La ceremonie (1995) Script

Sophie Bonhomme?

I'm Catherine Lelièvre

-Something to drink? I'm having tea -There's no need

Let me explain the position We live in an isolated house near a small town about ten kilometres away Only three of us, but it is a large house My stepdaughter sometimes comes for weekends We occasionally entertain, involving extra work...

...but we've all mod.cons.

I'm not afraid of work, Madame I do the cooking; my husband gets the groceries each week, or we telephone So your hours won't be too long I can cook

-You wouldn't mind the isolation? -I don't know I could drive you to town sometimes

I run an art gallery You want my references?

Madame Dutoit's husband died She's going to her son in Australia

So you're free now?

I gave satisfaction for a long time, as she'll tell you You can call or write I'll call tonight...

...but I'm sure it will be all right

I'll meet you, as we're hard to find Do you know about the trains?

There's one at nine a.m.

So when shall we say... Tuesday?

Yes. What day is this?

Saturday; so you'll have the weekend All right, then. Thank you, Madame So it's all settled. See you on Tuesday Madame Dutoit paid me 5,500 francs Oh, I'm sorry... shall we say 6,000 francs?

I'll tell you all about it. We expected you last night I was busy You could have called your father Need any help?

No, thanks. Where are the menfolk?

Zapping away at the new satellite TV

You're supposed to choose What do you want?

A sunset Not bad, touch wood

-What more do you want? -Not the TV, idiot

-I was referring to the new maid -Don't call her that, it's degrading

-What's her name, anyway? -Sophie

''The Sorrows of...''

Why not say housekeeper?

Can you hear me saying that?

Actually, it's quite complimentary Maid of all work... not many people can boast as much

These are good. Can this skivvy cook?

Don't joke about it Her reference says she's pretty good You've got her on trial?

Stupidly, I forgot to mention that, but I'm sure she'll turn out all right Well, we need someone Too true

-Not too ugly, is she? -Why? Keen to try it on?

The boy's right to admire beautiful things Thanks, Georgo The question is pertinent; ergo, it deserves an answer

I've no idea. I just didn't notice She's no monstrosity, though; that I'd have noticed Better than last week's fatso, I hope

-No comparison. Everyone finished? -Unless I eat the shells

You'll see for yourself on Tuesday... the nine a.m. train

-I thought I'd missed you -No, I took an earlier train I hope you hadn't waited too long?

I was lucky, got parked right outside

I'm Jeanne Marchal, St. Coulomb post office Could you give me a lift?

I missed my bus, and Annie's on the counter alone

Sit in front with me, Sophie

I spend three days every month at home. We can split up our holidays

-Wouldn't a month at home be nicer? -Oh, I wouldn't like that at all

Sophie, could you see if there are cigarettes in the glove-box?

She must be wondering who you are

My husband can't stand her

Have you a dead donkey in here?

Strong, aren't you?

There's a shower next door Take your time settling in

-I'll show you the house later -I'll come now and unpack later No, I'll have coffee meantime

Do you like the room?

I don't know... Yes, of course

''There can be no justice without humanity''

This is your domain

The vacuum cleaner is under the stairs

Dining-room. The tapestry is very delicate This bit is simple: just soap and water

Our bedroom Perhaps you'd change the sheets Tidying up here

The library

I'm late. Is all that quite clear?

I don't know... I think so

I'll be back at six. Call me if necessary; the number's by the phone Gilles gets home at five

-Did you make the salad? -Yes, Madame; I'll bring it at once Is she good?

Wonderful, so far... fingers crossed Good, simple cooking

-You agree, gastronome? -She'll do

Put it on the table; we'll help ourselves

She needs tips on serving

I'm sure she knows. You can't set an exam When are we leaving?

I'm booking a flight for the 20th Remember last year's trouble We could leave later No, I've to be back to visit my father Is Sophie off, too?

Too soon... and I doubt if she's anywhere to go No one ever telephones or writes to her. Luckily, she has her telly This chicken looks succulent You drug her with that TV

It saves me making conversation, anyway She's just a robot to you Don't exaggerate

Sophie, you can clear the table

She seems to have a thing against books I'd rather she left my desk alone

Why not let her use the car?

You lend her yours I have a feeling she can't drive Would arranging driving lessons be paternalistic?

No, demagogic I won't have you smoking; it's easier not to start than to stop

One thing intrigues me

-Why don't you use the dishwasher? -This is quicker; I dislike machines

If you want to go to town, you can borrow my wife's car I can't drive We'd pay for lessons My eyesight's too bad Don't you have glasses?

I don't know

I can't see with them any more We can fix that. I'll make an appointment for Friday; I'll take you MeIinda will collect you afterwards I understand

MeIinda will be here at eleven Tell them to send the bill to me

No change? Sure you have... see, you've got the right money

-Can I help you? -Have you any with lighter lenses?

-Are they very expensive? -No... look

-I only have 100 francs -You're all right, then

I'll take them

Sorry to have kept you waiting

-When do you get them... your glasses? -Wednesday So soon? Another trip to town, then Do they overwork you?

You mustn't let them, you know. They're only too glad to have you

I'm just getting some milk

''Could you iron my white suit?'' It's for you

I'll iron my stuff later, unless...

Oh yes, I love ironing

-Got our tickets? -I'm not a cretin Give this to Fournier I'll send you a postcard Groceries are being delivered, so you shouldn't run short You can always phone We'll be there on the 2nd. Have a nice week, Sophie Remember to get your glasses

Madame Lelièvre's order

There's another box

Thirsty work; would you have any beer?

It's fine like this

See the television last night? This area did great, raised 550,000 francs I don't know

Sign this for me I can't sign their name Your own will do

Right, l'm off

Just call if you need anything; I'll come running

Not those These are nicer and cheaper. Sure, they're milk chocolate - it says so

How's it going?

-Fine -Especially with the Lelièvres away?

Heard from them?

They were lucky to find you, anyway

I must get back... someone might phone I'd drive you, but l've to work Drop in any time, if you're passing I spend half my time reading

I was passing, and there's a card for you

-I'll open the door -Don't bother

You have a car?

Not exactly new, but it goes

-I haven't my glasses -Like me to read it?

''Having lovely holiday. Thinking of you. Melinda''

I don't like going on holiday Besides, there are pirates in Corsica... they blow up boats This is some place, it must be hell to keep clean

Well done, one could eat off the floor. You should give my place a once-over

Now, there's class for you That's really something How does it work? Haven't you ever tried it?

So many channels

All these books I love reading

OK if I borrow one?

''Journey to the End of the Night''. Think it's good?

Cèline... my mother's first name

Can I look upstairs?

How does it switch off?

-Shall we use first names? -If you like

Nicely done up

-They both sleep here? -Yes

All these clothes

She was a model all right

Models often use made-up names Aren't there photographs around?

I went for a modelling job as a kid; they picked a blonde - her, I'm sure But I'd rather be in movies, wouldn't you?

I don't know I recognized her from pictures when she came to the post office. And she eyed me Probably wondering where she'd seen me

Why bury yourself in the country?

To forget her carrying-on in Paris?

Funny things go on...

Not for the first time in this house, I'm told He's no better. Always listening to music, right?

He does at his canning factory, I hear He's the girl's father. Is she nice?

Yes, she's not bad

Not bad. Their old set, but better than nothing; I don't have one at all Maybe I could watch here, sometimes

-If you like -We're friends, aren't we?

I must go. Can I wash my hands?

I do voIuntary work for Catholic Relief Sorting the clothes and stuff that's donated. Like to come along?


-Are you free on Sunday? -It depends Not even Sundays off?

Don't stand for it

Thanks for showing me round

Come and see me any time

Having trouble?

It's the battery; onIy just fixed, too

-Shall I have a look? -If you would; I'm hopeless

I'm no expert, but I like tinkering I don't

I prefer poetry You hope to publish?

Well, not just yet

Try it now

The battery mounting's loose Got a tissue?

I've a hankie

Thanks again Better go to a garage

We've hardly seen you. Found a lover?

No, preparing for exams

-Still keen on hunting? -Maybe. Where are Gilles and Catherine?

Out walking; collecting mushrooms, so they say

-Why didn't you go? -Oh, you know...

Shall I clean the guns?

Why not? Is our treasure Sophie learning to drive?

She's never mentioned it Gilles says she often goes into town. Maybe she prefers walking

-Do I clean the guns? -I'll try to make it some Sunday

I'll clean them, then

Do you never stop working, even on Sundays?

I like ironing Don't mind me

Mind giving me a lift? My moped's bust I mind, but come on

I'm going to be late

I've a meeting this morning and I may be late back I've left a shopping list by the phone Call that number and they'll deIiver today We've nothing to eat in the house

What's up so early?

I need help Our phone's out of order, so could you call in this order?

I'll report the fault first No, Monsieur Lelièvre's done that Couldn't he take the list?

Well... he didn't know about it. Stupidly, I forgot to tell him

Beneath his dignity, right?

I want to place an order, please For the Lelièvres. Two packets of spaghetti Two lettuces, four veal cutlets, eight lamb chops Three rump steaks Three tins sardines in oil, three with pimento Why sardines? They can their own No good, maybe Got the sardines, have you?

Six Vichy Cèlestins Four packets of coffee... Yes... no... ''Carte Noire''

Two packets of navy blue napkins; five kilos of Omo washing-powder Yes, I'll tell them

They haven't the Vichy water. They're also out of the coffee...

...the Omo and the navy blue napkins Even sunpermarkets can run out. You could try next door

Thanks a lot

-Want to see this? -Yes, why not?

I'm mad about Paul Newman Can I see it at your place?

-Yes, when is it? -It says here, Sunday I've an idea Let's go to Catholic Relief first; I'll pick you up at noon

I need ''Carte Noire'' coffee, six bottles of Vichy Cèlestin...

...Omo washing powder and navy blue napkins

You're loaded like a pack-horse

The supermarket was out of some things

-Nice of you to bother, Sophie -I like walking, anyway We've people coming for Melinda's birthday on Sunday. Can you be there?

I said I'd go to Catholic Relief

Charity work? That's good I'm going with the postmistress

Well, do what you can; I'll try to manage

Quick, it's so windy

-Look at this -Wait, I'm helping Sophie

-No blue napkins -I'll manage Look at this parcel; it's been opened, then done up again any old how

-Really? What's in it? -It's for Melinda, probabIy a present I'll get the blame. That woman opens my letters, too What can youn expect of a welfare case?

Yes, she took her battered kid to hospital, where it died

They couldn't prove anything...

...but she was sent for trial

-How do you know allI this? -From the newspapers. Remember?

You know I hate newspapers. Maybe it wasn't her It was. I recognized her at once from the photograph

-It doesn't prove she did this -No, or I'd have complained already

-Need any help, Sophie? -No thanks, Mademoiselle

-Terrific Did you make all this? -Just the quiches and cheese tartlets Well, thanks anyway

-Is it midday yet? -Half-past eleven. You aren't late

Here's Jèrèmie

-It's Jèrèmie -He's not late, anyway

Here... Happy birthday

-What is it? -Look and see

-So the party's begun? -My brother Gilles... my friend Jèrèmie

A bargain buy, they said Can I borrow it? I'll pinch it, then

-Come and meet my parents -Concerto for flute and harp, K. 299 You've done your homework

This is Jèrèmie... my parents

See my present?

He recognized the Mozart

-You like Mozart? -Very much. I'm toId you're a fanatic Put it on the table

You're the first arrival. We're expecting a few friends and relations

Ask Sophie for ice, would you?

These little quiches are wonderful Our Sophie made them; she's odd, but a real treasure You're lucky

-How does it feel to be twenty? -Much as usual, but I love the presents Paul Nizan said: ''Let no one tell me twenty is the best age''

I'm sure there are worse I know an equally alarming but less well-known saying

''There are many things I detest about good people, but not the evil in them''

-Good God, who said that? -Nietzsche I should warn you that we're having a buffet, not a sit-down meal Good idea

-Sophie would have brought it -She isn't there Look for yourself What's going on?


She's gone

-You took your time -I couldn't get away earlier Never mind. Look: do you Iike chanterelles?

We'll eat at my place; then, Catholic Relief 366 00:52:20,336 --> 00:52:22,543 The bastards kept you?

They've guests for Melinda's birthday, but I slipped away I wish I could see their faces

It's my birthday, too Really? What luck we've got those chanterelles

There's wine in the fridge

-Too much garlic, maybe -It won't hurt

The bread's fresh today


Is it really your birthday?

-I know something about you -Something good, I hope That you kiled your child

-Who told you that? -I just know I didn't do it; she burned herself They'd no proof. Want to see?

-You didn't do it? -They couldn't prove it; the judge said

How could a mother kill her child?

Even if it's not normal I know something about you

You like chocolate ice-cream? Take it out of the fridge, to soften a bit

Cold, but good

You, isn't it? Read that

I'll read it, then

''Arsonist still at large, say police

''The fire that ravaged 15 rue de la Providence, killing Jacques Bonhomme...

''...was deliberately started, but the culprit remains unknown

''Devoted to her paralysed father...

''...the daughter was out shopping

''Her innocence was quickly established

''We can't say as much for the property developers...

''...who profited by the tragedy''

You, right?

You're Sophie Bonhomme

We'll do that later

You didn't do it?

They couldn't prove anything

Now let's go and do good deeds For a change

-Hello, Madame Lantier -Good of you to come, Jeanne I brought Sophie to help You're most welcome. We've been given a lot of stuff, most of it useless

If it's not too awful, keep it; the rest, chuck out

I could sew buttons on Don't bother, it's all moth-eaten Hurry up. Monsieur l'Abbè's waiting

Their charity's a bit out-at-elbow What's that?

The Abbè's doing the choir

That's nice

''Arithmetic, 1st and 2nd Year Primer''

Who are they to use us as dustbins?

I don't know Notice how Lantier stinks of tobacco?

With the priest it's piss

Just like my Dad

Not too much clearing up left, I hope

Happy birthday... Sophie told me

This way

Switch it on

On Two? No, Channel One

Those bloody ads

These letters have been deliberately opened. It's happened before So I'm lodging an official complaint

It's not my fault if they're torn when they get here We'll leave that to the enquiry. It never happened with your predecessor I don't see how you can prove it

-Look at me, Mademoiselle -I'm looking You got away with it once, but not this time Who do you think you are, accusing me of opening your mail?

You read gossip about me, but I know Your wife's a whore, like the one who killed herself

Did you see that?

-Let her have it, did you? -The girl's mad

I left a file on my desk that I need urgently I'll send a driver for it It's clearly labelled...

You couldn't have missed it; and the driver found no one in

-Your call was cut off -I called back It didn't ring. I must go...

-The driver found no one in -With the phone out, I went shopping

My husband's here?

Your maid's getting up my nose She's a maid, not a secretary You don't have to be Einstein to find a file. She hung up on me Some things you don't ask her to do She's no good with the telephone, with books, but her housekeeping's perfect Maybe, but I've had about enough She's changed... almost insolent sometimes And she's around less and less I can't cope again like before Of course not, but no one's irreplaceable Maybe, but I had an awful job finding her Anyway, I must dash with this file. Don't wait dinner, in case I'm late We'll be watching a film on TV With a tray... without me Without you. Good film, though

She makes a good omelette Terrific. What makes you say that?

I mean, Sophie's a good cook Yes, she is... so what else is new? What's wrong?

Be nice and get my cigarettes from the bedroom

-Right now? -Do you mind?

-Weird, isn't he? -He won't say anything

Want one?

Make up your mind You can smoke when I'm there That's crazy, but OK

I'm worried; I don't think things are going well between Georges and Sophie Why?

He thinks she's taking advantage I hadn't noticed. She's got a friend upstairs The girl from the post office

She's here? Georges will be furious Don't tell him, then

-Really? -I don't see any other choice

I can't... I can't start keeping secrets from him

One can never really relax

-OK for the Delon film tomorrow? -Just don't let them see you

I'm afraid I've something disagreeable to say

Your private life is your own, and we have no wish to intervene But that friend of yours is not to come here again

-She did no harm -I'm not going to discuss it I will not tolerate someone who opens my mail...

...and spreads malicious gossip You may see her elsewhere...

...but I do not advise it See what you made me do

You look grim

It's the skivvy... I'm beginning to find her...


Exactly I'd sack her if your mother weren't so afraid of not finding anyone else How's the moped? I'm no taxi-driver

-Couldn't you wait till tonight? -That's the problem

-Old Lelièvre fussing again? -He says you can't come any more I knew it They use you...

...and you just sit and take it His daughter calls him a Fascist...

...his wife screws around with men in that so-called gallery...

...and the son, he's the one who ratted on us But you can't have friends? Bloody hell I won't obey They pretend to be nice, but what do they know?

What kind of car, who inherits what That's the only kind of problems they have If I'd had a tenth of what they've got...

...I could have lived a very different life

They won't get away with it

Drop me here No, all the way. They won't be around

The daughter's car. What's this, boy friend trouble?

Just run back home... it's easy for her You heard anything? You never say

I'd better drop you here Try to find out

And tell me, for once

See you later

Jèrèmie's in EngIand; it's cheaper if I call from here

You're not expected?

I'll do it now

How's it going?

Fine, but I'd rather be with you How are you?

I've got a problem

-Serious? -Sort of. I'm ten days overdue

-Has it happened before? -Never. I'm sure I'm pregnant Don't panic if a test confirms it we've still time to think If you decide on an abortion or to keep it, either way I'm with you How do you feel?

I don't know, not exactly overjoyed, but it's early days yet I shan't let you down, though

-My father will go crazy -It's not that bad After all his birth control lectures...

...he's convinced that whoever this happens to, it won't be his little girl He'll know if I get an abortion, and kick me out Anyway, what matters most is us We'll discuss it, then I'll talk to him, OK?

-You'll call me tomorrow? -Yes, I'll do that I love you, Melinda We'll have kids, don't worry, if not now, then later I love you, too

You'll strain your eyes. Shall I make tea?

Catherine told me about your friend

Don't stand for it. Dad tries to be charitabIe, but can be a Fascist Jeanne and I do charity work You told us that

-Where are the cups? -On the draining-board

-What name wouId you pick for a baby? -I don't know Sophie's nicer than Melinda Do you know it means ''wise'' in Greek?

Any sugar?

There's a fun questionnaire here

''Are you a bitch?

Straight to the point

''He falls for a man. A) You laugh

''B) You make him take an AIDS test

''C) Ask for a divorce. D) Ask to meet the lover

''E) Sunggest a threesome. F) Insist on secrecy''

You ask the questions, see if I'm a bitch I've work to do It's not long

I haven't my glasses

Here they are

Are you shocked? I'm sorry

How about fashions?

Yes, I prefer that

You're dyslexic?

I'm sorry. I mean...

You don't know how to read?

You should have said I could teach you, if you like

Or I saw a TV programme about a woman doctor She's in Paris and can help dyslexics, even much older ones than you My father would pay

Say one word, and I'll tell about your baby I'll tell your father. You're the bitch, not me So mind your own business

Sophie, we're back

Melinda's around

This is a nice surprise What's wrong?

I'll leave you two No, I have to tell you

You found out what?

She's illiterate

She can't be Of course... we should have guessed It never occurred to me. You don't expect it these days...

...or being so ashamed It's still no excuse for blackmail Sorry, but this means the sack Yes, we can't just ignore it One can't read, the other reads our mail

Melinda has told me everything I cannot empIoy a blackmailer I know life's hard...

...and that being illiterate isn't entirely your fault I feeI sorry for you in a way, but blackmail, no...

...that I will not tolerate

You're not watching that I could just turn you out; we've no written agreement

But you may keep this room for a week while you look around

Tomorrow's Thursday; I want you gone by this time next week Do you understand?

We can commend your work...

...but will extend no character references So don't expect any If you find you can leave sooner... much the better Your household duties are, of course, suspended

We're from Catholic Relief Here to remind you to give what you can for the cold and hungry poor It's usually the Abbè

-This time it's us -The Abbè's at choir practice

Girls from Catholic Relief We've put things aside. I'll get them Someone always comes about now, you see Looks like rubbish We're not the town rubbish-dump

Lend a hand

Past its sell-by date... poisoning the poor?

Thanks, see you next year I'll report you Just don't paIm off your garbage Heathens That'll do for today

So you've got Sunday off?

They've sacked me

The bastards I knew it Melinda?

Oh, this junk-heap... the battery mounting's loose

Tell me about it First we'll deliver that

It stinks

So you're back We only brought the better stuff Put it there The Abbè wants to see you

It's Jeanne and Sophie

This is a serious matter I suppose you are doing your best...

...but we can no longer turn a blind eye to your behaviour We make allowances...

...since you're volunteers...

...but you taint Catholic Relief's reputation, and that's unacceptable We've had complaints...

...and I confess...

...I am amazed For whatever reason, you have gone too far In short, we have no further use for your services

We're not to do good?

You need help That's an idea

Farther and farther the ferrets dig Father, oh Father, who do you frig?

Madame Lantier, that's who Tell me abount being sacked and Melinda Nothing to tell Tight-lipped, aren't you?

Let's eat at my place Yes, I'm hungry If I have anything Great coffee-maker

You'll find another job easily. Meantime, you can stay here It'll be fun. We'll go for your things later on

Melinda's pregnant Is there a big stink?

I don't know How did you find out?

Keep it or not...'s no problem for them

Pity we've no food

Splendid, darling It was just a ham salad Splendid, wasn't it?

She made it You know what I meant Only ten minutes till it starts. Let's get going We'll get stereo in the library

-How do we move that monster? -It's on castors. I've an aerial lead

-You're staying after all? -I Iike the opera

-CouId I tape it? -Sure, give me your mike There's your computer generation

I hope Jèrèmie won't call in the middle No, the blessed event isn't that close I've found the libretto, bilingual Italian-French

-The CD has one, too -It's not the same thing

Ready, Mozart

-Tape OK? -It's on

The bastard took off, so I'd no one to advise me...

...had I wanted an abortion I wanted the baby, though The cops shouId have realized I'd have done it then if I wanted rid of her

She was so good, never cried...

...even if she was hungry

She was almost four I came in laden, and felt something touch my leg I automatically kicked out, not knowing what it was It was winter, so the stove was on I went into the kitchen with my shopping Coming back, I saw her against the stove...

...her cheek all blistered Panicked, I ran for my neighbour...

...hoping she'd help, but she just squalled: ''What have you done?''

She called the police I was in a corner, out of it I tried to explain, but the cops wouldn't believe me

I never knew what the examining magistrate thought Maybe nothing

I was sent for trial The judge was fair He believed me, I think He said he thought it was just a dreadful accident So they let me go

The Post Office took me back...

...but transferred me here from Rennes in case of gossip and stuff

What about your Dad?

Oh, that...

Stop here

-Why? We're collecting your things -I want you to Still scared of them?

Come on

Some hot chocolate?

Stick 'em up

I see why they like shooting

They've been screwing?

Take that, bitch They'll know it was us Don't want any jealousy The chocolate now?

Let me pour

-Coffee? -Hush, I'm recording In the intervaI

Now, my lady

No more telephone

-What next? -I don't know Let's scare them

How does it work?

Here, I watched him

-You never told me -I know where the bullets are

-You'll break it -You're supposed to

What do you think?

What I like is, it's all of a piece; no one hogging the limelight Did you hear something?

Probably Sophie sneaking in

-I thought it was glass breaking -That was in the opera, stereo effect


No, digesting what I've heard

What was that?

I'm sure that postmistress is here

-I'll see -Let them say good-bye Won't be long

Put those down and get out, or I'll call the police I warned you before

One down Was that a shot?

No, that girl's old jalopy

This is my favourite bit

-What's Georges up to? -He's hiding; he's shot the crazies

-Go and see, Gilles, I'm worried -It's all right, he's throwing them out

Let's go

Do please take a look, Gilles

-Where's my husband? -He's dead

That's it

A good deed

-I'd better go. Can you cope? -Yes, I'll set things straight Then call the police; say you found them like that They'll have no proof

I'll take this, it's too tempting Melinda's present from Jèrèmie She won't need it

I'm off

The car was just standing there, with no lights on It was too late to avoid it It wasn't your fault, Father; it was just fate

You think that's appropriate?

Do please take a look, Gilles

-Where's my husband? -He's dead

That's it A good deed