Suzanne's Career (1963) - full transcript

In the second of Rohmer's moral tales, he examines the relationship between two friends and a girl who at first appears easily exploited. It is a complex tale of feelings and misconceptions, acted out within the head of the main character, as part of Rohmer's attempt to more easily simulate the mindscape quality of literature within a film.



The café le Luco,
on Blvd St Michel,

was where we met Suzanne.

I lived above it,
at the Hotel de I'Observatoire.

I was 18, in my first year
of pharmaceutical school.


Hello. Sit here.

May I take this chair, Miss?

How are you?

"I Promessi Sposi".

You seem to know Italian.

Are you at the Sorbonne?

More or less.
I'm taking evening classes

at the Interpreter's School.

During the day, I work

at the National Tuberculosis
Foundation over there.

Do you like it?

You can't always do
what you like. And you?

Hey Martine!

Martine Bachelet.

Suzanne Hocquetot.

- Have a drink?
- Thanks, I have an appointment.

I didn't get your name...
was it Anne?


Why sadly?
You're not a snob are you?

No! But I don't like my name.

It's better than Suzon.


I'm Guillaume Eucque Drumont.

I'm Suzanne Hocquetot.

With an "H"?

And "t-o-t" at the end.

Are you from Normandy?

Yes! And you?

No, I study onomastics.
Know what it is?

- The science of names?
- Of surnames.

Give me a name, any name,
and I'll tell you...

Will you have your car Saturday?

...where it's from,
its etymology.

Will you have the car?

No, my mother's in Paris
till the 17th. Why?

Party at Pfeiffer's.

Anyway I won't go.



Saturday I'm giving a dinner.
Will you come?


What about you?

Why not? Where is it?

I'll come pick you up.

Do you like paella?

I'm not sure I've ever tried it.

I do it pretty well.
Do you live with your parents?

No, with some people
Pt. de Clichy.

But I'm hardly ever there.

I'm in class till 10 pm,
and I getup at 7 am.

And Sundays?

I work on my Italian...
usually in a café,

it's nicer.

Nothing's worse than staying home
alone on a Sunday.

It's not even my home.


usually worked fast.
But Suzanne held out

until that dinner.

- Where've you been?
- I've had a lot of work.

Hurry up.
I'm parked illegally.

I may not come,
I'm behind in my work.

- I like people who keep promises.
- 1 didn't...

You heard it.

I'll take you home at midnight.

You always say that.

I have to take Suzanne home too.
Come on!

All right, o.k.

Who'll be there?

Jean-Louis, Catherine, Francois,
and your girl friend.

- Who?
- Sophie.

- 1 don't know her.
- You're sweet on her.

Oh, she's not bad.

If he says she's not bad,
she's fantastic.

But you saw her, the other day
at the bar, the Irish girl.

Oh yes! She's lovely, that girl!

You really have good taste.

Who's Jean-Louis?

The guy on the terrace
the other day...smokes a pipe.

Most of the year, Guillaume

lived alone in the house,

as his mother was travelling.

Suzanne took her
"lady of the house" role seriously,

but Guillaume
went straight after Sophie,

and seemed set on
breaking down her resistance.

I stayed

in my corner, but Suzanne
was on the verge of tears.

I thought any minute
she'd grab her coat

and run to the station,

for I felt she still
had some self-respect.

- Want a cigarette?
- No!

You 0.k.? You're not
very talkative tonight.

Sophie scared me.

In fact his monopolizing her
was a help.

I hoped he'd go too far
and be put down,

but he was careful.

What a fantastic player!

I saw him on TV in England,
when he won at Wimbledon. But...

It's totally abstract.

Like Mondrian.


Going to the kitchen?

Bring the bottle of Sylvaner please.

- Where is it?
- Behind the fireplace.

By the window?

Yes, that's it.

- How's Sophie?
- You're always with her!

Just to piss the other one off.
Is she sulking?

A bit...with reason.

Good, easy ones are murder.
It drags on and on.

Anyway, I think
she's about ready now, don't you?

Yes, maybe.

Sophie's too stuck up for me.
You have a chance.

Do what you want.
She's not mine.

I swear, she likes you.
You can always tell.

What was I going to say?
Oh yes...

You've got to do me a little favour.

When the others go,
the three of us will stay.

I can't be left alone with her.

If you like. You know...

Bertrand could squeeze in with us.

No thanks. Goodbye.

Anyway, Suzanne has
to be taken home.

So, the 3 of us stayed.

Happy back in his arms,
Suzanne forgot the time.

I began to get impatient.

- Bertrand can make tables move.
- Really?

is what Guillaume says true?


You could make
this one move, now? Really?

It's not possible!

Suzanne, stay here.

Put your hands here.

Make them flat, Suzanne.
Touch my fingers.

Now we have to concentrate.
Don't move.


Very calm...very calm...

Don't think about anything...
let go.

Come on, Suzanne!


- Do I have to...
- Quiet!

I think it's starting.


Let's summon the spirit.

Spirit, are you there?

One. That's yes.

Who are you?

D? Danton?

Let's continue.



Bertrand, you're pushing.

Not me, it's the spirit.


Must be Don Juan.

What does Don Juan say?

Hey, it's aT.

Let's go on.




To bed? Hey, it's "to bed."

Bertrand, you are so vulgar!

I'm really feeling tired.

I can't face taking you home.

You can stay.
The two of us will sleep here,

and you can use
my mother's room.

Do you know where it is?

Goodnight anyway.

Oh women!

Then, having bowed to convention,
he rushed to join her.

I should really go console her.

The next day I was up
with the first light of day.

I'd already spent a Sunday
at Bourg-la-Reine,

and Guillaume would certainly
have asked me to stay,

happy to have an audience
for his triumph.

But I felt my role
had gone too far.

Sleep had not begun
to dispel

the shame
I had felt all evening

at playing along
with my friend's game.

Not that Suzanne's conduct
mattered fo me.

It was her business,
and hers alone.

But I saw the pleasure he took
in involving me in his schemes...

for he loved
to surround everything he did,

no matter how trivial,
with an air of wickedness.

Then however,
I rather idolized him,

and accepted him
for what he was.

And he accepted me equally,
which flattered me.

8 days later,
I saw him Blvd St Michel.

- Where've you been?
- And you?

- What's up?
- Oh, problems...


She calls me all the time...

I always get stuck with
these clinging types. Seen her?

Once or twice.
We didn't say much.

- Talk about me?
- No...

We ran into each other,
she was going to call...

He didn't seem anxious to break up.

I have a date
with Suzanne tonight.

I thought you'd split up.

A moment of weakness.
Want to come?

Why? Anyway,
I've got work to do.

Come on, damn it!
I won't be so bored. I have money.

O.K. You come pick me up.

We went dancing at a club
on the Right Bank.

Suzanne, happy again,

made me her confidant.

It was not a role I cared for.

Her giggles
and behaviour irritated me.

I had nothing special against her.

I simply hated her

as I did
all Guillaume's conquests.

He went after the easy ones,
and, to my knowledge,

had never tried for a girl
worthy of him.

I had, then, a high regard
for his talents as a seducer.

The next day, Sunday,
Guillaume called me after lunch.

Hi, Guillaume...

Hey, I'm bored.
Want to come for tea?

We'll play some music.

Look I've really got
a lot of work...

Come on, come around 5.

I'll drive you home at 7.

Would you like
some more tea, Bertrand?


- And you Guillaume?
- No thanks.

Where did you put
Diary of a Thief?

Over there.

Hey! Cut it out!

Don't pout,
it was just a joke.

I don't like jokes
in bad taste.

If I had good taste,
I wouldn't like you.

Well, what counts
is that you like me.

I'm beginning to wonder.

If not, there are others who do.
Plenty of them, you know.

Pimply kids!

They're as good as you.
Better, even.

She's smart.
She knows how to answer.

Hold on, Bertrand.
I want to ask you a question.

Suzanne, come here.

Come on!

You know, he's the best friend
I've ever had.

Don't blush.

Are you in love with him?

With Bertrand? No.

Not very flattering.

Let's suppose

- ...he'd come on to you.
- He didn't.

But just suppose... What if
he'd thrown himself at you?

- It's not his style.
- How do you know?

He could have come on to you.
Would you have let him?

I don't think so.
Bertrand's a great guy,

but I have very set ideas.

What about you? If Suzanne...

Let's say I have set ideas.

What snobs you both are!

From him, o.k.
but you're so pretentious.

- What about you?
- I'm different.

Don't you think she's a snob?

Not at all. On the contrary.

Well, of course
she's a bit dumb...

Stay here!

- If it's for this idiocy!
- I say what I think.

Bertrand, don't you think
she's a bit pushy?

- Not at all.
- You've said so.

- You're crazy.
- Come on.

- No!
- Why?

It's pretty obvious.

Evidence disallowed.
Debate closed.

Sentence carried out.


You keep getting me
into these things.

Just as well. I've been trying
to ditch her for 2 weeks.

Of course her body's not bad,

but she has my mother's name.
That gets me.

Want me to take you home?

You're sweet.

- You could say goodbye.
- Farewell.

Farewell, girl. Farewell.

Your smile shines in our eyes.

Listen, I didn't mean anything.

Do you forgive me?
Can you forgive me? Really?

Answer me.

Waiting for Suzanne,
I began to transfer the anger

I'd built up
towards Guillaume, to her.

I'd been stupid
to worry about the girl.

She deserved what she got.

He was too nice.

I'm going.

So long.

Her total lack of dignity
Justified the scorn I'd shown

all along
for her looks and behaviour.

I tried hard to avoid her,
but she sought me out.

- How are you?
- All right.

- Sit down, you're not in a hurry?
- Yes, I am.

O.k. but I have to leave soon.
I'm expecting a call.

Are you really?

- Waiter!
- What do you want?


- Someone was asking about you.
- Who?


We had lunch the other day.
She's really a nice girl.

Yes...l hardly know her.

Going to the dance?

No, I have work to do.

That much? Just this once?

And I'm broke.

If that's all, I'll pay for you.

- Please, I just got paid.
- I said no.

Come. You'll be doing me a favour.
And Sophie'll be there.

Oh, no, I couldn't.

I'll lend you the money,
you'll pay me back later. O.K.?

All right, if you like.

We found Sophie in the crowd
without foo much trouble.

She was charming at first.

It was the first time
we'd really talked.

- Know Guillaume well?
- He's my best friend.

you're really very different.

Not really. We have a lot
of the same ideas.

But my shyness was paralysing.
The spark didn't catch.

Suzanne carried on
with one ugly guy after another.

Sophie left after a while,

accepting all offers
with a good will that upset me.

She got lost in the crowd,

and I found myself at 3 a.m.
alone with Suzanne.

She told me her woes,
...much like mine.

I don't care about Guillaume.
It's over between us, you know.

He's intelligent,

but he can be so stupid
about some things.

He's really more dumb
than mean.

Luckily, I'm a nice person.

But sooner or later,
he'll run up against someone...

The next day,
Guillaume met me after class.

So, bastard,
poaching in my territory?

You were seen at the dance.

- She talk about me?
- No, not at all.

She's smarter than you think.

I'll manage.

- She got you to take her.
- No, she paid.

No kidding, she footed the bill...
oh, wow, fantastic!

That opens whole worlds.
We'll ruin her.

Suzanne! It's been ages.
How are you?

Very well.

I'm so glad to see you.

- May 1?
- I'm leaving in 5 minutes...

I hear you've been flirting...
how naughty...

and with my best friend.

Oh, damn, I'm broke tonight...
can you pay?

- Forget it Bertrand.
- It's mine.

I can invite you if I want to.
I'm free.

Sure, if you want to.

For the next 2 or 3 weeks,
we deliberately

lived off Suzanne.

I hoped she'd tell us off,
but she didn't,

and it became less fun
every day.

Guillaume went to visit his mother.

But Suzanne kept after me.

Hey, Suzanne...

Are you snubbing me?

- I was inside, I waved.
- 1 didn't see...

Got a minute? I've something
to tell you, wait up there.

When are we going out?

I don't have time these days.

If it's a question of money,
don't worry.

Well precisely,
it does bother me.

Silly, you're so bourgeois...

Maybe so. Ask someone else out.

If I wanted to be asked out,
I wouldn't have any trouble.

I'm always turning people down.

It bothers you that I prefer you...

I finally agreed. As I was
getting ready, Guillaume showed up.

Where've you been?

I was in Menton.

My mother remarried,
she's moving there.

Are you keeping the appartment?

What's up tonight?
You going out?


I'll take you to dinner.
I've got money.

No thanks, I'm busy.

- Suzanne?
- No.

You can tell me. Is it?


- How's the love life?
- Come on.

- You'll be bored stiff. I'll come.
- No way.

I know.
Where're you going? Maitre Paul's?

You're a pain in the ass.

I'll run into you by accident.

If she makes a fuss,
you pay for me.

I'll pay you back.

You owe it to me.
I want to have some fun tonight.

If she asked you to Maitre Paul's,
she hopes to see me.

Maybe we should get

a lobster casserole.

Oh...yes...Yes, why not...

Hold on, while I think of it.

Will there be enough?

And for an appetizer?

You're following me everywhere.

Not much of a hiding place.

We're not hiding.
Have you had dinner?

Sit down, be my guest.

No thanks.

Suzanne doesn't want me to.

You're an idiot.

Be honest.

I am being honest.

While Guillaume
was on the phone,

she handed me more money.
I refused.

- No. I invited him.
- But you're broke.

No more than you.
Go on, put it away.

O.K.,, but then I'll take you
both to the club.

You'll go broke.

That's my problem.

Come on, let's go.

- What about her?
- Don't moralize.

Go on, move it.

I don't think I can drive...

Come over if you like.

I knew the sneaking out
was useless.

The next day at noon...

the inevitable Suzanne leapt on me.

How's Guillaume?
Did he sleep it off?

At my place.
He's still groggy.

Anyway, the party's over.

It's only the 12th
and I'm broke.

- Do you have enough for food?
- No, but I'll be all right.

I've got some meal tickets...

I'm having lunch with a friend,
a girl who works here.

You know, it's a good thing
you left last night.

I met a fabulous guy.
A Scotsman.

Really a great guy.
We're seeing each other tonight.


You can tell Guillaume.

I spent that Easter
with my family.

I had just gotten back,
was unpacking,

and hiding, in an uncut book,

400 francs my parents
had given me for a suit,

when Guillaume knocked.

- Yes?
- It's me. Can I come in?

I thought I'd find you.

- Have a good vacation?
- I slept. You?

It's amazing the number
of pretty girls in Menton.

And just before I left,
I met a really sensational one.

One of the prettiest from Paris.
She'll be back in 2 days.

But I don't have money
to take her out.

My car broke down.
Can you lend me 100 or 200 francs?

- I don't have any money.
- I get a money order Monday.

You must have money.

No, my parents send it
week by week.

You don't have 100 francs?

No, I just paid my rent...

It's for me.

Hello, Bertrand, it's Suzanne.

How are you?
Did you have a good vacation?

- And you?
- Let's get together.

Will you come to Daniel's party,
next Thursday?

Sophie'll be there, come on.

I have an exam the next day...

Well, o.k.

See, I think about you.


What's new? Your Englishman?

Oh, he left.
He wasn't all that interesting.

Suzanne, I'll bet.


Have you seen her since?

Once or twice, before vacation.

Her Englishman?

- You know.
- I certainly do.

Anyway, she learned her lesson,
the guy split.

Admit it, you lied, it was her?

- No, I told you.
- You're lying...

Lay off.

It was a girl, that's obvious.

Sophie, if you must know.
Are you happy?

Go on man, go for it.
Girls love to be forced.

It may be...

There are things
I'll only take from Guillaume.

He has style.

I wouldn't take anything from him.

I hate these momma's boys
who play tough. Doesn't suit him.

- It's a phase.
- Yes, that's the problem.

It's pure snobbery,
and I hate snobs.

He's no snob.
What do you have against him?

You don't know him.

I've heard a lot about him.

Yes, Suzanne, precisely.

She could stop chasing him.

You really talk like a child.

How are you, you look tired.

A little bit.

I'm such an idiot,
I bought shoes a size too small.

You are silly.

Well, you know, I had to buy them...

You never have to...

Besides, they're hideous...

But why did you buy them?

Just like that.
There weren't very many.

What do you mean?

Well there weren't,
each was uglier than the others.

Next time,
you go shopping with me.

Got a second, Bertrand.
I have to talk to you.

Can you lend me 10 francs
for a taxi?


I forgot to take money again.

Ask Sophie.

No, certainly not her.

And him there?

I'd rather not, I owe him money.

You've been living it up!

You don't know,
I've quit my job.

What do you live on?

No one has a car?

He does.

But I'd rather not.
Oh well, why not.

We could stop
by my place...mind walking?

Thanks, but you'd have
to go up twice.

I really don't mind.

There aren't any taxis near you.

- I'd be scared alone out there.
- I'd go with you.

If you don't mind,
I could come to your place...

I won't talk, I'll read.

I'll curl up in an armchair.

O.k., but we have
to be quiet going in.

Protecting your reputation?

As soon as we arrived,
she sat in the armchair.

- Darn.
- What?

I tore my skirt again.
Do you have a pin?

Better, a needle and thread.


The trouble is,
this is my only presentable skirt.

The one at the dance?

Someone lent it to me.

Anyway, I couldn't
wear it every day.

I don't suppose
you have a thimble?

You don't need one.

Look...I'm not pushing, I'm pulling.

Oh boys!

- All right, I understand.
- Figure it out.

I may be uncouth,

but I can only sleep in my bed,

and I have an exam tomorrow.

It's o0.k., I'm fine.

I'm really furious at myself,

for being taken in
by that dumb salesgirl.

I really can't wear these shoes,

and I don't have any others.

Take them back.

I can't. I've already
worn them for 2 days.

And I broke my last
10 francs bill today.

- Things are really bad.
- Yes.

I'd lend you some,
but I have a dentist's bill.

If you could wait
until next month...

Listen Bertrand, you're very sweet,
I'll be allright.

Look, I'm really embarrassed,

you spent everything on me.

If I did,
it was because I wanted to.

We had some great times,
didn't we?

That's what counts.

Money can be found,
I just have to look for it.

You know, what I'd like
is a part-time job.

Anyway, I think
I'll head for Italy soon.

I'm tired of all these Frenchmen.

Handsome men there, they say.

Funny, I've never met a boy I liked.


You're too hard to please...

And you aren't?

Whatever you think,
I never took Guillaume seriously,

even if I was a little bit
in love with him.

I'll tell you, you're the only one
I can stand...

you're a son of a bitch,
but we understand each other.

The others just want to sleep
with you, and long.

I know 10
who are crazy for you.


I don't know...
Jean-Louis, Francois...

If that's the best
you can offer...

No, you're the only one I like...

I'm relaxed with you.

You know, it's rare to find,
a guy like you,

who doesn't bother girls.

- I'm selective...
- Thanks.

Sorry, it slipped out.

You can be so stupid sometimes.

- What?
- Nothing.

Believe me, I wish you all the best.

I never doubted it.

- How's your love life?
- Not great.

Listen, you've got
to take things in hand.

Girls like to be forced.

Guillaume's theory.

- He knows what he's doing.
- Not necessarily, not always...

With a girl like Sophie,
you can't hold back.

She's on the defensive,
but it's a facade...

she has to be...
with all those boys around her...

I know what I'm doing.

You're funny...

Fine, you know,
I'm not as nice as I seem.

I know. I know you.
I know you very well.

If we know each other so well,
why talk?

I'm leaving in 5 minutes.

Hurry up!

May I do your room now?

No, I'd rather
you waited till 11.

Are you listening?

Wait for me until 11.

You're going out?

No, I'll be back in a minute.
Come at 11.

"I have to leave.
I have an appointment.”

Have you seen Suzanne?

She was here 1/2 hour ago.

Know her address?

You'd know better than I,
try Guillaume.

Sophie? It's Bertrand.

Your exam go well?

Yes...l think so.

I slept all morning.

I wasn't so lucky.

I need to ask you...
Do you have Suzanne's address?

No, she lives near Clichy.
Guillaume must know.

I can't reach him.

- Is it urgent?
- Very.

Will you be seeing her?

Maybe, she calls me
almost every day.

Any message?

Well, yes...that is...

I have to hang up.
Meet me tomorrow afternoon.

At 4:00?

Yes. Bye, Bertrand,
see you tomorrow.

This unhoped-for date
cooled my anger.

Sophie's attitude toward me
had changed radically.

She didn't let me hope
for more than friendship,

but it was a step forward,
and her school was nearby,

which made meeting easier.

I almost lodged a complaint
at the hotel, but...

They mustn't know
you bring girls up.

Anyway, I'm sure it wasn't her.

I'm sure it was...

It could be anyone,

in a hotel, you know...the maid...

Definitely not.

- One of your pals...Guillaume?
- Him again.

Why not? Think he'd have
any scruples?

For that yes. Anyway,
I never left him alone.

No, it's not him,
that's not his style.

He made Suzanne go broke.

That's different...
He was having fun...

Some fun...
He leads you around by the nose.

You're crazy.

Was it Guillaume?
I only saw him twice all term...

He had a lot of work,
and so did I.

I didn't tell him about the theft.
He'd have laughed,

and denied it.

Anyway, I preferred to think
Suzanne was guilty

than to suspect Guillaume,
whose dirty tricks

had never been
aimed at me before.

What makes me think
it's not Guillaume

is the 100 francs left in the book.

And it was pretty clumsy,
more Suzanne's style.

Basically, she was a nice girl.

I'm glad to hear you say it.

I've always said she's ugly, but...

Ugly, that's all you can say.

She's not ugly,
maybe not a classic beauty,

but she's very attractive
and elegant.

She has fine limbs,
beautiful hands...

A typical young French girl...

Doesn't make me patriotic.

- Anyway, she's attractive to men.
- Not to me.

- No wonder. You're a kid.
- So kids like you?

That's my cross to bear, yes...

Stop, or I'll get angry.

I'd decided not
fo ask about Suzanne.

Sophie brought her up.

I guess, I can tell you.

Suzanne's getting married.

- You've seen her?
- She's been calling me.

Oh...well, well...

To whom?

A boy who...but you know him?

Frank Chaler.

No, I can't place him.

He was at Guillaume's that night.

Come on, he came with me.
A big guy with a cowlick.

So she stole him from you.

You idiot!

This turn of events

plunged me into my thoughts.

Until then, I'd only thought
of Suzanne as Guillaume's victim.

But she was less concerned
with pride,

than a certain decency and respect.

There was a physical resemblance,

I finally began to see,

between all of his girls.

They weren't ugly, as I'd said,

but were similar more in body type
than in their faces.

Dismissing tall girls
like Sophie as storks

he didn't try to justify

his attraction to small,
plump women.

The year was ending...

While I was flunking my exams

and losing Sophie,

Suzanne was happy.

Though not meaning to,
she was mocking me.

This girl for whom
I'd only managed to feel

a kind of shameful pity,

was beating us all
fo the finish line,

and showing us to be
the children we were.

Guilty or not, naive or cunning

what did it matter?

In taking away
my right to pity her,

Suzanne had her true revenge.