's a spirited lad.
Well, I suppose I'm to be filled in.
Do you know anything
about Maeterlinck's spirit?
I know he wanted to shoot Debussy
and practised on the local cats.
Yes, I'm aware he was
the Belgian Shakespeare
and wrote many beautiful
Symbolist dramas,
including The Blue Bird
and Pel/as e! Ml/Sande;
in which Debussy saw
the perfect subject for an opera.
So he begged Maeterlinck's permission
to be allowed to use it,
which Maeterlinck
very generously granted him.
And ten years later,
very generously took it back again.
I was betrayed.
You forget.
We agreed that Georgette Leblanc,
my mistress,
was to sing Mlisande...
and you engaged Mary Garden,
a Scottish soprano.
Do you honestly believe
that that's the true reason?
You walk around here
like some third-rate clown
because you haven't got the guts
to face up to the fact that
was a monumental failure?
Furthermore, lfind you uninteresting,
a self-opinionated bore,
and what is worse to me, tone-deaf.
Let's have a drink.
(Shouts) And let's have some music!
- You hate Debussy's music, don't you?
- It doesn't go with any drink live got.
- (I WAGNER: "Ride of the Valkyries")
- And this one does?
Oh, on that I could get drunk
before I start drinking.
You know something? I find this music
like you - loud and vulgar.
Come on!
(Director) The whole thing was crazy.
Maeterlinck jumped
through Debussy's windows,
threatened to beat him up
with a walking stick,
and promptly challenged him
to a duel with pistols,
He then found a fortune teller
who saw Debussy drenched in blood.
After that,
he tried to sabotage the opera, failed,
shot as many cats as he could find,
and, honour satisfied, went back
to Belgium and Wagner - crazy.
Ol, 00p!
(Debussy shrieks)
(Debussy laughs)
(Debussy shrieks)
Where have you been?
Got the meat?
Well, are you gonna answer or not?
You never listen to me.
I suppose I'm not worth listening to
or talking to or looking at
or sleeping with or living with.
Oh, I'm not good enough for you.
Go on, say it, go on.
You never even seem to notice
I'm around these days.
(Director) That's it.
Ignore the statuette, Gaby.
Your taste is different.
(r THE KINKS: "You Really Got Me")
See, don't ever set me free
I always want to be by your side
J Girl, you really got me now
J You got me so I can't sleep at night
J Yeah, you really got me now
J You got me
so I don't know what I'm doing
J Oh, yeah,
you really got me now
J You got me so I can't sleep at night
J You really got me, you really got me
J You really got me J
What's that?
It's Debussy. Danse Profane.
Oh, this is a party.
Who wants to listen to that?
I do.
Does anybody wanna shake to Debussy?
It's supposed to be a party.
We're all supposed to be
enjoying ourselves, aren't we?
Oh, you don't want to listen to that.
You're only doing it to annoy me.
It's a load of old crap.
Oh! Can't anybody ever have a good time
while you're around?
Look, I want to listen to the music.
Do you mind?
(Record player pickup clicks)
- (Gentle string chords)
- (Man) Hi. Hey, come on!
- (Whistling)
- (Man) Put some music on!
(Music becomes a lilting waltz)
- (Man) Come on, then.
- That's it.
Gaby's got the idea.
That's more like it.
(Man) Ooh...!
(Cheering and clapping)
(Man) Come on, come on.
(Men) Whoo...
(Clapping and cheering)
(Man) Over here, dear.
(Shouting and whooping)
(Man) The suspense is killing us.
Here she goes!
(Clapping and whistling)
- (Record screeches)
- (Cheering and laughter)
(Applause and cheering)
More! More!
Don't be so bloody miserable.
Stuff them down you.
I've earned it.
Damn your earnings!
I've told you before,
leave me alone.
- I won't, why should I?
- Leave me alone!
You're rotten, you bastard, you bastard!
I'm fed up with living in this bloody place.
Why don't you flippin' get out
and do some work instead of sitting around
looking at those stupid statues?
I'm fed up with everything in this place!
There's no clothes, no food...
Leave me alone.
I'll give you bloody money.
All right, then, where is it?
Money? It's there.
And there!
Go on, eat it.
Tell that to some of your friends.
You never understood anything I did!
You never will!
- You're mean, you're selfish, you bastard!
- You filthy tart.
- You hate me, you hate me!
- Get away!
You bastard, you bastard!
- You bastard!
- (Man) Stop it...
- You're lousy, you're mean...
- (Man) Am I in time for dinner?
How about some wine?
Please, stop it.
(She sobs)
She destroys me.
She doesn't understand anything.
- She hates everything I do.
- I can't blame her.
- (Sobbing)
- (Man) This is awful.
Now, darling...
Smell this flower. It will be...
- Oh, I don't want it.
- Come now, lovely...
I like it.
Can I have my script, please?
Thank you very much.
And my pencil. Thank you.
- Was he really such a bastard?
- (Debussy sighs)
Didn't he ever do any work?
Well, er...
He played in
one or two nightclubs, he taught,
but mainly, he wrote music and...
that didn't sell well enough
to buy him a decent piano.
What about her?
Wasn't she on
the game before she went to Debussy?
Ah, probably.
There's isn't a great deal known about her.
She only seems to have had
one friend: Lilly.
Good, er... Thank you. it was really lovely.
Close-ups after lunch, OK?
Thank you. ls the pianist there?
"images - Gigues")
(Cries out)
(Debussy laughs)
"And then...
"Gaby, with her steely eyes,
found a letter in my pocket,
"which left no doubt
as to the advanced state of a love affair,
"with all the most romantic trappings
to move the most hardened heart.
"tears, drama...
"a real revolver
and a report in the PetitJou/nal "
You wrote that just aftewvards.
You hated melodrama in real life.
Gaby had offended against your taste.
But you were lucky this time.
She didn't die.
Now it was Lilly.
Lilly - Rosalie Texier.
A dress model.
Once again, the Bohemian life
closed in around him
and he dreamt his way through it.
This time with Lilly.
And, as always, with the help and cash
of his patron Louys.
But Louys decided to marry.
He wrote to Debussy:
"Write me a wedding march, pompous.
lustful, and ejaculatory in character."
For he was having, as he said,
a volcanic experience.
He announced,
"Because of her love for a rich rhyme,
"Mademoiselle Louise de Heredia
"is changing her name to Louise Louys".
Soon Debussy replied...
(Debussy) "Please remain seated.
"Mademoiselle Lilly Texier has changed
her disharmonious name to Lilly Debussy.
"Much more euphonious,
as everyone will agree."
(Director) But Louys was gone.
His wife disliked Debussy,
this scruffy musician,
and he was dismissed.
(Debussy) No money.
To pay for the wedding breakfast,
I gave a piano lesson
an hour before the ceremony.
Lilly fell ill.
We hadn't the money to carry out
the doctor's instructions.
I had to support her.
(Director) No patron.
No one to support his long trances,
his rejected work,
(P DEBUSSY: "La Mer")
(Music obscures speech)
Stop it, for heaven's sake.
What are you doing?
Come along here.
Well, you don't have to
behave like that in front of her.
What is it all about, this clowning?
Well, it's...
It's difficult to get the feeling
that I'm...
well, in refuge in a foreign county.
Well, I don't understand
what you're talking about.
That's got nothing to do with it,
all this clowning.
The only thing you are really
concerned about is the sea.
Madame Bardac and Debussy
stayed here all summer
and it was here he finished writing
La Mer,
his greatest piece.
- He used to listen to the sea.
- But she's not going to accept this.
What's she going to think? She leaves
her husband, her position in society,
elopes with this composer,
goes all the way to exotic Eastbourne,
and then he sits down on the beach
and listens to the sea - it won't work.
- You mean, it's all wrong?
- It's wrong.
- No, it isn't.
- Why?
Because she would understand.
She wasn't like Lilly or Gaby.
She was like Madame Vernier
or Camille Claudel.
She was very intelligent.
She was an artist herself.
- And she was rich.
- Exactly.
For the first time in your life,
you had no money worries
and you could concentrate on your music.
And just listen to the sea.
Good. Let's get on with it.
(Director) The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne,
It was here that Debussy came
to get away from the scandal in Paris.
Madame Bardac left her husband
for Debussy.
She was his new patron.
Debussy was no longer
an enfant terrible.
For 20 years he had been absorbed
in composition,
taking new ideas from poets and painters,
slowly working out
new patterns of music,
ignoring his rejection.
His work came out of this long daydream.
(Debussy) Music will begin
where words are impotent.
Music is made for the inexpressible.
I would like it to appear
that it came from a shadow
and that, from time to time,
it will return there.
(Director) And here,
with Madame Bardac supporting him,
he finished La Mer.
The sea, in which all his experiments
blended into a new and strong form.
(P DEBUSSY: "La Mer")
(Director) La Merproved him.
From now on.
he was regarded as a great composer,
The listless drifting of garret life
was over.
The listless drifting of garret life
was over
and with it, Lilly.
He had married Lilly
and he had introduced her to his friends.
She was very popular with them.
She was excited by the new people
she met.
Life was slovenly and difficult,
but to her it appeared secure,
sophisticated, different.
But Debussy abandoned her
when he realised
that she had nothing to give him
and left her isolated.
And this caused a scandal.
It was this that forced Debussy
and Madame Bardac to quit Paris.
I have discovered you.
It was so charming, just the two of you.
(Chuckles) Just look at her get-up.
You've chosen well, my dear.
My congratulations.
And your eyes -
your horrible eyes, both of you.
Tie your tie again, properly, you idiot.
That's enough.
Get out now, I order you.
Or I'll use force.
I told you, I want to talk.
I'm going to talk to you
and nothing is going to stop me.
- Not even your threats.
- You're crazy, come away!
- No!
- Don't interfere!
Madame has a right.
We do owe it to her.
Oh, God. She doesn't look
a bit like Madame Bardac.
- I suppose you think you do.
- Shh! Behave yourselves.
They are giving
a special performance for us.
My most sincere desire
is to put right as far as possible
the wrong I've done you
and to offer you a life worthy of you,
and that of a kind
that your husband cannot afford.
I know this is only a small compensation.
Now it's charity!
And your charity!
I'd be ashamed to accept it!
But if I don't, I can go and die
on the bare floor. That's the alternative.
Well, my offer, as I see it,
cannot be called charity.
Believe me, it will be much more generous
than anything usually known by that name.
Huh! I should hope so!
You'd take everything away from me
and not do anything to make up for it?
Money? I should say I shall need money,
and lots of it.
You're rich, you.
When one pays for the luxury
of getting a man,
one should learn what it costs.
- Lilly!
- Congratulations, Madame.
On this ground,
we will understand each other much more.
Now, let's talk about the practical side
of it first.
- You will have a regular income...
- But I don't want your filthy money.
Keep it! Do you really think
I would soil my hands with it?
- Who wrote this?
- Henri Bataille.
It's called The Naked lady.
Most of it was based on
Debussy's own experiences.
Didn't Debussy sue him?
(Director) He couldn't do anything about it.
To have sued would've been
admitting it was true.
Oh, what a mess it all was.
Well, it's a bloody bore. I'm off.
Shut up and stay where you are.
It's just that one scene.
- (Whispers) I wouldn't say no to Lilly.
- For heaven's sake.
What must I do to remake my life?
Run from one man to another
to find one who will take care of me?
(Gasps) Must I return to prostitution?
(Whispers) I couldn't do it.
It's your fault.
You have given me a conscience.
What for, good Lord?
Every time I failed you,
you dragged me back to the heights.
Well, I'm there.
At last, I have become
the woman you wanted me to be.
I can no longer go back.
It's finished
and you have a duty to perform.
It is me whom you have to keep
and you are going to keep me.
I've made you what you are.
I have helped you to attain
a certain social standing.
I am leaving you on a higher plane,
which can serve you as a springboard.
Life is far richer in its resources
than you think.
You can remake your circle of friends.
Like everybody else in the world,
you can find a better love than mine.
And far, far happier.
My poor girl, if you know how I'm torn...
Torn to pieces.
(Lilly) You see? He has pity on me.
You are not going to take him away.
You are going to leave him to me.
You have no idea what you are doing.
Don't do this, don't do this.
Have pity on me!
Come away, let's go home now, my dear,
my love.
You do love me a little, don't you?
Let's go home now.
(P DEBUSSY: "La Mer")
- Again?
- Yes.
But this time it happened
six months after you left her.
I don't understand it.
But why all the scandal?
I mean, he had done it before.
Other people had done it.
- And she didn't kill herself.
- I know.
There is so little real evidence
for what happened.
Maybe you were a swine with women,
as they said.
Everybody was against you.
They said that you had, in fact, told her
that she could always make money
out of prostitution.
Some people said that Debussy's father
robbed her when he visited her in hospital.
But this list...
This public fund set up
to provide for Lilly...
- Hmm?
- Yea
Debussy cut everyone who signed that list.
And nearly all his friends did sign it.
And what happened?
He never spoke to any of them again.
Not even to me...
(P DEBUSSY: "La Mer")
(Music obscures speech)
(Director) Madame Bardac
secured a divorce
and with it a large settlement of money.
Debussy and she were married,
but before the marriage,
she had already given him
his first and only child, Chouchou.
- (Debussy) I write only for her.
- (Director) A ballet, a suite.
(Debussy) To my dearest Chouchou,
with her father's apologies
for what is to follow.
But the first sign began to appear
of what was to be
a long and agonising illness,
(Debussy) I began to work on two stories
by Edgar Allan Poe,
The Devil in the Belfry
and The Fall of the House of Usher.
(Director) He wrote little,
life was highly respectable
and luxurious.
Debussy's luck didn't hold.
His wife's income was cut off
and he was back looking for money.
Everything was more difficult now.
He had a daughter to support
and a big house to maintain.
And although he was very sick,
he had to travel all over Europe
on conducting trips.
Start the BP.
He was the leader of a movement in music
and so the commissions poured in
at a time when all the experiments
and struggles which he had undergone
were being hauled into the open
and thrown up in concert halls
and on stages
all over Europe.
Ida Rubinstein.
Was ior her that Debussy wrote
The Martyrdom of St Sebastian,
a big, phoney epiC,
contrived to satisfy the ego
of an ageing Russian ballerina.
On the opening night,
she caused a scandal-
a Jewess impersonating a Christian saint.
The whole thing was a flop.
And yet Debussy worked on it
as he had never worked before.
- Why?
- (Debussy) For Chouchou,
with her father's apologies
for what is to follow.
(Director) He continued
with his conducting trips all over Europe,
even though he collapsed many times.
And contracts - he signed to do films,
operas, ballets, anything.
(Debussy) I needed the money,
(Director) And sometimes, he was so ill
that he let others orchestrate his music
and just signed his name to it.
(Debussy) It's ugly,
Paris is becoming
more and more odious to me
and I wish I could leave.
Literally, I cannot endure it any longer.
(Director) A week later, war was declared.
The Da/Yy Telegraph commissioned him
to write a piece of war music.
(Debussy) It was to be for Albert,
King of the Belgians.
It had to include
the Belgian national anthem.
(Director) Berceuse Hro/'Zyue is possibly
the most unheroic,
un-bloodthirsty war music ever written,
(Dark, melancholy music)
Now, for the last years of his life,
Debussy locked himself away.
There is mention of his daughter
but of no one else.
His dreaming became a sort of
endless, isolated self-communion.
Time, place, the pattern of life -
none of these
had ever mattered much to him.
Now they mattered not at all.
He was working on
The Fall of the House of Usher
by Edgar Allan Poe.
(Debussy) Roderick Usher is sensitive,
as I am sensitive.
He hears and feels
everything in the world
and tries to force these impulses
into his work.
(Director) Roderick Usher lived with his
twin sister in a large, lonely house.
He was morbidly engrossed
in his artistic experiments
and in his sister.
(Debussy) She died...
and he incarcerated
her in one of his vaults.
(Director) Debussy became obsessed
with Roderick Usher.
(Debussy) Working on Usher is an
excellent way to steady one's nerves
against all sorts of horrors.
There are moments when I lose
the feelings of things around me
and if Roderick Usher's sister was
suddenly to walk into my home,
I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
(Director) Enormous effort.
All his impulses were put into this,
which was to be his greatest work.
For 12 years, this composition
drove him to anguish.
And all that he had,
after those 12 years,
were two or three sheets of music.
(Debussy) I am Roderick Usher.
(Director) A violent thunderstorm releases
Usher's dead sister from the vault.
(Debussy) I am Roderick Usher.
(P DEBUSSY: "La Mer")