Gates of the Night (1946) Script

Ripped, corrected and synched by Fingersmaster. Enjoy!

This film was restored by PATHÉ in 2015


February 1945.

Towards the end of a winter's day, the harsh, gloomy winter that followed the magnificent summer of the liberation of Paris.

The war isn't over yet, but in the north of the city, daily life resumes its normal course with its simple joys, major hardships, grinding poverty and terrible secrets.

You're off at the next stop.

Yes, I am.

So am I.

No pitch...

Just a simple pocket light.

The Liberator flashlight, American model!

Made in France.

Costs almost nothing. A marvel.

"Fluctuat nec mergitur": then there was Light.

Plus spare battery, no more blackouts, 85 francs.

Now if you want croissants, try our pastry branch across the street, my daughter runs it.

Get your Liberator flashlight.

Made in France.

American design...

Light, security.

Liberty, equality, fraternity.

Love songs, songs of Liberated Paris!

"The Partisan Song", "When the Paving Stones Rise Up".

Head of a large family, award-winning amateur inventor.

Of course, you don't have to buy it, but if you break your neck on the stairs one night, don't blame me!

You had it coming.

Buy the Liberator flashlight, made in France...

"The Prisoner's Song", "My Heart Awaits You at Home".

And old favorites:

"When will the ration tickets end?"

"So long, Herr Fritz".

And to top it off, the latest: "The Children in love", first performed here at Barbes-Rochechouart.

♪ Two children in love ♪

♪ Kissing as they stand ♪

♪ Before the gates of night... ♪ You come here every day for me?

Yes. Do you mind?

No. You live around here? Aubervilliers.

Aubervilliers isn't far. No, it's nearby.

♪ And only their shadow ♪

♪ Trembles in the night ♪

♪ Arousing the rage ♪

♪ Of passers-by ♪ Do you work?

Yes, a lousy job.

Care for a croissant?

♪ Two children in love ♪

♪ Are here for no one else ♪

♪ They are far, far away ♪

♪ Deeper than the night ♪

♪ Higher than the day ♪

♪ In the dazzling ♪

♪ Brightness ♪

♪ Of their first ♪ Love

Madame Lecuyer, please.

Second floor, center.

The price! Senechal has a nerve. Don't be so picky.

It's wood from a Louis XVI armchair. Authentic.

He lined his pockets during the Occupation.

We'll find corks by the canal!

Mama! There's a man here.

Wait for me, guys!

Madame Lecuyer?

That's me, Monsieur.

Can I help you?

Won't you come in?

I'm sorry, it's a mess with all the kids.

I'm a friend of your husband's.

A friend of Raymond's.

I should have come sooner, but...

It's warm here.

Yes. We had a bit of coal.

It's hard to come by.

Like in better days.

Excuse me, Madame, but I'm here...

Why beat about the bush?

I have some bad news.

Bad news?



Has something happened to him?


Something serious?

An accident?

It can't be, answer me.

He's not...


Mama, is it true? When a cat has kittens, you make her a collar of corks so her milk doesn't turn?

It's true. Go and play, Cri-Cri.

You see?

What happened to him?

Shot at Fort Romainville, at the end of June.

At the end of June?

At Romainville?

Of course I should have come sooner...

But I don't know, it wasn't on purpose...

Never could.

At the end of June?

At the end of June?

I'm sorry, I can't help it.

An accident in June!

So everyone's enjoying themselves!

Well, I'll be damned!


Diego! Good old Diego.

And I thought you were dead.

Claire, meet Diego. The man from the islands.

Tarzan... It's him!

What's the matter?

Nothing. I'm so happy.

Crying for joy.

Lord, what a to-do.

Some to-do. I thought you were dead too.

I even came to break the news.

"Friends of the family"! It's a great life.

You wouldn't understand.

I'm not sentimental, but...

But when they were led out, and they shouted: "Farewell, comrades!" and they sang...

It's impossible to explain.

How did you get here, all in one piece?

I was lucky, that's all.

The Krauts led us out. You know the price tag. 12 bullets.

Suddenly a miracle happened.

Angels fell from the sky.

Inspector Constantini and his boys, in need of extra information.

The bastards.

"You're out of luck", they said.

"If we hadn't shown up, you'd have croaked nice and easy."

So they started again. The life of Riley.

Avenue Henri-Martin?

All the modern conveniences.

Facial massage, hydrotherapy, manicure.

Check out their handiwork.

They knew me by heart.

Sure, Raymond Lecuyer, alias Pierrot, alias Kid Velvet, head switcher with French Railways, Rue des Petites Feuilles, communist, saboteur.

Someone close squealed on you.

Nice to know you have friends.

I wanted to tell you at Romainville but I couldn't.

I was there when it happened.

You know who it was?

No, I didn't see him.

But I heard him talking.

I was in the bathroom, he was in the office next door.

And he was laughing.

My head was under the tap. I heard bells.

But when I came up for air, I listened.

A nasty little voice like on Radio-Paris.

When he left the office, I thought:

"I'll never forget that voice. That laugh."

Stop it. You're making me thirsty.

Hey, Claire, you might offer us something.

You know we have nothing.

All the better. I'm taking you out to dinner.

Know a nice restaurant nearby?

There's Germaine's. But she'll bleed you dry.

No matter, I can take it!

I'll change? Right, honey.

We'll have a drink. Meet you at the cafe.

Papa, old Senechal says we break into his warehouse.

He calls us "bad seed".

And he says we steal wood.

I'll have a word with Pop Senechal.

An ogre in the house? Just the landlord.

Another guy who thinks paid vacations lost France the war!

Say, are all these yours?

Are you kidding? I just have one.

And the others? The others?

Pals of mine, the Quinquina family.

Go and play, you Quinquinas.

They're called that as their folks hit the jackpot.

The Cognacq Award for large deserving families.

They live upstairs in two freezing rooms.

Don't feel sorry for them. They eat for four.

But there are 15 of them. Talk of the devil...

How's it going, Monsieur...?

Quinquina. Not great.

And business?

Pretty slow.

Seems like there'll be an end to this little global conflagration.

Don't look so disgusted.

You were part of it too?

On the barricades last August.

Sure, I was out looking for the kids.

They wanted to see it. Like Gavroche.

One Gavroche in the family, why not? But a dozen?

Let's change the subject. Seen Etiennette?

I've been looking for her. I quit work.

I'm not worried, but the mother is, you see.

Ever since our oldest daughter ran off with a sailor in '39.

Still, Etiennette is pushing it.

At the metro, she hands me the case of croissants:

"Be right back, Dad." And one-two-skidoo.

Isn't she a lovely girl?

She has beautiful eyes.


Spitting image of her dad.

When I was 20.


I was quite the "ladies' man".

They couldn't resist me.

I just had to look at them.

Then one day...

I looked at my wife.

And then we got married.

And lived happily ever after.

And had lots of children.

You got it.

A real fairy tale.

Let's go, gang!

Cri-Cri, wash your hands.

What for?

We're eating out. Swell. Where?

The black market. Hurry up.

There may be oranges.

They say before the war they had oranges in winter.

They run up and down nonstop, screaming.

And they gallop.

A real stampede, that's the word.

And in their wood-soled shoes.

It's an outrage.

Why don't you buy them slippers?

Or Derbies? In kidskin?

I'll skip the insults about me on the walls, and address a very serious matter.

Your children were seen several times in my warehouse.

That's not true!

Wood has disappeared from my warehouse.

The wood I sell in the neighborhood to help people out.

20 francs for kindling. An act of charity.

My poor man, wit like that is found on every street corner.

True, you spend most of your time on the street.

For the moment, Monsieur Senechal. Once the war is over, the foreigners will be back, the tourists, and I'll set up on my own as a guide.

I'll show them Paris.

I'll even specialize in slums.

That way I can work at home by appointment.

So you talk about a stampede, Monsieur Senechal, on your staircase?

Why can't I work for the tourists as well?

Some people didn't wait for the end of the war to do business.

With the tourists? Even ones in green uniforms.

I won't stand for this!

Dead right! The "tourists" arrived in truckloads, to carry off the merchandise, the antiques.

As for the rest, nobody knew what it was.

You're not called "Friend Fritz" for nothing in the neighborhood.

Madame, I order you to be quiet.


The New Order, maybe.

That's why they sent you to Drancy at the Liberation?

If you don't shut your wife up, I'll sue you both for slander.

Right. Now you're talking.

Make yourself respected.

If your son was here, they'd pipe down.

Believe me.

You forget Senechal's son is a hero.

You hear me?

A hero!

So what? The streets are teeming with heroes.

It's not because the son is a hero that the father is carried in triumph.

Charming mentality.

What an age! No morality, no ideals.

Go on, snigger. You won't have the last word.

I'll show you...

"The wood I'm made of."

Supper time!

Get a move on, kids.

Where's Etiennette?

She was here a moment ago.

Go get her.

She can't be far as she was here... a moment ago.

Come back when you've found her, not before.

It isn't funny.

What isn't?

I don't know... everything.

You spit in the water... you don't even see where it lands.

"Fatalitas!' As Cheri-Bibi would say.

To each his lot. His destiny.

Fate or no fate, I want to find my daughter.

I'm very fond of that child.

I wouldn't want anything to happen to her.

Don't worry, nothing bad will happen to her.

And tonight she's happy.

How do you know? You don't even know her.

Very happy.

That's enough!

Don't try pulling my leg, I know that game.

Where did he spring from? A real nutcase.

Why are you laughing?

I'm not laughing. Yes, you are.

Your eyes are laughing.

Because I feel happy.

You're pretty, you know.

I didn't dare speak to you.

Me neither.

But now we know each other.

What kind of boat is it?

A freighter.

Leave him alone, Cri-Cri.

He's bothering you.

I'm not. He's my buddy. What's that next to it?

An island with coconut trees.

He's off again.

The times he bust our chops with his islands.

Even in prison he talked about Polynesia.

Back off.

He'd say: "It's so simple.

"You meet, love, separate."

You change islands!

Don't listen to him.

Over there it's like here.

The same old story.

A big smile to say hello.

A tiny hanky to say goodbye.

Evening, Monsieur Guy.

What a turnout.

The wretched of the earth!

The prisoners of need use the black market too.


Hello, Raymond. Hello, Guy.

I won't ask how you're doing.

You look fine.

But it's odd meeting you here.

For me it's understandable, I'm not prejudiced.

But for you and your ideals, I find it a bit...

A bit?

A bit contradictory.

What can I say, nobody's perfect.

But don't tell a soul.

I'm here incognito.

Money from Moscow.

Don't worry, Monsieur Senechal, it's just this once.

To cheer you up, we'll go to the soup kitchen tomorrow.


Say, Madame Lecuyer, I'm joking.

A good thing too.


Just saying... A good thing too.

It's nice to joke so I'm joking too.

That's fine then.

Everybody's joking.



So that's the son, the hero?

What did he do? No idea.

He probably has no idea either.

It's strange, I'm sure...

I've seen him somewhere before.

Can I play some music?

And what else?

Isn't it noisy enough?

I didn't say noise. I said music.

Great happiness, of course.

She didn't say we won't sleep together tonight.

Trying to make me to cry?

Sure, at the least.

Don't make a face. I have an important date.

Of course.

People I haven't seen in ages. Revenants.

It's tiresome.

I don't like revenants.

You don't look it, but you're a joker.

When it comes to good news, you're the champ.

Good thing I'm not superstitious.

You made her feel fine.

What did you say?

Nothing much.

I told her she might die tonight.

And she believed you? No.

It's true though.

If she goes by the canal.

That's a good one. You're a load of fun.

She won't suffer.

She won't even realize it.

An alcoholic haze, one false step...

A beautiful death!

Not everyone is granted a happy death.

Him again.

Who is it? The Gestapo.

Don't tempt fate!

You know this tune?

Neither do I.

Yet I know plenty of songs.

I've heard it before.

But where and when?

♪ And the waves ♪

♪ Rush in and erase ♪

♪ The footprints of lovers ♪

♪ Now apart ♪

Funny how love songs are always sad.

Love isn't always cheerful.

People don't know how to enjoy it, or they pretend to.

Why did you draw a Chinaman?

A Chinaman? You're a funny sort of Chinaman.

It's true. A Chinaman.

A Chinaman?

Terrific! I remember where I heard it.

In '38, in San Francisco, in Chinatown.

Is San Francisco nice? It's a beautiful port.

I almost left my hide in Frisco.

A stupid brawl, like all brawls.

My time hadn't come. Fate.

Fate... That's me.

And I'm Napoleon. You hear?

Why not? Napoleon was just a man.

He was born, he ate his fill and he died.

On Saint Helena. It had to be.

If he hadn't died there, he might not have been born in Ajaccio.

It all comes together.

Nothing extraordinary, or rather everything is extraordinary.

But man takes it for granted.

For instance: the sun. He finds it perfectly natural.

It doesn't surprise him.

But show him a calf with two heads, it disturbs him.

Yet a simple calf, a simple ordinary calf with one head, like you and me, is strange and inexplicable when you think about it.

I say a calf, but we could say a tree or an egg.

What a mystery: an egg.

Or a rooster.

I knew people who, hearing a rooster crow at daybreak, trembled with terror.

It gave them goosebumps.

What a story!

What a story!

Yet everyone has their own story.

You, like anyone else.

And like anyone else, you don't know how it will end.

Sure. It's a surprise.

A surprise.

Do you know why you came here tonight?

For dinner?

Give me a brandy.

You never know. Maybe you were wrong to come here.

He never lets up.

If you want to know, I'm here for a date, and no later than tonight.

With whom? A beautiful girl.

The loveliest girl in the world.

The loveliest.

Why not?

I don't want miss the last metro.

What time is it?

11.10 p.m. precisely.

The talking clock.

You'd better hurry.

You haven't a minute to lose.

You may mean well but you're wearing me out.

What do you want?

I don't want anything. I'm Fate.

What in the world...

The world is how it is.

Don't count on me for the key.

I'm not the janitor, I'm not the jailer.

I'm Fate. I come and go, that's all.

'Evening, ladies and gents.

No need to hurry, the last metro just left.

So much for that.

I wouldn't mind a walk.

To Vaugirard in this cold?

I can walk with you a bit.

I came to look for Etiennette.

As I haven't found her, I'm in no rush to go home.

Why not come to the house?

You can sleep in Cri-Cri's room.

Sure, he's my buddy. We'll share my room.

I don't want to impose.

You kidding?

Let's go. I'm on duty at 3 a.m.

Not much time to sleep.

If you don't mind, I'll walk with you a bit.

It will keep me company.

Nothing is more depressing than squabbles between people in love.

I don't love you any more, Georges.

You're dazzling, Malou.

As you are every night.

I don't love you any more. And yet...

And yet? You loved me.

I must have, as I married you.

And I ruined everything. Destroyed it.

Before I met you I was light-hearted, simple.

And I loved life.

You don't now? I do.

But not mine.

Indeed. But that's no excuse for your behavior.

Like tonight, the way you walked out in the middle of dinner.

You knew how important that dinner was for me.

If I'd stayed I'd have burst into tears.

Sometimes I feel I'm suffocating.

So you brought me to this charming spot to breathe?

In this bleak, sordid district?

I spent my childhood here.

It may be poor but I wanted to see it again.

And I like it as it is.

It's too ordinary for you, of course, a little girl's childhood.

But, Malou... what do you want?

I want to leave you.

Not again? But in London you stopped talking about it.

We were living so far apart.

And it seemed irrelevant. Everyone was into the war effort.

So I was too.

Sure. But when you knew we were coming to Paris you seemed happy.

Why not, after so long?

And you're disappointed.

Obviously, it's not exactly fun.

But it's war, we can't do anything about it.

Except end it.

Yes, I know what you think.

But you're wrong.

Never forget, Malou: money is the nerve of war.

So if I make money I'm winning the war, in my own way.

What's more, war is attractive.

I didn't wait for the war to make money. You see?

Making money runs in the family, it's hereditary.

A kind of sickness.

It's contagious.

Money is catching.

So is spending.

Right, Malou?

You sicken me.

Listen, Malou, I didn't mean to hurt you.

I earned a good living before we married.

You have a fine voice.

I worked. I was free.

You're in love.

With a man you met in London? Or elsewhere?

No, I've not met anyone.

I'll be clear, I'd do anything to keep you.

If you leave me, what will happen to me?

At heart, I'm not a cruel man.

Remember we were happy together.

"Together"? Never.

Leave me alone, it's over.

If I didn't pity you...


The things I could tell you.

Such awful things for a man that you'd blush up to your ears.

Come now, Malou!

Don't be scared.

Someone was chasing you, I tried to help.

Thank you.

Are you lost?

No. I used to live in this neighborhood.

We can get lost in familiar places.

It's strange...

It seems like...

Yes, a memory.

From years ago.

Little girls dancing and laughing around a busker playing tunes on the corner of Rue Germain-Nouveau and Rue des Petites Feuilles.

Why do you say that?

Who are you? What do you want?


We always remember, even if we only heard it once, the simple music of the most wretched musician on earth.

Do I frighten you? No.

I make you uncomfortable, maybe?

I don't know.

I'm cold. Let's walk a bit.

When you're lost in the night, nothing's simpler than walking to the sound of your footsteps, letting your memories guide you.


Don't you recognize me?

No. I must admit I don't...

Well, I'll be... Malou, my little girl!

I wasn't expecting this. How fortuitous.

Fortuitous is the word. But do come in.

I'm knocked sideways.

Such emotion, you understand?

Seeing you after all these years, at this time of night.

It's late, I'm sorry.

She's sorry. I should be sorry! When I think...

I haven't even offered you a chair.

I'm not tired.

You're so beautiful.

Am I, Monsieur?

Don't say "Monsieur" to your own father.

You must call me papa, my little girl.

How's your mother?

Mother died in '39, in New York.


Died in '39, in New York?

So I was a widower and I never knew it.

My poor little girl.

It must have been hard for you.

Yes, I loved Mother.

Of course.

It's unthinkable. We haven't even embraced.

You're right, we haven't.

But still... you're my daughter!

And here we are, side by side like two strangers.

Well... it must be a family tradition.

A tradition?

Yes. Your poor mother and I lived like strangers.

"We'll never communicate,' she said.

"We don't speak the same language."

That's for sure.

She was born in Prague.

Fancy that. In Bohemia.

Please don't...

Of course.

It's a bad time to complain. But what can I do?

I've always been deeply French.

So with your mother...

Please... I'll say no more.

I could say that in a way she was a saint.

You brutalized a saint.

Did you come back to say things like that?

Frankly, I didn't expect to see you again.

I returned despite myself.

Despite yourself?

I understand.

It's painful but...

I understand.

A family that breaks up is so sad.

And what an example!

The mother takes the daughter, leaving the father with the son.

How is Guy?

Did he survive the war safe and sound?

Safe and sound. He was exceptionally brave.

Exceptionally is the word.


This late night visit, Malou, do you have troubles, my child?

Everyone does.

Remember, despite everything I'm your father and you can always count on me.

Unless it's about mon...

Don't worry, I won't ask.

Of course I would help you, if I could, but my means are so scanty.

A meager pittance.

Meager is the word.

You must have suffered these last years?

Like most people.

At my age, it's very hard.

Everything's so expensive.

I can't even afford to buy myself... a decent dressing gown.


Always jazz.


What are you looking at?

The warehouse.

Ah, the warehouse.

You played there when you were little.

Is the night watchman still there?

I liked him.

No. There isn't one now.

Kicked out. He stole my wood.

I'm sorry, it's late. I must go.

Someone's waiting for you? Yes.

Are you married? Yes.

Good. I'm glad for you.

So you're happy?

Splendid. I'm delighted.

Delighted is the word.

Where are you going?

I'll take you along as you're my buddy, but don't tell anyone.

It's a secret.

Head down.

Heavens, it's "The Mysteries of Paris!"

Who's that?

The Quinquinas. You scared them off.

Is it far?

Don't worry, we're there. Where the light is.

See? This is our place.

It's cosy. And it's warm.

It's all right. No one bothers us.

We're kings, with the Quinquinas. Here, look.

She's our cat. Ain't she pretty?

Three kittens, alive and kicking.

They threw 'em into the canal, we fished 'em out.

We look after her. We take it in turn.

Did you steal that from the restaurant?

She has to eat on the black market too.

We're celebrating.

If the Quinquinas come back, we'll have good fun.

Are you sleepy? No.

Maybe not, but you want to sleep.

A little bit.

Come along. The Sandman is on his way.

The Sandman?

I'll explain as we go.

On your feet.

Hey, Cri-Cri?

You're not sleeping here?

A sleeping child is so beautiful.


And a dreaming man who's wide awake?

As I must be dreaming.

You've been parachuted here.

How come?

It's simple, nothing extraordinary.

My father owns this warehouse.

You pick a funny time to tour the property.


But what are you doing here?

I'm the night watchman.

Everyone here is on watch.

The cat watches over her kittens.

The boy watches over her, and I watch over him.

Is he yours?

No, I stole him.

Kidnapped him for a ransom.

He's a prince, the son of the railroad king.

I was asleep. Yes. Not enough.

Bedtime now.

OK. I don't want to bother you two.

You have a beautiful smile.

Slightly sad.

But beautiful.

I know you smoke.

No, thanks.

How do you know?

You smoked when I first saw you.

You saw me?

When? Not long ago.

It's a story I made up.

The loveliest girl in the world.

Telling a story is one thing, but when you start living it...

What brought you here tonight?

Chance, perhaps?

Could be.

You really believe this is an ordinary night?

Why not?

Because my life changed tonight.

Mine too, perhaps.

Sure, I said that without thinking.

But all the same, if it was true...

It's funny, two total strangers walking together at night.

You can live with some people for years yet they remain remote, indifferent, hostile, secretive.

But with us it's wonderful.

Nothing to hide, explain or confess.

Nothing to hope for.

Ever been unhappy?

Like everyone else.

Good thing it stopped there.

I was lucky.

I travelled young. It taught me to live.

And broadened my mind.

I've travelled too.

For pleasure?

Yes, you could say so.

For me, it was to make my fortune, try my luck.

Did you succeed?

In a way, yes.

Almost every time everything collapsed.

Let's not exaggerate.

Before the war I had something I cherished.

A boat.

A little schooner I traded on.

Where? The South Seas.

Like everyone else.

Where is my boat now?

Sunk probably, with the war.

The South Seas are beautiful.

People talk about them so much.

That doesn't take their beauty away.

I'll never forget the Leeward Islands.

Moorea, Rurutu.

What? You know them?

Yes. I went on a long cruise in the Pacific.

Like everyone else.

We could have met.

Maybe we sailed past each other.


Maybe I waved at you.

Sailors always wave when passing a woman at sea.

Isn't it funny that you know those islands?

But I bet you don't know the strangest one of all.

The furthest one. Easter Island.

You know Easter Island too?

Hardly anyone stops there.

It's barren.

With strange stone statues.

Like here.

Yes, like here.

But no one stays on that island.

It's too beautiful for tourists, too harsh, too austere.

They hurry away after carving their names.

On a statue's base.

Did you do it?


I remember I was very sad that day.

What are you looking for?

When I was little I carved my name on this lion's mane.

Poor lion.

You tattooed him.

"Françoise... Margaux...





"Lucienne, Paulo, forever.


That's you?

You guessed? No, I didn't guess.

But on a night like this on Easter Island.

Yes, I lived there.

An amazing story.

A flock of sheep.

All dying of staggers, it was dreadful.

That night I was walking on the island.

Suddenly I stopped in front of a statue and looked at it.

I saw a name carved in the moonlight.

That name struck me.

Why bring all this up?

It struck me like a stone.

And I carved my name next to it.

Suddenly I felt very calm.

Very happy.

As if something joyful had happened to me.

The next day...

The next day?

The next day I rechristened my boat.

Here, look.

The name is tiny, you can hardly read it.

But the paint was still wet when I took the photo.

And the name shone in the sunlight.

I'm sure...

I'm sure I've seen this boat.

Do you hear?

♪ Autumn leaves ♪ ♪ are scooped by the spade full ♪

♪ Memories and regrets too ♪

♪ And the north wind sweeps it all away ♪

♪ Into the cold night of oblivion ♪ How do you know that song?

I've known it for ages. For ages?

When I was little, by this warehouse fence, a busker used to play that waltz.

And I remember... with the other little girls, we learned to dance.

Here in this warehouse?

Yes, here.

The first time I danced was in this warehouse.

If you like, you can dance tonight.

Dance for the first time.

With me.


Yes, a bit.

Have a rest.

Do you hear the stove humming?

But it's gone out.

The cat's purring so her kittens will think the stove is alight.

You know when I heard that song?

One Christmas Eve.

I remember as if it was yesterday.

We always remember Christmas Eves.

Sad or joyful.

It was in '38, San Francisco, in Chinatown.

Where were you Christmas '38?

In New York.

Yes. Singing on the radio.

It was you?

I remember. I felt sad and lost... alone in that city.

I told myself: "Don't despair.'

I recalled my childhood, when I dreamed I'd be happy one day.

And I sang that song.

In French? Yes.


I felt someone was listening, I was singing for someone who enjoyed it.

And then... And then?

Everyone gathered around me.

I was a success.

Champagne flowed. I drank lots of champagne.

And I forgot all about it.

I was sad and lonesome that night too.

Despite the pretty girls.

Everyone was drinking, dancing, laughing.

I did too, like them.

But when I heard that song, I wanted them all to shut up.

But they brayed like donkeys...


I got sapped on the head with a bottle.

Extra dry. And I forgot all about it.

There you are!

♪ Senechal, here I am. ♪ Spare me that stupid joke.

It ain't a joke, Dad, it's humor.

Aren't you glad to see me after two months?

You bet I am.

Make the most of it as I'm off.

You're leaving?

At dawn.

Where to?


I have friends there. Real pals.

Here "the carrots are cooked".

Carrots are cooked?

Too long to explain.

I met some well informed fellas.

They tipped me off nicely.

I'm cooked, Dad.

Cooked to a cinder.

In trouble again?

Here in the neighborhood I'm clean, irreproachable.

Nothing to fear, for the moment.

But elsewhere, under other skies, other names, it's a different story.

My poor boy.

No, please.

Don't bother playing the Pater Dolorosa.

You don't give a damn, you only care about yourself.

What do they have against you, exactly?


Illegal slaughter.

In the back what's more.


They'll also accuse me of participating in some... rough interrogations.

And so on.

After all, you only did your duty.

You were loyal to your ideals.

Your ideals too, at the time.

Sure. But you see, son, no point beating your head against a wall when the world changes.

Always best to change with it.

I understand.

I understand that you're a bit demoralized.


You know, Dad, the truth is:

12 bullets don't destroy you.

What I dread is that they'll take me, and question me.

Judge me and laugh at me, say I'm vile, even if it's true.

Hear me, Dad? Even if it's true!

I couldn't bear that. Anything, but not that.

After all, who's to blame?

Did I ask to be born?

I didn't line up for a permit.

I was made this way.

You hear? I can't help it.

I can't even choose my death.

"Not everyone is granted a happy death."

Someone said something?


Who spoke?

Someone's on the landing.

Who's there?

C'mon, do something.

You're frozen like someone on parade.

A museum waxwork.

You hate me, don't you?

And you hate me back.

That way it stays in the family!


Dad, looks like you've foreseen the sad fate of a poor vagabond.

Hands off, off limits, that's your sister's money.

Spare me the patter.

We met. She's having a hard time. Hard is the word.

Sure. Sure.

I set this money aside for her.

And in such painful circumstances, I refuse...

OK, Dad. Where are you going?

To the garage for gas.

Give me back that money!

It's more about the principle.

Anyway, you're making money.

And spending. Without counting.

And you count without spending.

Why are you all so obsessed about my money?

You seem to forget I'm just a modest ragman with a scrap yard.

Is the war a scrap yard too?

That brings in money! Isn't that so, "Friend Fritz"?

You're a nasty piece of work.

A louse trying to blackmail his own father.

Maybe. But "his father" should remember that same louse got him out of Drancy.

The loveliest girl in the world.

Can only give what she has.

Mind what you say!

I'll give it you straight.

You're stingy.

You're a miser. A wretch.

I forbid you to say that! What is it?

You forbid me? That's funny.

I know that laugh.

What's funny will be your face if I squeal on you.

Before I go.

You'd do that? You'd turn me in?

I've turned others in.

Indeed? That's good to know.

I don't believe it.

What are you doing in my house at this time of night?

So to pass the time, the hero denounced people?

Did you denounce Raymond Lecuyer too, heroically?

It's a lie. It doesn't make sense.

Save your breath.

I was there when you ratted.

Avenue Henri-Martin, to be exact.

You were laughing.

That's not true.

No? Avenue Henri-Martin doesn't ring a bell?

It must be a mistake!

Accusing my son of such things!

He's a courageous lad.

Courageous is the word. Sure.

My compliments.

You raised your kid very well.

I'm not a kid! And I've proved it.

Says you! I do!

Don't move. Not an inch.

Don't move! He said don't move.

That you, Diego?

It's Raymond. What's going on?

Nothing clean. Open up, he's a friend.

A tenant.

I beg your pardon.

He's a nice boy, you know.

For your information, Raymond, he turned you in.

There's no proof.

Anyway, I'm covered.

You can say what you like.

I always knew you had it in for me, buster, but not to that extent.


You make me sick.

You know what they did to me there?

I'm not only thinking of me.

But of all the comrades too, who didn't make it.

You're vile, kid.

Rotten to the core. I mean it.

Shut up.

Don't worry, I have nothing more to add.

My hand. See my maimed hand?

I wouldn't even enjoy punching you with it.

Gentlemen, be reasonable.

He may have acted badly but you must understand.

His ideal was different from yours. But it was still an ideal.

Don't ham it up, Dad.

We look silly.

What do you decide? Please, my friends.

Be humane, gentlemen. Humane is the word.

I'll be damned!

You were here, my girl.

Your brother and I were talking with these gentlemen.

Swell! My sister.

You were dead right, Dad.

She's one hell of a broad.

Fancy clothes. A sight for sore eyes.

A real gold digger.

With her mobster. You shut up!

Can't I chat with my brother-in-law?

Please don't.

I'm an easy target.

There's two of you.

Two of you too, as you're two-faced!

Let's go, it's unhealthy here.

And I work. On the railroad, know it?

C'mon, we'll get a hot drink, clear our heads.

What about him?

As we can't take justice into our own hands, we won't set a bad example.

Listen here, sonny.

We'll let you go but don't get excited.

It doesn't mean you're free.

You're out of the game.

You're finished.

You'll soon find a little fink like you who'll turn you in, like you did the others.

The door, please.

Thank you.

He is my brother after all.

Don't kid yourself, Monsieur Senechal, if the kid sticks around you can write the obituary notice.

We can say you were lucky.


That's the word.

Guy, what are you doing?

Ask me what I want to do.

Guy, my boy.

It would be pleasant.

So peaceful.

Imagine me, Dad, lying here...

At peace.

Washed clean.


And you'd be standing there, Dad.

Yes, right there.

But not like a puppet.

Like an appalled, dignified father.

Maybe you'd be weeping.

To put on a good face.

Give you something to do.

You can't do that.

Not here anyway, don't worry.

Where are you going?

I'd tell you if I knew.

I threw the lifebuoy too late.

She sank like a stone.

I saw her fall in, drunk.

I heard her shout.

No kidding? Big Marthe? Yes, the gypsy.

Gypsies like her!

She read the future.

A lot of good that did her!

It's not a joke.

I'm not joking. I warned her.

Drop it, it's not worth it.

You must admit, you brought the gypsy luck.

What do we know?

Maybe she didn't value her life much.

You think I value mine?

At least you're straight about it. And you believe...

I believe nothing.

All I can say is you won't die by drowning.

Not even with a stone around my neck like a dog.

You may die like a dog, but not drowned.

Run over like a dog then.

Why not?

What happened?

Nothing. A woman drowned.

A woman drowned?


Please, tell me...

The woman who drowned...

She told fortunes.

A local woman.

Are you sure? Absolutely.

Thank you.

You can't imagine...

It's silly, really...

Feeling faint?

You've been drinking.

Yes. It doesn't matter.

It's ridiculous to be so sensitive.

To suddenly imagine the most ghastly things... and to believe them.

Malou drowned.


Drowned because of me.

Did you say "Malou"?

What I said doesn't matter.

It's strictly personal.

You're not used to drinking?

I am. But in moderation, with friends.

I drank alone tonight.

Drank a lot.

Well, in these circumstances...

Tell me, do you know...

Rue des Petites Feuilles? Is it near here?

Yes, it's round here.

I'm looking for someone, and this address...

I think it would be better if you went to bed.

Hey, you... It would be better.

Back off.

Are you looking for somebody?

What's it to you?

A young woman? Called Malou?


Forgive me if I seem curious but...

Malou is my sister.

My big sister.

Believe me, you should go to bed.

Give us a break!

As you like.

They're all the same.

You warn them but they just do what they want.

And if you don't warn them, when things happen they blame fate.

It's as if they enjoy having problems... hardships... complications.

Of course it's a blow.

But you must admit it's funny to meet up like this, in the family.

Spare me.

Don't be angry.

I understand.

Tonight I had troubles too.

We're all brothers in misfortune.

Or brothers-in-law!

I don't want to offend you but I hate vulgarity.

I said that to be nice to you.

To be honest, I'm delighted.

You see, tonight... they spat in my face.


They dragged me in the mud.

Jeered at me.

So meeting someone who, without a doubt, was jeered at, makes me feel good.

It's a solace.

It's horrible to suffer so much, especially when you're not used to it.

You have really no idea?

Where she could have gone?

Where they could have gone.

I do have an idea but...

You want money?

There's nothing in it for me.

You're sure you know where we can find her?

I didn't say I'm sure, I said we could always try.

Come on.

How about it?

How can I be sure you're not trying to lead me...

Into a trap?

Are you armed?

No. Why?


So you can defend yourself.

The man who is with Malou may be armed.

Come on. Get in.

Friends of Raymond's.

Raymond knows some classy folk.

You'll see, it's lovely here in summer.

There are even some flowers growing.

And the canal is green. Vivid green.

When it's hot we'll go swimming.

I can't swim.

I'll teach you.

I don't have a swimsuit.

No problem. We'll go further off, where it's deserted.

I have to go home.

I'll walk with you. They must be worried.

You love them, don't you?

Of course. But there are so many of them.

I'll never forget that sordid scene.

My brother and my father.

So despicable.

So battered.

Is that all you'll remember about tonight?

It's funny, all my life I've been passing through, never put down roots.

It's a shame.


Because I'd like to.

Yes, it would be great, if every day was like today, and every night like tonight.

Wouldn't you be afraid of boredom?

Happiness isn't boredom, it's happiness.

You believe in happiness?

When I look at you.

If I say: "Let's go away together."

Would you leave everything?

I already have.

But you love your freedom.

Freedom when you're by yourself isn't much.

You'd like to share it?

With you.

I know that man.

I warned you too.

You shouldn't be in this neighborhood.

That's enough.

But you're here, beside him.

Stop him talking, he scares me.

He makes me laugh.

They're all the same.

Too demanding.

Yet one night is already pretty good.

What did you say?

Many people on earth have never had one happy night.

You shut up!

Shut up? Can that train whistling in the night shut up?

Did you shut up just now?

Be quiet! Still talking?

You had too many dreams of pleasure and pleasing.

You believed it had happened.

As you won't shut up...

Take it easy. Can't you see he's crazy?

It's too late. It's all been decided.

You're mad. You'll kill him.

Kill him?


Why did you hit that man?

What he said may be true.

What did I tell you?

Wait for me.

Don't be long.

I'll miss you.

No, it's not possible.

Who's that man who kissed you in the street?

What's the point? You wouldn't understand.

I certainly would. I understand everything.

You left me for him?

To think I was sorry for you.

I felt remorse.

What a fool I was.

The neighborhood of your childhood.

What a charming childhood!

I bet you were already a little...

No, Georges.

Anyway, what does it matter?

Things like that happen to the best people.

I'm broad-minded.

And I love you. So all the rest...

Come on.

No, I told you. We're through.

I can't live without you.

For instance, just now I thought you were dead.

And immediately I thought I'd die too.

Die? You?

No chance of that.

What if I kill you?

You think that would be a solution?


Don't insist, Georges.

I can't!

I can't!

It can't be true.

You fool. To the hospital. Hurry!

Open the door.

In the back. You're not fit to drive.

Malou, forgive me.

I swear I didn't mean to.

Shut up. This isn't about you.

How is she?

She's breathing.

Her heart's beating.


You'll be fine, Malou. We'll look after you.

Can she hear me?


I think so.

The warm summer days will be back again.

And the war will be over.

Tomorrow life will be beautiful.

And we'll be happy. Happy! Can you hear me, Malou?

Can she hear me?

Yes, she hears you.

And she's asking...

She's asking what your name is.


It's vile.

Well? We'll anaesthetize her.

Was it an accident?

Yes, an accident.

It can't be true.

It would be too dreadful.

She's not going to die, is she?

She can't die, it's impossible.

Answer me, say something.

It's unbearable.

Don't you realize the situation I'm in?

She's my wife, after all.

And you see, I should...

Yes, I have every right to.

I must ask you what happened between you.


I'd like to know... how long you've known her?

Who are you? Where did she meet you?

It's sad. He seems to love her so much.

Be quiet, you're talking rubbish.

She was my wife.

Yes, she was my wife.

I killed her.

It was an accident.

A tragic accident.

I was threatened, I thought my life was in danger, I fired in self-defense.

She leapt forward and took the bullet.

She did it.

Why go into all the details?

It's all over now. It's over...

You're an early bird too.

Nice day, freezing cold.

I'm happy though, my daughter came home.

A little romance, I bet.

Well, love isn't such a catastrophe.

Whatever you say, the truth is, love makes the world go round.


Subtitles: Lenny Borger & Charlotte Trench

A 4K restoration by L'Immagine Ritrovata - Bologna with the support of the CNC

-- English --

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