Cheri Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Cheri script is here for all you fans of the Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Friend movie. This puppy is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of the movie to get the dialogue. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and all that jazz, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. At least you'll have some Cheri quotes (or even a monologue or two) to annoy your coworkers with in the meantime, right?

And swing on back to Drew's Script-O-Rama afterwards -- because reading is good for your noodle. Better than Farmville, anyway.

Cheri Script

We may think ourselves
familiar in this day and age

with the notion that
whores of every description

can very easily
achieve fame and fortune.

But towards the end of the 19th century

in what came to be known in France
as the belle époque,

a select group of courtesans
became, for a short period,

the most celebrated and powerful women
in the long history of prostitution.

There was Émilienne D'Alençon,
who fancied herself as an actress,

but was better known as the woman

who'd all but bankrupted
King Leopold II of Belgium.

There was Liane de Pougy,

who, when shown
a million and a half francs worth of jewels

by her lover of the moment

became paralyzed with indecision.

obliging him to buy her the entire display.

She later became a nun.

There was La Belle Otero,

Spanish dancer, provoker of suicides

and lover of at least
six crowned European monarchs,

whose breasts served as models

for the cupolas
on the new Carlton Hotel at Cannes.

And there was Lea de Lonval.

Born Leone Vallon,

envied by many
as the most beautiful of all.

Her good sense had enabled her

to avoid the most dangerous hazard
facing those of her profession,

namely falling in love.

Now, with the departure
of her most recent lover

to his Russian estates,

Lea, aware that she was not far away
from being a certain age

was beginning to entertain the idea
of retiring.

Is there anything in the world
more wonderful

than a bed all to oneself?

- Good night, madame.
- Mm, good night, Rose.

Headquarters of the belle époque

was Maxim's restaurant

whose maître d'
possessed an indispensable notebook

containing a long list of names
of available women.

More Pommery.

Pommery is on its way, Fred.

One of his most regular customers

was Fred Peloux, known as Chéri,

the rich but neglected son
of another celebrated courtesan.

As the only child of a woman
focused obsessively on her career,

Chéri had led a solitary
and often confusing life.

Now, at the age of 19,

truth be told, after several years
of conscientious debauchery,

he was exhausted enough
to be starting himself to think longingly

of the notion of retirement.

Every so often,

Lea de Lonval found it necessary
to rise early

and prepare herself
as if for gladiatorial combat.

Oh, Rose, why did I agree to have lunch
with that dreadful woman

in that hideous mausoleum?

To the Palace of Varieties, Ernest.

Like most women

who have devoted their lives
to various forms of love

and been ostracized from polite society
as a result,

Lea now found herself confined
to an extremely narrow circle of friends.

Today, she was visiting
her former colleague, Charlotte,

once one
of her most ruthless competitors,

a woman of legendary astuteness
and skill

at extracting immense sums
from her clients.

Normally ravenous for gossip,

today Charlotte was preoccupied
with a particular problem of her own.

That child will be the death of me.

- The death of me.
- Charlotte, that child is 19.

Can you remember
what a gorgeous little boy he was?

All those curls.

I expect I remember better than you.

I can't imagine what you mean.

Sometimes I wonder
if it's the same person.

Black circles under his eyes.

Doesn't get up
till the middle of the afternoon.

Never stopped nagging me
until I bought him a new motorcar.

And I used to think of myself
as such a happy mother.

We all have our cross to bear.

To tell you the truth,

I was hoping
you might have a word with him.


He's always thought of you
as a kind of godmother.

He pays no attention to me anymore.

But I'm sure he'll listen
to anything you have to say.

"No more than ten cigarettes a day,"
he said.

And brandy only at the weekend.
He said it was my heart.

So there is one.

- Nounoune.
- Chéri.

What time do you call this
to be making an appearance?

- Oh, my God, who's that?
- Don't start that.

Ah, yes, you're my mother, aren't you?

I vaguely remember meeting you
a few times when I was little.

That's not at all amusing.

I was told you were seen in a bar
last week

sitting on old Lili's knee.

Don't be ridiculous.
Lili hasn't got any knees.

They disappeared years ago.

You see what I mean?

Show me your tongue.

You shouldn't drink gin.

- Or brandy.
- Well, it wouldn't be polite

to let my mother drink alone,
now would it?

You don't look at all well.

You're quite right, Lea.
He's a bag of bones. A bag of bones.

- I feel fine.
- You're a bad color.

Distinctly green about the gills.

I meant to ask you,
my dear, are you free on Sunday?

No, I'm going down
to my house in Normandy tomorrow.

- With Speleieff?
- No, that's over.

Speleieff's gone back to Russia.
Do concentrate.

Your memory, Chéri.

We went to the farewell dinner
a couple of months ago.

Ah, yes. We had langoustine.

I could just do with a plate of them now.

One minute he won't eat,
the next he's asking for langoustine.

Which one are you taking to Normandy
with you?

I'm going on my own.

Nice to be so rich.

You're welcome to come if you like.

There's nothing to do there
but eat, drink and sleep.

Where is this place?

It's just down the coast from Honfleur.

I'm so exhausted all the time.

I said you don't look at all well.

Pfft, pfft, pfft!

Do you good
to spend some time in the country.

Just simple things.

Grilled chicken,
strawberries and cream.

No women.

- No women? Sounds irresistible.
- Ha-ha-ha.

Has anyone ever explained to you
why your eyes are so beautiful?


It's because they're shaped like a sole.

Like a sole, the fish.

This end, you see, by your nose
is the head of the sole.

And the upper curve is the back.

And the lower line here is the flat belly.

- I see.
- Yes.

If it were curved under the eyes
as well as above it,

it would be shaped like a flounder.

And then you would look stupid.

Well, well,
you learn something every day.

These are heavy.



Why did I start calling you Nounoune,
can you remember?

I don't know.

You were 6 at the time
and not disposed to discuss your reasons.

Is that when you christened me Chéri?

Well, I expect I thought
one good nickname deserved another.

Kiss me.

Kiss me.

I'm not sure that was very intelligent.

Oh, what? Oh...?

You think I've never kissed
a handsome mouth before?

You think
that's going to make me lose control?

I mean, even if we were to...

Not that I can see that happening.

Well, you raised the subject.

Let's say no more about this, shall we?

The garden smells beautiful
this evening.

It's the rose acacia.

Come here.



- Don't lose your temper.
- I'm not.

Yes. Fatal mistake for a boxer.

- I'm not a boxer.
- Come on.

- Come on.
- Unh. Unh!

No, you're not.

I've known your mother
since she was in the Corps de Ballet.

I first met her
when she was just beginning to realize

that art lovers are a more reliable source
of income than art.

I can't honestly say I've ever liked her.

Nobody does.


But you know our profession.

We're really not able
to make friends outside of it.

Women who do what we do,

no one else would ever understand.

Say something.


Tell me something about yourself.

Nothing to tell.


He'll never make a boxer.

I didn't take him on for his boxing skills,

No, of course you didn't.

It's strange.

I can't describe it.

It's like being in bed
with an African or a Chinese.

Not that I've ever had that experience.

Oh, I'm sorry, Patron,
am I embarrassing you?

Not at all, madame.

I can't criticize his character,

mainly because
he doesn't seem to have one.

All the other young men
I've had to do with

can't wait to tell you
all their innermost secrets.

He never says a word.

There's something about him,
something mysterious, I can't explain.

We were just talking about you.

If I were a woman, Monsieur Chéri,

I think I'd say,
"I'll come back in ten years time."

Wouldn't do you much good, would it?

Do you enjoy being spiteful?

I always find it cheers me up, yes.

Few weeks, Patron. Just a few weeks,
then I'll send him on his way.

But she didn't,

and six years later
they were still together.

This was something
of a surprise to her,

but the truth is
she felt entirely comfortable

with a companion
so embedded in her own milieu

that he required of her
no pretence whatsoever.

Both of them were dimly aware

that this state of affairs
could not go on indefinitely.

But for now, they were lulled
by the soothing routines of habit.

Every so often,

a disapproving world would draw attention
to the unsuitability of their life together.

They would take note,

and then once again fall back

into the comfortable bickering
of an old married couple.

Can I have it?

It looks just as good on me
as it does on you.

Ugh, take if off,
you'll wear out the thread.

Whoever it was gave you these,
he wasn't kidding.

Did you hear what I said? Take it off.

It'd make a wonderful wedding present.

Who for?
- For me.

Who do you think for? For me.

You're just scared I'll make off with it.

No, but I know you.

If I were to offer it to you,
you're quite capable of accepting.

Well, why wouldn't I?

You can't say I don't look good in them.

If I did, you wouldn't believe me.

Don't scrunch up your nose like that
when you laugh.

- You'll give yourself wrinkles.
- Not for a while.

You know, you can look
really ugly sometimes, you know that?

You're lying.

- It's a minority view.
- Ha, ha.

- No, none of that this morning.
- Yes.

No, you're having lunch with the harpy,
your mother.

Oh, God. And it's already 20 to 12.

- Are you coming?
- No, I've been let off.

I wasn't invited.

- Really?
- Mm.


I thought so too.

I've been ordered to join you for tea.

Marie Laure is coming.

With that ghastly daughter of hers.

Her daughter is very pretty.

And clever enough
not to be as pretty as Marie Laure.

If you say so.

Rose. Run my bath.

Ugh, I hate it when you wear a veil.

Really, have you no manners?

Never reproach a woman
for wearing a veil.

She always has her reasons.

Marie Laure, as beautiful as ever.

Lea, I don't know if you remember
my daughter, Edmée.

Of course, I do.

- Have you left school?
- Well, of course she has.

What would a lovely girl of want with school?

- Eighteen.
- Eighteen.

Eighteen. That's what I meant.

Marie Laure,
you're one of the only women I know

- who could carry off that color.
- Ha, ha.

- Well, I think it's time we were going.
- Surely not. It's still early.

No, well,
the child is not very used to company.

Only because she's had to lead
such a solitary life.

Why don't you all come to lunch
on Thursday.

- I can do that.
- I'll have to check.

- Say goodbye, Edmée.
- Chéri will show you out.

On your feet, lazybones.

Lovely to see you.

Delightful pair. Delightful.

Marie Laure certainly looks magnificent.

Yes, she was very beautiful in her day.

And she can carry off
that awful color of puce.

I suppose she's right
about Edmée being 18.

Yes, she had her the year
after she got that enormous pink diamond

out of Khalil Bey and left him flat.

We always thought that singing teacher
must be the father, didn't we?

Shall we take a turn
around the grounds?

I need to have a word with you
about Chéri.

- I thought as much.
- Ha, ha.

As you know,
I've never stood in your way.

On the contrary,
I've always been grateful to you.

- So I should hope. He's cost me enough.
- Ha-ha-ha.

You know me.
I'm very content with my lot.

I have everything I need.

Not that we haven't worked hard for it,
both of us.

- You know what I'm saying.
- Mm.

But lately...

- Yes?
- I've been thinking about what's missing

from my life.

Oh, not love, surely?

You're always saying how happy you are
to be rid of it.

Ah, ha, goodness, yes.

I mean something altogether different.



I'm arranging a marriage for Chéri.

- Has he been told?
- Of course, he has.

- Hasn't he said anything to you?
- No.

Ha, ha, oh, what a dreadful boy he is.

I mean,
of course, it's not as if there's any rush.

Oh, you mean,
it's not happening right away?

Oh, good heavens, no.

End of next month.

Ah. You've made a deal
with Marie Laure.

It wasn't easy.

She's hard as nails, that one.
Hard as nails.

She wanted separate bank accounts.

- Can you imagine?
- Easily.

Anyway, it's all arranged now.

What a wonderful life
they're going to have.

- Youth, beauty, money.
- Ha-ha-ha.

What's so funny?

You're throwing Edmée to Chéri
like a Christian to the lions,

and you think she's going to have
a wonderful life?

Wh...? What do you mean?
He's the kindest, sweetest...

- What do you know about him?
- I'm his mother.

Since when?

I'm sorry, Lea.

I'm sorry. How very clumsy of me.

- I've upset you.
- Not in the least.

- Well, naturally, it's come as a shock.
- No, Charlotte, not at all.

I've been expecting it.
I've been expecting it for years.

I've been expecting you
to come and take him away,

and hand him over
to some other loose woman.

Oh, Lea, that's a very ugly expression.

I don't think so.

You have nothing to worry about,

You're getting him back
in very good condition.

I've kept him away from opium,
and cocaine

and the cheaper sort of drink.

I believe you'll find
he's a credit to both of us.

I'm sure.

It doesn't mean that little girl
is going to be able to handle him.

- Young women have their methods.
- You may be right.

- I can't say I remember.
- Ha.

You were worried,
weren't you, Charlotte?

Admit it.

You were afraid
I was going to bleed all over you.

I was only afraid of one thing.

- That I might cause you suffering.
- Ha-ha-ha.

Oh, that's right. Laugh at me.

Laugh at me
and call me an old romantic.

All I want
is to see the young people happy.

Oh, you always were
disgustingly sentimental.

Oh, come here. Oh.

You smell so good.

Don't you find,

now the skin's a little less firm,
it holds perfume so much better?

The least you could have done
was tell me yourself.

She wanted to tell you.

She thought it would come better
from her.

You and your mother
have been cooking this up for months.

- Why are you giving me a hard time?
- Because you're a coward.

How much is she worth?

A million and a half.

- From her father?
- How should I know?

She doesn't know who her father is
any more than I do.

All I know is,
she's worth a million an a half.

- And you?
- Oh, I'm worth far more than that.

So you'll have more than enough.

More than enough?

You and I don't think about money
the same way, Nounoune.

How much do you think you've saved
while I've been paying for everything?

Fifty thousand a year? Sixty?

Multiplied by six.

Haven't I been worth it?

Anyway, she certainly is very pretty.

She seems quite bright.

What's your impression?

I have no idea.

I expect I'll find out sooner or later.

How does she feel about you?

She admires me.

Loves me as far as I can tell.

- She doesn't say much.
- Mm.

- What about you?
- I didn't say anything.

I see, it's a real love match.

Why do we have to talk about her?
You're the one I'm worried about.

Me? Why?

- What are you going to do?
- What am I going to do?

What, do you mean,
what am I going to do now?

You're so beautiful.

A good body lasts a long time.

Everyone knows that.

Are you going to be all right?

Of course I am.

It'll be wonderful not to find
all the towels floating in 6 inches of water

every time I come into the bathroom.

I think I'll have it redecorated.

What do you expect me to do?

Go and pine away in Normandy?

Stop dyeing my hair?

- Is that what you want?
- Yes.

You're not the first young man
I've said goodbye to.

Yes, I know, but what I thought might
be appropriate is if I were the last.

I'm only thinking of you.

If it's any consolation,

I've been with you longer
than anyone else in my life.

And I've certainly never devoted
as much time and consideration

to the end of any of my affairs.

But you can't expect me
to curl up and die.

When is the wedding, anyway?

September the 25th.

You seem very casual about it.

Why not? It's all been arranged.

Ceremony at 2.
Reception at mother's house.

Sleeper to Italy.
Honeymoon by the lakes.

- Do people still go to the lakes?
- They do.

- And what about the girl?
- What about her? She'll be there.

And I won't be.

Nounoune, you'll always be there.

I mean,
you know, in case I need anything.

You are to be kind to her,
do you hear me?

Don't make her suffer.

It's her turn now.

Mine is over.

That's not what I want.

Oh, I'm afraid, from now on,

what you want
has very little to do with anything.

We'll get Rose to help you pack.

What? Why?

You're getting married next month.
There will be a lot of preparations,

which you'll need to be making
from home.


Can you imagine how rich I'm going to be
when I don't have to pay for you anymore?

What about my replacement?

Oh, some loose change
and a packet of cigarettes.

And a Kir Royal on Sundays,
if he behaves himself.

Say something.

- Nounoune.
- What?

Just say something.

Come on.

Let's go shopping one last time.

What for?

Your wedding present, of course.

There is a big pink pearl at Schwabe's.

Ha, ha, pink?

Ah, let's go for something
a little more masculine, shall we?

A regular white pearl.

I think I know the very one.


What do you think?


When did you get this?


Isn't that a little flaw?

It's tiny. You have a very good eye.

I've been very well-trained.

Wonderful color, isn't it?

Does this mean
there's someone new in your life?

No, I bought it myself.

Eleven thousand six hundred.

Now, ladies and gentlemen.



I'm so sorry I have to rush off.

Goodbye, Edmée. Fred.

Enjoy yourselves in Italy.


I suppose we're lucky
she got off her back for a couple of hours.


Wonderful to see you.

I must have been sad before
like this, Rose.

Can you remember?

After little Lequellec, perhaps?

No, madame,
it was Monsieur Bacciocchi.


- You cried for days.
- I was only 28 then.

My mistake was keeping Chéri
for six years.

Being with someone for six years

is like following your husband
to the colonies.

Time you come back, you've forgotten
what you're supposed to wear,

and nobody remembers who you are.

Do you mind opening the window?

Is that a good idea?

It's really stuffy in here.

I don't like doing it.

It would be so easy for somebody
to climb in.

Oh, promises, promises.

I'm sure I should be telling you lovebirds

but I can't think for the life of me what.

Hardly surprising.

Isn't this the first time
anyone's ever been married in our family?

Goodbye, darling.


All aboard.

Goodbye, darling.


How old are you anyway?

I told you, I'm 19 in January.

It's obscene.

Well, you're only 25.

Twenty-five years old.

I don't know why I find it shocking
that you're so much younger than me.

You have such beautiful eyes, Fred.

Yes. Do you know why?

Is it because I love them?

No, it's not.

It's because my eye
is shaped like a sole.

When you're finished with that hat,
Madame Lea,

I hope you'll think of me.

That blue one that you gave me,

It lasted me two years.

I can just see you in that hat, Aldonza.

I hope you don't run
into any pregnant women.

I know what suits me,
thank you very much.

I wore a hat very like that
when I danced Sylvia

at the Turkish gala in the '89 exhibition.

Do you remember, Charlotte?

No, I left halfway through the evening
with Count Orloff,

and didn't get back for two years.

I don't know how you could go off
like that with a strange man.

All men are strange.

Hear, hear.
- Yes, but I mean to say...

Shut up and deal.

Ow, oh! My arthritis.

And to think I used
to have the most beautiful hands.

King Alfonso XII used to drink
from my cupped palms.

He called them
his mother-of-pearl seashells.

I always thought
he was one of the duller kings.

He adored my hair,
down below my knees.

Monsieur de Thou, the deputy,

used to say there was enough hair
to carpet the stairway to heaven.

- And now what's left?
- A very nice wig.

Are you all right, Lea, my dear?

You don't seem quite your usual self.

No, I'm fine.

Except for having eaten that vast meal.

I'm going to have to go on a diet.

- Oh. Haven't you suffered enough?
- What...?

Oh, you mean that.

No, I wish it worked that way.

I'd give up any number of young men
if it meant I could lose a few kilos.

You're amazing, Lea.
There's nobody like you.

Keep your eyes on the cards.

Have you ever seen weather
like this in October?

You're right, it's extraordinary.

And if it's like this here, just imagine
what it must be like in Italy.

Are you all right, my dear?

I'm just going
to get a breath of fresh air.

Lea. Lea.

Come back, they've arrived.


The happy couple.

Lea. Lea, darling, it's been,

mm, ages.

And this is Prince Guido,
the love of my life.

Perhaps you've already met.

- Yes, of course, of course, madame.
- No, don't slobber.

Oh, he's gorgeous, isn't he?

A touch of restraint
wouldn't come amiss, Lili.

No, no, Baronne,
don't be such a curmudgeon.

Please, sit.

They're very sweet together.

They remind me of the children.

That's why we came,
to ask how they were.

- How was the wedding?
- Glorious, glorious.

A riot of orange blossom,
and the bride looked like a dream.

A Madonna. A Madonna.

And my boy was walking on air.

What news of the honeymoon?

- Italy, the lakes.
- Oh, idyllic.

Yes, I remember when General Petrescu
took me to Florence and Venice.

- In a coach?
- No, no, by train.

Weren't they horribly uncomfortable,
those early trains?

Not like the ones
my Chéri and Edmée have been taking.

Don't you have any more colorful details
for us?

Oh. I can't think what you mean.

I'm sorry, it's my weakness.

Guido will tell you that I adore it
when he talks dirty.

Speaking of which,
do we think that Marie Laure

gave the bride any words of advice?

Marie Laure couldn't wait to get away.

I wouldn't think she'd ever had
such a thing as a conversation

with her daughter in her life.

Then did no one give the poor
little thing her instructions for newlyweds?

In this day and age, Lili,
people know what they're doing.

At least, my Chéri does.

Doesn't he, darling?

Of course, Guido and I
would get married tomorrow

if he were of age.

Really, Lili?

Then I'd be a real princess,
wouldn't I, Guido?

He always calls me his principessa.

Don't you, darling?

The only problem is his father.

My father is the duke of Parese.

He says if I marry Lili,
he'll put me in a convent.

- A convent?
- Sounds delicious.

Oh, come here, my darling.

Come and kiss me. Mm!

Oh, yes. Ha-ha-ha.

- Oh!
- Oh, I'm sorry.

Don't worry.
It's good luck, spilling a glass.

Unless, of course, it's colored glass.

I have to leave.

Why? Where's the fire?

Well, I'm not sure
there's a delicate answer to that.

You don't mean...?

What? Already?

Thank you for lunch.

You can't leave us
in suspense like this.

No, tell us, tell us.

You've got to tell us everything.

No, it's too early in the day.
It has to be a secret.

What? Wha...?

For the time being at least.


Good evening, madame.

I'll need a fire in my room tonight, Rose.

The heat is on, madame, but of course.

And I'll need a hot water bottle as well.

Just some toast and grapes for dinner.

Tell Marcel to do me
that chocolate with an egg yolk beaten in.

Yes, madame.



You're up very early this morning,

Are you all right?

Not really.

What's the matter?

You know, age.

You know what we're going to do,

We're going to get in the car
and drive down to Biarritz.

Towards the sun.

My dear Charlotte,

I'm sorry to slip away
without saying a proper goodbye.

I am probably making
a complete fool of myself.

But then again, why not?

Life is short.

Let's do our best to enjoy it.

Remember me to the boy
when he comes back.

P.S., don't bother
to try bribing my butler.

No one in my household
knows anything about this escapade.

So, what did he say?

He said that he wasn't going
to be able to come along to see us

for at least another 18 months.


The Hotel Grand Palais
in Biarritz had, for some years now,

been a happy hunting ground
for Lea and her like.

Put those over there.

A place where you might
easily find yourself shoulder to shoulder

with the British prime minister.

Or in some more intimate posture,
with the Prince of Wales.

However, this time, it was not a customer
Lea was on the lookout for,

it was a consolation.

Madam, monsieur.

Have you seen Jocelyn?

Won't you join my son and me
for a pot of tea, madame?

That's so kind. I'd be delighted.

Welcome home, darling.

How are you?

How are you?
Let me have a look at you.

Oh, you're not looking at all well.

- Two days on the train. I'm fine.
- Are you all right, dear?

I've been feeling a bit tired.
- Good, good.

But you must tell me
what's the matter with him.

Have you been looking after him properly?
He's looking positively sinister.

Thank you.
Thank you for a most wonderful evening.

I don't suppose you'd care
for a nightcap, would you?


What was the date on the letter?

- What letter is that, darling?
- The letter from Lea, as you well know.

Oh, I'm not sure.

around the beginning of October.

And you say you don't know who it is?

Who what is, my love?

The man she went away with.

This is the thing.

Nobody knows. A total mystery.

Of course, you know me.

I've been able to make a few inquiries.


He's young. Very young, I'm told.

Not someone you'd boast about,
but very...

Mm. You know, handsome.

Be some muscle-bound boxer
if I know anything.

Good to have some decent coffee
at last after all that Italian muck.

Do you like my new outfit?

How do I look in this bonnet?

Like an old convict.
Enough to give anyone a fright.

Oh, it goes without saying

you're welcome to stay here
as long as you like.

As long as you like.

I can't stay here.
I'm allergic to rag and bone shops.

I don't know where else
you're going to stay.

They haven't nearly finished
your house.

Bastard builder says it's going
to take another four months.

Look at them. Four months.

Pull away.

- Fred?
- What?

Doesn't she live near here?

Other side of the park.

You go back.
I have just thought of something.

- All right, Marcel?
- Monsieur Peloux.

- Hard at work as ever.
- Very nice to see you again, sir.

I hope madame is well.

Couldn't really tell you, sir.
We've only had the odd postcard.

- Where from?
- Not rightly sure, sir.

We send all her mail to the lawyer
and he forwards it.

Money between us, sir?
There's no need for that.

Anyway, can't tell you what I don't know.

I could give you the name
of madame's lawyer.

No, it's all right.

- When will she be back?
- No idea, sir.

Whenever she feels like it.

We keep the place ticking over
just in case.

But, you know,
I wouldn't be in the least surprised

if you said to me now:

"There she is
coming around the corner."

So finally,
the whole thing was just up to mother.

But I found it so powerful.

- It was so powerful. Moving.
- Yes.

To my core,
I've never had an experience like it.

I'll go and see how cook is doing
with the duck.

We'll have to try
and put a bit of flesh on you, Lea.

You're a bag of bones.

Are you having trouble with your memory,
Madame Peloux? Occasional blackouts?

- What can you mean?
- You called Edmée Lea.

It's the third time you've done it today.

Don't mind me, dear.

I have so much on my mind,
I can scarcely remember my own name.

No one's ever as busy as the person
with nothing to do.

Perhaps you should send her
on a rest cure.

Thank you for defending me.

Or was it her you were defending,
my predecessor?

You're not scared
of my illustrious mother, are you?

When a door slams,
it can give you a shock.

But it's not as frightening as the snake
that slides under the door.

You mean, your mother?

I don't know
if you could call her a mother.

She never noticed me
until I started to look pretty,

and then she couldn't wait
to get rid of me.

I just got left
with all Madame Peloux's friends.

That's why I know how to do petit point.

Or, look, old Madame Aldonza
from the ballet

showed me how to do
an entrechat quatre.

So I suppose we're both orphans, really.

Yes, that's right.


Chéri, what's the matter?

You called me Chéri.

Well, you're frightening me.

Are you all right, Fred?

Yes, it's just the thought
of our being orphans, that's all.

Why do you always turn your back
on me?

You haven't been listening
to a word I've been saying.


You never listen to what anyone says.

I expect you were thinking
about your Lea.

Yes, as a matter of fact I was.

I hate you.

You don't love me. You never loved me.

You're hardly even aware I exist.
You're a degenerate.

All you ever think about
is that old woman.

- I'm sorry you find me so boring.
- It's not that.

- It's just I have no idea what it is you want.
- What I want?

- Listen.
- No.

No, I don't want one of your lectures.

I don't want to be told
why I'm too young to know what's going on

or why your eye is shaped like a mullet.

A sole.

I just can't understand
why you're so aggrieved.

Do I go out on my own in the evening?

Do I sleep in a separate bedroom?

- Am I having an affair?
- How would I know?

Don't you like the way I make love
to you?

You call that love?

Oh, God.

Oh, my God.

Mm, oh, my God. Oh, God.

Oh, God. Mm. Mm.

At times of insecurity,

Chéri's instinct was to return
like a homing pigeon

to the familiar distractions of Maxim's.

Good evening.
Is the Vicomte Desmond in this evening?


The impersonal friendship,
the exaggerated laughter,

the clink of glasses
and the sound of gypsy violins.

Fred. Well, well, well.

Mind if I join you?
- Delighted.

What are you drinking now
you're an old married man?

Chamomile tea?

Pommery as usual.

Something else to get you started?

Pommery first. Pommery last.

Can I ask you a favor?

Of course. What?

Make a call to Neuilly.
Ask for my mother.

Tell her I'm having dinner with you.

Suppose I get Madame Peloux,
your wife.

Tell her the same thing.
She's very well-trained.

Who is that woman staring at me?

You know, that's La Loupiote.

A friend of Lea's or a colleague,
I suppose, once upon a time.

You didn't even say hello to me.

Hello. How are you?

Some people have all the luck,
don't they?

Pretty as a picture and rolling in money.

All the luck and no clue
what to do with it.

Get off home back to your mommy.

Poor boy.

Evening, monsieur.

It was a splendid evening.

I thought we were going out.

- I'm going up to bed.
- Oh?

I'm going to take a room here.

You go.

And how long will you be staying,

I don't know.

Let's just take it one day at a time,
shall we?

Shall I introduce you to the English girl?


I tell you,
she knows some amazing tricks.

I said no.

Can I do something for you, my dear?

Shall I make you a pipe?

No, thank you.

I'll have some cocaine.

I'm so sorry.

I know what the trouble is.

You have everything
you can possibly want.

And none of it means a thing.

The thing is, I don't know where she is.

Or who she's with.

It's all right, you don't need to worry.

They're fake.

I'll go.

What is it?

Lea. May I come up and see you?

I'm busy.

Just for a few minutes.

I don't think so. Not this evening.

Later perhaps.
At the end of the evening.

Give my regards to your mother.

Oh, it's you.

How long is this going to go on?

I don't know.

It's been nearly three weeks now.

Poor little Edmée is frantic with worry.

On the contrary,
her letter was extremely calm.

What letter? Show it to me.

- I threw it away.
- Ugh.

But she said she'd wait to hear from me
and sent regards from all your friends.

Looks like Marie Laure
really did bring her up properly.

Oh, you'll be the death of me.

I strongly doubt it.

Who is it, my darling?

You can tell me.


It's a postcard from old Lili.

Chéri, Monsieur Peloux, has run off.

Oh, he's left his wife.

Can't say it comes
as any surprise to me, madame.

I dare say the divorce will be more fun
than the wedding.

That goes straight up to madame's room.

- Straighten that one.
- Right.

Bring that bag up.

Come along.




Take this lot into the house for me,
would you?

They're for Madame Peloux.

My wife.

Are you back now?



Back for good.

Three hundred and twenty francs
for Vaseline.

What does Ernest do? Drink it?

We ought to burn all of these.

Twice yesterday,
I thought I saw Chéri on the street.

Do you think he'll ever come back?

I couldn't say, madame.

Do you want him to?

No, I saved him once.

I couldn't do it all over again.

Do you think I should change my hair?


- Charlotte.
- Lea.

You're back home.
And Chéri's back home as well.

Back with his lovely wife.

The young couple
are happier than ever.

So all is well with the world.

I don't know if you heard.

But he disappeared on us
for weeks on end.

We had no idea where he was.

We were worried sick.

Anyway, that's all in the past.

What a relief.

I must say, my dear.
You look more beautiful than ever.

I don't know how you manage it.

But, of course, you know,
Chéri was just sowing a few wild oats.

Is that so?

I wouldn't dream of blaming you,

but you had such a tight hold on him.

With any luck,
he'll have got it out of his system.

That's exactly what I said
to his little wife.

I must say, she was astonishing.

Of course, she was very lucky
to have me there with her.

You took the words out of my mouth.

Even so, my dear,
she behaved like a saint.

Sweetness and light.
Sweetness and light.

Patience on a monument.

- Not one single word of reproach.
- Frightening.

And when he came back, all smiles,

as if he'd just got in
from a stroll in the park,

she didn't open her mouth.
They just headed straight for the bedroom.

I can promise you,
for the next hour and a half,

there wasn't a woman in the world
happier than me.

Except possibly Edmée.

Oh, no. Ha-ha-ha.

I don't think Edmée's very keen
on all that. Ha, ha.

Bit of a cold fish, I'd say.
Like her mother.

Is that right?

Anyway, the important thing
is that he's now ready to settle down.

Love his house.

He'll take care of his money
and he'll adore his children.

Well, you don't have to make it sound
quite so depressing.

This cognac is 74 years old.

Oh, must be appallingly expensive.

Lotte, that's sweet of you
to be concerned.

You wouldn't be if you knew how much my
oil stocks had gone up this last quarter.

You never told me you were in oil.

You were wrapped up
in your matrimonial arrangements.

Not too wrapped up
to miss buying into Compressed Fuels.

Well, and you never told me either.

The last thing I wanted was to barge in
on your new love affair.

How is all that, by the way?
Still happy?

- Very.
- Do you have a photo?

Your spies haven't come up
with anything, then?

Oh, what spies?

You know I never listen to gossip.

But Chéri said to me this morning,
just as l...

He knew you were coming?

Of course.

Why should that make you blush?

So you told him I was back?


He told me.

He sent me.

He was so anxious
to have some news of you.

What do you expect?

How could he forget a woman like you?

If you want my opinion,
you've only to lift a finger...

I don't want your opinion.

That woman always makes me feel
so grubby.

I can't stop myself
from going down to her level.

She's always been a troublemaker.

I landed a good few blows today.

We're like two dogs
fighting over an old slipper.

She made me realize something.

When we parted, Chéri and I,

we each lost the only
really honorable thing in our lives.

Beautiful handles, don't you think,
for such an old vase?

Yes, madame.

Maybe I should start a business.
What do you think?

Aline Mesmacker
opened that restaurant.

Apparently, she's making a fortune.

Or I could finance Khun.

I know he wants
to open his own fashion house.

Ugh, what am I talking about?
I've always hated the idea of working.

This was my only place of business.

And the customers have all gone.

It's after midnight.

Go see who it is.

Monsieur Peloux.

There's something
I have to talk to her about.

Madame would be ready
to see you in the morning.

Shan't be more than five minutes.
- Monsieur, please.

Monsieur, no. Please don't go up.

Out of my way, Rose.
- No, monsieur, please.

No. Madame...

No, Madame is not here...
Monsieur, no.



I'll deal with this, Rose.

You might, at least, take your hat off.

- May I sit down?
- If you want to.

Do you mind if I smoke?

Do what you like.

Marcel let me in.

Well, why wouldn't he have?

You expect me to change my staff
every time you get married?

- No, all I meant was...
- How long were you intending to stay?

Please note I haven't asked you
what you mean

by bursting in on me
in the middle of the night.

- You can ask, if you like.
- No, I'm not interested.

So you don't even want to know
why I'm here?

I've come back.

It never occurred to you that barging
in like this might be embarrassing?

You understand what I'm saying?

Your friend's not back yet.
Is that what you mean?

That's not of your bus...

Not in there. How many times?

What's this?

- An emerald.
- I can see it's an emerald. I'm not blind.

What I mean is, who gave it to you?

No one you know.

It's beautiful, isn't it?

Everyone admires it. Everywhere I go...

That's enough.

- What are you doing?
- Calling the police.

Don't be ridiculous.


Oh, Nounoune.

Say you're sorry.

Why should I?

It's that or leave the house.

- Sorry.
- I can't hear you.

I'm sorry.

That's better.

What's the matter?

What's happened?

Nothing's happened.
I've come back, that's all.



So, then...

Do you love me?




Do you have a lover?

Do you or do you not have a lover?


Except for you.

I love you.

You're awake.

So are you.

- What time is it?
- What difference does it make?

I don't know yet.
- You're back.

Tell me. Ahem.

Uh, tomorrow...

Don't worry, I'll take care of everything.


We'll try to be as discrete as we can,

causing as little scandal or suffering
as possible.

We'd better go back down south
for a few months.

Somewhere peaceful
so we can look at each other.

You just go back to sleep
and leave it all to me.

All right.

Thank you.

No, that's too late.

Isn't there something earlier?

Isn't there one at noon or 12:30?

No, that's too early.

All right, then.

Two for 3:15, first class.

Thank you.

- More to eat?
- No, thanks.

- Not hungry?
- Not really.

Take your rhubarb pills.

I wish you wouldn't fuss.

We need to talk.

Let's get it over with, shall we?

You've come back,

that's the important thing.

How could I ever have thought
you were just like all the others?

Why didn't I realize you were the one?

The only one.

The love that comes along only once.

Now, let's be practical.

Are you willing to leave
all the arrangements to me?

Oh, how are we going
to let them know?

A letter is probably the best way.

Quite short and to the point,
I should think.

I'll help you write it.

We need to get some of your things
before we leave.

I hope your mother will cooperate.

Will you stop pulling at the skin
on your toe.

That's the way
to get an ingrown toenail.

Don't you have anything
to contribute to this discussion?

You're like a 12-year-old.

With you, Nounoune, I'm likely to stay
that way for the rest of my life.

What do you mean?

What I say.

It's true, isn't it? You can't deny it.

Most people would be pleased
to have the secret to eternal youth.

Its part of your charm, stupid.

I don't know why you're complaining
to me about it.

I'm complaining to you about it

because if I am like a 12-year-old,
it's your fault.

My fault?

Oh, my poor Nounoune.

I can do without your pity.

What did you mean, my fault?

I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that.

It's just that, for me, you were always...

I was always?

You sound as if you're reading the eulogy
at my funeral.

You think you can go on drifting back
and forth between Edmée and me?

Is that what you have in mind?

Well, if it is,

you'll have to learn to look
a good deal less guilty than that.

Unless she's a lot stupider
than I take her for.

Or perhaps you think you can get your
mother to keep her under lock and key

while you wander around
doing what you feel like.

She's not gonna put up with it forever,
you know?

Don't forget,
she's Marie Laure's daughter.

The poison's bound to come out
somehow or another.

- She may be a...
- Stop it, Nounoune.

I can't allow you to ruin my idea of you.


Talking like that,
you sound like my mother!

Before I got married, you said to me:

"Be kind to her, try not to let her suffer."

That's what you're like.
You're a good person.

Even last night you said
you hoped I hadn't done something cruel.

You're above all that!


That's why I've always loved you.

Why did you come back?

- I was just starting...
- Well, I wasn't.

Neither was I.

I came back

because I couldn't go on without you.

You have no idea what my life's
been like these past few weeks.

Now I know what it is to suffer
because of a woman.

When I found out you were back,
I was so relieved.

I thought I could go home.

Everything would be all right.

But all I could think about was...

And then last night,
I came back here and...

You came back here and...

You found an old woman.

Yes, you found an old woman.

Don't cry. Why are you crying?

I'm so grateful to you.

Were you really in love with me?

Did you really think
I was such a good person?

If I had been a truly good person,
I'd have made a man of you

instead of thinking of nothing
but your pleasure and my happiness.

I wouldn't have kept you all to myself.

Look at me.

You're right.

The qualities you lack,
I expect it is my fault.

But 30 years of easy living
does make you very vulnerable.

So no, I never did talk to you
about the future.

Forgive me.

I loved you as if we were going
to die the same day.

I carried you in my heart
for such a long time.

I forgot you were going to have
to carry your own burdens.

A young wife.

Perhaps even a child.

And so

you're going to suffer.

You're going to miss me.

And you're going to have
to try to find enough wisdom and tolerance

not to cause suffering to others.

The thing is,

now you've had a taste of youth.

It's never satisfying,
but you'll always want to go back for more.

You must go.

I love you.

But it's too late.

So get dressed.

And go away now.

Chéri felt capsized,

as if he'd been present
at some irreversible catastrophe.

And, indeed, far sooner than he
or anyone else could have predicted,

the belle époque itself
was swept away utterly by a war

in which he fought
and from which he returned unharmed.

He's going to come back.

At the same time,
he was unable to suppress a sense

that he had escaped from something,
that he was a free man again,

a feeling he eventually came
to realize was entirely misguided.

It was many years
before he understood

that both of them
had been quite unjustly punished.

Lea, for having been born
so many years before him.

And Chéri, for having failed to grasp

that Lea was the only woman
he would ever be able to love.

And once he was settled in his mind
that this was the case,

he looked out his old service revolver

and put a bullet in his brain.

Special thanks to SergeiK.