Rue du retrait (2001) - full transcript

Can you read this and ask him for it?

Okay, but why?
Isn't he nice to you?

Not nice at all.

I never know what he's saying.

It's for a sedative.

I know that. Is it aspirin?

It's Valium.

It's no sedative, it's a stupefier.

- It's not so bad.
- I've taken it too.

I said to the doctor, aspirin.
That's what I wanted.

- Doctors are useless.
- Aspirin won't help you sleep.

I won't take a stupefier!

So do you want the aspirin?

Thank you.

Will you be okay?

Kitty! Here, kitty.

Where are you, rotten cat?

I can't get you. Come here.

My pretty. Here, kitty.

My little girl.

My cat is in there.
I can't get her out.

Rotten cat!

Go and sit down in the back room.

I'm expected for lunch.

I see.

I suppose I won't see you again?

Yes, if you'll ask me.

When I was young,
my father owned a shop.

We had a real house.
I know how things should be.

I'm sure you do.

Come next Saturday, if you like.

Okay, then. Goodbye.

My pretty. My lovely.

My little cat.

Today, I met an old witch
in the Chemist's.

I drove her home.

You should see the slum she lives in.
It's pure 19th century.

How are you?
When are you coming home?

Bring back some money.
I hope there's no casino.

I love you too.

I was joking.
You take everything so seriously.

What is the client's budget?

100,000 francs.

Don't bother if it's that pathetic!

Versailles called.

Really, it was them?

Alone, we have no hope,
no matter how good we are.

I'll talk to Masurel.

- Do you mean it?
- Why not?


Paul is smart enough
to want a project like this.

Even in partnership with his ex-wife.

- We're meeting on Wednesday.
- You amaze me.

I hope so!

Yes, Zira.

The ironing is not done.
Can I go pick up my son?

Should I do the wine sale in Beaune?

I'll go with Fred later.

- Would you like some coffee?
- Yes, please.

Sit down.

Have you lived here long?

A very long time, Mrs...
What's your name?

You can call me Isabelle.

- Did the Council send you?
- Sorry?

Did the Council send you here?

Not at all.

We met in the Chemist's on Sunday.

- Have you forgotten?
- No.

I was just asking.

Someone from the Council

insisted on sending a Home Help.

She stole from me.
She didn't do her job.

She refused to wash the floor.

I don't think it's such a lowly task.

I carry my own coal
and sweep the chimney every week.

Every week? But why?

In case of fire!

That girl had the nerve to say...

I should go into a Home.

You know what I said?

"You know your way out."

And you? Do you work?

Yes. I work hard.

You have a job? A good job?

I'm supposed to think
on behalf of institutions

and people in charge...

of companies.

You're a kind of secretary?

Something like that.

Today, women have to work
as hard as men.

In my day,
we were less with it.

Training is the main thing.

It stands between you and nothing.

That, and a place of your own.

Like some fruit?

But you go ahead.

What are you doing?

You can't do that.
You'll kill yourself.

I've managed well enough.

It's a death-trap.

I see. A death-trap...

Good morning, ma'am.

- On the tab.
- 6.90 francs.

Goodbye, ma'am.

Did you get up at 6:00, again?

I'll grab a coffee
and go to Masurel's.

I'll be back late morning.

I'll see if she's here.

An electrician.

No... I'm sorry.

I hardly know her
and I wanted to help.

Send me the bill.

Thank you.

That will teach me.

- What an idiot.
- Who?

The old neighbour I told you about.

I called an electrician
to fix her wiring.

She threw him out.

I was wrong to try and help.

- How are you?
- And you?

Fine, thanks.

See the effect you have,
even 5 years later.

It seems like yesterday.

You're still in shape.

I'm getting old. Out of it.

It's all sales, sales.
What's the point?

How's Paul taking it?

You know him. So diplomatic.

So optimistic.
For him, life goes on.

You were right to leave.

You can choose and refuse.

- How is Fred?
- Working abroad until next week.

Still happy with Sophie?

Clients mix us up on the phone.

Can Isabelle and I come in?

We're on our way.

He's tired.
It makes him grumpy.

His second baby cries at night.

The way I see it,
I can put something together.

But they'll only take me
with backing.

So you thought of us?

Of course. Who else can I trust?

You know we'd love to help you.

And a long-term contract
is highly profitable!

It's true, it's a good deal.

Let me be sentimental.

Now he's a father,
he's a real softy.


We'll split the takings 50/50.

We put up expenses,
equipment and staff

and you run the operation. Okay?

I have to go.

Good bye.

Come and see my girls.
It's better than mailing them gifts.

Okay, thanks.

Why didn't you let him in?

He has work to do. He's busy!

Go ahead.

Why isn't she in a Home?

She likes it where she is.
She doesn't want to leave.

I didn't know people lived like this.

Then you don't know much.

We'll be old too, one day.

For you, it's a long way off.

I just wanted to fix her electricity.

Aren't you falling into a trap?

Let's start work on our big client.

Isn't it better like that?
It's less dangerous.

Before the big house
in impasse de l'Adour,

my father owned a smaller one,
in rue Chevreau.

They wanted to build
a railway line there.

It's because of that land

that he made a small fortune.

My father had a hardware shop,
in rue de la Mare.

He gave out free bread and coal

to the poor people,

and when it was very cold,

there was always a cauldron of soup.

I loved standing there.

I was proud of my father,
for helping the poor people.

When he made his fortune,

we moved to that big, warm house.

Then my father
started going out every night.

He wanted to be with the toffs.



the music hall...

That's where he met her.

It broke my poor mother's heart.

And she was poisoned.

Later, she tried to poison me too.

Then she moved in with us.

I was a skivvy for the whole house.

I slaved day and night.

I do like the things you wear.

Show me your skirt. Is it lined?

When I was little,
I had a grey poplin,

with pink flowers.

In Mother's day,
nothing was too good for me.

After, I got the cast-offs.

And the underwear...

It's changed so much
in so little time.

Some evenings,

my stepmother threw off
her red-feathered bed jacket

and stood there in her corsets.

They don't make corsets
like that anymore.

That's it.
You'll knock me over!

What's up, Made? You agreed.

You're not happy?

- We said up to here!
- I've changed my mind.

You're doing this for yourself,
not for me!


I wanted to ask you something.

Why doesn't she live with you?
Then you'd have a child.

You have so much room.

I couldn't sleep.

I don't understand.
I'm all mixed up.


I want to hug that old bundle.

Five seconds later,
I want to drop her.

Stop laughing at me.
Did you prepare the meeting?

I've chosen 22 people.

They've all signed on.

Just choose a date.

Sorry I doubted you.

How about Monday?

I'll be in Burgundy with Fred.
We'll do it Wednesday.

Mado, aren't you cold?

It's very unpleasant.

- You don't look too well.
- No.

But don't put yourself out.

- Can I go shopping for you?
- No.

It's ridiculous not having a phone.

You could have called me.

- How could I know you were ill?
- I'm not ill.

You should be in bed.

You'll fetch the doctor.

- Well, is that so terrible?
- He'll send me away.

- Where to?
- Hospital, where else?

It beats being here, like a dog.

I have my thoughts,
you have yours.

What are you looking for?

- A night-dress.
- I don't need one.

You're going to bed.

I'll have to get up all the time.

I'll bring you the commode.

Who's going to empty it?

Can I speak to the doctor?


I'm sorry to bother you.

I know you hold surgery today.

Could you come and see
an old lady?

I won't go to hospital!

I won't go!
You can't force me!

Don't get all worked up,
or I won't treat you.

It's like giving aspirin
to an elephant.

For one week,
take a tablet every...

She needs ongoing medical care.

- What do I owe you?
- Nothing.

I'll call you tonight.

She should be in a Home.

Good bye.

I have to go away for a few days.

I know it's bad timing
but it's for my job.

Let me get a nurse in.

Only until I get back.

I'm going to call
to get a nurse in.

But please,
don't send her away.

I don't want one.

- You'll spoil my trip.
- What do I want with a nurse?

I don't need help to take my pills.

You think she'll light my fire?

You know you can't manage alone.

If you don't want a nurse,
tell me.

I'm not treating you like a child.

Say no and I won't insist.

But you should say yes.

I can see I have no choice.

She's never had hot water.

You can't imagine what it's like.

She's lived
in that rat hole for 40 years.

The cost of this weekend
could change her life.

Turn that off right now,
or I'll kill you!

Give me that.

You know I hate being filmed.

You're at az y'.!

Wine is a constant discovery.

No two years are alike.

No two grape types are alike.

You like it or you don't.

You like blondes or brunettes,
who knows why?

Hello, this is Nurse Vanacker.

Mrs. Bidois wouldn't let me in.

I went twice today.
She didn't even answer the door.

I don't know what to do.
I'll call back.

Your old biddy's no picnic.

We've seen her
but she never opens the door.

- Never?

I know her.

- What's going on, Ludovic?
- She won't open the door.

- Are you her daughter?
- Yes.

I'm worried. She's in.

We're her neighbours.
Try her again.

She's there, I saw her.

Call the fire brigade then.

Why keep me out in the cold?

We try but she won't let us help.

Why didn't you let in the nurse?

Nurse, what nurse?

I know a nurse came.

Not until Monday.

I spent the weekend all alone.

Are you sure
she only came on Monday?

The cat.

I'll feed it.

- Let her out.
- It's freezing.

She won't mind.

I suppose I'll have to go.

Have you eaten?


Has Mrs. Bidois
done her shopping lately?

- She's not sick, is she?
- Yes, a nasty flu.

Doesn't she have a family?

Yes but... I think so...

I got you some dates.
Can you eat them?


I'll make some tea.

I'll need some clean clothes.

What do you want?

A vest, knickers, a petticoat.

Don't you wear underclothes?

No, in the wardrobe.

Do you want me
to help you change?

Of course.

In that horrible hospital,

full of noise and drafts,

there were two nurses.

They washed me in bed

because I was too sick for a bath.

I'll heat the water
and you tell me how.

And your hair?

It will wait.

What are you doing?

Don't think I don't appreciate it.

I'll drop by tomorrow.

See you tomorrow then.

- What happened?
- Nothing.

I helped wash her, that's all.

These ones are very good.
I have all sizes.

That's it. They're perfect.

On those Sundays,

when dusk came, how lovely it was.

Jean said:
"May I put my arm around you?"

"No, I don't like it."

I was such a fool.

"Put your arm in mine then."

We'd walk arm in arm
through the fields to the bus.

We'd come home in the dark.

He'd never come in,
because of my aunt.

So she wouldn't tell my father.

Jean kissed my hand.

He'd say:
"Madeleine, you're a flower.

"A little flower."

My biggest trouble
was being neatly dressed.

You see,

the buyers came into the workshop.

We had to look decent.

One time only,

my employer's wife
gave me a skirt and blouse.

Don't think she had a good heart!

I worked well.
She didn't want to lose me.

It was years

before I could buy
a dress and shoes of my own.

A pretty dress in brown cloth.

But the day I did it,
I'll never forget.

I wore it first on a Sunday,

so Charles could see it.

All he said was:
"Who gave you that?"

Who is Charles? You said Jean.

Charles is my husband.

I never married Jean.

I married the wrong man.

And you? Were you married?

Yes, but I got divorced.

You married the wrong man too?

No, he married the wrong woman.

I had never thought of it
that way around.

That's what Charles was like.

Tugging at my arm and hurting me.

"Who was it, tell me!"
It wasn't him.

As I pulled my arm away,

the dress tore under the arm.

Not much, but it was spoilt.

People never change.

Do you know what I mean?

I didn't know that then.

A dress I'd gone without for,

that I'd saved up for.

He tore it the first time I wore it.


This is what we did in our day.

- It's magnificent.
- Isn't it?

It's esparto.

The hat is held in by a wire.

A sort of Greek tulle.

It's fine straw.

Extra fine straw.

And the ribbon is silk.

Did you make this?

It's juvenile.

It's bucolic.

It conjures up springtime.

All that's unthinkable these days.

Here, Made.

You mustn't waste
our chatting time on cooking.

I'm nearly finished.

I had a gift, you see.

In my fingers and my mind's eye.

It was priceless to my employers.

When buyers came in,
it always was my hats

they showed them first,

and my work they charged most for.

I often looked at the shop windows.

The hats in them were always mine.

They sold faster than I made them.

Couldn't you make them
pay you more?

I never got a penny extra for it.

I got top wages for the job
but it wasn't much.

It was never enough to
stop worrying about the future.

Often I said:

"Why don't you work
somewhere else?"

Why not say to them:

"Pay me what I'm worth to you
or I'll leave."

But I loved the work so.

I loved the materials
and the colours.

And the other girls.

We had worked together so long.
We knew each other.

We knew each other's troubles.


I look back and I see

that in my life I had chances,

that could have led
to something wonderful.

Yet I never took them up.

I always said no to what was offered.

It's in my nature.

Besides the time
my son was with me,

it was the best time of my life.

Even better than Jean
and our Sundays.

You never told me you had a son.

I never talk about him.
It's a sorry tale.

- You didn't wait for me to eat?
- Yes, why?

I couldn't let you know.

Get the phone put in for her.

Do you mean it?

It's my favourite dish.

How can you be so sweet?

- I'm glad to see you.
- What's happened?

Mrs. Bidois, this morning.

She was shouting, screaming,
to herself.

About her baby.

She wanted to call the police.

My wife and children came down.

She left, just like that.

Now she won't answer.

Thank you.

First, I gave them the questionnaire.

Then I interviewed them.


I've just been telling you.

I mean, nothing else?

No, we need to wind it up.

And what do you think?

I've just told you that too.

What do you want?

I've come to visit you.

You think I have time?

As if dragging my coal inside
isn't enough.

What's going on, Made?

I'm not going to.

I'm not leaving here.

They can't make me.

Who's been to see you?

He has.

Who is he?

They came back this morning.


As if you didn't know.

Here we go.
I'm plotting against you.

Of course. You're all the same.

You know what that Greek
said to me?

"If you agree to move out,
you'll have a bigger flat."

Me, leave this place!

They'll have to take me by force.

So it was the owner?

That's what I said.
They're all in it together.

Give me all your papers
and your rent receipts.

Something smells burnt.

I know.

My saucepan is ruined.

My whole meal is ruined.

You know what we'll do?

Get dressed
and I'll take you out to lunch.

You're not serious?

Yes. It's warm outside.
It's springtime.

I love vanilla.

Vanilla and mocha.

- You're looking a bit yellow.
- Perhaps.

Will you promise
to let my doctor see you?

If you insist.

Look, Made.

Charming, isn't it?

Belleville of times gone by.

I'd like to show you
my father's house.

- Where I used to live.
- Okay, I'd love to.

My God, it was cold in that room.

My father's woman never thought
of me climbing those stairs,

or living in that cold.

There were two rooms next to theirs.

They didn't want me
on the same floor.

I'd have heard their goings-on.

When I got married,
my father said:

"Never darken my doors again."

And I never did.

He had a stroke soon after.

My step-mother didn't tell me
about the funeral.

I went to see her.
I knew my father left me something.

I said to her:
"What did my father leave me?"

She couldn't look at me.

"What makes you think
you had anything coming?"

"Did you ever come to see us?"

"But who threw me out?"

We had a terrible argument.

Would you like me to come in?

No, leave me.
I want to think back over it all.

It was a wonderful outing.

Get some rest. Goodbye.

I can't come before Monday.
It's work.

I see.

I forgot.

I got something for you.

It's the key to my house.

That way, you can come
even when I'm out.

Thank you.
Don't worry, you can trust me.

You mustn't take any notice
of my nonsense,

when I'm angry.

Of course I take notice.

If you say something, you mean it.

One day, she stopped cleaning,

except for middle of the room.

Then, she let the kitchen go.

But she still washed herself.

Standing at the table,
heating water in the kettle.

She kept her hair clean.

She liked the public bath-house.

She started
washing her hair less often.

She stopped washing her clothes.

Only took out the cleanest ones,

putting them back grubby.

Wore them again,
when they were the cleanest.

And so it went on...

At least,

I imagine that's how
she slowly went off the rails.

You're asleep?

Call me after your meeting.

I won't be in tomorrow, okay?

You can't keep up
this secret affair.

I think it's exciting.

Find someone your own age.
He's old.

You're one to talk, Isabelle!

What are you doing
so far from home?

It's dreadful, dreadful!

- Can I take you home?
- Leave me!

You don't want a lift?

Then go to hell!

Coming to bed?


With the old lady and work...

I think I'll back off from Mado.

She appreciates me less and less.

We need to spend time together.

You're mad at me.

My poor kitty...

She gave me a torch.
I don't know how it works.

It's dreadful, dreadful!

I need some sugar.

I need tea.

Toilet paper.

Cat food.

Sugar, milk... I don't know.

It's dreadful, dreadful.

Look at the weather!

Why can't you leave me alone?

Isabelle hasn't come.

I spent all day waiting for her.

My poor kitty, she's forgotten us.

I could die, she wouldn't care.

She couldn't care less.

The shops will close.

She won't come now.

I'm coming!

It's terrible...

What lousy weather!

I'm completely dead.

The Cambodian was closing.

I said: Wait,
I need things for Mrs. Bidois.

I don't need anything.

I won't be beholden.
He's too expensive!

He cheats me over my change.

Coffee, salt...

- Cat food for my kitty.
- I'll tell the doctor...


Some cod.


She takes care of us.

What a day, Made.

Let me tell you.

Are you that tired?

Just a moment.

Look, a visitor.

I'd completely forgotten him.

We're going shopping.
I'll be an hour.

That doctor's a hypocrite.

Smiles too much to be honest.

How can you say that?
He really is nice.

That's what you think.

He gets paid less
than a cleaning lady.

I don't know where you get that.

How long does he stay? An hour.

How much does he make you pay?

He's your friend, not mine.

Do you have the prescription?

Your woes are over.

What did he see in there?
What's going on?

Nothing we can't get under control.

Make sure you eat properly.

Really, it's nothing serious.

You're very sure of yourself.

I'll keep the X-rays
and send your doctor a report.

You take me up here.

You put me through all that.

The big doctor's whole performance.

Back home I go, none the wiser.

You'll get the results later.

Don't worry, you'll be fine.

Stop it, I can still walk.

She's probably had cancer for years.

At her age, it develops slowly.

Now, it's rampant.

Has she got long to go?

A few weeks, maybe more.

Should we tell her?

She probably knows the truth.
You can see she's intelligent.

But perhaps she doesn't really know.

Let her be your guide.

Of course.

You're right.

Besides pain-killers,
there's nothing you can do?

At her age, it would be cruel.

- Thank you.
- Call me if I can be of help.


- You're drunk.
- I was asleep.

- Sure.
- I have my reasons.

Sleep at your place tonight.

You'll take over the Versailles job.


Meaning you'll do it from A to Z.

You wanted more responsibilities.

I haven't always eaten my fill.

When I was alone with my son,

I often went to bed
on a glass of water,

so he could have some milk.

It went on and on.
I was wild with hunger.

I'd go to the gardens

to find the bread
that the birds hadn't eaten.

I had nothing but birds' bread.

I saw him maybe six times
in 50 years.

Including the day he stole my son.

That day,

I screamed, I cried and I sobbed.

The child-minder said:
"I couldn't stop his father."

I was mad with the pain,
running about the streets.

No one had seen or heard anything.

Hell "I.

I thought I'd die.
I would have welcomed it.

You never found him?


I went to a lawyer.

He said: "Where's your husband?"

Of course, I didn't know.

"Then how can I help you?"

"Isn't there a way
of finding someone,

"of knowing where he went?"

"Yes, but it costs money."

And I didn't have any, so...

Your friend is younger than you?

Doesn't it bother you?

Not for the moment.

You're a child compared to me,

but still, you're not that young.

Why are you spoiling my fun?

Do you have any children?

Why not?

Because I never felt the need.

And I don't really miss it.

Sex has never interested me.

I had a neighbour.
That's all she ever thought of.

She told me

she spent all day waiting
for the night,

because the night was her real life.

What's wrong, Made?

This is the best time of my life.

All the happiness you feel now,

you give back to me.

Subtitles by Heidi Wood

Subtitling: Eclair Video