WINNER, SPECIAL JURY PRIZE AND ITALIAN CRITICS' PRIZE AT THE VENICE FILM FESTIVAL DEDICATED TO B MOVIES
MY LIFE TO LIVE A FILM IN TWELVE TABLEAUX
"Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself."
A CAFÉ - NANA WANTS TO GIVE UP - PAUL - THE PINBALL MACHINE
Do you really like the guy?
I don't know.
I wonder what I was even thinking.
Does he have more money than me?
What do you care?
What do you care?
Something bothering you?
No, I just wanted to deliver that line a specific way.
I didn't know the best way to say it.
Or I did know, but I don't anymore.
Just when I should know, too. Doesn't that ever happen to you?
Don't you ever talk about anything but yourself?
I'm not horrible, Nana. I'm sad.
I'm not sad, Paul. I'm horrible.
Don't talk nonsense. This isn't a stage.
You never do as I ask, but you always want me to do what you want.
Anyway, I'm fed up. I want to die.
Is that so? Yes, that's so.
It's exhausting loving you. I always have to beg.
I exist too.
You say I'm cruel, but you're the cruel one.
Why do you say that? It isn't true. You mean Sunday evening?
You know very well when.
I begged you to introduce me to that man.
You did it on purpose.
Yes, I did.
If we started over, I'd just cheat on you again.
Don't say that.
Don't say that.
I thought it was important we should meet, but I don't any more.
We might have got together again.
But the more we talk, the less the words mean.
Anyway, if I make it on the stage, it won't be thanks to you.
Acting isn't everything.
Not you too! Why do you say that?
If it's what I want, why should you mind?
I might be discovered someday.
Yes, you mustn't give up.
I haven't given up music.
Not like your English lessons. You were never really interested.
I'm not giving up.
In fact, that guy's going to take pictures of me.
Maybe I'll get into the movies.
That'll be the day.
You're horrible, Paul.
You're horrible, Paul.
You really are. It's always the same.
You say you love me, but you don't consider me special.
I hardly love you any more, but I still consider you special.
Why do you say things like that? I think we're all the same.
You don't approve of me looking for work?
It suits you even less than all the rest.
Anyway, you're leaving me because I'm poor.
When all's said and done, maybe.
Have you got the pictures you mentioned on the phone?
I forgot them. They'll be ready at the end of the week.
Is he all right? ls he eating well?
He had an earache, but the doctor said it was nothing.
What's your job at Pathé-Marconi?
I sell records.
Can you lend me 2,000 francs?
Out of the question.
Your parents must be glad I'm gone.
No, they liked you.
What's that look for?
What's that look for?
Let's not start quarreling again.
How about a game?
Got a coin? I only have one.
Yes, I do.
You go first.
I'm suddenly thinking of those essays my dad's students write.
What about them?
He read us some great ones last night over dinner.
They're just kids. They had to describe their favorite animals.
One little girl of eight chose a bird.
How did it go?
"A bird is an animal with an inside and an outside.
Take away the outside and the inside is left.
Take away the inside and you see its soul."
THE RECORD SHOP - 2,000 FRANCS - NANA LIVES HER LIFE
No, we're out of that, sir.
What about Judy Garland?
We don't have her either.
Do you have a guitar recording by Roméo...
What's his name? Rafael Romero.
Rafael Romero on guitar.
In the bins in back.
Is Rita still sick?
Yes. I think she'll be back Thursday.
What a drag. She owes me 2,000 francs.
Can you lend me 2,000? You crazy? I'm broke.
Why? Anything wrong? No, nothing.
Here it is.
I'll take this too.
This way, sir.
That looks great.
The story's stupid, but it's very well written.
"He gazed at the turquoise, star-laden sky and then turned to me.
'You live your life intensely, so logically... '
I interrupted him.
'You attach too much importance to logic.'
For a few seconds I was filled with a bitter sense of triumph.
No more broken heart, no more struggle to live again.
No probing questions to face while masking one's defeat.
Yes, a truly elegant way of breaking this deadlock."
THE CONCIERGE - PAUL -
THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC - A JOURNALIST
Please give me my key.
All right, then.
Arthur! Get her!
Come on, give me the key.
Where are you headed?
Want to see the pictures?
He doesn't look like me at all. He looks more like you.
Come have dinner?
Where are you going? Boulevard Saint-Michel.
Come have dinner. I'm not hungry.
I want to see a movie. Bye.
JOAN OF ARC
We have come to prepare you for death!
How am I to die?
At the stake!
How can you still believe you were sent by God?
God knows our path, but we understand it only at the end of the road!
Yes, I am his child!
And the great victory?
It will be my martyrdom!
And your deliverance?
I said good-bye already.
I paid for your movie ticket.
Evening. How are you?
Evening. How are things?
Didn't we have a date tonight? Yes.
I wondered if you were coming. Why? Am I late?
Just a bit. But that's not why I wondered.
I'm usually very punctual.
11:00 p.m. is very late.
I thought you'd forgotten too.
What will you have?
Any rolls left? Sorry, no.
A coffee, then.
Was that a friend outside?
No, it was my brother.
You have lots of brothers and sisters?
Five brothers and three sisters.
Surprised? It's true.
What's new since Wednesday?
Is that red car outside yours?
What is it? A Jaguar?
No, an Alfa Romeo. Are you interested in cars?
No, I don't know a thing about them.
When shall we take those pictures?
You tell me. I already told you I'm ready.
But I'm only free on Sundays.
I'm off to London on Sunday.
Well then, I don't know.
How about now? Are you tired?
If I say no, you won't think I'm awful?
Not at all.
Do you really think I could get into films?
I think so.
Look, I brought you a composite sheet.
I'd like to do something like that.
What's this for?
You send it out to people in films, and a few days later maybe they call you.
I'm a bit shy about undressing.
Just a little. What can it hurt?
Could you lend me 2,000 francs?
I would, but I haven't got it.
What about my pictures?
You'll come with me then?
THE POLICE - NANA IS QUESTIONED
Born April 15th, 1940, at Flexburg, Moselle.
No fixed address. ls that right?
All right. What happened?
Well, I was walking down the street, and I saw a woman buying a magazine.
Then... she took some money out of her bag.
She didn't notice she'd dropped 1,000 francs.
So then... I pretended to buy a magazine too, and I put my foot on her 1,000 francs.
She left and...
And she realized it?
She walked back toward me... and stared into my eyes for a long time.
So I gave her back her money.
Then why did she bring charges?
I don't know. I think it was very mean of her.
Don't you have anyone you can stay with in Paris?
Why not ask for an advance at work?
I already have, too many times.
What are you going to do?
I don't know.
I... is someone else.
THE BOULEVARDS - THE FIRST MAN - THE ROOM
How about it?
Is this the place?
You've been here before?
Yes, it is.
You want Room 27 or 28?
Do you smoke? No, thanks.
There's never an ashtray.
How much do you want?
I don't know. It's up to you.
I don't know.
Four thousand francs?
You owe me 1,000.
I have no change.
Keep it. It doesn't matter.
It's true. I'm not just trying to get more.
But you have to take everything off.
Why not on the mouth?
MEETING YVETTE - A CAFÉ IN THE SUBURBS -
RAOUL - GUNSHOTS IN THE STREET
Yvette! How are you?
Is that you? You cut your hair! A long time ago.
How are you? And you?
Oh, I'm getting by. Me too.
Good for you.
Why? I thought that...
What are you doing here?
I'm thirsty. Shall we get a drink?
I'd love to.
Oh, I'll tell you all about it.
Life is cruel.
I'd like to get away, escape to the tropics.
Escape is a pipe dream. Why?
It just is.
This is it.
Shall we sit over there?
I'll be back in a minute.
So tell me.
One evening, Raymond... came home with train tickets to Brest.
He said he had a job, so we took the kids and moved and went to live in a hotel by the harbor.
He'd disappear for the entire day.
He was "working."
I'd take the children out, buy them ice cream.
I was worried, because I couldn't figure out how he earned his money.
One evening, after three weeks of that, he just never came back.
I had to manage on my own... with the children that my mother-in-law wouldn't look after because she didn't like me.
I gradually became a prostitute. It was the easiest way.
Then, two years later, I went to the movies one night... and saw him acting in an American movie.
And things are fine now?
What would you like?
White wine. Rosé.
Still, it doesn't sound like much fun.
No, it's depressing, but it's not my fault.
I think we're always responsible for our actions. We're free.
I raise my hand - I'm responsible.
I turn my head to the right - I'm responsible.
I'm unhappy - I'm responsible.
I smoke a cigarette - I'm responsible.
I shut my eyes - I'm responsible.
I forget that I'm responsible, but I am.
I told you escape is a pipe dream.
After all, everything is beautiful.
You only have to take an interest in things, see their beauty.
After all, things are just what they are.
A face is a face.
Plates are plates.
Men are men.
And life... is life.
The guy I said hello to by the door wants to meet you.
Would you mind?
Not at all.
My girl's not the kind to be seen In a chic magazine That's plain to see No starlet's sunglasses or gowns She works across town In a factory Some plain furnished rooms are our home We live there alone She and I A warehouse and rooftops below From our little window Meet the eye Vacations we spend close at hand The Riviera's too grand For our pay Loved ones are distant and few I've a godmother who Lives far away But my girl, though just 25 ls the sweetest that I've Ever seen No saint in any church you could find ls as sweet or as kind At least to me When the town dozes off in the blaze Of the sun's summer rays Burning bright With my baby girl wrapped in my arms I drink in her charms And hold her tight We whisper our thoughts, she and I As light fades from the sky Up above In the secrecy of our four walls As night slowly falls We make love
ls she a lady or a tramp?
Insult her. if she's a tramp, she'll get angry.
If she smiles, she's a lady.
A hot toddy.
We'll find out.
You're a friend of Yvette's?
I know you very well.
You're lying. I saw you three months ago.
A guy was showing you pictures on Boulevard Saint-Germain.
Then why did you deny it? You say any old nonsense.
Why do you look at me like that?
You look stupid, and your hair looks awful.
Wait here. I need to talk to you.
THE LETTER - RAOUL AGAIN - THE CHAMPS-ELYSÉES
Dear Madame, a friend who worked for you gave me your address.
I would like to come and work for you.
I am 22 years old.
I think I am pretty.
My height is...
I have short hair...
but it grows very quickly.
Enclosed is a picture and...
Oh, it's you.
The classic letter.
Yes, it's me.
How did you know I was here?
I followed you.
I was in my car, and I saw you come in here.
You've got some nerve.
No, you're very beautiful.
You really skipped out quickly the other day.
When that crook was shot outside the café.
You just vanished.
I don't think they were crooks. It was some political stuff.
Really? I didn't know.
In any case, I didn't mean you aren't brave.
I was just making conversation.
What do you think of me?
I think there's a lot of goodness inside you.
What? A lot of what?
There's a lot of goodness in your eyes.
Really? I didn't understand.
Anyway, that's an odd thing to say.
I wasn't expecting a Catholic response. What I meant was:
Do you place me in a special category of women?
You like being special?
For me, there are three types of girls:
those with one expression, those with two, and those with three.
Did Yvette give you this address?
Are you really serious about it?
I'd like to earn more money.
I can help you earn even more here in Paris.
Really? Fine with me.
Why not try to get into movies? You're a pretty girl.
I did try.
Two years ago, I wanted to make it on the stage.
I was in Pacifico at the Châtelet.
And I was in a film once with Eddie Constantine.
I'm telling you my life story. How awful.
No, it's not. I'm a friend.
Give me a smile.
No, I don't feel like it.
Shall I come with you?
When do I start?
"When the city lights go on, the streetwalkers' desperate rounds begin."
AFTERNOONS - MONEY - SINKS - PLEASURE - HOTELS
What exactly do I do?
The prostitute earns all she can by trading on her charms to build up a good clientele and establish the best working conditions.
Does she have to be beautiful?
No, although beauty is an important factor in a prostitute's career.
It establishes her place in the hierarchy and attracts the attention of the pimp, since her physical allure can be a source of great profit.
Does she have to register somewhere?
Before the law of April 13th, 1946, prostitutes were subject to medical and police surveillance.
Under the new law, only medical surveillance is now required.
The 1946 law and Decree 2253 of November 5th, 1947, established the National Sanitary Register for all women shown by conclusive evidence to be engaged in prostitution.
But what do I do?
Regardless of the neighborhood, the procedure is the same.
By her dress, attitude, and makeup, the prostitute indicates her trade.
Sometimes, in defiance of the law, she gestures to the client or propositions him outright.
What do I charge?
It can vary greatly, from 300 to 15,000 francs for an encounter lasting from a few minutes to an hour called a "trick."
An "overnight" ranges from 5,000 to 50,000 francs.
Can I go anywhere I like?
Controls have been attempted. In Paris, for instance a police regulation of August 25th, 1958, forbids loitering with intent to solicit during certain hours in the Bois de Boulogne and around the Champs-Elysées.
Do I keep a percentage?
A daily "quota" is agreed upon in advance.
Around the Champs-Elysées and the Madeleine, it's 20,000 to 30,000 francs a day, paid at the end of the week.
Do I have my own room?
Usually only the towels are changed between tricks, not the sheets.
Some hotels provide no blankets, only a bottom sheet.
What about the police?
They conduct raids and interrogations.
Any woman in violation of regulations can be detained in a clinic as long as necessary for extensive testing.
Can I have a drink in a café?
A prostitute who drinks heavily earns very little.
She's undesirable because she creates a scene.
What if I get pregnant?
One might think a prostitute would seek an abortion at any cost.
That's not the case.
They do try to avoid pregnancy, by chemical means or any other.
But once pregnancy is confirmed, abortions are rare.
Must I accept anyone?
The prostitute must always be at the client's disposal.
She must accept anyone who pays.
That man... that man...
Are there clients every day?
Lower-grade prostitutes average five to eight clients a day, earning 4,000 to 8,000 a day.
However, some manage exceptional turnover.
Sixty clients is not unheard of on Saturdays or holidays.
A YOUNG MAN -- LUIGI -- NANA WONDERS WHETHER SHE'S HAPPY Do I get days off?
Usually after the medical check.
Her man usually takes her out, often to see her child in the country.
Afterwards, they go out to a restaurant or a movie.
Is Luigi here? Upstairs.
I'll be five minutes.
The movie already started anyway.
A white wine.
Got any Gauloises?
You have cigarettes? Yes. What kind?
I was just wondering.
Got any cigarettes? They've got some downstairs.
How are you? So-so.
What's wrong with her?
We were supposed to see a movie.
I'll cheer you up.
I'll do the kid blowing up a balloon.
He's got a balloon, and he blows it up.
You ought to be my man.
Happy now? Will you let us talk?
THE STREETS - A GUY - HAPPINESS IS NO FUN
Did you see inspector Fleytoux? He bought a BMW.
They could have provided chairs.
It's always like that.
3,000. 5,000 if I undress.
Can't you give me one more? I have to keep some.
One of these, then? It's all I've got.
A little one. It would be so nice.
You come here often?
But I've seen you before, haven't I?
What's your name?
Yes, I'm fond of it.
What line of work are you in?
I shoot pictures for ads.
You mean like in the movies?
No, still pictures.
I was in a movie with Eddie Constantine two months ago.
No Pity. Did you see it?
You don't say much. Are you the romantic type?
If you give me more, you can stay.
That's what you want?
I'll go see.
Are you leaving? Yes.
Can you spare five minutes? Ask Monique. She's in 41.
What's up? Nothing.
The elevators never work.
See you Tuesday at the Olympia.
What are you doing? Going downstairs.
Can you spare a moment? How much?
I don't know. We can discuss it.
Work it out with her.
All right? Yes.
What's your name? Elizabeth. Like the Queen of England.
Shall I strip too?
Actually, don't bother.
So you don't need me any more?
I don't know.
PLACE DU CHÂTELET - A STRANGER - NANA, THE UNWITTING PHILOSOPHER
Do you mind me looking?
You look bored.
Not at all.
What are you doing? Reading.
Will you buy me a drink?
If you like.
Do you come here often?
Occasionally. Today I just happened by.
Why are you reading?
It's my job.
Suddenly I don't know what to say.
It happens to me a lot.
I know what I want to say.
I think first about whether they're the right words.
But when the moment comes to speak, I can't say it.
Yes, of course.
Have you read The Three Musketeers?
No, but I saw the movie. Why?
Because in it, Porthos...
Actually, this is from Twenty Years Later.
Porthos is tall, strong, and a little dense.
He's never had a thought in his life.
He has to place a bomb in a cellar to blow it up.
He does it.
He places the bomb, lights the fuse, and starts to run away.
But just then he begins to think.
How it's possible to put one foot in front of the other.
I'm sure that's happened to you.
So he stops running. He can't move forward.
The bomb explodes, and the cellar caves in around him.
He holds it up with his strong shoulders.
But after a day or two, he's crushed to death.
So the first time he thought, it killed him.
Why do you tell me things like that?
No reason. Just to talk.
Why must one always talk?
I think one should often just keep quiet, live in silence.
The more one talks, the less the words mean.
Perhaps, but can one do that?
I don't know.
It's always struck me, the fact we can't live without speaking.
But it would be nice.
Yes, it would be nice, wouldn't it?
Sort of like we loved one another more.
But it's impossible. No one's been able to.
Words should express just what one wants to say.
Do they betray us?
Yes, but we betray them too.
One should be able to express oneself.
We manage to write things quite well.
It's extraordinary that someone like Plato can still be understood. People really do understand him.
Yet he wrote in Greek 2,500 years ago.
No one really knows the language, not exactly.
Yet something gets through, so we should be able to express ourselves.
And we have to.
Why do we have to? To understand each other?
We must think, and for thought we need words.
There's no other way to think.
To communicate, one must speak. That's our life.
Yes, but at the same time, it's very hard.
Whereas I think life should be easy.
Your tale about the Three Musketeers may be a very nice story, but it's terrible.
Yes, but it's a pointer.
I believe one learns to speak well only when one has renounced life for a while.
That's the price. So to speak is fatal?
Speaking is almost a resurrection in relation to life.
Speaking is a different life from when one does not speak.
So to live speaking, one must pass through the death of life without speaking.
I don't know if I'm being clear... but there's a kind of ascetic rule that stops one from speaking well until one sees life with detachment.
But one can't live everyday life with... I don't know...
We go back and forth. That's why we pass from silence to words.
We swing between the two, because it's the movement of life.
From everyday life one rises to a life...
Let's call it superior... why not? It's the thinking life.
But the thinking life presupposes that one has killed off a life that's too mundane, too rudimentary.
Then thinking and speaking are the same thing?
I believe so.
It's in Plato, you know. It's an old idea.
I don't think one can distinguish a thought from the words that express it.
A moment of thought can only be grasped through words.
So to speak is to risk lying?
Lies too are part of our quest.
There's little difference between an error and a lie.
I don't mean ordinary lies, like promising, "I'll be here tomorrow at 5:00," and then not showing up.
Those are just ploys.
But a subtle lie often differs little from an error.
One's searching for something and can't find the right word.
That's why you didn't know what to say before.
I think you were afraid of not finding the right word.
How can one be sure of having found the right word?
One must work at it. It only comes with effort.
To say what must be said in the appropriate way, that is, that doesn't hurt, that says what must be said, does what must be done, without hurting or wounding anyone.
One must try to act in good faith.
Someone once told me, "There's truth in everything, even in error."
That's what France didn't see in the 17th century.
They thought one could avoid errors and lies, that one could live directly in the truth.
I don't think it's possible.
Hence Kant, Hegel, German philosophy: to bring us back to life and make us see that we must pass through error to arrive at truth.
What do you think about love?
The body had to come into it, and indeed, Leibniz introduced the contingent.
Contingent truths and necessary truths make up life.
German philosophy showed us that in life, one thinks with the constraints and errors of life.
One must manage with that. It's true.
Shouldn't love be the only truth?
But for that, love would always have to be true.
Do you know anyone who knows right off what he loves?
No. When you're 20, you don't know.
All you know are bits and pieces. You grasp at experience.
At that age, "I love" is a mixture of many things.
To be completely at one with what you love takes maturity.
That means searching.
That's the truth of life.
That's why love is a solution, but on the condition that it be true.
THE YOUNG MAN AGAIN -- THE OVAL PORTRAIT -- RAOUL TRADES NANA
What shall we do today?
I don't know.
Shall we go to the Luxembourg Garden?
I think it's going to rain.
"I thus saw in vivid light a picture all unnoticed before.
It was the portrait of a young girl just ripening into womanhood.
I glanced at the painting hurriedly, and then closed my eyes.
It was an impulsive movement to gain time for thought, to make sure that my vision had not deceived me, to calm and subdue my fancy for a more sober and more certain gaze.
In a very few moments I again looked fixedly at the painting.
The portrait, I have already said, was that of a young girl.
It was a mere head and shoulders, done in what is technically termed a vignette manner, much in the style of the favorite heads of Sully.
The arms, the bosom, and even the ends of the radiant hair melted imperceptibly into the vague yet deep shadow which formed the background of the whole.
As a thing of art, nothing could be more admirable than the painting itself.
But it could have been neither the execution of the work, nor the immortal beauty of the countenance, which had so suddenly and so vehemently moved me.
Least of all could it have been that my fancy, shaken from its half slumber, had mistaken the head for that of a living person.
At length, satisfied with the true secret of its effect, I fell back within the bed.
I had found the spell of the picture in an absolute life-likeliness of expression." ls that your book?
No, I found it here.
Can I have one?
It's our story: a painter portraying his love.
Shall I go on?
"And in sooth some who beheld the portrait spoke of its resemblance in low words as of a mighty marvel, and a proof not less of the power of the painter than of his deep love for her whom he depicted so surpassingly well.
But at length, as the labor drew nearer to its conclusion, there were admitted none into the turret.
For the painter had grown wild with the ardor of his work, and turned his eyes from the canvas rarely, even to regard his wife.
And he would not see that the tints which he spread upon the canvas were drawn from the cheeks of her who sat beside him.
And when many weeks had passed, and but little remained to do, save one brush upon the mouth and one tint upon the eye, the spirit of the lady again flickered up as the flame within a lamp.
And then the brush was given, and then the tint was placed.
And, for one moment, the painter stood entranced before the work he had wrought.
But in the next, while he yet gazed, he grew tremulous and aghast, and crying with a loud voice, "This is indeed Life itself!" turned suddenly to regard his beloved:
She was dead!"
I'd like to go to the Louvre.
No, I don't like looking at pictures.
Why? Art and beauty are life!
I adore you.
And I love you.
Why not come and live with me?
Yes. I'll tell Raoul it's all over.
Let me at least put my coat on or I'll catch cold!
Stop acting hysterical.
No, Raoul, not now!
Stop acting hysterical!
You know each other?
What did I do wrong?
You must take anyone who pays.
Not anyone. Sometimes it's degrading.
See? That's where you're wrong.
The movies are a drag. Weekdays we're too busy, and on Sundays there's always a line.
Where are you going? Taking them back to their car.
Why did you make me come?
You're going with them.
HADES AND SONS
Well, are you going?
First the girl.
First the money.
Get the money.
There's 100,000 missing.
Don't think I won't shoot just because of the girl.
No, don't shoot me!
You shoot. I forgot to load.
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