Les gardiennes (2017) Script

THE GUARDIANS


Not bad.

You fought for it.

You deserved it.

Your father would be proud.

The school teacher is now a lieutenant.

We're all heroes there.

If we hadn't stopped them, it would be over for us.

I'm very proud of you.

And of the others.

We'll prevail. Yes, we will.

VILLAGE SCHOOL

Hello, sir.

Hello, children.

Hello, Luce. Hello, Constant.

Sit down.

How are you?

Well. Thank you.

We have a surprise for you.

Baptiste.

"The Krauts."

Foul, nasty louts, plotting about, killing women, old folk, kids; they even disgust murderers.

The krauts!

Of honor, we are slaves; we respect Church and graves.

In their heads, no doubt, all good is ruled out.

The krauts!

Frenchmen, be proud; your hearts are endowed with musketeers, unbowed.

Victory we've vowed...

Over the krauts!

Thank you, Baptiste.

May I? Of course.


It's hard.


Everyone here is proud of you.

Very proud.

Take this off.

My beautiful sister.

Beautiful.


You should modernize the farm while Clovis is away.

We see things on the front... tractors... machines that wash the laundry.

New things.

To the boss!

A boss with no employee is no boss.

After the war, it will all be different.

May your future children live in peace.

I'll never have children.

I can't.

Does Clovis know?

No.

To victory then?

To victory.

To victory then.


No one was ready.

Don't believe what they say.

A swift war turned into two years of hell.

Some guys in my regiment have gone crazy.

Soon we'll need a gendarme behind each guy.

If we get a good harvest, I'm going to buy a baler.

But they're a bit expensive.

They're expensive, but a good investment.

You won't break your back, and you'll save time.

The mayor says I'll get government compensation if I loan it out to three other villagers.

Good, Mother.

That's good.

Get someone to help out.

Too bad you fired the farmhand.

Even Solange said he did nothing.

Yes, but what he did get done... halfway...

And we had to finish his work. Sometimes.

We always had to. Why not ask Suzanne?

Her son got drafted.

She's too busy.

Can't move to Le Paridier?

No. We each have a home.

Find yourself a helper before the harvest.


So I can't give you a ride?

No.

I feel like walking.

Safe journey.

Be strong.


Go on!

Go on.

Hold on. Hold on.

Now.

Go ahead.


Given the situation and it being harvest time, I have no farmhand for you, not even a day laborer.

You're coming a little too late.

I had no time.

Are they all already taken?

We may have a young maid.

She's hardy, honest, and an excellent worker.

She'll be free soon.

But if you want to meet her, you'll have to go to Bellac.

That's too far.

I trust you.

I'll hire her till harvest end.

You won't regret it.

Francine Riant is only 20 years old, but she's as fit for hard labor as for housework.

Thank you.

She can start immediately. I'll be expecting her.

Fine.

I'll draw up the contract.

My beloved Georges, how horrible for a mother to imagine her child suffering.

I stopped reading the papers.

The fighting scares me, and it pains me to think of you.

You always said how beautiful our country is.

Constant got his leave. He is well.

He's a lieutenant now.

We had too much rain, and the wheat is patchy.

Tell me what you need.

I'll send a package soon.

Your mother, who is thinking of you.


Thank you. Of course.


Madame Hortense?

I'm Francine.

I've been expecting you.

I'm glad you're here.

Come on.

Let's get going.

Can you drive cattle?

Yes.

I did for my former employers. It doesn't scare me.

How did it go there?

Fine.

You'll work with us in the fields and help Solange with housework and with the vegetable garden.

For 40 francs, as agreed, at the end of the month.

You have Sundays off.

Except during harvest.

Gather your things. Solange will take you.

I'll show you to your room.

Pleasant and kind. So...

We'll see.


Go on.


Mind your fingers.

Two?

Yes. One more.

That should be enough.

Now... we add some wine.

One pit isn't much.

Know what a pit is?

A small barrel, like this one.

A small barrel. Thirteen gallons.

Add another one.

Good.

That's all? Yeah.

We'll add more if necessary.

We'll taste it.

The bread absorbs the wine.

That's all there is to it.

No need to be an engineer to make miget.

Hello.

I'm Marguerite.

Francine.


5TH COMPANY, 90TH INFANTRY REGIMENT POSTAL SECTOR 90


Clovis!

How about the krauts?

Who are the krauts?

Bloodthirsty monsters?

Not at all.

The Germans are people like us.

Workers.

School teachers, like Constant.

Farmers, like us.

I expect nothing.

In one day, we gain...

30 feet.

And the next day... we lose them.

And we can't say a word.

Go on.

Did you notice Clovis?

He's started to drink.

They booze you up on the front.

To keep you going.

Will it show?

A little. Not much.

Can you leave it with me? Sure.

Did you learn to sew at the orphanage?

Yes.

Reading and writing too.

I have my diploma.

Is what you're studying difficult?

Agricultural accounting.

It's hard, but it can help my father with the farm.

I want to make him proud.

He scared me at dinner.

I didn't recognize him.

I'm afraid he'll go back.

Don't worry. Your father will be brave.

When the war is over, it'll be...

It'll be a lot better for you.

Maybe I could even help Georges on the farm.

He'll be on leave soon.

I'm only here three days for harvesting.

Then I'll go back to school.

You're lucky to see him first.


I hired you for the harvest, but I'm happy with you.

You work well.

If you want, I'll give you a one-year contract.

Yes. Thank you.

Thank you, Madame Hortense. Enough.

Lagorce, Lucien Jean Léon.

Tenant farmer. Sixty-sixth Regiment.

Private. Killed on the field of honor.

Marchadier, François Louis Gaston.

Road mender from Lagache.

Sixty-third Regiment.

Private. Killed on the field of honor.

Rifaud, Jean-Louis Alfonse.

Carpenter from Lalande.

138th Regiment.

Private. Killed on the field of honor.

Welcome them, Lord.

Grant them eternal rest and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Amen.

Stop!

Stop.


It's fine.

Go on.


Thanks.

Any news from Clovis since his last leave?

Yes. Mostly in the form of orders.

He thinks you can run a farm from the front.

Talk about trust.

Are you less tired, Mother?

It's easier with the girl.

She's a hard worker.

As good as any man.

Mimi, come.

Come. Come.

Have you ever, up on the hill While gently stroked by a breeze Heard that song so divine Chanted by the quivering wheat?

Sweet When evening descends upon the earth And the nightingale Comes out to sing...

Miss Francine?

Georges.

Best farmhand in the region? I try my best.

I must go, Mr. Georges.

Not "Mr." Just "Georges."

Do I intimidate you?

No.

I'm going now, Mr. Georges.

Good-bye, Henri.

See you tomorrow, Francine.


It's probably not much fun at Le Paridier.

I know my mother.

She has reason to worry.

I understand.

How about Solange?

She's so elegant.

Different from the other farmers.

You have no reason to envy her.

I didn't get the chance to take you to my corner in the woods.

Prettier trees than these.

And a treasure.

A treasure? What is it?

I won't say.

It's a surprise.

So, will you come?

Of course. With Marguerite.

I like her, but she's like a sister.

I watched her grow up.

I'm leaving tomorrow.

Who knows if I'll come back?

You'll come back.

You may be gone by then.

That's not my decision.

We need you. We appreciate you.

No one wants to let you go.

Then I'll stay.

Will you write me?


We'll take the mare and a cow.

Last time for this year.

I'm awaiting government coupons. You'll be paid next Thursday.


Flatten it well.

It mustn't be bulging. Wipe off the extra.

If you're cold at night, ask Solange for a blanket.

Thanks. I'm fine for now.


Even after the war, we'll keep you, child.

Dear Georges, since you've allowed me to write to you, I'll give you some news from Le Paridier.

This is my first winter with your family.

We heard about Verdun.

It warmed our hearts.

Victory is near.

All is well here with your mother.

She promised me I could stay after the war.

If it helps, know that someone thinks of you every day.

And now there is someone on earth who thinks of me, who recounts his sorrows and offers to share them.

I pray for you.

Francine.

Mother!

Mother!

It's Clovis. He was taken prisoner in Germany.

You'll see your husband again.

It's no dishonor.

And... There's a good side to it.

At least he won't be killed.

Come on.

I don't understand where he is.

What was it again?

"Mannheim."

Hold on.

Here. It's here.


See you tomorrow. See you, Francine.


Who is it?

Constant.


Can I do something?


My mother also died giving birth.

I bet she was beautiful.

I don't know.

I never saw a photograph of her.

I'll never know what my parents looked like.

Sometimes I try to imagine them.

You have to try to sleep.

Tomorrow, you'll have to be strong.


Let us pray.

O Blessed Virgin, in your sojourn of glory, do not forget our sadness here below.

Look with kindness upon those who suffer, those who struggle, those who still drain the bitter cup of life.

Take pity on those who were in love and were separated.

Take pity on those whose hearts are lonely, on those whose faith is weak, and on the objects of our affection.

Take pity on those who weep, those who cry out, those who suffer, and those who tremble.

Give them all hope and peace.

Amen.


You mustn't pray anymore.

Prayers won't save us.

Getting to the front is exhausting and dangerous... a ravine over half-a-mile long.

Who knows how many men have died in it?

At times, I fear Constant is among them, among those decomposed, unidentifiable corpses.

But it's the only way.

There's no way around it.

I miss you, Francine.

A letter would do me good.

I'll come back, I promise, and take you into my woods.

Wait for me. Be good.

Take care, Francine.

Your soldier, Georges.


I promise you, Hortense.

Our teacher will get a dignified funeral.

But when?

When?

He must be somewhere.

He was put somewhere underground in a coffin!

It can't be that hard!

It's normal for a mother to want her son!

It's normal! It's not an unusual request!

He's my son.

My dear Georges, I suffer knowing you're so unhappy.

Often, despite the fatigue, I cannot sleep because I worry about you.

I've tried my best to help your mother.

Her sorrow is great, but we try to be brave like you.

Many people came to mass for your brother.

His students sang for him.

Everyone was moved.

I'll turn 21 on Tuesday.

I consider myself lucky to work for your family.

As a result, you never leave my mind.

With each letter, I hope to hear you'll be on leave soon.

I long to see you again.

Your Francine.

Francine, the state is giving you your bank book.

The treasurer put 700 francs on it.

A nice sum at your age.

I've saved up 150 francs.

100 in government coupons and 30 in cash.

Excellent.

Many girls from bourgeois families are not as rich.

You're a good match, Miss Riant.

And I'm sure that, in a short time, you'll marry an honest boy.

Perhaps.

Your diploma.

After the war, it will come in handy.


How much is the butterfly?

Eighteen francs.

I'll take it too. It's very pretty.


Thank you. My pleasure.


Marguerite?

I have a gift for you.

What's wrong?

This butterfly is for you.

It reminds me of you.

Are you sad to be leaving?

You have no one at the front.

He was all you could find?

Why didn't you say he writes to you?

Only to get news about the farm. No.

He loves you.

Get out of my room.

Get out.

All I want is Georges.

War damages men, Marguerite.

You're too young for that.

Georges has changed.

Clovis too, as you know.

Go on!

Go on!


It's like a bad dream.

Every day, I expect him to come home.

Every day.

Every day.

How about Clovis?

His morale is high.

They're not treated too badly.

Good.

Hello, Mr. Georges.

Leave us. We're sad.


Deal?

My brother Georges.

They're buying butter and vegetables. Good French vegetables.

So, do you like France?

The people... are very nice.

The women...

Beautiful.

Beautiful.

What are you here for?

Why are you here and not fighting?

While we die in the mud, like my brother.

Someone should tell me.

Answer me! Georges...

You understand?

Stop it.

They're far from home too.

Your letters never mentioned Americans.

I thought Solange told you.

They're good customers.

They buy a lot.

Good customers?

They're thieves.

They think that anything goes with our girls.

I understand you're upset.

But it's unfair. They're awaiting orders to fight.

Sunday, we'll go to my corner in the woods.

Will you come?

Yes.

I'll pick you up at noon. At the cross.


Hello, Francine. Hello.

Go on.

Comfortable?


You can open them.

My God.


Marguerite?

I don't need a hypocrite.

What did I do to make you mad?

You wrote to Francine.

She's the one you love, not me.

Of course I love you.

I've known you since you were 11.

You're my kid sister.

You're my sunshine.

I'm a woman now.

Yes.

You're becoming a very pretty young woman.

You put the fruit in here, into this compartment.

You boil it.

Then the steam, which is the alcohol, passes through the coil and cools down.

It drips down here.

Then you serve it and drink it.


Georges!

Show the Americans how to do it.

Like this.

Nice and straight.

You take turns.

You take turns. Go ahead.

Good.


Francine. Do you know where Solange is?

No, I don't.


You've increased crop yields.

That's pretty rare nowadays.

We've found solutions.

Be careful, Hortense.

People are jealous.

I defend my family's interests as best I can.

People are saying things about your daughter.

Folks around here say a lot of things.


There's no need to lie. I may not come back.

Like Constant.

So...

I wanted to say...

Marguerite...

we're proud of you.

My sister... you'll give us beautiful children.

Mother...

you're a wonderful woman.

I love you all.


Dear God... take good care of my love.

Don't let him get killed or wounded.


Francine?

Any alcohol for the Americans?

I think so. I'll go take a look.


Francine is a good worker... but she comes from nothing.

She sees foreigners.

You knew?

You knew your maid was a slut?

With girls like her, anything's possible.

It's in their blood.

Get rid of her.


My child, starting today, we no longer need you.

What did I do?

There's too much gossip, about Le Paridier and the Americans.

And there's no smoke without fire.

But, Hortense...

But, Hortense, it's not me.

You know it's not me.

I've done nothing.

I know.

But it must stop before Clovis gets back.

Clovis...

He has nothing to do with it.

I've been working here two years.

I've done everything well.

And you appreciate me. I know.

I must protect my family.

So I'm not family.

It's unfair.

It's unfair, and you know it.

I had it all here.

I had it all.

I wrote a letter of recommendation. I'll give you two months' pay.

I don't want it.

I don't want it.

You're a monster.


I'm ashamed of you.

Your husband's a prisoner and you... a whore for Americans!

I'm not a whore. He didn't pay me.

How dare you speak like that? How about you?

How dare you fire Francine after all she's done?

Just to marry off Georges to Marguerite.

I fired her because of gossip about the Americans!

I fired her to save your honor, and your husband's.

I asked nothing of you.

And I did nothing.

I saw you! Really?

With him. What did you see?

You saw what?

Yes, I'm a young woman.

Yes, I have desires.

And, yes, I found him handsome.

Want to know the truth?

He kissed me.

I kissed him.

He stroked my breasts.

Yes, it gave me pleasure.

A lot of pleasure!

And then I thought about Clovis.

And we got dressed. That's all.

Nothing happened.

Nothing!

Nothing.


Hello.

Hello. I'm Francine.

Mommy.

Mommy, she's here.

Hello. Hello. Come in.

The small ones on top.


Excuse me.

I don't know why, but I've been feeling nauseated.

I had that with Jeanne at first.

How so?

It's obvious, child.

You're pregnant.

Don't look so glum.

It's good timing.

Winter's coming. There'll be less work.

No, I'm not pregnant.

What will I do?

Like everyone else.

Come my angel My beloved little angel Come with me under a pure sky To sing a sweet song

Come, my angel My beloved, beautiful angel Daddy toils away and only thinks of us

Are you tired?

Careful, your laces are undone.

"It was brought to the two sisters who tried to squeeze their feet into it, but they couldn't.

Cinderella saw it and recognized it, laughing"...

Are you going to stay here for a long time?

As long as your mother wants me.

"'Would you like me to try it on?' Cinderella said."


As far as the eye can see, there are fields of corpses.

Everything has changed.

The living are underground, and the dead are aboveground.

This is the state of mind with which I confront danger.

I swear death doesn't frighten me.

And if I seem discouraged in my letters, it is not out of fear.

Mother, think of me.

No one will ever know how much we suffer.

Your Georges.


Monette, I'm worried.

Ever since I've been here, my letters keep coming back.

Maybe something happened to him.

No. You'd know.

Here, word gets around.

Maybe he's dead.

No. Don't worry.

I don't understand.

He knows I love him.

I said so in my letters.

He can't believe that I've betrayed him.

You'll get back together when the war is over.

Becoming a father changes a man.

Eat a little.


Make a ball.

A nice ball.

To make a ball, you press it down.

Is that so?

Like this.

Just so.

Come in.

Hello.

Time for a walk, Jeanne.

It's your husband.

I want to stay with Mommy.

No, we'll take a walk... get some fresh air.

Come.


Your meal is ready. See you tomorrow.

See you tomorrow. Thank you, Marthe.


He went back to the front.

He won't answer my letters.

He's behaved as most boys do.

He stopped seeing you once he saw you were pregnant.

He doesn't know.

No one knows. I didn't tell him.

Come now, Francine.

Had he known, he may have acted differently.

I want you to tell him.

If not for you, then for the child.

So you want to... give up the baby?

Never.

I have money.

I'll raise him.

I'll work.

I'll sacrifice myself for him.

He'll carry my name.

He'll protect me.

Yes.

He'll protect me.

I hesitated a while before writing.

That's how angry I was with you.

You were so unfair to me.

Today, I am writing you because I'm expecting Georges's child.

He won't answer my letters.

For sure, he thinks I did something with the American.

I can count only on you to tell him the truth.

Hortense, the fair, honest woman that you were cannot have changed.

Please, write Georges to tell him that I've loved or known no man other than him and that he'll soon be a father.

I stay hopeful, knowing that every day there, I served you sincerely and was very happy.

Francine.


Bye, Benjamin.


Victor!

Are you wounded?

An old wound.


Make of us, godfather and godmother, true witnesses of God's love.

Teach us to practice what we preach... to preach what we believe... and to believe what we learn of you... in our hearts and in the Gospel.


See you tonight.

Go on.


I got it for a good price.

The Americans left everything behind.


This is great.

Constant never cared about our land.

He was a teacher. What did he do with it?

He walked on it.

And took his classes there.

My father is right.

Solange invested in a baler and a tractor.

Why not put them to good use?

We can't leave the woods to rot and the land empty.

We thought my father and Solange could cultivate the fields.

And you could keep the woods.

You thought.

Why don't I get the fields, and Clovis the woods?

My mother bought the baler.

First Miraine's field and now my forest?

I'm ashamed of you.

The war is barely over, and you're fighting over Constant's land?

We don't know what land Constant was buried in!

We don't know when he'll return to his land.


They'll reach an agreement.

I prefer to see them like that...

back to what they were.

They say to be happy You have to be in love That it makes hearts generous And existence pleasant So we let ourselves be loved The heart, unsettled by this lie But happiness is a vain dream For we must admit Love is fragile Promises are easy Like the toys of little children You mustn't look to see what's inside We think that they're strong But, alas, they are empty At the first crash Bam, love is broken Now I have learned With all my experience A heart truly in love Is in love forever This is just a song Remember only the music Don't expect any truth From this happy little tune Love is fragile Promises are easy Like the toys of little children You mustn't look to see what's inside We think that they're strong But, alas, they are empty At the first crash Bam, love is broken


THE GUARDIANS