Claire's Knee (1970) Script

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Anything is possible. With me it is.

I expected to run into you when I was in Paris, but not here!

Do you live here now?

I found a room in a village. I'm on vacation.

Where? Near the lake?


We're neighbours. Are you in the town?

The end of the lake.

I have a house there, where I spent vacations as a child.

I'm here to sell it. I plan to stay three weeks.

I've looked all over for you.

I couldn't find you. You're not in Paris?

Yes, but I moved. Are you still in Morocco?

No, I'm in Sweden. What are you doing on this bridge?

It's called the "Bridge of Love".

My coffee grounds predicted a meeting, and it was only you.

You hadn't even noticed me. Have I changed so much?

Not at all! You're prettier and younger than ever.

But I was steering...

Besides, I don't look at women any more.

I'm getting married.

I'll tell you everything over lunch, then I'll take you home, if you're not afraid.

Strange I haven't seen you since.

Since 1945, we've been spending vacations in Brittany.

I last played with your brothers when I was 12.

Philippe was very nice, but Bernard wasn't.

You were never there. I was 15 and despised little boys.

And you never paid attention to me.

Excuse me, but I remember very well. You had bouffant hair, and a blue bicycle.

I always had flat hair, and a black bicycle.

That was Bernadette Paccard.

That's right. I didn't look at big girls. They scared me.

And little ones?

I only remember having one girlfriend. She was 8 and blonde.


Poupinette, that's Marie-Thérèse Charvet.

She's my sister-in-law. She married Bernard.

Oh really, I suspected she was deceiving me with him.

That's Laura, my daughter.

This is Mr. Montcharvin, who owns the Villa Catalpas.

"The Catalpas"?

Do you know it? Tea dear?

You know the house?

She spent her vacations there until she was 12.

It's a beautiful house.

Yes, but I'm selling it.

I hope they won't tear it down.

No, I think they'll just restore it. You used to play there?

One year we ate all the pears in the garden.

The new owner might be less indulgent.

That's sad.

Aren't you sorry to sell it?

I'm never in France anymore.

We met in Bucharest, Jerome and I.

He was the cultural attaché, 6 years ago.

I went to Paris, and you...

To Stockholm. Now I'm in...

And you didn't tell me! You promised to write!

I hate to write, and writing to a writer!

I understand. Being a writer paralyzes me too.

Aren't you here to write?

For me, not my friends. I don't feel much like writing.

I think I'll decide to take a vacation, like Laura.

Are you on vacation?

School ends in two days.

I always managed to skip the last days.

Not me, on the contrary!

We plan to play a trick on the teacher. She's an old maid.

Not just old, but mean!

She's only happy when she's made us cry.

It's true!

You should see how she smiles, it's revolting.

She's mean, really mean, and we'll play a mean trick on her.

What kind of trick? Is it a secret?

No, not a secret, but we don't really know what we'll do yet.

We'll come up with something at the last minute.

So, she makes you cry?

Not me. I never cry in front of others.

The sight of a girl crying always disarms me.

Especially if she's pretty.

So you make the ugly ones cry?

No. Neither the ugly ones nor the pretty ones.

Just a bit, to see. Aren't you ashamed to reveal your dark side?

Tuesday, June 30th

It was a Spanish soldier who painted the frescoes in this room, in the 18th century.

Do you recognize him?

Don Quixote, with Sancho. He's on a wooden horse, but thinks he's flying.

The bellows give the illusion of wind, and the torch...

Of sun.

That's right, of sun.

They've been blindfolded.

The heroes of a story are always blindfolded.

Otherwise, they wouldn't do anything.

It doesn't matter, because everyone has a blindfold.

Or at least blinders.

Except you, since you write.

Yes, when I write, I have to keep my eyes open.

And you work the bellows? I follow the character's impulses.

Characters have a logic of their own.

You help. No, I never invent, I discover.

Take anything. I'm getting rid of it all.

A gift. How wonderful!

Dictionary of registration fees for clerk's offices and mortgages.

But... it's Lucinde!

You knew her!

Yes, but I'd almost forgotten her face.

Her hair was shorter, and softer.

I think this photo makes her look hard.

No, she looks good this way.

I didn't think you were capable of remaining faithful for 6 years.

6 years isn't long, but a lot has happened.

We've had time to break up five or six times.

Remember our first fight? You were in Bucarest.

Just vaguely.

We both thought everything was over, then, the next year I found her again in Beirut, and later in Rabat, where she was with UNICEF.

We tried to avoid each other, but couldn't, so why not unite.

I thought you were very opposed to marriage.

I was against it personally, but, since despite our efforts to split, we were unable to... we had to stay together.

If I marry her, it's because I know I can live with her.

I'm just recognizing a fact, not forcing myself.

When something pleases me, I do it for pleasure.

Why should I tie myself to a woman, if others interest me.

Since I've lived with Lucinde, we've both had affairs.

I've come to realize that other women don't interest me.

I can't even tell one from another.

They're all the same.

Except friends like you.

And you, how's your love life?


Absolutely nowhere?

I've been alone for more than a year.

It's very pleasant.

Yes, once in a while, but it can get too easy.

I'm like you, my dear.

Chance offers you a woman, so you take her.

Chance insists on offering me nothing, so I take nothing.

Why try to fight ones destiny?

Solitude not only satisfies me, I even enjoy it.

Right now, it's my greatest pleasure.

And you say one should live according to ones pleasure.

See the garden, it's completely wild. Something must be done.

You don't want a Versailles here. It's nice like this.

Here, before there were tennis courts, there was a fantastic vineyard.

My grandfather made very good wine. There's some left, you'll taste it.

I'm looking to see if the little girl you saw yesterday, Laura, is coming to play here at 5 as usual.

It reminds me of an old story that I wanted to write, but couldn't finish.

It's about a man getting on in years...

35 or 40 years old... a diplomat, very austere, very stern, whose conduct is above all suspicion, and who watches the little girls play...

Day after day, he gets ideas.

One day, a tennis ball falls in his garden.

He puts it in his pocket.

And when the girls come, he pretends to be looking for it among the nettles.

When they leave, he goes to throw the ball back from that lot, where they're building a house.

The house belongs to a crippled old woman, and it isn't very likely that she will want to play with budding young girls.

So, this intrigues the girls...

The gentleman repeats the game three or four times, and after this first folly, slides into total insanity.

What do you think of my story? How should I finish it?

I don't know. I think it's beautiful.

I count on you for a suggestion.

You know?

I shouldn't tell you, but since you're so tough...

Laura is in love with you.

So, that's your novel?

No, she told me.

If she told you, it can't be serious. But, if it inspires you...

I'm sure you've noticed it, just by the way she looked at you.

It was very ingenuous.

There are no more ingénues!

She's a child, simple and direct, which is what's nice about her.

And I haven't the time to notice every little girl in love.

It's your job to observe.

It's not even a good subject for a novel, it's old hat.

Say it! I don't inspire you.

It's true.

I never wanted to use you as a character.

Too dull?

Yes... but one can write a good story with banal characters.

I seldom draw on things that are around me.

I'm never around.

You never inspired me all the same.

Even if you slept with a shoolgirl on the eve of your wedding, you wouldn't make a good story for me.

And if I didn't sleep with her?

The story would be better. Things mustn't happen.

There's always a subject.

It's impossible to write about every subject.

But this one troubles me too much.

There's one thing I'm incapable of now, telling the story of my life.

You know, I've been in situations like yours.

I have been interested in a few young boys, and my story is similar to yours inasmuch as I never went through with anything.

I mean, I was never in love.

I could write this story in relation to myself, from what I know about myself, but transposing it on a friend...

Listen, transpose, but don't count on me.

You're afraid!

You're afraid, for nothing. She's just a nice little flirt.

I know, I was one myself.

She'll give up in the end.

All you risk is having her on your back.

Wednesday, July 1st It's very quiet here.

It's too beautiful for me to work well.

Is this our story?

To be written, it must happen.

And since it won't...

Something will happen anyway.

Even if it's only your refusal that something happens.

So, no matter what, I'll be your guinea pig.

Are they ripe?

In a few days.

You should come stay with me. It's bigger, more comfortable.

And you could observe me at your ease.

It would be unkind to Mrs. Walter.

I see too many writers in Paris, here I live with normal people, a good French family...

A young girl, a mother, even a fiancée...

They're more my guinea pigs than you are.

I want to observe them.

And how could I dare be with you, alone, in a big house?

You know that I adore you.

Is this her room?

You see, I'm almost always alone. The mother works in Annecy, and the girls, I guess they'll be rambling around.

That's Claire, the other daughter.

They don't look alike.

They're not sisters.

What do you think? Come on, stop it!

You were here?

Are you surprised? It's about time, I'm on vacation.

I'll leave Laura with you, I'll go make a fruit salad.

Can't I help?

No, it's a secret recipe.

Vacations make you happy?

No, it's worse than the rest of the year.

All my friends are gone.

Luckily, next month I'll be in Cheltenham, with a family, in England.

In fact, I'm not sad. It's different.

It's vacations that make me sad.

For me, vacations mean travelling, moving.

Anyway, I have to wait for Claire.

Claire is my sister.

Well, not really my sister.

My mother married Claire's father.

My father died.

She'll be here in a few days.

We love each other a lot.

It's a pity mother divorced.

She divorced Claire's father?

Yes! My mother had two husbands, and now she's all alone!

That looks great.

Vacations depress Laura. I sympathize.

What depresses me, is to be back where I grew up.

When I arrived, I felt oppressed. I almost left.

I have so many memories!

And you don't want to add any?

Certainly not.

Do you like Sweden?

I like it very much, but it's not so much the country, its...

The weather.

You've said it a thousand times, the weather agrees with you.

But please, let's not talk about the weather.

Thursday, July 2nd

Why, yesterday... did you stop me from talking about my marriage?

I didn't stop you at all. What are you talking about?

You know very well.

You cut me off, and talked about the weather.

But it's true!

You love the cold. The heat is bad for you.

That's enough.

Why talk about marriage? You think they're interested?

The role of guinea pig does not agree with me.

I don't know what you told that girl, but when I see her again, I'll tell her.

Tell her!

Friday, July 3rd

I'm in Sweden for personal reasons.

I'm getting married next month.

I was not aware of that.

Lucinde works for UNICEF. Right now she's in Africa.

This separation must be hard for you.

They'll just be happier to see each other again. They're used to it.

We've been separated often in 6 years.

I hope you won't be anymore. Or maybe just a little.

Besides, short separations bring people closer.

It's possible.

I must be too possessive, I can't stand absence.

That's why I'm alone after 2 marriages.

Daddy died, it's different.

Whether dead, or gone, I'm alone.

But it's not your fault. I never said it was my fault.

She always contradicts me.

On the contrary, I don't have the life I deserve.

I'm alone, and I need to love.

My mistake, if it is a mistake, was perhaps believing in love too much.

You'll be happier. You don't. Me?

For you and people your age, love is outdated.

I never said that. I don't care what people my age think.

If girls are stupid, it's not my fault.

Besides, it's not true. In your day, there wasn't any more love.

A little more hypocrisy, maybe... that's all.

Sometimes I think that you talk nonsense.

You see how she treats me.

I hate small talk.

Anyway, this isn't a conversation for me.

I'm going.

I don't know what's wrong.

She's never made a scene in public before.

I think she's bored. Her friends have left.

She wanted to go to Corsica with a group.

I refused. I didn't want her to go so far alone. She's just a child.

Her sister arrives in a few days, then she'll spend August in England.

So you see, she has things to do!

2:10! I have to be at the office by 2:30.

I'm late.

Please remind her that she has an errand to run at 3.

Thank you very much.

You should go comfort her. What?

You have an excuse, remind her about the errand.

I came to remind you of the errand for your mother.

Did she send you?

No, Aurora did.

This is a nice spot.

Is it yours?

Yes, when people bother me. I'm not talking about you or mother.

We adore each other, but she always twists what I say.

No, she was quite charming, she apologized for you.

She didn't say I'm difficult?

Not at all. She said only nice things.

She was even flattering.

I know. With others, she's very proud of me.

But when I'm there I'm always wrong. That's how she is, she has to contradict people.

Usually I go along with her, she's my mother.

If I argue, I still have to give in in the end.

Apart from that, we get along. I love her.

She loves you too.

I shouldn't have left like that. She must be upset. What did she say?

I don't know...

That you're mad because she wouldn't let you go to Corsica.

She knows that's not true! I didn't want to go.

I don't mind being here at all.

It's just a bit oppressive.

When I'm bored, I'd rather be anywhere than here.

All my friends are gone. Maybe I should go to Corsica after all.

Funny, I've been feeling just the opposite lately.

When it is so beautiful, I can't be bored.

It's beautiful, but it smothers me.

Climb up there!

When I was little, Claire and I were always up there.

I know a lot of spots too. I'll take you climbing one day.

Are you afraid to climb? Not at all.

But it's not being closed in that oppresses me.

It's too beautiful. It's all this beauty that exhausts me after a while.

One has to get away now and then.

That's what I was telling you.

In love too, you've got to get away now and then.


Saturday, July 4th

Aurora went to Geneva.

I can't hear you.

Aurora went to Geneva.

Then you're alone?

You must be bored?

A little.

What are you doing?



It's not very interesting.

Come to my house. I have great books.

All right, I'll get dressed. I'll be right back.

She's very beautiful, but a little hard.

I imagined you with someone less cold.

You don't think we're well matched?

That's my first impression.

You're right. She's not my type. But I don't really have a type.

For me looks don't count.

That is, beyond a certain level of acceptability.

All women are equal. Only their spirit counts.

But the spirit shows in the looks.

What do you see?

That you're spiritually different.

You insist! You're right.

At your age, I had an ideal women, not at all like Lucinde.

Physically and spiritually she's not for me.

But then, a woman made for me would bore me.

She wouldn't interest me.

If I marry Lucinde, it's for one simple reason.

I've known her for 6 years, and haven't gotten tired of her, nor she of me, and I don't see why it shouldn't last.

You must find this very lacking in passion?

I like to feel I love someone the first day, and not after 6 years.

I don't call that love. It's more friendship.

You think it's so different?

Basically, love and friendship are the same.

I'm never friends with the ones I love.

Loving makes me mean.

Really! Not me.

I don't believe in love without friendship.

For me friendship comes after.

Before or after, it doesn't matter.

In friendship, I find something that's missing in love, respect for the other's freedom. It's not possessive.

I'm possessive, terribly possessive.

Oh yes? Well, you shouldn't be.

You'll ruin your life.

I know. I was born to be unhappy.

Besides, I won't be unhappy.

I'm very happy. I only think happy things.

One is unhappy when one wants to be.

When I have problems, I think that there are happy times, and that crying does no good.

I think I'm on the earth, that it's marvellous, and that I'm going to have fun.

What do you call having fun?

Having fun is living.

Today, I'm very happy.

Tomorrow I may be sad.

So I make myself think of something else, I concentrate on one precise thing, I find it fantastic, and I'm happy for the rest of the day.

But if I'm in love, maybe... well...

Well what?

When I'm in love, it affects me totally.

And I forget that I'm happy to be alive.

But you shouldn't forget, or sacrifice life and happiness for love.

I think you're smart enough in that area.

Really? Really.

I'm going to tell you a secret.

In fact, I'm not happy when I'm in love. I hate it.

I stamp my feet, nothing interests me, I stop living.

It's no fun at all.

You see, I was right!

Wasn't I?

These are beautiful. I'll make you a nice bouquet.

What will my mother say?

It's very innocent to offer roses.

She'd think it's silly. Between us, she'd be right.

Offer them yourself.

You do it, when you come over. That's what I'd planned.

Give me this one. Which one?

This one here.

This one, by itself? By itself.

It's not for your mother?

No, I'm going to put it in my room.

What will you say? That you gave it to me.

She won't think that's silly?

She'll think just one is charming.


Well what? Well nothing.

Sunday, July 5th

Be careful of the thorns...

Mr. Jacques Desmarais, a friend and neighbour, Mr. Montcharvin.

Roses from your garden?

They're a bit open, but they smell nice.

I prefer them like that.

I had a choice of two houses. This one, and one on the other side.

I took this one for the view! Now, I'm sorry.

I don't like living at the foot of the mountain.


It makes me uneasy.

I'd prefer to live on the other side also.

It affords a much better view of the beautiful mountains.

The Tournette, the Dents de Lanfont, which are very majestic, but also impressive.

That majesty stifles me.

I don't agree.

A mountain is more beautiful seen from underneath.

It's like a cradle.

It seems to protect us.

To threaten us, to crush us.

But anyway, from the house we're too low to see anything.

I'll show you the best place, near the Col de I'Aulp. Been there?

Yes, often when I was young.

Why don't we go?

It's not too far. A three hour walk at the most.

A three hour walk?

All right, if you want to.

She's taking advantage of you.

No, I have nothing to do. And I'd like to go for a walk.

If we have the time, we can climb to the top of the Tournette.

We should leave in the afternoon, and sleep at the mountain inn.

It opened a few days ago.

Laura, you're going too far.

Really mother, you don't want to let the two of us sleep at the hotel?

Anyway, come and get me tomorrow.


Have a nice walk.

Never two without three.

I don't know if I should entrust her to you.

She's in love with you.

She's just playing.

A dangerous game...

She knows I'm getting married.

I'm joking. And anyway, I'm glad it's with someone reliable.

I'm not so sure. I hope you count more on your daughter's reliability.

Someone getting married in a month should be reliable.

I suppose Laura thinks the same way.

Let's hope so.

Monday, July 6th

This is the nicest spot.

Exactly in the centre of the mountains.

You can't see the house.

No, it's behind the pine trees.

Let's stay like this. Are you comfortable?

Yes, very.



Would you rather be with your fiancée?


Why yes? I hope you're happier with her than with me.

Yes, since I'll be leaving you for her.

If I were happier with you, I'd stay with you.

But how can I know if I'd be happier with you.

Anyway, why compare?

I feel good.

You know, young lady, I find you very imprudent.

In your shoes, I wouldn't be so trusting.

I'm not trusting, but I need to enrich my experience.

I take calculated risks. You risk more than I do.

You're practically married. I'm still free.

But I'm free too.

I respect Lucinde's freedom, and she mine.

I let her do exactly what she wants, hoping, or rather knowing that she won't do anything that I wouldn't like.

If everything one liked, displeased the other, it would be crazy to... live together, no?

Would she like to know you're with me?

Of course.

She knows my feelings are just friendly.

We allow each other to have friendships.

Aurora, for example?

I really like her. She's extremely nice.

Have you spoken about me? Of course.

What did she say?

That I shouldn't trust you.

Let go of me.

All right. We can't play anymore?

No, I'd like to be in love for real.

With a boy who loves me and whom I love.

You know, you have your whole life ahead of you.

You sound like my mother.

I always thought I'd get married very young.

Some girls get married at 16.

It's the exception, and I don't approve of them.

I don't see why you'd want to get married now.

Mother's remarrying.


With last night's dinner guest?

So, I don't think I could live with them.

Why? You'll have school, and then you can live alone.

In Grenoble, in Lyons, or even in Paris.

Of course.

I want to tell you something.

Move away a little. Don't come too close.

You know, I think I was a little bit in love with you.

If someone like you comes along, carries me off and even loves me, I think I'd follow him.

What would your mother say?

She'd be delighted.

Not with someone my age!

Age doesn't matter to me.

I've never been able to fall in love with a boy my age.

Tuesday, July 7th I don't like people my age.

I don't know why. I think they're stupid.

You know, I look like a kid, like a little girl, but appearances are deceiving.

Actually, I'm quite old for my age.

After mother divorced, she began confiding in me.

I soon had much more advanced ideas than girls my age.

My friends are much more childish than I am.

I could see myself married.

Which doesn't mean I'll marry right away.


I don't see why a girl your age would want to get married.

This is not the time of Louis XIV!

Your mother lets you do anything you want.

Not so fast. My mother is stricter than you think.

After all, she's right.

She gives me advice, it irritates me, it annoys me, but I find she's often right.

She's right because...


Because I'm really crazy.

There are times when I could do anything.

I love my mother very much.

I know it would make her unhappy.

So I'm good, very good.

I send all the boys away.

I've created a tough attitude for myself.

I could be crazy, too. It would become me.

For now, I'm among the sane people, but with one little step I could join the crazy ones.

Why don't I do it?

Mother's presence holds me back a bit.

But if I had a father, like Claire's, for example... it would push me in the other direction.

Then Claire is more crazy?

No, Claire is in love with a boy who spends the summer here.

You'll see, they're always together.

I've never been able to really be in love with any boy.

That's what worries me.

Yes, when I was young...

Very young.

I started to love a boy when I was twelve and a half.

I can't say I did much with him, but I loved him.

After him, practically no one.

So, your love life ended four years ago!

Now I want to really love someone, but I only see boys my age, and they scare me. It's instinctive, I'm scared.

Scared how?

It's instinctive I tell you.


The better the boy looks, the more he frightens me.

You mean you're afraid you'll give in?

No, it's more vague than that.

Young boys tend to impose themselves.

A boy is nice, so I go for a walk with him, if I'm bored, for instance.

When I'm bored, I think I'm in love with whoever I'm with.

What bothers me is that, after a while, he thinks he's something special. He tells everyone "she loves me".

He thinks he's a Don Juan. Then it's over.

With a young boy, I don't feel secure.

I only feel good with a man who could be my father.

I must lack fatherly affection.

I find someone older a little like a father.

I want to share in what he does, give him my opinion.

I want to always be next to him.

I want to be little with him, I feel good.

Wednesday, July 8th

Are you Claire? Yes.

Laura's not here?

She just left with Vincent.

Who? Vincent, a friend.

Is Aurora still in Geneva?

I think so. I haven't seen her.

Then, you're all alone? Yes.

You live in Paris? Yes.

Today is a nice day.

Very nice, yes.

Well, I think I should come back this evening.


Gilles! How are you?

You look great!

Who's that guy? A friend of the guest.

Where did you get your suntan?

In Paris, at the pool. Fantastic!

Thursday, July 9th

Is that all you'll tell me?

I ran some errands in Geneva, that's all.

The rest is a top diplomatic secret.

But you must have a lot to tell me, I hope.

Yes and no.

Nothing happened, or very little.

But since it's your only inspiration...

Yes sir, I'm mysterious too.

It's a professional secret.

He's my guinea pig.

You'll tell me tomorrow, with all the details.

Friday, July 10th

Who's she with?

Vincent. He's a friend.

The only way one can get me is by curiosity.

I wanted to know if she was making fun of me, according to your script.

When I kissed her to find out, I really had to force myself.

You see, when I took her hand... not as you take the hand of an old friend or a child, I thought about the pleasure of touching it, and it embarrassed me.

We were walking hand in hand, and it weighed on me, not like some sin, but because it was unnecessary.

By being interested in another woman I do not betray Lucinde, I just do something unnecessary.

Lucinde is everything. You can't add to everything.

Then why did you try it?

To please you.

I obeyed you.

And to see it fail.

One is never sure of anything.

If I kept away from women. If I didn't let myself talk to them, or look at them, or even if I avoided their advances... then...

my love for Lucinde would seem to me a duty rather than a pleasure.

In marrying Lucinde, well... it's because I enjoy being with her and not another.

The will has nothing to do with it.

I'm convinced of that, even if I wasn't before.

But in all love, there is some will, inevitably.

I like it to be a very small part.

And discovering, as I did the other day, just how small it is, believe me, it's a delightful feeling.

Saturday, July 11th

I'll be ready in 3 minutes. Be nice.

With girls, it can only be love?

With girls, it can only be physical, or if there is friendship, it's later.

The first contact is physical.

After love comes friendship?

Yes, because it's the absolute, and it's something else, we don't...

With Laura, for instance?

Laura is different, I'm not at all her type.

She goes for big, well-built, rather athletic guys, and I'm kind of the opposite...

So why are you with her?

We're friends, classmates...

That's not what it looked like to me.

There is nothing going on, really nothing.

She's not in love with you!

One more reason why nothing is going on.

You might...

I haven't thought about it, and I don't want to.

I know exactly what type she likes, I don't want to get into her scene, I want to be liked right away, I don't want to get into courting her.

But you could charm her, she might find you...

I just feel there is no possibility.

Girls can surprise you.

You never know, women are kind of weird... so far, nothing.

Laura, you're in love with her?

No, we're friends, that's it...

Maybe a tiny bit of affection, when I look at her, because I like to make love gently, you know... touch their noses, all that...

You've got it all mixed up, love, friendship...

I don't know, with her it's something special.

Don't listen to him, he's nuts.

Coming? How's the water?

Great. Come on!

You're not coming?

No thanks, it's too cold for me.

You took your time. I hope they'll wait.

I had to finish this letter to my father.

I can't believe it takes an hour. I wonder what you write him.

What's it to you! I do what I want.

There's no time to lose. I warn you, next time I won't wait.

Fine, go by yourself. You don't need me.

That's great. All right, goodbye.

I'll pick you up at 3. Yes, fine.

Come on.

Are you mad?

Very mad?

Sunday, July 12th Aurora! Put your pen down, and come share our rural pleasures.

I'll finish this page and join you.

Could you get me another basket?

Are you sure they're ripe?

They're great.

Let me taste.


They're sour!

Want to taste this one?

It should be good.

This one's great.

I'll put some in my hat.

You want one?

I can't reach them.

Are they ripe? They're very good.

One or two in my hat, to taste them.

They're not bad.

Wait, I'll help you.

Stop it, you'll make me fall.

Is there another one? This one's great...

It's too long, that's not quite it.

The Greeks, they were really something!

Right, the beard mustn't be too long.

This one.

I don't like it. You don't like beards...

I had a fantastic beard once, but it was too much work...

Tuesday, July 14th

You like the 14th of July?

It's great.

This isn't a dance for me. I'm too old.


Just a few steps?

Thursday, July 16th

You're not playing? No, today I'm just a spectator.

Right into the net!

As bad as you!

Yes, it looks familiar. I bet I win.

That would surprise me. You'll see.

What are they doing?

He's getting the ball.

That guy is hopeless.

Friday, July 17th

I prefer your company and conversation to a tennis game.

Besides, I have to lecture you. You experiment on me, but you stay away from any affair.

Yours don't get you very far.

I'm in transit here. My life is elsewhere.

For you it's serious, it's your life.

I'm in transit too.

Not for long, I think.

It saddens me to see you lose the bloom of youth.

The bloom of youth, it comes and goes.

Listen, get a guy and stop complaining.

I'll bet you that I find one at the end of the year.

Who told you that?

My coffee grounds.

A guy. Who? Where? Where are there guys to get?

Everywhere. There are plenty. Like on the 14th of July.

Oh, the 14th of July!

Admit you didn't find him unattractive.

In fact, I find all men attractive. That's why I can't pick one.

Why one and not another?

I need a reason to choose someone.

Since I can't have them all, I prefer to do without them.

All that's very unnatural, very immoral.

Not immoral, since it keeps me chaste.

You don't want me to fall into the arms of just anyone?

Where would it lead, what good would it do?

Not just anyone.

If he's supposed to come, he'll come.

He'll come here?

Here as well as anywhere.

You'd think I were in a hurry.

To listen to you talk, I'm old.

Old! I'll tell you something.

Last year I wanted to test my charms on very young boys. The new generation, unknown to me, is incomprehensible, a total mystery.

I decided on the number 5, in one week.


In fact, I had 3.

Very good-looking.

Was it pleasant, apart from the glory?

It was very nice. I could have continued, but since it was a matter of ego, and the ego is soon satisfied, in this area, at least, I prefer to wait. I know how to wait.

Waiting is pleasant in and of itself.

Yes, if it doesn't last too long.

Don't worry.

Your story is really more interesting than mine.

No, your relationships with young girls are better. They're more vague.

Then you're in luck. My little affair is evaporating.

Nothing is happening, I have nothing to tell.

That she tried to make me jealous with her friend, no...

Her experiment is over, mine too, period.

She'll take up her old ways, and I mine.

You know...



It amuses me that you don't create the story anymore. I do.

I have an idea. Well, I'm afraid my ideas...

Tell me.

You have to guess.

It's an idea, not a proven fact.

I took my role of guinea pig so seriously, I overdo it.

Putting myself in the place of the character, I thought he could feel something I don't really feel.

I don't feel anything.

You know, I'm through running after girls. All of them.

Really, big and little.

At least, personally.

But I've said too much already. Don't you get it?

You mean you're through, personally, but I hope the character isn't. He carries on.

No! I'm speaking of me!

The character is through too, with that experiment at least.

Then it's all over?

In this case, yes. But...

But what?

After all, I don't see how you could guess something which is purely an idea of mine.

Actually, it's not a completely pure idea.

Laura suspects it, I'm sure.

The problem is that, in talking about it, I give it too much importance.

I'd like you to guess it.

But you won't. I'll give you a hint.

With Laura, it's over.

You said that. So what?

So it's over with Laura.

Claire! My word!

Don't tell me that she too...

It's simply an idea. Not the idea that she's in love with me, but... that I'm interested in her.

It's classic, she loves another.

Not only that, if she didn't interest me, why would I care.

Let's say she troubles me.

Both the character and myself.

So little I wouldn't mention it, were you not so interested in the little.

She troubles you... How? Her body?

Yes, the way she looks, since it's all I know about her.

We've hardly ever spoken.

I'd find it hard to talk to her.

She intimidates you!

I feel absolutely powerless with girls like that.

You know what I mean?

Some very attractive boys affect me like that.

I'm amused that you confess your shyness to me.

But I am very shy.

Usually I don't have to take the first step.

I've never pursued a girl if she wasn't favorably disposed.

What about this one?

With this one it's... very strange.

She arouses in me a real yet undefined desire, all the stronger because it's undefined.

A pure desire. A desire of nothing.

I don't want to do anything, but this desire bothers me.

I didn't think I would desire a woman again.

I don't want her. Even if she threw herself at me, I'd refuse.


Even if I don't want her, I feel I have some sort... of a claim on her.

A claim born from the very strength of my desire.

It's a feeling I'd had long ago, which I suddenly find very vivid today.

The turmoil she arouses in me gives me a sort of right over her.

You know, I'm convinced I deserve her more than anyone.

You see, yesterday, for instance, at the court...

I looked at the lovers, and...

I thought that every woman has a vulnerable point.

For some, it's the nape of the neck, the waist, the hands.

For Claire, in that position, in that light, it was the knee.

It was the magnet of my desire, the precise point where, if I could follow this desire, I would have put my hand.

It was there that her boyfriend had his hand.

Innocent and dull.

Above all that hand was dull, and that shocked me.

But it's easy. Put your hand on her knee.

That's the exorcism.

You're wrong. It's the hardest thing to do.

A caress must be accepted.

It would be easier to seduce her.

Monday, July 20th

Basically, I love thin, delicate girls.

All the girls I've known and loved were too robust, in my opinion.


Lucinde, for example, is rather athletic.

However, in a way, I rather like her sporty side.

But, if I had a woman made to order, I think I'd give Claire's measurements.

Yes, she has a lovely build.

I think she'll become a beautiful woman.

I mean she'll fill out in the right places.

You know, all these slender, pretty girls, well, you've noticed, at 30 very few are still beautiful.

But I think Claire will resist the onslaught.

It's not too late.

If she suits you, you're still single, marry her!

To me, looks are not important.

If she came to me, as I said, I'd refuse her.

I'd like to refuse her by my own choice.

But it's been my misfortune that, every time I've desired a woman beforehand, I haven't gotten her.

All my successes have come by surprise, to my surprise.

Desire followed attainment.

What's the matter?

Are you hurt?

What's the matter? Say something.

You hit my finger.

Show me.

It's nothing. I told you to hit it with your fingertips.

I wasn't being careful.

Show me. Listen, you shouldn't play...

It hurts? Aurora'll take care of you.

You can't play!

It hurts. I caught the ball on my finger.

You're a witch, you'll cure her.

Nothing's broken. No, I don't think so.

It's all right.

You should massage it.

Just massage it that's all.

I'll get you some fruit juice.

Does it still hurt?

Oh, a little, it's not bad.

Let's put arnica on it.

Never mind, it will go away.

I had the same thing once.

It got all blue and they had to cut my finger off.

You weren't too hot playing volleyball?

There was a little wind.

You like volleyball? Not at all.

Then why did you play?

To please Gilles.

To please Gilles!

So, when Gilles wants something, you do it?

Not always.

Don't do everything boys want.

I don't do everything boys want.

Feel better?

Do you want to play? No, later.

All right.

Thursday, July 23rd

Please, get away from the shore...

This is a camping ground.

Get away from the shore, please.

Come on, grampa!

Don't talk to me like that!

Stay away!

Is that your boat?

Tell the people who were aboard to stay further out.

I'm the camp director, and I've had complaints.

Listen, I'm very sorry, I'll take care of it. I'll tell them.

They were also rude to me.

Please excuse them, they're kids, they don't know.

I told them not to go close to the shore. It won't happen again.

I'll see to it. Thank you.

What's the matter?

I'm warning you, for the last time, or there'll be trouble.

The campers complain that you pass too close.

I'm the camp director.

First of all, this is private property, and secondly, we were 60 feet away.

There were people swimming there.

This is ridiculous. You're ludicrous.

Watch your language, or there'll be trouble!

He's stronger than you. Do you want a fight?

That guy is completely nuts.

We were way out. I don't know why he's screaming.

I won't lend you the boat any more.

But no!

What do you mean "No!" You're not being reasonable.

Instead of keeping to the middle of the lake, you annoy the campers.

We didn't annoy them.

And we were more than 60 feet away.

We were far away...

This guy makes some remarks.

You see you're bothering him, and you insult him.

If instead of shutting you up... he'd punched... Claire might... have gotten hit.

It's not nice to Mrs. Walter. She doesn't need this...

Mrs. Walter doesn't care. Isn't that so?

What's mother got to do with you?

Keep out of this. I'm talking to your sister and Gilles.

He took the boat, I heard. What did you do with it?

He claims we were too close. He yelled at us for nothing.

Not for nothing. He asked you to keep 60 feet away.

There were people swimming.

The campers again! Great!

I hope you annoyed them.

Listen to the brat!

The papers on the lawn, what they do to the house... Coming in without permission, opening the gate. They're impossible.

You were right.

"You were right!" No they weren't right.

I'll tell your mother.

Tell her. She agrees with me.

I'm sure she'll side with me.

Never mind, this is a house full of problems.

A house full of problems?

Anyway, you're a guest here.

Guests have a right to... If mother has something to say...

Go back to your homework, go play, go!

Friday, July 24th

Are you taking the ferry?

No, I'm going right back to the house.

If you want I'll take you. Then I can say hello to Aurora.

Aurora went to Annecy.

When do we go boating? Or mountain climbing?

Last time it was the Tournette, right?

I'm not free, I'm having lunch with friends of mother's.


Then tomorrow, if you like.

I can't tomorrow.

I'm going to England the day after, and I have to pack.

That's sad.

I'm serious. Our beautiful friendship didn't last.

We see each other every day.

I don't know what more you could want.

I hoped for a little more.

I think it's perfect, and if there wasn't any more, as you say, it's your fault.

Oh yes?

You always keep to yourself.

I didn't want to bother you. I saw you with your friends.

You're not that old, you could have joined us.

I don't like them much. I think you choose them badly.

You know, I keep putting Vincent off.

It's not him I mind, it's Gilles.

Gilles is my sister's friend. I don't discuss her preferences.

Besides, he's fine, they go well together.

Not at all. She's a hundred times better than he is.

You hate him because he's not afraid of you.

You're crazy. I like people who have character.

But his toughness is fake, and that's the worst kind.

Claire should drop him. You open her eyes.

She loves him. She's right.

What's it to you?

I don't know. It's nothing.

You're jealous for nothing, that's true. If there was...

If there was?

Nothing. Take me home.

Sunday, July 26th Let me help you. It's very heavy.

In the trunk?

No, it's too small. On the back seat.

The little one too? Thank you.

When do you leave?

In three days.

Then we won't see each other again. I'll be in Geneva a week.

So you're getting married?

Well, I wish you much happiness.

Thank you, let me kiss you.

See you soon.

Claire, we're going darling. I'm coming.

Be good. You're in charge of her, Aurora.

We're going?

We're going, darling.

Don't forget my records.

Will you write me?

I never write.

Just a little.

Send me a postcard. I might answer it.

All right.

You have the number in Geneva. Call me if you need anything.

Have a good trip.

Tuesday, July 28th

Aurora's not here? No, she went for a walk.

Please remind her we're having dinner tonight.

I'll come pick her up at 8.

You're not going to Annecy by any chance?

I just came from there.


Oh, nothing.

Do you want to go?

No, it's not important.

I can take you, I have another errand.

Sure it doesn't bother you?

Cover up, the weather's changing.

I'll go get a jacket.

It's becoming overcast. We'll have to take cover.

I think we'll have another hour of rain.

And even if it clears up, I couldn't take you.

You'll miss your appointment...

What appointment?

You did ask me to take you to Annecy. I thought you had an appointment.

With Gilles... I was supposed to drop a note at his place.

He's not there?

He left this morning, to visit his mother in Grenoble.

He'll be back late, and since he's coming by tomorrow, I wanted to tell him this evening. It's nothing important.

You went just for that?

I thought it didn't bother you. You said you had to go anyway.

It's not very important either.

Maybe it's none of my business, but I think you let this boy take advantage of you.

He didn't ask anything. I wanted to go.

All the more reason.

For him you'd go to the end of the world.

You shouldn't let boys push you around.

Especially ones like yours.

You don't know him.

I know him well enough.

Sure, if you believe the camp director.

That's not it. I don't know what you see in him.

He's way beneath you.

He's fine. Your opinion doesn't interest me at all.

You're right, I should mind my own business.

I was never interested in you or your sister and I'm getting married so I'm absolutely impartial.

But it upsets me to see such a charming girl with such an oaf.

If you were in control... You can have all the boys at your feet.

Take advantage of it!

He's fine. He doesn't crawl in front of you like Aurora, mother, Laura, and the rest.

He has character. He never bows down to anyone.

Your opinion means little to me.

Does it mean little to you what Gilles was doing this afternoon?

I didn't want to tell you, but you should know, for your good.

You love Gilles, but are you sure he loves you?

What is it to you? It's none of your business!

Ah, then you're not sure!

Then why was he kissing a girl this afternoon in Annecy?

What girl?

You know her, she plays tennis, her name is Marielle.

Muriel, she's a friend, he has a right to see her.

Of course. I told you, I saw him this afternoon.

So he lied. He's not in Grenoble.

He might have been delayed...

If you like.

They were walking along, he held her close. Nothing wrong in that... and he didn't have to go to Grenoble.

So forget what I said.

Shut up!

I'll shut up, but you're strange.

You tell me he's in Grenoble, I see him in Annecy. I'm surprised...

Gilles does what he wants. It's none of your business.

Look, don't take it like that. You know, what I said...

Shut up, shut up!

It stopped raining.

We should go home.

She kept crying, couldn't find a handkerchief. I gave her mine.

She wiped her eyes, handed it back. I gestured for her to keep it.

I'm sure at that point she hated me.

If I'd tried to touch her, she'd have cried "leave me alone".

I stayed there, like that, for a while, watching her sob, very embarrassed, pleased that my blow had struck, but disgusted.

I was ashamed to have made her cry. Or rather, ashamed for her.

I thought she must be ashamed to cry in front of a stranger... it embarassed me all the more, since I felt she'd refuse any consolation.

She wouldn't have let me hold her hand, her shoulder... or her.

At least that's what I thought.

She sat facing me, one leg stretched out, the other bent.

Her knee was sharp, narrow, smooth, delicate, within reach. Within reach of my hand.

The way my arm was, I only had to extend it to touch her knee.

Touching her knee was the most extravagant thing, and at the same time the easiest.

Even as I realized how easy, simple the gesture was, I also felt it was impossible. As if you're on the edge of a cliff, only one step away, but even if you want to jump, you can't.

It took courage, you know, really a lot of courage.

I've never done anything so heroic, or at least so willful.

It's the only time I ever accomplished an act of pure will.

I've never felt so strongly that something had to be done.

I had to do it, I had promised you.

All right, go on.

Talk, I won't say anything.

I put my hand on her knee with a quick move, which didn't give her time to react.

The precision of my gesture prevented her parry.

She simply gave me a look, an indifferent look, barely hostile, but she didn't say anything. She didn't move my hand or her leg.

I don't know, I don't understand why.

If I had grazed her with a finger, if I had tried to caress her brow, she would certainly have withdrawn.

But my gesture was too unexpected.

She thought it was the beginning of an attack which never came.

So she felt reassured.

What do you think?

I think that it's very nicely told.

It's a pity I don't know shorthand, I would have taken it down.

What do you care what she thought?

You made such a perfect, sculptural tableau.

What do your thoughts matter?

Well, you know I hate making girls cry, but she needed a lesson, I had to open her eyes.

At the same time, it was my good deed.

But if I'd felt I was shocking her, even a little, I'd have pulled back my hand, blushing.

But not only did I not shock her, I even did her some good.

What I thought to be a gesture of desire, she took as one of consolation.

A sort of peace came over me, mixed with the fear of not controlling that moment.

Your story is charming, but perfectly harmless.

There is nothing perverse in it, except what you make out of it.

On the contrary, the results couldn't be more moral.

On the one hand, I broke the spell I told you about.

On the other, the girl's body no longer obsesses me.

It's as if I'd had her, I'm fulfilled.

Also, I did a good deed. I got her away from that boy for good.

I couldn't have experienced such a perfect pleasure without this idea of a good deed.

She'll find someone worse.

I don't think so.

She learned a lesson. She'll be more careful.

What amuses me is that you can't stand the idea of a woman escaping you.

I admit easily that some women escape me. You, for example.

I'm not in the game. That's what I hold against you.

For you, I'm just a guinea pig, while to me, you're a great friend.

By the way, all I've done, I did out of friendship for you.

Laura was for me? Claire is for me?

Lucinde isn't, I hope.

What time do you leave tomorrow?

10 o'clock.

You'll come say goodbye!

Of course.

You won't believe me, but, without you, nothing would have happened, even if I'd met the girls another way.

You know I believe you.

Nothing more will happen, you won't be around.

Thanks to you, I reached the ultimate delight.

I don't want anything more to happen, I'm fulfilled.


Lucinde, you're coming back to her. Well, yes... precisely, now it will all be for Lucinde.

The rest, the other girls, all that was swept away, obliterated.

You're a magician!

Did you doubt it? No!

Or I wouldn't have put my fate so imprudently in your hands.

Wednesday, July 29th

Say goodbye to Claire for me.

Should I wake her?

No, I have nothing to say to her.

Be good. Write me.

You be good too.

You'll be alone in Paris, try to dig up a guy.

Alone, no!

You have a lover?

I have a fiancé.

You say nothing. I tell you everything and you keep me in the dark.

You never asked.

Anyway, you know him, I introduced you.

That guy from Geneva?

Not bad.

How are you?

Very well, thank you. And you?

All right.

Claire isn't here? I think she's asleep.

Here she comes.

You were awake?

How was Grenoble? Is your mother feeling better?

I didn't go to Grenoble, finally, I'll explain...

I had problems with my keys... I couldn't...

You could have let me know.

I couldn't, and then I looked at my watch, it was 5. It wasn't worth it. I called you...

I wasn't going to wait...

No answer. I decided to stay in Annecy.

I had a dinner to go to, it was easier.

Why were you with Muriel?

You know how she is, listen, really!

She told me all her problems, for one hour.

She was sad and everything, I consoled her, for an hour, that's all.

You know her as well as I do.

Of course! But that's no excuse.

Listen it doesn't...

Are you mad? It doesn't matter...