L'amour l'apres-midi


Uploaded by nuvelvag on 02.11.2012

Transcript:
SIX MORAL TALES
LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON
Mommy's coming.
Hélène?
Come in.
I've got to go. I'm late and I've got a lot of work.
It's all right. I'm ready. You can go.
Ariane's crying.
I'll be right there. I'm done.
You'll get wet.
It's okay. I have my raincoat on.
See you tonight, darling.
On the train, I much prefer a book to a newspaper,
and not only because it's less cumbersome.
The paper doesn't absorb my attention enough
and, above all, doesn't take me sufficiently out of the present.
The ride allows me the dose of uninterrupted reading
I like to take in at one time.
I like to read at home at night too, but other things.
I like to read several books at once, each with its own time and place,
each taking me out of the time and place in which I live.
But I could never read all alone in a bare cell.
I need a physical presence there with me.
As a student, unless I had to study,
I couldn't stay in my room after dinner.
Now Hélène and I rarely go out.
Why, among all the possible beauties,
was it her beauty that struck me?
I'm no longer sure of the answer.
Now, when I see a woman, I'm no longer able
to classify her as easily among the chosen or the outcasts.
I'm not only less sure of my taste,
but I can't recall on what criteria I based my judgment.
What was that "something"
that a woman had to have to attract me
and that I could detect at first glance?
Since my marriage, I find all women attractive.
In their most mundane tasks, I accord them
that mystery I once denied almost all of them.
I'm curious about their lives, even if they teach me nothing new.
What if I'd met this young woman three years ago?
Would she have caught my eye?
Would I have fallen in love with her,
wanted to have a child with her?
I love the city. The suburbs and provinces depress me.
Despite the crush and the noise, I never tire of plunging into the crowd.
I love the crowd as I love the sea.
Not to be engulfed or lost in it,
but to sail on it like a solitary pirate,
content to be carried by the current
yet strike out on my own the moment it breaks or dissipates.
Like the sea,
a crowd is invigorating to my wandering mind.
Almost all my ideas come to me in the street,
even those related to my work.
- Good morning. - Morning, Fabienne.
- Am I late? - No, I'm early.
- Shall I type that? - Thanks, I'll do it myself.
If it's too awful, you can redo it. - Then I'll finish this other file.
Yes. Hold on.
It's for you.
How are you?
Fine, thank you.
- Take it in the other office. - This won't take long.
Listen, behave.
We're busy here, and I'll see you tonight.
Nothing's changed. I'm fine. Now let me go.
Okay. Good-bye.
All right. Bye.
"Regarding our recent conversation..."
- Good morning. - Morning, Martine.
How are you?
Is that your new coat?
It's nice. - Think so?
Yes, it looks great.
The color's not bad, but how's the cut?
No, it's really nice. And it won't go out of style.
That green is lovely.
How are you? Hello.
Please step inside, Martine. I have a letter to dictate.
Really, I'd rather we met at the office.
We'll be much more comfortable here,
and I'll have all the papers at hand.
I don't eat lunch. Just a sandwich in the afternoon.
On the contrary, it's very healthy.
Good. Tomorrow at 4:00 then?
No, she's gone to lunch.
I don't know. She should be back by now. Hold on.
Here she is. Martine, it's for you.
I'll be back at 3:00.
How are you?
Fine, thanks. It's been ages.
I saw Gérard recently. It seems you two are doing well.
Almost too well. We'll have to expand
and get bogged down in bureaucracy.
Sit down. You have a minute? - Sure, but I'm already late.
I should have been at work half an hour ago.
I have no schedule. I work when others eat, and vice versa.
No one bothers me. I can breathe. - You're not the only one.
I have a schedule, but I'm not obliged to follow it.
You think you're special, but there are thousands like you.
Look out in the street.
At this hour, it's mostly women and the elderly.
No, it's men too.
These guys with attaché cases.
That one's a salesman.
- No, he looks like a lawyer. - Or a teacher or secret agent.
I see him as a secret agent, maybe Belgian or Dutch.
Anyway, I like seeing the streets full of people.
That's the charm of Paris.
Nothing's worse than afternoons in the suburbs.
I can't tell you how depressed I get.
Really? You dread afternoons too?
Even in Paris, I don't feel quite right until 4:00.
It's probably our stupid custom of long lunches.
That's why I rarely eat lunch.
Instead I ease my anxiety by running errands.
Do you like the green?
- No, not at all. - It goes well with your complexion.
But it's not what I was looking for.
- What's wrong with it? - Nothing.
I'm just not crazy about it.
I need a change from blue, but — - Then take the green.
It's not right for me. I'll think it over.
As you wish.
May I see your turtlenecks?
I don't think I have anything left in your size.
Maybe a white,
or a rather unattractive beige.
What about in that navy blue?
Nothing right now. Stop in again next week.
You see, it's not very attractive.
What about that one?
That one's not your size.
And these here are shirts...
though the colors may look good on you.
This one, for example.
It goes with your complexion It brings out your eyes.
Here, try it on. The dressing room's there.
But I don't want a shirt.
Doesn't matter. Try it on anyway.
If you don't like it, don't take it.
But I have to warn you, I won't take it.
Try it on anyway. Out of curiosity.
- May I? - Of course. Go ahead.
It looks very good on you.
It's a bit tight, isn't it?
No. Button it up. You'll see.
The collar's a bit high, isn't it?
Of course. You left in a pin.
No, it's perfect. It looks custom-made.
Doesn't this material scratch?
No, it's pure cashmere.
It's soft and light. No ironing needed.
Okay.
I'll take it.
If management is a majority owner,
the codirector, even if he owns a small minority of stock,
is a majority owner in the eyes of the law. Understand?
He can't be both employer and employee.
Come in.
- Will you need me anymore? - No, thank you.
- I'll finish the contract tomorrow. - Fine.
Listen, I hear Daddy coming home.
Say hello to Daddy.
Hello, Daddy.
Hello, Ariane.
Hello, darling.
Don't tell me. It's a turtleneck. - No, it's a shirt.
I'm afraid I got taken. Will you tell me what you think?
You were out shopping? What time?
Around 3:00, I think.
We might have run into each other. Strange how we never do.
It's really nice. I like it very much.
Really?
It's so soft.
It scratches a bit on the inside, but I'll get used to it.
I'm afraid shopping made me late, so dinner isn't ready.
I'm glad you like it. I wasn't sure.
I didn't think you could be easily influenced.
The salesgirl was very clever. She pretended not to give a damn.
In fact, I fell in love... with the shirt.
It rarely happens to me.
Come in.
May I leave at 12:30? I have a lunch date.
Of course.
I didn't tell you. I'm getting married.
Congratulations.
I wish you all the best.
When?
Over summer vacation, I guess.
Careful. That's a long ways off.
There's no rush.
- You aren't leaving us, are you? - Will you still want me?
Of course.
My father-in-law offered me a job,
but neither my husband nor I want to work together.
I prefer to work here and hire a maid. Works out better.
The fact we both teach doesn't bring us closer.
I teach math. He's in literature.
A total lack of communication.
Total.
Your occupations are more closely aligned, aren't they?
Hélène knows nothing about my work.
He doesn't even know the title of my thesis.
Though you did get me interested in English again.
I'm reading about Captain Cook's exciting adventures in the original.
What bugs me about these receptions
is the guys who drag their wives along.
As if it wasn't enough to be bored at home,
they have to parade it in public.
My wife is a doctor. Frédéric's is a teacher.
They have their own professional obligations.
We can't just impose our drudgery on them.
Martine...
would you go to the Mining Trust party with me?
Ah, you have to ask your fiancé. - I broke it off.
Then you can come.
Ah, there's another fiancé already.
These girls!
What can you do? They're always engaged.
And it's serious business. One can't go out without the other.
My wife and I rarely go out together.
Though I love my wife and am essentially faithful,
I can still enjoy the company of a pretty girl.
And I see no reason to attend some boring event
unless there's hope of meeting a pretty girl to flirt with.
That's the least one can ask.
If there's one thing I'm incapable of now,
it's trying to seduce a girl.
I'd have no idea what to say
and no reason to speak to her anyway.
I want nothing from her. I have no proposition to make.
Yet I feel marriage is hemming me in, cutting me off,
and I want to escape.
The prospect of quiet happiness stretching indefinitely before me
depresses me.
I find myself missing that time, not so long ago,
when I too could experience the pangs of anticipation.
I dream of a life
comprised only of first loves and lasting loves.
I kept you waiting.
I want the impossible, I know. I envy no one.
And when I see lovers,
I think less of myself and what I was
than of them and what they will become.
That's why I love the city.
People come into view, then vanish. You don't see them grow old.
What makes the streets of Paris so fascinating
is the constant yet fleeting presence of women
whom I'm almost certain never to see again.
It's enough that they're there, indifferent, conscious of their charm,
happy to test its effect on me,
as I test mine on them,
by tacit agreement, without even the subtlest smile or glance.
I feel their seductive power without giving in to it.
This doesn't estrange me from Hélène. Far from it.
I tell myself these passing beauties
are simply an extension of my wife's beauty.
They enrich her beauty and receive some of hers in return.
She's the guarantee of the world's beauty, and vice versa.
When I embrace Hélène, I embrace all women.
But I also feel my life passing by
as other lives unfold along paths parallel to mine,
and it frustrates me not to be a part of them,
not to have stopped these women for a moment
in their hurried rush to some unknown job
or unknown pleasure.
And I dream.
I dream that actually I possess them all.
Lately, in my spare moments,
I delight in a daydream that grows clearer and more detailed by the day.
A childish daydream,
probably inspired by something I read at the age of ten.
I imagine I possess
a device worn around the neck
that gives off a magnetic fluid capable of annihilating others'free will.
I dream I use its powers on the women who pass by the café...
indifferent...
hurried...
hesitant...
busy...
accompanied...
alone.
Excuse me, are you in a hurry?
No, not really.
Might you have an hour to spare?
In fact I do.
Would you care to spend it with me?
I don't really know.
Let's try. Then you'll know.
That's true, I will. Excellent idea.
I'd like to kiss you.
And I you.
What if your husband saw us?
He's away. Shall we go to my place?
With you there's no need for words.
Your intentions are so clear.
Are you a professional?
Ten thousand.
I charge 20,000.
That's a steal.
What do you want?
I wasn't talking to you.
I see.
- Come with me? - I'm with him.
Dump him.
- What will he say? - I'll handle it.
Would you let me have your girlfriend?
Definitely not.
Which do you prefer: That I take her, or eat you alive?
Well, if you put it that way...
Will you come with me?
Why not?
I'm going to see someone else.
Stop stuttering. You won't talk me into it.
He's the only one I love.
Why should I go with you?
There's a question you can't answer.
PART ONE
- Someone's waiting for you. - That guy from Pasquier's?
No, a woman.
A saleswoman?
No, it's a personal visit.
- She didn't give her name? - No, she wouldn't.
She said you know her. She's been abroad and wants to surprise you.
I asked her to come back later, but she'd already sat down.
Well, I'll see who it is.
I was sure you wouldn't recognize me.
Chloé!
You act as if I were a ghost. Did you think I was dead?
No, but you disappeared. Where have you been?
All over, but I'm back. You don't seem happy to see me.
Just a bit surprised. I must say, I'd forgotten you.
A lot has happened since you left.
- Are you married? - Yes. And you?
Yes. Come by right now. I'm free.
All right.
Am I disturbing you?
No, it's just bad timing. You should have called.
I was running errands nearby, but if you're busy —
Wait a minute.
I admit I'm a little surprised.
I didn't expect to see you. How did you get my address?
Is that what's bothering you?
From Simon, an old friend of Bruno's. Know him?
I ran into him in the subway.
- Have you been back long? - Almost three months.
What are you doing?
Nothing too exciting. I tend bar at the Agamemnon. You know it?
- I haven't gone out in years. - You've settled down.
I wanted to do that, but it's beyond my means.
Knowing I have to work at night ruins the whole day for me.
I hate afternoons.
You're free in the afternoon? How lucky.
Stop rubbing it in. I thought you were nicer.
I just meant I'm occasionally free in the afternoon too.
We could have a drink.
Trying to make up for the things you said?
No. I mean it. It would be a pleasure.
I'll be right there.
Good-bye, and excuse me. I didn't mean to disturb you.
We really hardly knew each other.
Come on. We were great friends.
Will you call?
- Sure, just to bug you. - All right.
I'll be right with you.
I knew Chloé was too proud to return after a reception like that.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
Hold on.
SOGEF wants you to call right back.
There was also a call from Chloé.
Fine. If she calls again, I'll take it in my office.
Call for you on line one.
Is it Chloé? Yes, put it through.
- Frédéric? - Chloé, how are you?
- All right. Can we get together? - Today?
As soon as possible.
Impossible. I've got a lot of work.
What about tomorrow?
Yes, but let's make it around 2:00.
Come in.
Am I disturbing you?
Not at all.
I worked all morning. I'm taking a break.
I'll be with you in two seconds.
There.
I've come back to ask you something.
I ask everyone. You never know.
Would you have a job for me?
You're quitting your job?
No, but I don't think I'll last much longer.
I was a secretary in New York for six months.
I type very well. Want me to show you?
I speak fluent English and some Spanish.
That's good, but we have two secretaries and we're very happy with them.
I thought perhaps one of your associates —
They manage fine on their own.
You should try the classified ads.
I seem to frighten you.
Don't worry. I'll manage fine on my own.
In a bind, you go to friends. You've always been good to me.
Me? I've never done a thing for you.
You were my best friend's girl. I had to be nice.
You're no good at playing the bastard.
You know, I bad-mouthed you terribly to Bruno. I couldn't stand you two together.
You were right. We were no match.
What counts is that you and I always got along.
Remember the night we were alone and flirting a bit?
You were terrified Milena would burst in. Remember?
Maybe.
Vaguely.
Vaguely? You know very well.
I don't see what you're afraid of.
I've got nothing against you. I'm not gonna blackmail you.
But I guess I was wrong to stop by.
I should have left my pleasant memory of you well enough alone.
- Going out? - Yes. Have you had lunch?
No. I never eat lunch.
Come for a drink?
- We have nothing to say. - We'll drink in silence.
Serge, the guy I live with, is a friend of my boss.
We met in Spain, where I spent some time after America.
We came back together,
and we've stayed together for lack of anything better.
Anyway, he's away a lot on crummy business deals.
That makes it bearable.
Have you been married long? - Three years.
- Do I know your wife? - Don't worry. It's not Milena.
Any news of her? - No. You?
I only know she married some heir.
Elevators or radiators — I forget which.
- Anyway, she wasn't for you. - Now you tell me.
You were old enough to know better.
I never planned to marry her, but you were set on marrying Bruno.
He's the one who was madly in love with me.
I never imagined spending my life with him.
- You love this guy you're with? - Serge? No, he's a friend.
I don't have a place, so I sleep with him.
Is he in love with you?
He's hung up on me. And very jealous.
And it bugs me, 'cause he has no reason to be.
I lead a very calm life.
I'm through with one-night stands,
though not for lack of offers.
But the guys at the club are pathetic.
Does your wife work?
She teaches English in high school.
We have a little girl, and another baby due in March or April.
You're so bourgeois.
No offense intended. I'd like to be too.
If you knew how sick I get
of this life, this pad, these guys, this job!
The following Thursday,
Hélène and I made a rare shopping excursion together.
- This isn't bad. - No, it's pretty.
Darling, this is an old friend, Chloé.
Very old. From the days of Bruno.
Do you know him? - Yes, a bit.
He's the only one of Frédéric's old friends I've ever seen.
Well, I'm the second.
I've been away for six years. There was no way for us to meet.
Even here, the odds would be slim. I very seldom shop with my husband.
We're getting a bed for Ariane.
Hers will go to her little brother.
I see my congratulations on your marriage were well-deserved.
What's her name? - Ariane.
She looks exactly like her father.
Well, I'll be going. Good-bye.
She's the one Bruno tried to kill himself over?
She doesn't look that dangerous.
Some girls blossom only at night and wilt in the daylight.
No, she has a certain something. What does she do?
I think she works in a bar in Saint-Germain.
I don't know how she found me.
One day she showed up asking for work as a secretary.
And when you run into someone,
there's a 99%% % chance you'll meet again soon after.
- You don't want to come by the office? - No. What for?
I don't know.
I'd rather go home. There's a train in two minutes.
- Chloé called. - Really?
When? - Just now. She'll be by at 6:30.
Very well.
Come in.
This one's for me.
These are for your daughter and the baby.
You're crazy. We have plenty of things for the kids.
See if it's the right size.
It's lovely.
And look at this.
They must have cost a bundle. - Don't worry. I'm rich.
And I love giving presents. I adore children.
I did it for myself, not for you.
In any case, thanks.
You have a terrific kid.
I'd love to have a baby with curly blonde hair.
She'd have to take after her father.
Like your little girl. Though I had curly hair as a child.
Really? You can't have looked too good.
Come in.
I'm going. See you tomorrow.
Your wife is terrific too.
She's great. You're really lucky.
Don't go cheating on her now.
Don't worry. I don't intend to.
I wouldn't bet on it. Not the way you look at girls.
- What girls? - All the girls.
In bars, in the street, your secretaries.
I've seen the little smiles.
Surely you don't want me to go around scowling.
It wouldn't fit the "young boss" image.
Anyway, what's wrong with it?
Milena had me in a blindfold. I was her slave.
But now I trust Hélène, and she trusts me.
We allow each other to look around.
I needn't account for every thought, word and deed.
And she needn't either.
I think you're keeping your exits open.
Not for right now, but even the prettiest woman gets boring.
Not at all. What's important to me is my freedom.
Not just in my personal life, but in my business life too.
For example, I'm a partner here.
Financially, things aren't everything I'd hoped for.
But I had an offer to join a big impressive firm, and I turned it down.
My wife and I live like students.
It keeps us young.
She'll use her maternity leave to finish her thesis.
Will the kid be born with glasses?
Evening, honey.
Look. A gift from Chloé.
It's very nice. She has good taste.
It must have cost a lot. These things are expensive.
Should we invite her to dinner?
- Do you want to? - No. Only if you do.
I think she works evenings.
And if we're too nice, I'll have her on my back.
Better to be distant now than unpleasant later.
Why did she come back to France?
Because of some guy.
She lives with one of the bosses from the club.
You can bet she earns more than you ever will.
Still...
smart and attractive as she is,
she could have found something more respectable.
She started out well as a model. She could have had a great career.
But when she broke up with Bruno, she careened from one guy to the next
and ended up in the States with a down-and-out painter.
She's not after money.
Bruno went broke for her, but to no avail.
Maybe he didn't have enough money.
She's completely impulsive, unstable.
I've always felt uneasy around her.
In Bruno's day, we maintained a cordial dislike.
I put her off when she came looking for work,
so she's given me these presents to take revenge.
She has to appear more generous than me.
It's pure pride. She knows I'll never be of any use to her.
A few days later, as I arrived at the office at 8:55...
Well, well. You're an early bird.
Know what? I left Serge.
He was asleep, but I couldn't sleep.
I asked myself what I was doing in his bed.
So I left, and here I am. Think I'm crazy?
If it had to happen, better sooner than later.
I've got no place to stay. Can you put me up for a few days?
Our place is tiny.
Where'll the baby sleep?
There's a room it will share with a nanny,
but right now it's uninhabitable.
What does it need? Plaster? Paint?
I could do it myself or get some friends to help.
And I could be the nanny. I love children.
Sure you wouldn't like that?
Afraid of your wife?
Don't worry. I was just testing you.
I know you're not a friend.
Actually, I left because a guy told me about a room in Montmartre.
Work can wait. I've saved some money.
This is just since Saturday. I couldn't get to the bank.
Actually, I came to ask
if you'd have some free time to come with me.
Since I'm paying in cash, I'd like a witness.
If we can go right away.
- Fine. The lady's there mornings. - Give me two seconds.
Fabienne, on the SOGICOP statement,
don't forget to add the 1970 summary to the one for 1971.
I don't have the 1971 summary.
It's in the file on my desk, or maybe in the legal file.
- Are you sure? - Yes. It has to be ready today.
Wait, maybe Gérard has it.
Do you have the SOGICOP summaries for '70 and '71?
- On my desk. - Good.
I'll see you later.
Very well.
Chloé, this is my partner, Gérard.
See you this afternoon.
Go ahead, Martine.
Well, well...
I really wonder how you can spend your days in an office.
When I walk into an office, everything seems unreal.
Everyone running around. For what? Nothing.
My secretaries are very efficient.
I know. But it's all meaningless.
Things would go on just fine without offices.
They create nothing but verbiage and paperwork.
What's so creative about serving drinks?
I give people pleasure.
No, I really don't think it's for you.
You see?
It's certainly not very cheery.
At most I could put in a double bed.
We're not together. He's just a friend.
Really?
Excuse me, sir. I did think it was odd.
Nothing to be ashamed of.
You can say that again.
As a matter of fact, I'll take it.
I'll be living alone.
Oh, visitors aren't prohibited.
Not the sort of place I'd like to make love anyway.
I won't give your number to anyone but him.
Though he'll never call.
Sensing Chloé needed moral support,
I invited her to a restaurant.
My presence was unnecessary. The landlady seems honest.
First, don't be too sure.
Second, I couldn't stand being alone. I needed to see you.
When you're around, everything goes well.
You're the only one who can help me.
I don't see what I can do for you.
You don't have to do a thing.
I want you there more to reassure me
than to see I don't get taken.
The latter is just about money.
The former is about my life.
I almost killed myself.
It was only cowardice that stopped me.
If just lifting a finger could return me to the void, I'd do it. Everyone would.
Why live? I didn't ask to live.
You know, there's a gas stove at Serge's place.
I just had to open a valve.
It was tempting, and that's partly why I left.
I expect absolutely nothing from life.
The only feeling binding me to Serge was pity.
We're both screwed up. It creates a bond.
I never feel like it.
I eat it because it's healthy, not because I like it.
I have to be near the sea or a stream to eat trout.
I need the whole setting.
The way some people live turns me off.
It's disgusting, to live only to end up like her.
- You won't be like her. - I'll be a bum.
I find it comforting to see other people's lives.
Some lives may be happy, some sad, but they're never ugly.
If they were all the same, I'd commit suicide too.
It's the variety that comforts me.
People are ugly, and they lead ugly lives.
The only lives I like to observe are children's.
Too bad if they turn ugly later too.
At least they'll have had their childhood.
Only the hope of having a child keeps me alive.
But only for myself. The father will never see it.
And I've decided never to live with a man again.
I'm very happy with my narrow little bed.
I'll sleep around a bit, but no one will come to my place.
Think I'm crazy? Am I boring you?
Not at all.
Really?
It's great to have someone to talk to.
Even if you don't agree, it does me good.
You do me good too.
Your real worries deliver me from my imaginary ones.
I'll explain one day.
You say you can't help me, but I have a favor to ask.
What?
Can you help me get my things at Serge's?
- Now? - No, tomorrow or the next day.
He's going away. I'd rather he weren't there.
I don't like sneaking into someone's place.
It's my place too, and they're my things.
But I can ask someone else.
My God! He put a lock on the door.
Easy! You'll start a riot.
What can I do? The guy's nuts!
Do I have to come see him to get my things?
Hold on. It's just a small lock.
Breaking and entering, five years. No big deal.
- Can I help? - No, I'll manage faster myself.
Were these taken long ago?
- Before I went away. - You haven't changed at all.
Or not much.
Take them. I don't want them here.
All right.
I'll leave you to your prison.
The records will help a lot.
I sleep very well in this little bed.
Good. Get some rest.
Well, good-bye then.
But when I was alone again, my spirits fell.
Again I was afraid Chloé might take advantage,
even innocently, of my good nature.
Now that she was free, wouldn't she run to my office every afternoon?
But just the opposite happened.
She disappeared for a week,
and my fear that she would show up at any moment
gave way to the unpleasant feeling that I'd been used and discarded.
Yes, let me transfer you.
Martine, it's for you.
Come in.
She finally showed up around 4:00 one day without warning,
her hair done, made up, nicely dressed, unrecognizable.
How are you?
Please sit down.
- I'm not disturbing anything? - Not really.
I can leave.
No, stay. I'm not that busy.
You could have at least let me hear from you.
- I've been very busy. - So have I.
Then I won't feel guilty.
Are things going all right?
As of yesterday, yeah.
You may not believe it,
but when things go badly, I don't want to see you.
I'm ashamed to show myself. I couldn't find work.
I thought I'd spare you my litany of woes.
- Did you find a job? - A very good one.
Do you know "L'Olibrius"?
It's a new restaurant. Very in right now.
And what do you do?
I wait tables.
I bet you're embarrassed to be seen with a waitress.
If your secretaries knew...
Don't worry. I'm not reduced to washing dishes.
Don't be stupid.
It can't be a very exciting job.
It is. Much better than the Agamemnon.
I'll make more money.
I'll meet nice people who can help me.
People with pull, not cheap little hustlers.
I started today.
I work from 12:00 to about 4:00,
and from 8:00 to midnight.
We can meet afternoons.
- That's when I see clients. - Couldn't you change that?
It would be difficult. I swear, it's true.
I believe you. But I'm off on Wednesdays.
I'll try to be free on Wednesdays.
It's good to see you.
I've missed you, you know.
I shouldn't tell you this, but I need you more and more.
Our difficulties getting together make me appreciate you more.
I thought you'd hamper my work.
In fact, it refreshes me to see you.
I'm surprised I find so much to say to you,
whereas before we talked so little.
I've never talked so much to anyone.
I've never been so candid, so at ease.
With most of the girls I've loved, I've played a role.
I take Hélène too seriously to be serious with her.
With her, I act like a kid, I make her laugh,
I keep the mood light.
A kind of natural modesty has developed
that prevents us both from baring our innermost feelings.
Perhaps it's better that way.
Anyway, everyone plays some role.
My role with her is better than the one I played with Milena.
It's more cheerful.
Besides, I think some element of mystery is essential
for people who live together.
I can tell you everything. We see each other so rarely.
You make me laugh. You really do.
Why this insistence on proving you love your wife?
If you don't love her, or less than at first,
it's not a catastrophe. It's normal.
It's normal not to want to always be tied to the same person.
Marriage makes less and less sense these days.
I don't love her because she's my wife.
I love her because of who she is.
I'd love her even if we weren't married.
You love her — if you really do — because you're supposed to.
I couldn't stand being loved like that.
But then I'm an exception. I won't accept compromises.
But since you're so bourgeois, act the part.
Stay married, but cheat on the side. It's a safety valve.
It'd be good for you, in moderation.
Even excellent, don't you think?
And it would be easy.
You're surrounded by pretty girls who'd love to be in your arms.
Your secretaries, for instance.
Leave them out of this, will you?
Besides, they don't want me and I don't want them.
They're good enough.
Sure, but none of us is interested, and it's fine that way.
I don't like office romance.
For me, love is an adventure. For my wife too.
She'd never have married a teacher.
Since we're exchanging confidences,
Gérard and I could have hired ugly old hags,
but looks were a factor.
And not only for the firm's image.
I like to be surrounded by attractive people
in every sense of the word.
And if Fabienne and I flirt a little,
it's within extremely narrow bounds.
A smile, a look.
It's nothing.
But what about with other women?
With other women it can go a little further.
- If she could see us! - Who? Your wife or your secretary?
We began meeting less often,
due to other commitments on both our parts.
I'm sorry.
People are awful!
A four-hour lunch, and still they wouldn't leave!
It's a bit late. I have something at 6:00.
Want some tea? - Great idea.
Fabienne, is there any tea left?
Would you bring two cups, please?
It's hard for me to get away early.
Our customers have lunch at incredible hours.
Can't you get some free time in the late afternoon?
It's hard for me too. My clients eat late.
My only free hour is between 2:00 and 3:00.
Just when I work. How sad.
Let's get together longer Wednesday. - I can't.
- What? - Gérard and I go to court.
And I'm just as busy the other afternoons.
Perhaps next week.
No. We'll make it Wednesday evening.
- What? - That's right.
Impossible. What would I tell my wife?
Ask her permission. You think she'd refuse?
I don't think she'll like it much.
I haven't even told her we meet in the afternoon.
That was a mistake. We're doing nothing wrong.
Say you have to work. It's happened before, hasn't it?
Yes, it has.
But I don't like to lie.
You don't tell her about the afternoons.
How's the evening any different?
There's a big difference.
I work in the afternoon. - You call this working?
This is just a little afternoon break.
It's tea time.
I'll put it on the desk.
Whether I have tea with you or someone else —
Like your secretaries.
I know you hate to leave your wife alone.
This'll be an exception.
I've never asked you for anything, but this is very important.
A guy I met is introducing me to the head of a ready-to-wear store
who might be able to give me work.
But I suspect this guy is after me,
and I'd like you to come along so he sees it won't be easy.
And I'd like your opinion of him. I doubt you'll like him.
Who is he?
A guy I met at the restaurant.
You never mentioned him.
There's not much to say.
He's a good-Iooking guy who claims he can have any girl.
He's betting he can have me too.
Will he win that bet?
Absolutely not. Doesn't stand a chance.
Are you jealous? - Why would I be?
But suddenly you don't seem so sure of yourself.
You're acting like a little girl.
Well, I'm a woman.
When someone hits me in the right place,
even if he doesn't stand a chance, it has an effect.
And I want to see Gian-Carlo's reaction when he sees you with me.
Gian-Carlo's reaction...
Very well. I'll find a way.
That's enough. I'm so tired.
I think this baby will arrive early.
- You think so? - I do.
Be careful.
You're right. If you don't mind, from now on
I'll work in bed after dinner.
Listen, there's a dinner conference on Wednesday.
Can you come? - Are you crazy?
But it's important for you. You go alone.
Having appeased my scruples,
I phoned Chloé and said to come by the office
when I got back from court.
Frédéric, it's for you.
"Chloé says she's sorry she can't make it."
May I speak to Chloé, please?
She hasn't slept here in three days.
- Three days? - That's right.
Is that you, darling?
Home already?
I decided my presence wasn't necessary.
How are you?
Fine. But you should have called. I didn't fix you any dinner.
No problem. I'll make something. I enjoy it.
All right.
What are you doing here?
Too much coffee, I guess. I started reading and then fell asleep.
For the next few days, I kept my calm only with great difficulty.
I felt ready to lash out at anyone for anything.
The worst part was how Chloé completely disregarded
my scrupulous detachment.
She was treating me
exactly like a discarded lover,
thereby forcing me to react jealously.
"On vacation. See you soon. Chloé."
Mr. Carrelet?
This is the hospital. You wife was just admitted.
Is everything all right?
Yes, mother and child are fine.
- Girl or boy? - A little boy.
PART TWO
Yes, darling. Look at Mommy's baby.
He's your little brother. Be gentle.
Give him a kiss.
Raymonde, are you there?
There's a shopping list on the kitchen table.
Add cotton balls, and pick them up at the drugstore.
Will you take Ariane?
She doesn't have time. She's late already.
Come, Ariane.
Why doesn't she take care of her more?
Four hours a day isn't much time.
Then let's get someone full-time to sleep here and watch the kids.
You need your rest. We can't go on like this.
I know. I just haven't found the time.
I'll call this afternoon to find an au pair girl.
- I'd rather do it myself. - Fine, but do it.
- I'll call this afternoon. - Promise?
You swear?
Good-bye, Suzanne.
If I'm not back by 6:00, could you give Ariane a bath?
I think she likes that. See you tonight.
The bathroom's free.
I'm late.
See you this evening.
Excuse me!
I'm not criticizing,
but I find it odd how you left without a word.
What should I have said? That I'd left with Gian-Carlo?
I thought you would have guessed.
I was worried. You seemed afraid of him.
Afraid? Certainly not.
But I've been taken by that kind of guy before,
and I decided to get even.
So I did a whole number.
I acted bored. Indulged my every whim.
You know, I'm irresistible when I want to be.
You laugh.
You should've been there.
Anyway, when the guy had gone completely nuts over me,
I left without a word
with a magnificent 19-year-old English boy.
But I'm not the maternal type.
So I came back. Vacation's over.
I gave up my room.
I'm living with the people who drove me back.
I quit the restaurant.
But work can wait a few more weeks.
Well, you look great.
That's a beautiful suit. Did you get it in Italy?
No, here in Paris when I got back.
I wanted to look good so you'd forgive me more easily.
My conquests have given me courage. I've decided to seduce you.
I hope you won't dare resist me.
Oh, but I will.
You know I have a son? - No. Congratulations.
What's his name? - Alexandre.
See the baby, sweetie?
His name is Alexandre. Can you say that?
- He's sick. - No, he's sleeping.
His name's Alexandre. Your little brother.
- Nice, isn't it? - Great.
- It fits you perfectly. - I'll take it.
In Chloé's presence, I felt more and more at ease.
- I'll wear it. - I'll just take the tag off.
- How much? - Eighty-five francs.
- Do I pay you? - No, the cashier.
What would my wife say if she saw us?
- We're not doing anything wrong. - Yes, we are.
I never shop with her. She likes to buy her clothes alone.
- So she can't object. - On the contrary.
Is she jealous?
She's seen worse.
We have a beautiful English nanny who walks around nude.
She's not afraid?
She rightly believes I'm above physical urges.
And she's not concerned about a girl I can't even talk to.
But you can talk to me.
We really do make a nice couple, don't we?
The perfect couple.
- Chloé, would you marry me? - You're married.
In real life, sure. But in another life.
A double life?
Not exactly. Don't you ever dream of living two lives at once,
simultaneously, but completely and perfectly?
Impossible.
It's a dream.
Then Chloé's mood darkened.
Her money ran low,
and she couldn't find work.
Leave me alone. Go home. Go back to your office.
What's the matter?
Tell me.
Let's end it and stop wasting each other's time.
It's better that way.
You're the only thing that makes life bearable.
That's not true.
Yes, it is.
Everyone else has always taken advantage of me.
I must say, I'm only nice to you because we're not involved.
In business, I'm tough as nails.
Listen, I have to tell you —
Let's go.
You don't think she'd be interested?
I see.
It's a small shop but the location's good, and the owner's never there.
That's why she wants someone experienced, not some 18-year-old.
Sure, if she'd rather stay home, that's her business.
I have to go. Bye.
- I'm sorry. - No, my fault.
I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but was that about a sales position?
A friend of my sister-in-law needs someone to run her shop.
But of course.
I didn't think of Chloé. Want me to call?
Do you like it here?
It's not bad.
I'm going out for coffee.
I'll be back in 15 minutes.
It's really not bad. The owner has stores in Paris and on the Riviera,
so she travels a lot.
I think she might put me in charge.
I found a room upstairs. It's great. I won't have far to go.
I'll be moving in right away.
Only problem is I'll see less of you. What time do you get off?
8:00 at night. But I'm off on Mondays.
I'll be in next Monday to get things in order.
Drop by and we can get a drink.
- 1:30 like usual? - Fine.
Is my dress ready?
Was it for today?
So I was told.
- What's the name? - Barrès.
I'll ask the other girl. I'm new here.
Would you have my size in this style?
I'm a 44.
I'll have a look.
- May I try it on? - Certainly. Right in there.
Yes, your dress is ready, ma'am.
- I see you could take my place. - If you take mine.
Never.
See you Monday.
Look at me.
Perfect, both of you.
Put her down now. I want one of you alone.
You already have thousands of me.
I want to see if I've gotten any better.
You're so much more beautiful now.
I wonder how I ever got you to marry me.
Me too.
How are you?
She's in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
I'm in charge of the store.
Of everything? Really?
Even the books?
We have an accountant.
You think I'm an idiot?
I told you: I was a secretary.
Ah, that's right.
You don't believe me, so I have to repeat myself.
This is the first time I've seen you in a dress.
I have nothing else to do, so I try one on every three hours.
I'll try this green one.
Not bad, eh?
What do you think?
I've never been excited by a dress.
No dress is beautiful by itself.
This one does justice to your figure.
Anyway, it's not the dress I admire. It's you.
You have a beautiful figure.
Listen, Chloé.
No, I won't.
You're going to go on about your wife.
No, it's not my wife I'm thinking about,
but you and me,
and the friendship we're on the verge of ruining.
I don't believe in friendship.
There is none on your part or mine.
You know,
I've come to realize something recently.
I love you.
I'm in love with you.
I hope that's not true.
If you were, I'd run in the other direction.
You'd want me to leave my wife.
Not necessarily.
I'm happy like this.
It's enough to know I love you and to tell you so.
You know, I have a vivid imagination.
I can even imagine it's you when I'm making love to someone else.
You're crazy.
No, crazy's pretending you love someone you live with.
I couldn't love a guy who'd settled down in my bed,
thinking he can stay forever. Especially if he fathered my child.
You know I want a child?
Yes, you told me.
Well, I've found the father.
You.
Don't laugh. I'm serious.
I've decided to have a child by you, and I always get my way.
I've thought it all out. There's no one else I'd like be the father.
You meet all the requirements.
You're tall, married,
handsome and not too dumb, and you have blue eyes.
I want a kid with blue eyes.
I've thought it all out.
What do you have to say?
What would I tell my wife?
She doesn't have to know.
In fact, even you wouldn't be sure you were the father.
- Then what's in it for me? - Nothing.
I'm looking out solely for myself.
You think I'm kidding.
I'm being perfectly logical. You're the one who's not.
He looks just like his mother.
Don't you think? - I don't really see it.
Sure! Ariane looks like her father. Alexandre looks like his mother.
I'm sure you looked like that when you were tiny.
- Do you remember, darling? - Not at all.
In any case, the baby's made you look younger.
Hey, it's not bad.
No. In fact, it's pretty nice.
They knocked down a wall between two maid's rooms.
There's work to do. It needs paint.
It's not that dirty.
And you have a fireplace. Does it work?
I don't know. I'll find out this winter.
You might not be here by winter.
I have every intention of staying.
I like it.
- What if you get married? - Not a chance.
Is that a closet?
Are you calling my kitchen a closet?
Kitchen and bath in one.
I'll have to get rid of this horrible wallpaper.
I'll help, if you'd like.
That's no job for bureaucrats. Move over.
An hour or two when I can.
No. Take those cups and put them by the bed.
- Where? - On the floor.
One sugar?
No one will ever come up here.
If I sleep with a guy, it'll be his place or a hotel.
I'm tired of the street and bar scene.
You can come see me here. It's much more pleasant.
Isn't it nice here?
You know, I'm very much in love with my wife right now.
Then don't feel you have to come up here.
Let me finish.
I was going to say that I love my wife and have never desired her more...
but I'm so attracted to you that I don't know if I can resist.
My will is shaken.
I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't be simpler just to sleep together.
Is it possible to love two women at once?
Is it normal?
Depends on what you call love.
If you mean passion, no. But that doesn't last.
If you mean sleeping with several girls and even caring for them,
there's nothing more common. Everybody does it.
Polygamy's very natural.
Polygamy? That's barbarian.
It turns women into slaves.
Not if women do it as well.
If you were normal, you'd sleep with anyone you wanted,
and so would your wife.
I know I'm right, and someday I'll convince you.
You'll cheat on your wife one day. Not necessarily with me.
Another girl will reap the benefits of my hard work.
In a polygamous society, I'd be polygamous. No problem.
But in the society we live in, I won't base my life on lies.
I hide too much from my wife as it is.
What makes you think she doesn't?
I saw her with a guy the other day.
Oh? Where?
At the Saint-Lazare station.
About a month ago. I wasn't working yet.
Well, so what?
So nothing. You afraid?
They were walking together and talking.
She didn't see me, but I recognized her.
What's so unusual about that?
She knows people. She comes into Paris. It could be a colleague.
What did he look like?
I didn't look that closely.
On the ugly side. Must have been a teacher.
They were very proper.
But it struck me that, when we're out walking and you're so nervous,
what if we saw her flirting with some guy?
Now that would be funny.
I do suspect one of her colleagues is taken with her.
He's bright and witty. She likes his company.
He makes her laugh.
But I doubt she's attracted to him physically.
That's why I can't get too worried. And I never intend to.
It's nice here.
Maybe too nice.
Here's my idea for Monday.
I'll take the afternoon off,
and we'll eat out in the park or by the river.
We can spend all afternoon figuring out where we stand. Want to?
Come by the office for me?
No, you come here.
All right.
Good-bye. See you around 1:30?
Oh, it's you! Come in.
- It's locked. - I'll open the kitchen door.
It's beautiful.
Could you hand me that towel, please?
And the bath mat.
You can kiss me. Water doesn't stain.
Dry me off.
Not like that. Really dry me off.
Your jacket scratches.
I'll be there at 4:00. Wait for me.
Wait. Hold on.
Hélène, it's me.
I just called to find out if you were back.
My meeting's been canceled. I have nothing to do.
I just wondered if you were home.
I'm coming home. Just wanted to let you know.
No, but I was right by a phone.
All right. I'll be right there.
I'm going. See you tomorrow.
See you tomorrow.
You scared me. You sounded strange.
You're not sick, are you?
My day got fouled up, so I thought I might as well come home.
Am I disturbing you? - No, I have nothing to do either.
Besides, you never disturb me.
In fact, I work better when you're here.
But today I feel lazy. I don't feel like doing anything.
I had an errand, but I don't think I'll go.
In Paris?
No, here. But it's not important.
Don't change your plans for me. Go, really.
- Unless I'm bothering you by staying. - You're crazy.
I came home to see you.
I have nothing special to tell you, but I wanted to see you.
We never see each other in the afternoon, except Sundays.
Though I really don't like afternoons.
I get a little anxious.
And I'm afraid to be alone.
And you?
The afternoons when I don't teach,
now that the nanny takes the children out,
I feel empty, strange.
I guess I'm just not used to it.
It's funny seeing you here.
No, stay.
I'm happy — you have no idea how happy —
but I must look a bit silly.
I want to tell you something.
- Really? - Why do you say that?
I thought you had nothing to tell me.
It just came to me now.
Maybe it's completely idiotic.
Maybe I shouldn't even say it.
Anyway...
here I am sitting next to you, feeling intimidated
because you're so beautiful.
You've never been so beautiful.
But you also intimidate me — this is even more incomprehensible —
because I love you.
See? It's idiotic.
No, I understand very well.
I don't want you to think it's coldness.
No, I'm the cold one. Much more than you.
You're perfect.
I could never love a man who kept prying into my thoughts,
who was too familiar,
even with the best of intentions.
I feel guilty because I don't talk to you much or confide in you...
whereas I talk endlessly with people I hardly know
who mean nothing to me, just casual acquaintances.
You understand?
Are you crying?
No, I'm not crying.
I'm laughing. Can't you see?
There, there.
Is anyone here?
No, not until 5:00.
Let's go in the bedroom.