Le dejeuner sur l'herbe (1959) Script

Following this television news broadcast, we would like to present, as we had announced earlier on, today's special edition, which will be dedicated to the great biologist, Étienne Alexis.

Michel Péricard and Claude-Henri Salerne will provide the coverage, which will be presented by Claude Joubert.

So, before heading over to Professor Alexis's home, we would like you to be the first to benefit from a very important news item that could even be deemed a scoop.

But I won't announce this news. I will leave this task up to Michel Péricard, who is currently in Provence where, as you may know, a girls' jamboree is being held, and to whom I surrender the microphone.

You're on the air, girls' jamboree.

Michel Péricard, reporting from the girls' jamboree.

These young warriors are not capturing an enemy fortress, but are simply participating in a grand scout game.

But they're taking us to the subject of that scoop we mentioned to you earlier.

Indeed, they're taking us to Countess Marie-Charlotte von Werner, scout leader with the Inter-European Girl Scout Movement.

Madam, could you please confirm the news item concerning your upcoming marriage to Professor Étienne Alexis?


How long have you known the professor?

Forever. Étienne Alexis is my cousin.

Thank you, Michel Péricard. Thank you, madam.

Your answers were surely of great interest to our audience members.

And now, we are going to offer you a chance to witness a reunion in space.

Claude-Henri Salerne is at the Rouray manor, which is Professor Alexis' summer home.

We will now join them both. To you, Claude-Henri Salerne.

Before we begin our interview, French television has entrusted me with a mission.

And I must say it is a very enjoyable one.

If you could please look at this screen.

My dear Étienne, I'm so pleased about this encounter.

- How are your guinea pigs? Great. Salomé's pregnancy is faring well.

Brilliant. You are relaying via Paris.

I will take advantage of the facilities provided to us by television to accept your invitation to the picnic on the grass.

Other good news, our cousins from Munich and also those from Lyon will be joining us.

See you soon.

I am looking forward to it.

I'm truly sorry to interrupt this conversation, but we must return to serious matters. Please do.

Professor, people are saying that you are the next president of Europe.

This is not the case yet. No, but there is a strong rumour.

As president, will you impose artificial insemination?

I am personally opposed to all coercion.

For the uninitiated, this refers to a method employed in the area of animal husbandry.

And which produced magnificent results.

On farms where these methods are used, the female is not fertilised by the male, but rather by selected semen contained in a test-tube.

Allow me to ask you this question.

Do you think it is possible to impose this method on humans?

Let us not deceive ourselves.

The brain of our contemporary man is exactly the same as that of a man from the prehistoric age.

And yet we are asking him to operate interplanetary spacecrafts.

Biology teaches us that, to improve the race, we can only count on heredity control.

Biology allows us to do this.

We would be straying if we did not use these findings to render man won'thy of this science, which remains a privilege reserved to an elite.

Yes, I have to admit you've almost convinced me.

But now I must turn the programme over to Claude Joubert.

I am sorry, but we must now interrupt this fascinating programme.

Our colleagues from sports news are clamouring for air time to broadcast sports images, of course.

To be perfectly honest, they're wrestling images.

We are now watching a fight between Ben Meyer, the European champion, and Teddy, the Canadian bear.

A two-round fight and a tie-breaker, if necessary.

Yeah, well I disapprove.

Of wrestling? "Of wrestling!" Of Étienne Alexis.

He may be a great man, but I think he's exaggerating.

I'm not married. Thank goodness.

But if I were, I would certainly hate it if my wife were unfaithful.

Even with a test-tube. I agree with Bailly.

Love still exists, despite what biologists believe.

What do you know about it? It's none of your business!

I could give you a lesson or two. Quit horsing around!

Oh, there goes Forestier! Don't get angry! We won't harm your Étienne Alexis!

I want to have a child with a real man! I am for nature.

I think anything's better than having morons dropping atomic bombs on our heads!

Let's get rid of atomic bombs, then!

All of you really tear me up! War isn't the only threat!

A gas leakage in a truck sparks a fire, and that's it.

But with a radiation leakage, an entire neighbourhood will get cancer! Maybe even an entire city!

So we should give up progress? And why not?

How I long for the days when stagecoaches were still around!

The good old days!

The bucket of water we'd fetch at the well, candlelight, operations without anaesthesia, filth, ignorance.

Slavery! Pardon me, but I prefer my scooter, my electric range, my record player and some good records!

Yes, but what about cancer!

Why don't you trust scientists? They'll find a cure for cancer!

So, you prefer having children with test-tubes?

Well, a new world requires a new humanity.

Besides, it's simple, I'm for scientific dictatorship.

They're the only ones who understand anything.

Yeah, well, you talk too much. No wonder you're an old maid.

I was married, now I'm divorced! Why?

Why? Because of nudism.

I like to practise nudism, but my husband feared the rumours.

Did you see the programme on Étienne Alexis?

Oh, wonderful! He's always wonderful.

I've read all his books.

By the way, I called management.

They want us to take our vacation at an earlier date.

Oh, good, it's an even better time for a southern trip.

That's for sure!


Leave my kids alone!

Why? You're teaching them bad habits.

Laurent, your thumb! Alice, blow your nose!

Luc, don't scratch yourself!

Philippe, stop biting your nails!

Alice is old enough to blow her own nose!

Go on, blow!

Say, are those your kids or mine?

They're yours. Come on!

Help me hang these sheets!

And you go on and play!

And leave Nénette alone, or else I'll get angry!

Listen to your mother. After, if you're nice and clean, we'll play cops-and-robbers.

Hi, Titine! Hi, Nénette!

Here. Is that all?

What were you expecting? The jackpot?

He loves to make a racket with his motorbike!

You know what you just did? No.

You woke me up.

Now, I have to drink to get over it.

Say, Ritou, you're smart. What's this word?

"Profane". That's what I thought.

What does it mean? Oh, it doesn't mean anything.

Say, do you have the key? In Dad's pocket.

Well, this family obviously has a lot of trust in me!

I work myself half to death and in exchange I get insulted!

In front of the kids, too! What's the matter with you?

Such humiliation! I'll never get over it!

I'm going to wreak havoc!

I'm going to bash down this door!

Hold me back or I'll tear everything down!

The house, the kids... You'll hurt yourself!

The doctor told you to take it easy!

So you don't trust me! You insult me!

So you've locked the door to the cellar!

Hey! What's wrong with you?

It's just to amuse the kids.

You'll drink when you finish your work.

What work? The grapevine.

I told you to sulphate the vine. Me?

Yes, you! You lazy louse! I'm tired of feeding you and your wife and children!

One day, I'll get rid of you! Dad, I'll finish the laundry and I'll sulphate the vine. I forbid you to do it, you hear?

Why couldn't my wife sulphate the vine?

Because it's a man's job! I'm for progress.

Equality of the sexes! Yeah.

Are you sulphating or not?

If you don't sulphate, you go!

I'll sulphate.

Come on, Titine.

Help me put on my old clothes.

You see how tame he became?

It's a great article, you should read it.

That so? All that matters in life is to know how to talk.

It's because he's a good talker that you got pulled in by that pedlar.

Laugh all you want. That tramp! That bum!

He sold me razor blades, now I've got a drawer full of them!

I guess I'll have to use them. Problem is, they don't cut a thing.


Come, handsome! Come! You want to play?

No, later.

Dad? Yeah!

I need money for the bus.

In the old soup bowl!

On the mantle!

Why are you hollering like that? I'm hollering because I need to holler.

Otherwise, nobody hears me.

Want to play cops-and-robbers?

Yes, yes, yes. Nénette, want to play cops-and-robbers?

Not now. Let me put my sneakers on.

The pedlar...

He could only talk about razor blades.

In the evening, when we were alone, he had nothing to say.

But all of that is old news. Old news, old news!

The day you have a baby, we won't even know where you got it!

Did you see?

France at work!

Say, why did you have me read that article?

You know, the one about the... What do you call it?

Artificial insemination.

You're interested in that? A lot.


Where are you going? To town?

I am going to see someone. An idea.

I'll explain later. Fine.

It's all right. Go on. Goodbye, love!

No, no! Leave her alone! Let her go!

Come on, leave her alone, leave her alone!

Watch the kids, okay? Yeah, yeah.

Come on, you! Come!

Come on! Oh, stubborn as a donkey, that one!

Let's go feed some grass to the rabbits.

Look at your brother.

Come on. Let's go feed the rabbits.

Let's get to it.

Hey, Nénette! Where are you off to?

I'm going to the Rouray manor! Really!

Hi, Cabri. Hi, Gaspard.

Hi, Nénette. Where are you coming from?

From treating Gédéon's sprain.

I also went to the spinster's place, but she's very tired.

Won't make it through the night. Can't you give her a tonic?

Too late. The sick always come to get me when it is too late.

And you, where are you off to? To see Mr Étienne Alexis.

You don't say! The great scientist?

The newspaper says he'll meet with the girls who want to try his invention.

Me too, one of these days, I'll go down. Not for the same reason, of course.

Do you have any clients down there? I have some everywhere.

Say, do you believe in artificial insemination?

Oh, I tend to believe in Saint Victor and in the herbs of Saint Roch.

You need a man for that. Of course!

And I don't want one. Why?

They're all lazy.

With your thing, you don't need a man? Oh, no!

What will they think of next? So long, Nénette.

Have you read the treaty on biological philosophy?

Of course!

What do you think about parthenogenesis?

It deserves some consideration.

Is this the home of Professor Alexis?

I admit, however, that I find very interesting the idea of completely eliminating the male from the process of fertilisation of the woman.

Oh, sorry, I thought this was the kitchen. Can we help you, miss?

I'm here about the article. You mean the ad.

Do come in, miss.

Do you have any references?

Oh, you needn't worry about my health. I've never had any illness.

I mean certificates, letters from your former masters.

I never had a master. I see.

You have no experience. Sure, I do. With a pedlar.

But I'd rather forget him. There's a misunderstanding.

You haven't come for the position? I'm here to have a child.

The newspaper says your boss wants to meet with those who are interested.

Well, I'm interested. That's great.

My compliments, miss.

Or is it madam? No, I'm not married.

And I don't intend to be anytime soon.

Unfortunately, we're very busy. But, she can always write.

The professor's secretary will schedule an appointment.

Excellent idea, Claire. Thank you very much.

Will it take long? I'm afraid so.

That's too bad. I yearn to have a child.


Miss, your intentions are honourable.

How tall are you? I have no idea.

Eustache. Yes, I'm coming.

Could you please stand over there.

5'4". Excellent. Step onto the scale.

59 kilograms, 200 grams. Perfect! May I?

Thank you. Step down.

Lift your arms.


Very pure dolichocephalous Mediterranean type.

Miss, you have the exact measurements of the perfect chambermaid.

But I didn't come here to be a chambermaid, I came here to have a child.

But while you perform your duties, you could meet the professor and express your wishes to him. He'll certainly take an interest in you.

And while you're here in the house, he could monitor your pregnancy.

Really? When do I start? Right now.

Claire, give her an apron. Yes.

What are my tasks? You'll clean the animal cages.

Monsieur, has just received some guinea pigs, from New Guinea.

Claire will give you all the details. Here!

This way.

And you, are you married? No.

But you must've had lots of opportunities. They seem like nice guys.

Here, we don't have much time to think of such things.

Where were we? "Unfortunately..."

Unfortunately, the problem of the adaptation of future generations to scientific progress is not the only one justifying the imperatives of artificial insemination.

Is that your boss? Who else could it be?

Stripped of its basely practical function, that is, the continuation of the species, love will become a kind of sport, like hunting or fishing.

After all, many fanatical hunters don't eat game and many fishermen banish fish from their table for fear of hives.

They hunt or fish for pleasure, and let specialists deal with the problem of nourishment.

We are living in an era of specialists.

In a factory, nobody would dream of entrusting the fabrication of a carburettor or a transmission to amateurs.

The fabrication of children seems as important to me and must be entrusted to specialists.

He speaks well.

Could you repeat the last sentence?

"And must be entrusted to specialists." Period.

I'm certain that was Professor Alexis in that car.

You think so? I'm certain of it!

Did you remember the cigarettes? Here's the wine.

Mr Alexis!

Remind me of the question of the influence of hormones on the sexual behaviour of pigeons.

My intention was to set you up on the other side of the hydraulic station, but there are some campers.

As for the wind, the predominant current in this glen is north-western.

The temple of Diana shields us from it.

I can therefore guarantee, sir, that the wind won't be a nuisance.

Perfect, my dear Rousseau.

Sir, may I speak freely? Speak, my dear Rousseau.

I already expressed my concerns about Mr Laurent's idea.

A picnic on the grass did not seem suitable for the solemnity of our meeting with Countess Marie-Charlotte.

I am a simple man, my dear Rousseau.

I can't entertaining my future wife at Les Ambassadeurs, alongside drug lords, or those overly sentimental movie stars who would see a love story developing instead of the fate of Europe.

Yes, especially since Madam the Countess is quite beautiful.


I wanted to tell you, sir, that my colleagues and I completely approve of the picnic on the grass. Well, good!

Ah! Here is our cousin Laurent!

My dear Laurent! Dear Madeleine! Dear cousin!

Like my idea of a picnic on the grass? It's perfect.

Marie-Charlotte will approve. And it fits her scout principles.

I allowed myself to recommend to Rousseau to digress from your regular diet.

Marie-Charlotte is quite the gourmet. She's allowed to eat?

Marie-Charlotte is quite independent.

Oddly enough, despite her appetite, she maintains a wonderful figure.

I envy her, especially today.

The great outdoors stimulates the appetite. Eustache has prepared boiled cabbage, which has very few calories.

We'll eat as soon as Marie-Charlotte arrives, after a brief welcome speech.

A speech?

Don't you realise how important this event is?

This picnic was not intended for eating. Unfortunately!

This picnic is a symbol, highlighting this other symbol, which is our family.

Aren't we some sort of International?

This picnic is Europe. Yes, yes. I know.

Will it be long? What, my dear cousin?

The speech. A few words.

Are these people joining us?

I'd like you to meet Mr and Mrs Poignant, long-time admirers.

They were among the first to apply your theories.

Their child is a product of artificial insemination.

Very good. It'll be great publicity.

The journalists will be here in a moment. Journalists?

Master! I'm deeply moved.

This is the greatest day of my life.

How old is the baby? Eight years old.

Is he in good health? Excellent.

What about the brain? Astounding.

At two, he could read. At three, he was doing subtractions, divisions, and... Multiplications.

At four, he was extracting square roots.

Unfortunately, we had to part with him! Do you travel? Are you in business?

In a way. I'm an electrician in Saint-Pierre-les...

Montceaux, in Aisne.

Our son was too intelligent for us. He could barely tolerate us.

And since every time I opened my mouth, it was to speak nonsense, he couldn't help but point it out to me.

Imagine how hard it was for him.

I don't even have a diploma. You put him in college.

He did it himself.

He has all the grants he wants. He does two levels in one year.

At 13, he'll have a baccalaureate, and will be admitted in... Mathematics.

Before doing... His service.

You must be proud!

Here's our cousin Rudolph.

The journalists are late.

My dear cousin, French chemistry salutes German chemistry.

Our handshake is a symbol.

I am very touched that you left your factories.

I have an authorised officer, a second me, who's a chemical engineer.

To replace me at the factory, I chose a talented pianist. Chemists bore me.

Marie-Charlotte is late. So are the journalists.

Aren't you hungry? Never.

I'm always hungry, and I stick to my diet. The slightest deviation...

You ladies could perhaps take a stroll while waiting for Marie-Charlotte.

We could explore the ruins. What for?

It is a very rare monument. In this part of Provence, the cult of Diana went on for a long time in its primitive form.

Before becoming the patron of hunters, Diana was originally the patron of pregnant women, or rather of those who wished to be.

That must be interesting to you, my cousin. Indeed, it is one of our topics of concern.

How to improve race. Only, it is we biologists, not Diana, who have found the solution.

Theirs was perhaps less effective, but was certainly not lacking in charm.

I can imagine all the orgies that took place here.

Every year, seeking forgiveness from the goddess for some offence, the citizens had to send a dozen very young girls to the temple.

Priestesses made them wear bear skins and released them in the nearby woods, where pilgrims dressed up as satyrs would chase them, capture them, and you can guess the ending.

Madeleine! Thus religion provided a good excuse for something that would lead us straight to jail nowadays.

Or perhaps a safety valve for some of our instincts.

In every man, a satyr sleeps. Here is Marie-Charlotte!

The journalists must have gotten lost. It's a catastrophe.

Hello, cousin. Hello, my cousin.

Hello, Madeleine. Laurent. Marie-Charlotte.

Mr and Mrs Poignant have been fervent disciples from the start.

My pleasure.

Now, let's have lunch. Marie-Charlotte, allow me to say a few words of welcome to you.

The meeting between scouting and biology is an inspiring topic.

We shall have the rest of our lives to celebrate it.

I had imagined a parallel between the development of European conscience and chromosome activity.

Chromosomes can wait.

I'm starved!

It's terrible!

I was going to say a few words on chromosomes.

Chromosomes! Without journalists, this meeting is pointless.

Funny, I never even think of food. Well, I do!

I only like flowers.

Marie-Charlotte, here. My cousin, there!

The ground is a little soft here. Please, madam, allow me to try.

My dear Rousseau, really!

Dear God, what shall we do?


Try it.

It is the Egg of Columbus.

Saved! We are saved!

Move this table.

Marie-Charlotte! My cousin!

Isabelle! Madeleine! My cousin!

My cousin!

Mr and Mrs Poignant!

The journalists! The journalists!

The journalists!

May I help you? Miss, please! Please!

Darn, the hors d'oeuvres!

Get the food! This is a picnic, after all!

The hors d'oeuvres! The journalists! The hors d'oeuvres!

The hors d'oeuvres! The journalists! The hors d'oeuvres!

The hors d'oeuvres! The hors d'oeuvres!

Cabri, stay!

Madam? No, allow me, allow me.

I would like to take a photo of the betrothed kissing, all right? That's original.

Our cousin Laurent is acting a bit like the travellers.

I beg your pardon!

What about my diet?

But Madam, it is only for the sake of the photo.

What are you looking at?

It's Gaspard with Cabri. Cabri's his goat.

Poor us! He's pulling out his flute.

Is that old man troubling you? Do you know him?

Yes, when he plays the flute, strange things happen.

Once, he triggered a hailstorm. It was a real catastrophe!

The hailstones were as big as pigeons' eggs!

The wind has died down.

The weather in this area is really unpredictable.

I almost forgot to thank you. I don't know how to tell you, miss...

But to whom do I have the honour of speaking?

You are the new chambermaid.

No, I became a chambermaid because I wanted to speak to you.

It's about artificial insemination.

Pardon me, but I must take care of my fiancée.

Sir, sir, listen to me. I don't often have the chance to talk to you.

I beg your pardon, sir.

Aren't you Professor Alexis? Yes.

See, I knew it was him.

Listen, we've settled down by the river with some friends.

Couldn't you drop by our campground for a little bit?

It's wonderful.

There are people over there who are probably wondering why I'm gone.

Lf you only knew how much we admire you. They're probably worried about me.

Please say a few words to us. A few words?

Yes, there's a question that eludes us, concerning parthenogenesis.

Of course, it's a challenge to ideas we take for granted.

Next to it, artificial insemination is simply an innovation.

I'll give you two minutes. I'm expected for lunch and I must say I'm quite hungry. Must be the wind.

Yes, it's the wind. I, too, am extremely famished.

But it isn't every day that we get to meet Étienne Alexis.

Come, it's over there, by the river.

Look who is with us!

Oh, Étienne Alexis!

Pleased to meet you, madam. I can only stay a few minutes. I'm expected.

Come over here. I admit I'm hungry as a wolf. It's the mistral.

Have my slice of bread. I wouldn't dare.

Oh, please do, it would be my pleasure. Thank you.

Have a seat, Professor.

You must be thirsty. Come over here, madam.

Here, I found all of this.

I'd like to say a few words to Professor Alexis.

Aren't you hungry? Oh, yes!

Eat. You can ask him after.

It's Étienne Alexis. Yes, I know.

Hello, Professor. Mr Alexis, please, about artificial insemination, only you can convince Michelet.

Please forgive us, Mr Alexis, but it's table wine.

I wouldn't know the difference. I never drink wine.

Who is Michelet? It is me.

And you have doubts, miss, about the necessity of artificial insemination?

My doubts are hard to explain, and rather embarrassing.

Go on! You can explain everything to Professor Alexis.

Well, here goes!

Even if a married couple decides to resort to artificial insemination, if they love one another, they must have certain relations together from time to time.

And these relations can produce results.

You know, such as a child.

What will happen to this natural child?

Will you get rid of him? Of course not.

It seems to me that there are certain precautions that can be taken.

Miss, now I'm the one who's embarrassed.

Precautions! That's easier said than done.

There are moments when our mind is elsewhere.

Passion still exists, you know. Passion? Yes, certainly, it exists.

But certain therapies can be used to tame it.

It can be cured, like a common cold with antibiotics.


Why isn't he returning? Who?

Étienne, of course. Not the Pope!

That galantine must be scrumptious.

So you don't give a damn about Europe.

I don't know what's wrong with me, I'm all excited.

I need an orgy.

You know, the little girls in bear suits.

Why in bear suits? Because of the satyrs.

Ah, Mr Poignant!

Something is happening. I have a fever.

You? A... Mother?

With children! Exactly!

Mrs Poignant, if only our son could see you now.

Oh, he's far away. Let's take advantage of it.




Gentlemen, I assure you, this is of no interest at all.

Come on, please!

For Pete's sake, stop. Stop!

This picnic on the grass is the Waterloo of my hopes.

It's the wind.

I'm going to take a half-hour stroll with breathing exercises.

Come with me, Isabelle.

You need to neutralise the toxins you ingested in this excessively rich food.

And if my fiancé still hasn't returned when we come back, I shall consider his absence as a break-up.

Clothilde! Clothilde! Clothilde!

She's mine! Barthélemy, no!

Thanks to science, what was a mystery yesterday can now be controlled and analysed.

To our ancestors, this windstorm which happily served to bring us together and the rise in temperature which followed would most certainly be seen as manifestations of the mood of certain deities.

To us, they are simply the results of an atmospheric depression and their cause could surely be determined by meteorologists.

Clothilde! Clothilde!

Marie-Charlotte! I'd forgotten about Marie-Charlotte.

Professor Alexis!

Sir, madam, may I recommend consuming a little bit of coffee?

Decaffeinated, of course.

I would have preferred real coffee. And strong, too.

You can't be serious. What about your blood pressure?

All of this is absurd.

I'm happy my master didn't have to witness this bacchanal.

Inexcusable amongst people who claim to have a scientific mind.

Rousseau, my friend, we are the only ones...

Sir, may I remind you that, while our behaviour is similar, our motives differ.

I don't see how. Don't we both follow the same religion? Science.

Yes, except that you, sir, profit from this religion by turning it into pills, serums, vaccines and other products, whereas I, sir, am true blue. I have the faith, sir.

You and I are as different as a pedlar of religious items in the Place Saint-Sulpice and a missionary in the heart of Africa.

We're not in Africa, and you're being rude.

Forgive me, sir. It's the mistral.

I can't take it any more! I cannot take it any more!

I'm tired of being thin. I'm tired of trying to impress people.

I'm two pounds lighter than the Baroness of Chabichou.

It makes my legs look better.

But, darling, in business... I couldn't care less.

I no longer want to be thin, always thinner and thinner.

Besides, it doesn't stop you from cheating on me.

That has nothing to do with it.

Mr Alexis.

I'm listening. Well, here goes, Mr Alexis.

I'd like to have a baby the way you make them.

You mean with the artificial insemination procedure?

That's right.

My compliments, miss, you are a role model.

Sir, you forgot to tell me when we'll make it.

Make what? The baby!

Oh, the operation.

Well, as soon as we get back to the manor, we'll fix a date.

Forgive me, but I've totally forgotten my duties towards my fiancée.

You want to go back to your friends?

They must be worried. You're turning your back on them.

I have no sense of direction. Thank you. I'll be on my way.

Breathe, breathe in deeply.

I don't understand people. They don't breathe.

You're still lost? I'll come with you.

This way.

You're beautiful. You think so?

Wave to them.

You're coming back to see us. How nice of you.

Unfortunately, we were just leaving.

What's wrong? You seem worried?

The phenomena that followed this storm can certainly be explained.

Everything has a scientific explanation.

Yet, I can't figure it out and that's what's troubling me.

I'm sure you also experienced a sort of elation.

It's the heat. And the wind.

How will you return? Your friends have left. It doesn't matter.

I have my motorbike. I'll go to the village and send a cab over.

It's a little early to return. There's the bus.

Yes, but the station is two miles away.

I have to think about some unexpected problems.

I don't want to go back. Well, then come with us.

Don't be so impetuous. No, that's great.

But where? We're going camping in the mountains.

I have no means of transportation. I'll lend you my wheels.

Moutet, bring it here.

And I'll take Bailly's, all right?

It's been a very long time since I've ridden one of these.

What is this lever for? It's the headlight.

And if you push to the left, the motor shuts off.

Careful, it's hilly. You'll have to give it a lot of gas.

Get on behind me.

What's your name? Nénette.

Where's everyone? Gone. They didn't want to wake you.

They've a cab for you.

What are we going to do?

You'll drop me off at the village, we'll say goodbye and you'll go home.

The situation is delicate. Why is it delicate?

We had a good time, that's all that matters.

I can't go home in this state. People will wonder.

A great scientist such as yourself has to answer to someone?

Yes, to my fiancée.

Of course, she'll understand. As long as I find the proper arguments.

If only I could buy some time, get away from the world for a few days.

But where? Everyone knows who I am.

Why don't you come to Nino's? No one ever goes there.

Who's Nino? He's my father.

It's here.

Here's my father. Hi, Dad. Hi.

Who's that? He'll be staying with us for a few days.

The place is charming. "The place is charming"?

He speaks like the pedlar, that one. Oh, it's totally different.

Hello. Hello, Titine.

Give me a hand. We'll put him in the room.

I'll sleep in the shed. Go and fetch me some sheets.

Who is he? I can't tell you. Go on.

Hello, Dad.

Hello, sir.

Are you from this area? What do you do for a living?

You wouldn't understand. Is that so?

Oh, you're here? Did you finish your work?

Will you come help me with the vine? Lf I can be of service to you.

No, the gentleman came here to think. To think? Well, I'm sure he can do both.

I work myself to death in the vine. And all the while I'm thinking.

No, the gentleman is a guest and guests don't work.

Don't start! This way, sir.

If I may.

I'm so glad.

I think I'm going to buy a motorbike to get even with the mailman.

I don't care about that. I'm glad, because if he's giving you all that money, it means he wants to stay a while.


Mr Nino, your daughter has been extremely thoughtful towards me.

We're all like that in the family, sir. Pleased to meet you, sir. Relax.

You, go to the cellar and get a bottle of wine.

How many glasses? Three, lazybones.

Leave it, it's not cooked.

But poor Mr Alexis, he must be starving!

He can wait, for the little he does! Oh, you don't understand a thing.

Your brain is exactly identical to that of men in the prehistoric age.

Get out of the way.

I think he enjoys it rare. Not Ritou. He finds it disgusting.

Hey, the knuckle is for Ritou! Sorry, he likes it.

And you used to tease me because I washed Ritou's shirts!

You're even worse than me. This is different.

All men are the same. Put some potatoes, go on.

Not this one. It has a spot.

Put a little bit of green beans, too.

It's for the vitamins. Vitamins! You're stooping even lower.

Nénette! His diaper is full.

Go change him. I can't, he's waiting.

Ritou is waiting, too. Well, he'll wait some more!

What's wrong with that kid? His diaper is full.

Well, change him. After you've been served.

Say, where's the knuckle?

Ask Nénette. You be quiet. Be quiet.

Give me a little bit of lean, will you? And also a little bit of fat.

And a little bit of well-done meat.

And a little bit of rare meat.

There. And a little bit of sauce, too.

No, no, no. No vegetables. They're fattening.

Isn't life wonderful?

I'm coming.

This roast isn't cooked. Do I look like a cannibal to you?

Be quiet! It's for the other one.

How long will this go on? I'll cut some off the sides for you.

If Nénette's going to misbehave, at least she could pick someone who works a little harder.

Be quiet, madam. Be quiet! You have no clue.

Beg your pardon, Dad, but last time, you... Be quiet!

Eat and be quiet!

I didn't say a word! Well, keep it that way!

Now, I'll bring you dessert. You haven't eaten anything.

I'm in no hurry. No, I insist. I want you to eat right now.

Sir, could you talk to me? Talk to you about what?

Anything, so long as you talk. You talk so well.

Where were we?

Yesterday, you started talking about the revolution of species.


What is the origin of life? That is the question, as Hamlet would say.

In the beginning, life existed in the form of very simple animals.

Do you know what protozoa are? No, but it doesn't matter. Go on.

Little by little, animals that were a little more complex appeared.

First came the invertebrates. Starfish, crabs. Some were probably gigantic.

Then, some more noble species.

Fish, first with can'tilage, then with vertebrae, just like us.

An interesting stage is the appearance of animals that could live outside of water.

Reptiles and batrachians.

Then came the birds and mammals. Do you know what a mammal is?

Yes, those with mammary glands. It must have been beautiful!

Meanwhile, the evolution of plants continued.

Gigantic ferns lead to majestic pines, the dicotyledons.

The dicotyledons. The dicotyledons.

You talk well.

I'm talking nonsense.

After all, perhaps the great Saurian died happy, indifferent about the extinction of their species, enjoying the warm sun and tender grass.

Happiness is perhaps submitting to natural order.

Hi, Ritou.

Working? Have to!

The children are asleep, and so is Dad. I can give you a hand now.

Here, I brought this along. Thanks, dear Titine.

Well, here!

Hello, Father. Hello, Nénette.

Excuse me, sir. Aren't you Mr Alexis?

You know who I am? I saw you on television.

Are you interested in biology? Yes.

But I disapprove of your theories.

It's not surprising. Our beliefs are incompatible.

Man does not come from monkeys, Mr Alexis, nor from lizards or fish.

Man is a creature of God. And it is blasphemy to say otherwise.

How can you say such a thing, Father?

Obviously, you've never heard Mr Alexis speak.

And you make me laugh with your science. Tomorrow you'll be sending us to the moon.

And pray tell, what will we do up there, on the moon?

Do you think we'll be happier there than under the shade of our olive trees?

Scientific dictatorship will be a fine mess.

We built Notre-Dame de Paris, we built Chartres.

We filled the Earth with churches and convents.

You're filling the Earth with factories.

You have to admit that the smoke from our incense was less damaging to the atmosphere than your atomic radiations.

It appears that men enjoy being poisoned. The more it stinks, the happier they are.

When you need billions for a factory, nobody says a word.

When I ask for small change to fix the roof of my church, well, people tell me to take a hike.

You see, it's raining in my church, Mr Alexis.

Actually, it was raining on the altar.

I had to climb on the roof, in spite of my rheumatism, to block the hole with a tarp.

I truly am sorry about this, Father.

Anyhow, we've seen worse since the early days of the Church.

Goodbye, Mr Alexis. Goodbye, Father.

I can't believe he doesn't understand you. Such an educated man.

You're beautiful, Nénette.


He's really taking it easy, that one.

Hi, Dad. Have you seen Titine?

Is Nénette with Mr Etienne? They're under the olive tree.

Get her, hurry! Two gentlemen are here to see her.

Make sure she's alone, all alone.

Two gentlemen? Go, go, I'll watch the kids.

Dad, did you see? Some people have arrived.


Hello, gentlemen.

What's wrong? Problems with your car?

We are Mr Alexis's family. We've come to get him.

You denounced him, didn't you? Traitor.

This is for your trouble. Thanks.

Would you like to have a seat?

You stay here.


Two gentlemen asked to see you.

I'm busy. I think it's for Mr Alexis.

Are you sure? Ritou didn't say, but I think so.

So is it serious?

Well, they've become inseparable. It's true love!

And yet, my daughter is not the type that easily falls in love. No.

Mr Alexis must have sweet-talked her into it.

Because when someone knows how to speak to Nénette...

You talk to her! Why not you?

I'm appealing to your sense of duty.

Why don't we both speak to her. Fine.

Titine, come.

Please leave us alone.

What do you mean, "Please leave us alone"?

Please go, Dad.

I recognise you.

So do I. You are Mr Alexis' cousins. Come here, miss.

You've come to get him? We have to.

He won't leave. Not if you hold him back.

I'll do it for his own good. He's happy here. Do you love him?

What a question!

Well, if you truly love him, you have to help us.

You're wasting your time. Goodbye, gentlemen.

You know that Mr Étienne Alexis is a candidate for the presidency of Europe.

Everyone knows that!

You know what this means.

Étienne Alexis is the only person who can save us from ruin.

Étienne Alexis represents the happiness of humanity, the triumph of science.

He embodies a Europe at last united in its admiration for an authentic genius.

If you hold him back, miss, all this will be impossible.

You're fighting a battle against this Europe which aspires to live.

You don't speak as well as Mr Alexis. This is not the issue here.

My arguments speak for themselves. No.

You lack his style. When Mr Alexis talks to me, I'm convinced.

Even when I don't understand. Especially when I don't understand.

And I haven't convinced you. Not in the slightest.

Let me try.

Miss, you don't care about Europe and neither do I.

But if my cousin Étienne becomes president, millions of women will choose artificial insemination.

We'll need an industrial organisation to meet to this demand.

My cousin Rudolph and I oversee an international consortium of chemical products.

Over 200,000 people depend on us to earn their living.

If Étienne Alexis is elected, it will be 500,000 people.

If he isn't, our workers will lose their jobs and live in poverty.

The children dying for lack of...

Mothers forced to abandon their kids... Laurent!

You needn't worry. I'll leave.

You don't speak well, but I don't want mothers to abandon their kids.

Don't tell Mr Alexis why I left.


You have a real talent for the despicable.


Your daughter was very reasonable.

I'm such a big loser.

Go on, blow.

Nénette, Nénette.

So, what are you waiting for now? Well, him!

What could he possibly be doing under that olive tree?

He's napping.

Dear cousin, how good to see you again.




Where's Nénette?

Nénette? I don't know. What are you doing here?

What have you done with Nénette?

She left. She left because it couldn't go on.

You're not thinking straight. I trust her more than I trust myself.

Yeah, yeah, feelings are nice. But she has to live her life!

And why not with me? Because it's impossible!

Because... It's impossible because... Because of your age.

That's it! Your age! Because my daughter, she's still...

Well, my daughter... She's still too young, that's it.

My cousin, I understand you.

You're overworked. Your conferences, your research.

I'm exactly like you.

At the factory, at the time of the yearly report, days and days spent with numbers and problems, intellectual labour...

Well, once it's all done, I need a little orgy to relax.

Helps me stay sane.

Only, I do it discretely. No one finds out about it.

I'm not thinking of myself in this, but of Marie-Charlotte.

Right. Marie-Charlotte.

You're lying.

You're all lying.

Besides, this story about my age, makes no sense.

Plus you lied to Nénette and forced her to leave.

Étienne, where are you going? He's heading towards the village!

We must avoid scandal. Let's follow him. Perhaps the others will hold him back?

Maybe not. Sir...

I don't want your money. And why not?

I wouldn't want to dirty my hands.

Let's go.

Did you see where she went?

I haven't seen anyone. You're fired. Which way did she go?

I don't know, sir. You're fired.

Very well, sir.

I'm looking for Nénette, have you seen her?

Which Nénette? Nino's daughter.

Oh, no, I haven't seen her. Where's the bus station?

At the church and a bus is leaving now!

Are you insane? Excuse me, I'm looking for someone.

He's a nut. A nut!

Étienne, the car is waiting for you.

Father, you must tell me where Nénette is.

Are you suffering, Mr Alexis? I'm very unappy.

I'm going to pray for you.


Sir! Sir!

You know where she is. Tell me. Nénette? It's hard to keep track of her!

You should ask Cabri instead. Cabri, your goat?

Yes, animals know about things that we'll never understand.

But when I want information from him, I kneel down and whisper into his ear.

You kneel down? Yes.

You kneel down? That's right.

Down with science!

Down with science!

Down with science!

These ladies can come in.

Come in.

I assure you that this jacket is too small. You've put on a little weight, sir.

It's the great outdoors. Congratulations.

Thank you, dear Rousseau.

Is the Countess ready? Always ready.

We'll leave you two alone.

We'll leave you two alone.

We'll leave you two alone.

That suit looks good on you. You were born to wear a uniform.

Your shoelace.

I put on a little weight.

A needle and thread and it'll be fixed in two minutes.

Do you have a needle and thread?

I'm sure the hotel offers tailoring services. They'll fix it for you. Hurry up.



I want you to know something.

At your command.

When I was at university, I was madly in love with a boy.

I was his mistress.

He died.

From then on, I vowed to devote myself exclusively to the happiness of others, in the plural, but never to the happiness of another, in the singular.

Marie-Charlotte, I think we will be very happy together.

We're running five minutes late. What's going on?

I'll tell you what's going on! We're five minutes late!

It's nice of you to drop by and say hello. What are you doing here?

I wash dishes. Dishes?

Why? To earn money.

You need money? For the child.

One of your nephews? No, my child!

You're expecting a baby? Aren't I lucky?

Is the baby mine?

Well, it can't be the pedlar's. I haven't seen him in two years.

A baby. Let's hope he speaks as well as you do!

Your suit is torn.

I'll get a needle and thread and it'll be fixed in two minutes.

At ease.

You'll have to take your jacket off.

It was poor-quality thread.

Leave it.

Are you angry?

Mr Alexis, Mr Alexis, my dishes!

I've got to notify the boss!

I'm not allowed to come up here. I'll be fired!

We're leaving. Schnell!

So, cousin, are you renouncing the presidency?

Not at all. I'm going to launch my campaign tomorrow.

I've already prepared a short speech on science and nature.

By the way, dear Nénette, what is your name?


That's an excellent name for a president's wife.