Germinal (1993) Script

For my Father...

Is this a mine?

Yeah, it's called 'Le Voreux.'

I'm Etienne Lantier, mechanic. Any work here?

For a mechanic?

Two came by yesterday. There's nothing.

Stay there, sweetie.

Any factories?

Plenty of factories, but they're closing shops right and left.

At Voton Sugar they're laying off workers.

At Garbois Glassworks they're threatening a strike.

I was there.

We're all right here... for the moment.

Not getting fat, but we're all right.

You're from Belgium?

No, from the south.

I'm from Montsou, myself.

They call me "Goner".

"Goner" for laughs.

A nickname?


They pulled me out of there three times. In pieces. Once... with all my hair singed, once with dirt stuffed down my throat and once with my belly bloated with water, like a frog.

When they saw how I didn't much take to dying, they called me "Goner". "Goner" for laughs.

You've worked in the mine long?

I went below before I was 8.

Now I'm 58. You figure it out.

Is that blood?

No, that's coal.

I've got enough inside to keep me heated the rest of my life!

Haven't been below in 5 years. I've stored it all up.

It keeps you going.

Let's go, babe. If Hennebeau sees us lazing about...

Hennebeau's the owner?

No, the manager. Gets paid like us.

So who owns this?

What, all this?

Who knows?


It's time! Catherine, let's have some light!

Yes. It rang just now.

Hurry! If you hadn't been dancing so late, you'd have woken us sooner.

It was Sunday.

Zacharie! Jeanlin! It's time.

Shit! Gotta get up.

Leave me alone, I'm sleeping.

Quiet, Maxime!

Hand me Maxime, he's hungry.

Hush up!

You're gonna eat.

I'm broke.


One week 'til payday with 10 of us to feed.

Try Maigrat?

We owe him 60 francs. He threw me out yesterday.

That old pig.

We're out of coffee, everything.

I have 2 sous left.

Keep it, to buy a beer.

Six days to payday.

That's how it is.

Figure something out for food. No use talking.

I'd better go to work.

See you tonight.


Turn out the lamp. My thoughts are fine in the dark.


Yesterday's grounds.

It's hot; It's still good.

Take all the bread. I have noodles for the kids.

Yes, Mom. I did.

Let's go. We'll be late.

I'm looking for work. Are they hiring?

No, I don't know.

Ask Mr. Dansaert.

Mouquette, you're not with big Chaval any more?

You go for the short ones now? Come on, I saw you last night.

He's so short he needed a soapbox!

So? What do you care? No one asked you to push!

That Mouquette! Never much good at sorting!


Fleurance is dead.

They found her yesterday... her heart.

She must've gulped her gin too fast. Poor thing. What a bad break.

What'll we do?

With only Catherine on haulage, we're sunk. We have to replace her.

That guy looking for work.

Mr. Dansaert!

Fleurance is dead, we need someone.

There's a guy looking for work. Can I take him on? We need him.

I don't mind, but it's Négrel who decides.

Can I try him?

Thank you, Mr. Dansaert!

Where's the guy looking for work?

Over by the boilers.

Find him. Tell him he's hired.

Fleurance is dead. Go ahead, hurry up!

Come on, you might have a job.

Thanks. That's really great.

30 sous per day, OK? Fine!

Here. To protect your head. It's hard work, but you'll learn fast.

Use my locker, until you get yours.


We'll be late.

Thank you.

Stop, or I'll slap you!

Give him Fleurance's lamp.

She's dead?

Here. Take care of it. For a miner, his lamp is the sun.

Watch out for your ears!

The walls need re-lining. There's water leaking everywhere.

This way.

Here we are. The Guillaume vein.

You're late. I've been here 1/2 hour!

Don't start. It's Monday.

Who's he?

A replacement. Fleurance is dead.

Boys eating out of girls' plates?

Let's get to work!


Hey, high-brow, give me a hand.


Leave the timbering for after lunch.

We got to get our share of cars.

There's a crack. It might cave in.

Won't be the first time. Let's go, get to work. Fast!

The hell with their timbering!

Want some?

Don't be queasy.

I didn't touch this side.


Your last job?

Railroad mechanic in Lille.

You got fired?


For slapping my boss.

I was drunk. I don't drink often, but when I do I go nuts.

You shouldn't drink.

I know myself.

My main problem is my mother.

Where is she?

In Paris. She works as a laundress.

With 30 sous a day, I won't be able to buy her presents.

Here, water mixed with coffee.

It won't hurt you. You'll choke eating like that.

I've taken too much.

I'll drink first, since you're so polite.

Now you can't refuse.

To make you happy.

Got a boyfriend?

No, not yet. I guess I will someday.

I'd bet on it.

No harm in it.

Don't tell the priest.

Who cares about the priest?

Look at the flame.

It's flickering!

Put your hand here.

Feel that draft? That's firedamp.

It's just a little pocket. Not much.

Sometimes it can be very dangerous.

Let's go, children.

Settle down, doggies.

Hello, Francis!

Hello, sir!

Hello. I'm not intruding?

Come right in!

What a storm last night! I went riding to get the kinks out.

Thought I'd stop by.

Good. Are your daughters well?

Perfect. Jeanne's still at her painting and Lucie's at her piano.

And Cécile?

She won't be long. The aroma of the brioche will surely wake her.

Will she and Négrel get married?

Could be, but nothing's been decided.

You didn't wait for me?

You were sleeping.

Hello, cousin. Hello, darling.

Is everything OK at Jean-Bart?

The crisis is upsetting things. We're paying for the good years.

You should've sold your stock.

Mélanie, how wonderful!

That's enough! Down!


It's that woman again, with her kids.

Do your good deed.

Honorine, bring the bundle from the closet.

Thank you, Miss. You are all good people.

Poor sweeties, all pale from the cold.

You only have these two?

I have seven.

Seven children!

Why? Heavens!

That is a lot!

You've worked in the mines long?

I worked below until I was 20.

I stopped when I gave birth, the second time, when I got married.

I had my hands full.

My husbands' family has been down there for ages.

This'll keep him good and warm.

The poor thing!

Thank you, that's nice.

But we're running so short. 100 sous would sure help us.

No, we don't do that. We can't.

The Company pays your rent and heat.

Yes, they give us coal. And the rent is only 6 francs a month.

It seems small, but sometimes it's hard to pay.

We're broke now.

You should save, like our farmers. You mustn't drink it all up.

Here. Share it with your sister.

Just 2 loaves, Mr. Maigrat.

I'm not asking for coffee.

I know we owe you 60 francs, but we need bread until Saturday.

Just two loaves.

This won't bring you luck!

I don't deal in rags.

For a little coffee and butter.

Send me your daughter. We'll work it out.

Look at this! Look!

That's the new guy.

You picked him up off the road.

Don't do that again!

What is this?

You call that timbering?


What's the matter?

You call that timbering?

Don't worry. It's solid.

You call that solid?!

Can't you see the rock is settling?

Do you pay for smashed heads? No.

The Company pays your widows.

I know your kind. For two extra carts, you'd gladly die!

Pay us more, we'll timber better.

You have an hour left. Get to work!

I'm telling you straight out.

You'll force us to pay timbering separately, and lower the cart price.

3 francs fine!

Let's go.

It isn't fair!

I'm all for getting along, but they'll drive us crazy!

Did you hear? Cart prices down, and timbering separate!

Another way to pay us less. Christ!

The weaker one has to be reasonable.


Already, our kids got nothing to eat.

They take us for idiots.

2 sous less per cart - nice day's work!

What can we do?

There's work to do! We don't need loafers!


They use their arms, like a pig uses his tail!

They may have a room for you.

I'll ask him to give you credit.

Anyway, it's worth a try.

The guy used to be a miner.

Mr. Rasseneur. Gin.

And a bock for this kid; I hired him this morning.

Can you give him a room on credit?

For two weeks.

Both rooms are rented.

So, Maheu, what's new?

Same old story. Another argument over timbering.

We got fined 3 francs.

If we waste our time timbering the carts'll be empty.

Make them pay for timbering.

That's exactly what they want.

They'll lower the cart price. Either way we lose!

If they drop prices, it's trouble.

We can't go on like this. It's got to give - too much poverty.

And all the factory closings!

They're thinking of closing the Jean-Bart mine.

Deneulin, the owner, needs money. Brand-new equipment.

That pit was rebuilt two years ago.

My friend Pluchart wrote me. You met him here once. He's worried.

Says it's time to act.

I know Pluchart.

When I was a mechanic, he was my foreman, in Lille.

We spoke very often.

Too bad Pluchart's not here. He's made bosses tremble.

This is one of Maheu's haulage men. He needs a room and credit for 2 weeks.


Fine. You're in luck. The previous tenant left this morning.

That's good.

I'd better get home.

We still have to go below. And when people go below, some of 'em die!

Well, good night.

Good night. Thanks.

Me first. Finish your soup!

After your bath, the water's black as ink!

Don't be late. It's not Sunday.

We're going to pick dandelions.

I'll ask Philomène for money.

Look! It's Zacharie!

I can't now. I have to go wash.

No, not that.

What? You have money?

To see the tramps at Volcan?

No, I swear. I owe Mouquette 2 F.

Pay you Saturday.

I promise, I will.

Promise you'll get your mother to let us marry - I can't stand this!

I got an idea. I went to see Maigrat and we made a deal.

We have enough bread until Saturday.

Butter, coffee, chicory, cold cuts.

He even lent me 100 sous.

I bought meat with it.

I've got 3.75 left. Tomorrow, I'll make a stew for everyone.

Stop it, silly. I'm getting wet!

I want my dessert!

What are you doing?

I'm fixing the rip in my jacket.

Stay there. Dad's in the bath.

You're so silly!

My dessert!

Wait 'til Maxime turns his head.

He's 5 months old. What's he know?

Straight this way!

Catherine! Wait. What's the hurry?

I'm going home.

Come have a drink. No, they're waiting.

You're still afraid to go with me?

Come on, I'll show you my room.

The week when babies don't grow.

Yeah. What are you doing around here?

Mouquette said she'd lend me money to buy a ribbon, but she spent it.

I'll buy you a ribbon.

OK, but I'll pay you back.

Pay me back if you don't sleep with me.



Come on.

To tell the truth, I'd rather you didn't pay me back.

What color ribbon?


Let me go.

I'm letting you go.

Let me go. Hey!

Come on, come on.

Stop! You're hurting me. Let me go.


Heaven's sakes!

Neither God Nor Master

Wait, wait... Emile!

Still don't know.

Hear from Pluchart?

Yes, he wrote me a letter.

The International Workers' Assoc. They founded in London is coming along well.

More and more members. It's the first time workers of the world are uniting to fight the bosses.


Your Karl Marx believes in the evolution of natural forces.

He wants open discussions with bosses, to get raises.

We've got to burn it all down!

When this rotten world is in ashes, maybe a better one will spring up.

I don't think that's necessary.

Workers, when united, are a real force.

We need a local here in Montsou.

This timbering business will end badly.

If the Company keeps it up, there'll be a strike.

We have to organize.

We have to have a fund, to use as a strike fund.

The more we have, the better.

The problem is the dues.

50 sous per year for the union... two francs for the local, that's a lot.

They won't pay.

We have to build a clean world, a just world. Legally.

United, we can make the law.

Pay raises in a capitalist economy, you're dreaming.

Workers are only allowed to eat dry bread and make babies.

Capitalism functions on a balance of empty bellies.

Forever condemned to live in hunger, misery.

Everything should be destroyed.

Anarchy, nothingness.

The earth cleansed by blood, purified by fire! Then, we'll see.

We have to avoid bloodshed.

Try your luck! 5 sous!


Come here!

Doughnuts, 2 sous!

Sausage! 2 sous!

2 coming up!


It's hot.

They'll have to apply for Company housing.

Meanwhile they can stay with me.

Eat some, here.

It's done. We agreed.

Can I have some money?

You said yes? There goes another wage.

She's pregnant. What choice is there?

It's done.

Really. Are you happy?

I am, too. Where is she?

There she is.

Where's Zacharie?

I lost him. I'm waiting for him.

Find him, I have news for you.

Look! Watch the pigeons.

They agreed! We're getting married!

When she goes, that's another wage gone.

She's not gone yet.

When Zacharie's gone, we'll need a boarder.


Why not Lantier?

He's good. Not a bad idea for once!

If there's a strike, the fund will come in handy.

We won't need the Company. We'll have money to last us.

I'll think it over. Good behavior is the best fund.

For justice, I'd give up anything. Drink. Even girls!

Only one thing really excites me - getting rid of the bosses!

Each member gives 20 sous a month. That'll make a nice nest egg.

Money makes us strong. A strike could last months.

Count me in. Put it there, buddy.

Say, Etienne.

Board with us, if you like. You'll be less lonely.

After the wedding.

Of course.

You'd sleep with the kids. You can have Zacharie's bed.

Right, with Jeanlin.

Of course!

If the workers vote together, they won't be their bosses' slaves.

Who needs God and Heaven?

We can change this lousy world and bring happiness and equality.

You're dreaming! The rich will never work like us!

They'll have to see reason. To each according to his needs!

Reason won't get us there.

Nor words. Just blood. To create change, blood must flow!

Our strength is in numbers!

The workers' rage will break the bosses!

It'll take longer, but we must avoid bloodshed.

Pierron, you haven't paid your dues.

Right. I forgot.

That's why I came.

You'll see, one day, this money will be needed.

I hope I don't die before that day.

Let's go.

Good night!


The workers are being educated. They're thinking.

Miners used to sign with an "X".

Catherine, it's time.

Jeanlin, wake up. Leave me alone.


I think she didn't come home. Hurry up!

She didn't come home?

Hurry up.

You just got in? Where were you?

With Chaval.

He wants me with him.

All he wants is your wages!

Oh, my God!

A cave-in!

This way!

Jeanlin's under there!

Jesus Christ!


His head is fine.

His chest, too.

His leg got hit.

Are you the father?

Yes, Doctor.

Then stop crying; He's not dead. Give me a hand instead.

It's that lousy timbering! I warned you!

You want a strike because you have to timber better! And who pays?

The Company pays!

Wait 'til Hennebeau hears!

We had to marry Zacharie, now Jeanlin's in the hospital! What'll we do without his pay?

Will he work again, with that leg?

What if Grandpa gets sick?

I'm just fine.

And that bitch left...

9 mouths to feed on 3 wages!

It won't help to fret.

Did I beat her when she went out with Chaval?

Can't keep a girl from hitching up.

Answer me! Were we too strict?

I was pregnant when he married me. But I'd never give my wages away to a man who didn't need them.

That's disgusting.

Why have children?

We had her so she could work, too!

He's forcing her to stay, to work at Jean-Bart.

She'd better not come back!

The Co. wants to lower the price per cartload. That spells trouble!

They're asking for a strike!

It'll change one day!

It's time.

It's about time.

What did the doctor say, Grandpa?

He lied. It's not over 'cause your legs hurt.

They made it up to chip away at my pension.

He's in cahoots with them. Anything to get rid of the older ones.

First the old, then the not-so-old.

Take Etienne with you to get paid.

He counts better than you. Don't get taken.

Don't worry, Mother.

He's at Rasseneur's.

They fined everyone. I know our timbering isn't perfect but there's more to it than that.

That's for sure.

There's a notice up, but I couldn't quite read it.

I'm waiting for Maheu. We'll see.

I don't like it; They're pushing us to strike.

Of course they are!

It's obvious. They'll push you to the limit.

Times are hard.

With all the factories closing, there's less need for coal.

They want to cut expenses, so they eat into your wages.

They've been stocking up on lean coal for two months.

They'd welcome a strike.

They reduce stock, lay off some of the workers and the others will be glad to work for less!

They know about the fund. They don't like it a bit.

During the strike it'll dry right up, before it gets too big.

A strike is no good for the Company and no good for the workers.

We need an agreement. How much is in your fund?

3,000 francs. The Management called me in the other day.

Very politely, they told me they had nothing against the fund.

But you could tell they wanted to control it. We can't let them.

What good is 3,000 francs?

It won't last a week. This strike is a mistake.

Yesterday you said "action" today you say "don't strike"!

Too soon.

In a strike, workers and bosses suffer.

Pluchart wrote me. He agrees.

We have to seize the opportunity to get miners from all over to join the Workers' Association.

They ante up for your strike fund but how many joined the International?

Now's the time.

The harder it gets, the more they'll be ready to follow.

And when the workers of the world all understand, and link arms then we can act.

We won't even need to strike.


Brothers of all nations won't come to your rescue.

What if they force a strike?

Then strike and have fun.

It'll ruin some, kill others and tidy things up slightly.

But at that rate it'll take 1,000 years to change the world.

Better start by blowing this prison sky-high?

Otherwise you'll all die.

"Notice to all miners:"

"Because of poor timbering,"

"in spite of fines, we have decided"

"on a new pay schedule."

"Timbering shall be paid separately"

"per cubic yard of wood taken down and used,"

"based on quantities needed for a proper job...'"


"The price per cartload will drop from 50 to 40 centimes"

"according to coalface location."

For chrissakes! It can't be!

"The new payment schedule takes effect October first."

We can't just accept that.

Quiet, please!

Quiet, I can't hear a thing!

Maheu and crew. Filonnière seam. Coalface number 7.

Is there some mistake?

No, no mistake!

Deduct 2 Sundays and 4 days off. That's 9 days' work.

And a 20 franc fine for defective timbering.

You want it or not? The others are waiting.

The Secretary General wants to see you.

Who, me?

Yes, you.


Go ahead, he's waiting.

What defective timbering?

Your father's pension is under review.

He's 58. With 50 years of service, he'll get 150 francs.

In 2 more years, he'd get 180.

Maheu, you're one of our best workers.

Stay out of politics.

Like this emergency fund.

Don't get involved with them.

Don't go along with this craziness. You might regret it.

I'm yellow. I should've spoken up.

We go hungry, and he's lecturing me.

He's out to get you. He thinks you're a bad influence.

What do we do, kneel? Say thank you?

No way! A 20 franc fine for timbering.

Listen to me! Everybody listen!

40 or 50 centimes less. It's shameful!

That's right!

The fines!

The Company wants a strike? They'll get one!



They give us to October first? Let's not wait!


If you're for the strike, raise your hand.

What is it?

Excuse me, sir. The strike is on. No one went to work.

Come in.

I'll go see.

You'd better not stay here.

Go back to your room.

Yesterday, at payroll, no one said a word.

We thought they'd accepted the new rates.

No one went to work?

Not a man. They all obeyed orders.

They have 'em on a leash.

It's only at the Voreux?

I don't know. I haven't checked.

It had to happen.

What's going on, Uncle?

There's a strike.

At the Voreux. No one went below.

All right, Dansaert.

Go to Victoire and Feutry-Cantel. I'll wait here.

Yes, sir.

You get dressed and go to Mirou and Crève-Coeur.

Wait... Saint-Thomas, too. I want to see if it's widespread.

Yes, Uncle.

If it is, then we're at war.

Come in.

Excuse me, dear, did I wake you?

No, I'm awake. I heard noises.

What's going on?

I think we'd better postpone the lunch with the Grégoires.

The strike is on.

They're on strike?

So what? That's no reason to cancel!

You'd better cancel your tour of the Saint-Thomas mine...

It wouldn't be safe.

We'll have the tour another time. But everything is set for lunch.

I'm looking forward to it so.

Your nephew's marriage should matter more than your workers' nonsense.

I won't hear of cancelling it!

Fine. Then we won't cancel.


I've been around to all the mines. They're all very calm.

They want to send a delegation.

Is that you, Paul? Come upstairs.

Yes, Aunt. One moment.

So? What do we do?

I guess we wait for the delegation.

Nothing could make me cancel this lunch.

I'm so happy to see you with Cécile.

You do like her, don't you?

That's up to you, Aunt.

I'd planned on serving oysters...

They arrive Mondays at Marchiennes.

I was going to send the cook, but... she was scared of getting hurt.

It had to happen.

The exaggerated prosperity of the recent years brought this on.

All that capital tied up in railroads, in shipping, in canals.

When America stopped importing iron, our industry suffered badly.

And with the factories closing, we can't move our stock.

And, with all this competition, we have to lower our costs. The workers refuse to understand that.

Mr. Grégoire, have some more crawfish.

Thank you, I'd love some more.

To lower our costs, we have to produce more.

But sales keep dropping, so we have to reduce wages.

The miners can't swallow that.

I'm sure they'll wash it down.

Mr. Dansaert is here. He was afraid to disturb you.

Send him in.

Come in, come in.

Excuse me...

What's going on?

All is quiet. Almost too quiet.

I came to tell you. A delegation is on its way here to see you.

Thank you. I'll see them.

Keep me informed.

Yes, sir. This is for you, from Pierron.

Excuse me.

Pierron is one of my best foremen.

He says he'll observe the strike because he's afraid of reprisals by his co-workers. He says he's a member of the delegation even though he's against this course of action. There.

So much for workers' freedom!

Finish your lunch. It'll work out.

Personally, I can't bear to think of how those poor people will starve!

They've got plenty. Housing, heat, medical, paid by the Company! Isn't that enough?

Ah, the pheasant!

Fine, Camille.

We haven't said a word about the wedding!

That's right!

Paul, are you happy?

And you, Cécile?

Our lovers haven't said much.

Shall we set a date?

Let's wait until the strike is over.

Enough about the strike! Let's talk about love.

Ah, there you are!

You're in revolt, it seems.

I welcome the chance to talk.


What do you say?

You mean it's you?

A good worker, always reasonable... long-time citizen of Montsou whose family has worked below since day one.

You're leading the malcontents?

My co-workers chose me because I'm a quiet man, above reproach.

I'm listening.

We are only asking for justice.

We're tired of starving. We want, at least, bread every day.

You know we can't accept the new rates.

You say we timber badly. That's true.

We don't put the hours in. Pay us more, we'll timber better.

We'll spend more time on it, instead of loading every second.

Work that's done should be paid for.

You lower the price per load, and you say you make up for it paying for timbering. But no. We lose.

The Company pockets two centimes more per cartload.

That's not true!

It is true.

One at a time; I can't hear.

The truth is, you're sadly misguided by enticements.

There's a plague upon the workers, corrupting even the best of you.

They promise you the moon and stars, that it's your turn to rule the world.

They've drafted you into the International, that army of bandits whose dream is to destroy society.

You're mistaken. Not one Montsou miner has joined.

But, if you push them, they'll all join; It's up to you.

The Company watches over all its men.

You shouldn't threaten it.

This year we spent 300,000 francs to build housing, with less than 2% return.

Not to mention the pensions, the free coal, and medicine we give you.

You seem smart. You should spread those facts around instead of listening to Rasseneur.

Take it from me. Save our pits from these socialist scoundrels!

By the way, you've often been seen at his place.

Was it his idea to start that emergency fund?

If it were a savings fund, instead of a war chest, we wouldn't object to it.

The Company expects the right to audit that fund.

Another demand? Up until now, you hadn't mentioned an audit.

No. We want the Co to stop playing Guardian Angel, and give us our due.

Instead of dividing up our share.

Should the workers starve to protect stockholders' profits?

Who eats our bread? Who's down in the mine?

Who goes hungry? Who works?

If the Company must economize, save on someone beside the workers.

Here it comes!

I knew we'd be accused of living off the workers' sweat...

How can you say that? You must know how great a risk we run in industry, in the mines.

At today's prices, to open a pit costs up to two million francs.

There's much hardship before even a small profit is realized.

Did you know that most French mining companies are in bankruptcy?

When the workers suffer, so do the companies.

The Company stands to lose as much as you in this crisis.

We don't control wages.

We have to be competitive, otherwise we'll sink.

Blame the facts, don't blame the Company.

But you refuse to listen, to understand.

You want us to buckle our belts, while you eat brioche every day.

One day the workers will have their share!

That's the only answer you give us?


We'll tell the others you're rejecting our conditions.

Dear boy, I don't reject anything. I'm salaried, just like you.

I have no more power than a pit-boy!

How is Jeanlin?

He's still in the hospital, but he's all right.

They saved his leg.

A lesson hard learned.

And you're defending bad timbering!

Think it through, friends.

A strike is disastrous for everyone.

Within a week, you'll all starve. Then what?

I trust you to be wise.

I'm sure that by Monday, at the latest, you'll be back to work.

I'm for the strike, of course, but maybe we could've forced their hand, without striking.

Now that we've started, we can't go back without winning.

I'd rather die than knuckle under.

Let them die!

Let's hope no one dies.

If this goes on much longer, we'll be dying of hunger.

What are you doing here? You're not wanted. Get out!

Coffee and sugar for the children. I earned the money. It's for them.

We're suffering from the strike, and at Jean-Bart you're working.

It's disgusting. Stay with the scabs.

It's not me. It's him. If he wants to, what can I do?

Who knows how things happen?

What's done is done. He's as good as any other now.

Everyone on the job?

Yes, at Jean-Bart.

Traitors! If you're here to stay, all right. Otherwise, get out.

Be glad I've got the baby, or I would've already kicked you.

Bitch! You give them coffee bought with my money?!

I support you all!

Get out!

Get out of here!

Nice work, keeping house, while your daughter's upstairs on her back.

Or else you get banged yourself!

You don't mind, do you! He doesn't mind; He likes it!

One day, Chaval, I'll get you!

Just try it. Come on! Try!

Come on. Hurry up, slut!

What a beast!

He's a pig. Only a pig has such disgusting ideas.

I have faults, but that's not one.

Only two men have touched me.

A haulage man when I was 15, and Maheu.

That's all.

Where's that pig, Maigrat?


You come to pay up?

No, just the opposite. We've come to ask for more credit.

We've nothing left to eat. We just want some bread.

You've got to be kidding. More credit! You want to ruin me?

With all you owe me already!

Not one more potato on credit!

Go to Verdonck's Grocery, or Carouble's Bakery since that's where you buy now!

Maybe they'll give you credit!

You, Lavaque, for one night with me, you can have anything in my store.

How about me?

You're too ugly.


I'd rather stick with Lady Palm!

Enough! Everyone out!

We're not leaving!

Give us bread.

For our children!

We're tired of being poor. You never knew poverty.

You don't know what misery is.


Our kids are hungry!

Give us bread! We're hungry!


Son of a bitch!

Bread! That's all we want. Bread for our children.

Comrades, for one month we've suffered in vain.

Are we cowardly enough to go crawling back to the pits and let the misery go on?

Better to die right now trying to destroy the capitalist tyranny that starves us.

We can't accept these rates.

We can't bear the burden of the crisis.

It's not our fault if the competition lowers prices.

It isn't fair. Our backs are to the wall.

So let's fight for justice!

Yes! Justice!

Tomorrow we go to the pits and we bring the scabs back with us!

We have to show the Company that we're together, and that we'd rather die than quit!

But if there are Co. spies here, watch out! We know who you are!

I see Jean-Bart miners, who've never stopped working.

Who do you mean?

You. And others.

If you're eating, you don't belong here.

You work at Jean-Bart?

Yeah, he's working at Jean-Bart. And so is his wife.

What's your wife doing? Sleeping?

It's no crime to work.

Yes, it is! When your comrades are starving for everyone!

It's not right to be selfish.

With a general strike, we'd have won by now. They're traitors!

All traitors at Jean-Bart!

We're with you.

I was sent to tell you that.

Stop the boilers burning.

Let the pumps stop!

The mechanics have to strike.

Let the water destroy the pits!

Come to Jean-Bart tomorrow, and you'll see if I'm working!

We'll come to Jean-Bart, see if you're working.

To Jean-Bart tomorrow morning!

Everyone to Jean-Bart!

Mr. Deneulin!


It's a revolt.

Half the men refuse to work and won't let the others in.

I'm coming.

Dad! What is it? Where are you going?

The revolt's spread to Jean-Bart. Go back to bed.

We're supposed to have lunch with Mrs. Hennebeau. What do we do?

We'll cancel. Stay home and wait.


Go back to bed and be dressed at 9, as we planned.


Listen to me. We're not traitors at Jean-Bart.

We're not!

We can't keep working while the guys at Montsou starve.

And we can't accept these paltry rates!

They want to hire Belgians.

Well then, fine!

We'll do like in Montsou!

We have to talk to Deneulin, ask him for 5 centimes more per cart, no less!

5 centimes per cart!

Yeah! 5 centimes more per cart!

What are you doing here?

I need money; I'm working.

You turn against me, bitch? I'll kick your ass back home.

Let's go.

Goddamn bitch.

Let us through.

You'll make me regret I refused the army.

Speak softly. I'm listening.

Mr. Deneulin, we can't go on working like this.

We want 5 centimes per cart.

Yeah! 5 centimes!

But I haven't complained about your timbering.

I haven't changed rates, like in Montsou.

Yeah, maybe. But the guys at Montsou are right.

They reject the slave rates. They say no...

and they ask for 5 centimes more per cart.

There's no way we can work with this kind of bargaining going on.

Nothing we can do!

So give us the raise, or no work!

And you won't work!

I agree the work's worth it. But if I say yes, I'm dead.

For you to make a living, I have to make mine first.

One centime raise, and I go bust! I'd rather close up shop right now, than not make payroll.

Well then just... just close it up!

Don't be silly. You can't ask a man to cut his own throat.

Whether I give you the raise or stand by while you strike, I'd be cutting my throat.

I'm alone. I've no stockholders who pay men to squeeze the miners for a boss they'll never see.

If the work stops, I'm dead. I've no stock.

I've got to get the orders out. Otherwise, I'm bankrupt. Simple!

Every man is free to decide. Who wants to work?

We do! We want to work!

Always the same ones. The good-for-nothings want to work.

You want to work?


Bring Chaval to my office.

I'm surprised a worker like you would risk his future.

I've considered promoting you.

You're smart, capable.

Don't be stupid.

Come to your senses.

I'll make you foreman. I promise.

How about it? Would you like to be foreman?

No one gains from a strike.

Take it from me, man to man.

I borrowed to update the machines.

Be reasonable. You want to ruin me? Think about it.

But think hard.

Bastards! Turncoats!

You're no man.

You're a bastard!

A bastard. Right!

I know you.

It's no good to strike. Not now.

If Deneulin goes bust, what happens?

Things'll be worse.

I'm going back, and you'll see I'm no traitor.


Son of a bitch!

Get lost!

We'll win! We'll be back!

What are you doing?

You nodding off? What kind of nag is this?

I'm queasy from the heat.

You wanted to work. Do like us. Take your shirt off.

Catherine! No kidding, what is it?

Sit up. You hurt yourself?

I'm cold.

Sure. It would be nice outside, under the trees.

It's not easy down here. But you wanted to work, so work.

Kiss me.

I was suffocating back there.

I like it when you're nice to me. It gives me strength.

I love you. I took you with me.

I love you.

We're on strike! Stop the work!

To the lamphouse.

Stop everything!

Everyone stop!

On strike!

Come on, everyone.

Bust it all!

To the boilers!

Let the horses through.

Out of the way. Let the horses through.

To the ladders. The Voreux guys are cutting the cables.

To the ladders, everyone!

Quick! Let's go!

To the ladders.

Hey, you! Let her go up.

Here. Come on.

Up. Let's go.

Come on, Catherine!

You work while we starve! Bastard!


Goddamn traitor. We're gonna fix you good.


Kill him!

Back to your pimp, bitch!

I'm going to kill you.

Kill him!

Enough! Stop!

Stop! You're disgusting! Leave him alone!


Leave him alone!

Kill him, Etienne!

Leave him alone. Stop.

That's enough! Enough!

To Mirou!

It's warm.

You like it, Cécile?

I'll take a look.

Quick! Paul!

Paul, come here.


Think so?

It's scary!





You think bread is enough?

Bread, Maigrat!

There he is!

He's up there.

Come down from there.

Cheap bastard!

Come down!

Thief! The cheap bastard's dead!

Here, eat!

I'll fatten you up!

Come on, eat!

Throw it to the dogs!


Run! It's the police!

Run! The police!

I'm telling you! Run!

Run. Don't get caught.


Yeah, it's me.

You found candles?

I'm tired of the dark.

What's new?

The mine mouth in Voreux might crack.

Posts in Jean-Bart are falling.

The police came looking for you.

I can't stand being shut up.

Come on.

I'm coming.

What's that sound?

They're fixing the mine mouth.

The pump in Mirou is flooded. The water's so high... two foremen were drowned. Think they can hold out?

They're tough-skinned.

They can last months. They'll take it out of our hides.

The police think you're in Belgium. Want to come home?

No. In a few more days.

Are you cold, honey?

I'm not warm.

What's that doctor doing?

It's all right.

The doctor's coming.

I love my pit.

I miss it after 2 months.

I heard they're hiring Belgians. If it's true, we're sunk.

Belgians? They can't. If they try, we'll destroy the pits.

We won't be able to. The army'll protect them.

Foreigners taking our place, it breaks my heart.

I think we're done for.

We'll have to give up.

What did you say?

You say that? God!

Say that again and, woman or not, I'll smack your face!

Starving for 2 months. My kids sick.

All for nothing?! And the injustice goes on?

I'd rather burn it all...

I'd rather kill than give up now!


If you go back to the pit, I'll spit in your face and call you a coward!

That drives me mad!


You don't understand. We have to reach an accord with the Company.

They're hurting. They'll make a deal.

No, they won't. We'll all die!

Doctor, we've been waiting.

I have lots of calls. Where is she?

Upstairs, come along.

You have no candles?

We've got nothing left.

Come in.

Don't be afraid. Come in.

Sit down.

You're hungry?

I know where you're hiding.

If I were a snitch, I'd have told the police.

I know that. We might not agree but we respect each other.

The Belgians arrived. They'll start working at Voreux tomorrow.

They brought them in during the night.

Hope there's no more killing!

If you persist, it'll be a blood bath.

You'll see. I was right.

I know the strike's done for. We did it despite ourselves... but you get misty-eyed, you start dreaming... and then you're surprised when things go wrong.

So... if you think it's over, why don't you talk sense to them?

To each his idea.

I still think if we go on with this sacrifice, our starved bodies will be more useful than your politics!

If a soldier shot me through the heart, I'd be happy to die!

Listen to what it says.

Two shop workers from Marseilles won 100,000 francs.

Here's what they say:

They'll buy bonds and never work another day.

That's the dream of all you French workers.

Hit it big, and keep it for yourself.

You haven't the courage to share fortune with the poor.

You'll never deserve happiness as long as you own something.

Being poor, you curse the rich, but you hate them only because you're not in their place!

I can't wait to see you cut down... rotting on the ground.

Someone will destroy this race of pleasure-seekers.

You see these hands?

If they were strong enough, I'd grab the earth like this and shake 'til it crumbles, burying you in the rubble.

I wonder what'll happen with the Belgians.

They gave ammunition to the soldiers at the pits.

You coming?

Come on!

I'll deck anyone who looks at me sideways.

Let's have a drink.

Two bocks!

We'll toast to going back to work.


Toast! Come on.

Toast! Drink with me.

Anyone won't work, let'em die!

Anyone doesn't agree? Let's talk!

There are loafers and non-loafers!

I left Deneulin's lousy mine!

I'm going to Voreux with 12 Belgians.

They sent me, because they respect me!

Hey, mole! You come out at night?

You wait for the soldiers to fall asleep?

Enough, you rat!

Let's step outside!

Now you want it?

You want it?

I'm telling you, Chaval!

I'll get you!

I'll cut you.

Go ahead, stab me!

No! Stop!

Let me cut him! Let me!

I'll show you social justice, bastard!

Get out of here!

Sleep with him, bitch!


Go ahead, go with him.

Never come back, or I'll kill you!


Get away!


He's a nice guy.

Don't come any further; If he sees you, it'll get ugly.

Don't be sad. You're not losing much.

You after Chaval.

After you, someone else. I don't want that.

That's how it is.


You're back? You didn't understand me?

I don't want to see you any more. Leave me alone.

You're drunk?

Yes, I'm drunk. So what? Get out of here!

Get out. I'm tired.

Go back to him!

Get out!

You see that?

I don't like this. They must be on strike here.

Probably. I'm going home, if...

If there's trouble, right. Me, too.

Belgians. The bastards!

Let's go tell the others.

Close ranks!

Follow the foremen! In position to protect Voreux!

Line up in two rows!

Let's avoid bloodshed.

You understand our anger.

Move out! Don't force me to do my duty.

Fire on women and children?

We're unarmed. Let us through.

Move out!

No conversation. I got orders to guard the pits, and I will!

Don't even try to advance.

Go away! We've got nothing against you! Leave!

Let us settle our problems.

I have to go. I have to feed the horses.

Horses don't care about the revolution.

OK, you can pass.

Let him through!

Back off!

Back off, I said!

Stand back!

Ready arms!


Go ahead! Bunch of cowards! Go ahead! Kill us!

There'll be 10,000 more. Maheu, don't.

They'll kill you, those pigs!

Kill us! Come on, cowards!

Why'd you bring the baby?

What do you care? Shoot him if you dare!

Go away!

Go ahead!


Want to shoot women! Go ahead!

Too clean for your eyes!

We're not Cossacks. Are you going to shoot Frenchmen?

We're not Cossacks.


Stop! Calm down. Let's talk!


Cease fire!


It's beautiful! Splendid!

Here's to our soon-to-be newlyweds.


To your happiness.

To your happiness.

Now we'll have to take a good look at wages.

"The mines will re-open Monday morning..."

"We will study necessary changes"

"wherever possible, in the interest of fairness."

What did you say, for God's sake?!

We can't stay idle. At least we'll eat.

I'll strangle the first one who goes back!

That's too much. Kill the father, then go on exploiting the kids!

I'd rather see you dead, like him.

The notice promised...

The hell with the notice!

Easy to play good-guy, now that they've shot us!

What can we do? Even this house is theirs.

We hardly ate, but we were together.

When hope is lost, what good is living?

If only we'd known.

How can the cost for justice be so high?

Easy. We'll manage somehow.

You're for going back, too?

I'm not blaming you, but if I were you, I'd die of sorrow over having hurt your comrades.

My father died because of you. Are you happy now?

Bastards, with your strike that got us nothing!

Back to work. Nothing changed.

The old society will be gone.

A new world will be born.

But inequality will not disappear.

Some will always be smarter than others and will grow fat off the weaker ones.

There is no solution.

What are you doing?

I'm going back to the pit.

If Mom won't take my money, Chaval will.

I can't stand being idle while everyone starves.

Leave me alone.

I'm going with you.

You can't do that.

Yes, I can. I'm coming. Let's get dressed.

Where to?

You're still here? I'm going back to work.

Go home.

I'm telling you.

Don't judge me. I've made up my mind.

Well, then go.

Neither friend nor woman.

So long.

Yeah, so long.

Come here!

I don't get it. Everybody's gone.

Looks like they all left!

Come on. Quick.

Don't leave us here!

Oh my God! The cage!

Oh my God!

Gamay, Martin?




Chaval, Antoine?

Pull it up.

Go ahead.

Nice and slow.

Nice and slow.

What's happening?

A disaster! It gave way!

It must be sabotage.


I can't believe it.

Through the old Réquillart pit.

Réquillart's that way. I remember. It's that way.

Réquillart's this way.

No. René!

It's not that way, idiot! Ah, go to hell!

Come on, this way.

I can't go on.

We'll have to climb through the chimney.

There it is. We made it!

We're trapped.

Move these boards off. Quick!

Come on, quick.

Send the stretchers down.

Follow me. This way.

Go ahead. Go ahead.

They're in there. I hear them.

Come quick! I heard them!

I can't hear a thing.

I heard them, I'm telling you.


I can't hear a thing, Zacharie.

You're dreaming.

Who's there?

Two more who thought they were less dumb than me.

Well, dear, you happy? You wanted to be with your man?

You are! And now we die.

All 3 of us together. Our goose is cooked!

Can't we get out by the coal-faces?

The faces! The faces!

Go take a look. They're all caved in!

We're cornered like rats!

Two guys died back there.

I salvaged Gabriel's lamp. See?

Since you're so smart, you can try to pass by the incline, if you can swim.

They'll save us through Réquillart.

Yeah, with her!


Mom, she's in there. I heard her.

They'll save her.

Sure? Don't raise false hopes.

If they don't find her, it'll hurt even more.

No. She's there. I'm sure of it.

Keep tapping!

The water's rising.


Who can hear us?

We'll die here.


Go ahead, tap!

Tap, come on!

You're hurting me.

Leave me alone.

Leave her be.

Shut up!

You look good there, tapping.

Leave me alone!

Leave her be.

Enough! She's my woman. Mine! I love her.

Stop or I'll kill you.

Coward. You want to kill me? Come and kill me!

My son! My son!

Death blows out the lamp.

It must be nice outside.

We were stupid to wait so long.

I wanted you right away.

You didn't realize it.

Do you remember at night, at the house? We couldn't sleep.

Listening to each other breathe.

We wanted to.

And the time you slapped me?

I loved you.

I refused to think of you.

I thought, all that is over.

I knew, one day, we'd be together.

All we needed was a chance.

Nothing's ever over.

Just a bit of happiness, and it all starts again.

Then it's OK.

This time you'll keep me?

What's the matter?


I'm happy.

This is the house. Come on, Cécile!

No one home. A pity.

You come to see the neighbor?

She's at Réquillart.

I have the key. The old man is home.

Thank you.

Hello, my good man.

Don't mind his bad manners.

He's got something wrong in the head.

My good man, you have a cold?

We'd better make him some tea.

Here, Grandpa, good shoes for winter.

He won't say thanks.

Like giving eyeglasses to a duck!

Leon, I don't feel very well. Let's go back to the coach.

Don't forget the basket.

Just close the door. I'll lock it later.

She sure is taking her time.

My child! My baby!

Hurry up!

You're surprised to see me.

After I threatened to kill the first one who went back.

And now I'm going back. I should kill myself, right?

I would have already, if not for Grandpa and the kids.

How is the old man?

All right. But he's got nothing left upstairs.

They didn't convict him.

They wanted to put him away. I said no; He's harmless.

They had their excuse to terminate his pension.

And Jeanlin?

He's working, makes 20 sous. With my 30, that's 50.

If there weren't 6 of us, we'd eat. Maxime eats a lot now.

It'll be another four or five years before Léonore and Henri work.

They, too?

What do you want? They, just like the others.

We all die down there. One day it'll be their turn.

Let's go!

Step it up there!


You're leaving?

Yes, I am.

You're right.

Better to leave if you can.

Still, I'm glad I saw you.

Now you know I've nothing against you.

For a while I blamed you for all these deaths.

But you think it through.

And realize, in the end, it's not your fault.

It's everyone's fault.

People talked about me.

They said I was sleeping with you. My God!

If I'd been younger, maybe.

Well, I'm glad we didn't.

We'd regret it now.

Yes, we'd regret it.

Come by and take your things.

You left 2 shirts, 3 handkerchiefs, underwear.

No, keep them. One day you'll give them to the kids.

His reason was ripening.

He'd shed the skin of his blind hatred.

Maheude said it well, with her common sense:

Signing up with no trouble, getting to know each other, banding together in unions permitted by law then, one morning, linking arms with millions of workers against a few thousand loafers, taking power, being the masters.

What an awakening of truth and justice!

Now, high in the sky, the April sun was shining gloriously, warming the burgeoning earth.

All around, seeds were swelling, piercing through the plain, driven by a need for warmth and light.

Sap was overflowing in a whisper of voices, seeds bursting in a generous kiss.

On and on, ever more distinctly, as if coming closer to the surface, the comrades' tapping continued.

Beneath the blazing sun, that youthful morning, the countryside carried this sound.

Men were growing, a black avenging army was taking root in the furrows, ever growing toward the next century's harvest.

Their germination would soon crack the earth asunder.

Subtitling: HIVENTY