Tous les matins du monde (1991) - full transcript

It's late 17th century. The viola da gamba player Monsieur de Sainte Colombe comes home to find that his wife died while he was away. In his grief he builds a small house in his garden into which he moves to dedicate his life to music and his two young daughters Madeleine and Toinette, avoiding the outside world. Rumor about him and his music is widespread, and even reaches to the court of Louis XIV, who wants him at his court in Lully's orchestra, but Monsieur de Sainte Colombe refuses. One day a young man, Marin Marais, comes to see him with a request, he wants to be taught how to play the viola.

Open your mouth so we can hear you.

I can't follow you.

You're not listening.

You're going too fast.

Let's start over with
the first notes of the song.

Stop! The Master has signalled.

The Master would speak.

Speak, Master.

Each note should end...



your bowing's too hard.

with each stroke of the bow

someone you love

vanishes into the shadows.

Mysteriously they fade
from sight

leaving tears in your eyes.

You play too uniformly!

Music is like a hunt

You must spur when
you sight the stag

Chew firmly when you devour it!

Hold back a moment
before your climax

Music's goal is to transport
the soul...

To make you giddy!

To move us!

The aim is sweetness


Give me...

Give me...

In the shadows...

What do you wish, Master?

A viol. Give me a viol!

He will play! A viol for Mr. Marais!

Give him yours. Move aside!

Leave, all of you!
Go away!

No, Brunet, let them stay!

I want everyone to stay.

Marin Marais is giving his lesson.

Sit down.

Close the shutters!


He was all austerity and rage.

He was as mute as a fish.

I am an imposter...

No, Master!

...and I am worthless.

I ambitioned nothingness...

I reaped nothingness,



and shame.

He was music.

He viewed the world
in the bright flame of the torch

we light for the dead.

I never plumbed
the depths of his desire.

I had a teacher,

and the shadows took him.

He was called
Monsieur de Sainte Colombe.

In the spring of 1660,

one afternoon,

he was at the bedside of a friend

who wished to die

with a glass of wine, and music.

That same spring afternoon,

Madame de Sainte Colombe died.

Sir... Madame...

He couldn't get over
his wife's death.

He loved her.

That was when he composed
"Tomb of Sorrows".

He gave lessons on the viol,
then the rage in London and Paris.

He was a famous teacher

and a religious reformer.

He had 2 daughters.

Mr. de Bures frequented
reformist circles.

He taught reading, arithmetic,
the Bible, basic Latin.

Sainte Colombe had taught
his girls the notes and keys.

His wife's memory never dimmed
in him.

Her image was always before him,

her voice forever whispered
in his ear.

Gradually, he shut out the world.

He sold his horse
and withdrew into his music.

Toinette, come back!

Shut up in his cabin, he
practiced up to 15 hours a day.

He devised a new way to hold
the viol between the knees.

He added a 7th string
To give it a deeper voice

and a more melancholy tone.

He perfected his bowing
by lightening his grip

and pressing only on the
horsehair with 2 fingers,

which he did
with great virtuosity.

It was said he could imitate
the full range of the human voice

from a young woman's sigh
to an old man's sob,

from Henry IV's battle cry

to the soft breath
of a sleeping child.

Sainte Colombe feared a man alone
couldn't raise two girls.

He was stern,
but a poor disciplinarian.

He locked them in the cellar,
Where he forgot them.

When he raged,
Madeleine was like a ship

that quickly capsized and sank.

His joys were sometimes mysterious.

He was full of confusion.

Where's Mommy?

You must be good, and hardworking.

I miss your mother.
She was a joy! I'm no talker.

She could talk

and laugh.

I take no pleasure in language

nor in the company of people,
or books.

But I love you both,

and that's enough.

Their father saw less
and less of them.

He remained in his cabin,
on his stool.

Songs and laments arose
under his fingers.

When they haunted him,
he opened his red music book

and jotted them down
to be rid of them.

When Madeleine was big enough
to learn the viol,

he taught her the positions,
chords, arpeggios, ornaments.

Me, too.

Neither bed without supper nor days
in the cellar consoled Toinette

for being too small to play
the viol.

One morning before dawn,
Sainte Colombe rose,

followed a stream to the Seine,

then went on to the Dauphine bridge.

He spent all day with Mn Pardoux.

For Easter; in the garden,

Toinette found a ghostly,
bell-shaped package.

For years they lived quietly,
for music.

The time came when, once a month,

Madeleine put a cloth
between her legs.

Toinette outgrew her small viol.

The Sainte Colombes'
3-viol concerts were famous.

Royal courtiers
like Caignet attended.

They were a fad
with the nobility.

An amazing musician!

He plays better than I do.

He does play better than you.

Better than the king's violist.

Sir, you live in ruin and silence.

People envy your wildness.

They envy the green woods
above you.


Because you are a master
of the viol

you are summoned to play at court.

His Majesty has indicated
a desire to hear you.

If he is pleased

he will appoint you
as chamber musician.

If so, I'll have the honor
of playing beside you.


I live my life among gray
wood boards in an orchard...

To the sounds of 7 viol strings,
and to my 2 daughters.

My friends are my memories.

In my court are willows, streams,
whitebait, elder buds.

Tell His Majesty his court does not
need a wild man.

You do not understand my request.

I belong to the king's staff.

His Majesty's wish is an order!

I am so wild that I think
I belong only to myself.

Tell his Majesty he was too generous
when he glanced at me.

I'll be back!

His Majesty,

his court, his musicians...

We'll all be back!

King's messenger!

King's messenger!

Disobedience increased
the king's impatience

to hear the musicians play.

He sent Caignet
and Father Mathieu to him.

You hide your name among turkeys,
hens and small fish!

You hide a talent
God bestowed on you

in vainglorious poverty!

His Majesty knows your reputation.

It is time to burn
your coarse clothes

and accept his bounty,

to procure a periwig!

Your ruff is outmoded.

I am outmoded!

Thank His Majesty.

I like sunlight on my hand,
not gold!

My coarse clothes,
not your huge wigs!

I prefer my hens to
royal fiddles, my pigs to you!

- Monsieur!
- Go away!

- Speak no more of it!
- You're mad!

You will rot in your rural horror,

rot like a plum in your orchard!

Your palace is smaller than a cabin,

your public less than one person.

The king liked that reply.

He let the violist be, but ordered

the courtiers to avoid his concerts

because he was stubborn
and had consorted

with the reformists
before the king dispersed them.

The years went by.

The family gave only one recital
a season.

Sainte Colombe wrote
fewer new airs

in his red book.

He didn't want them printed
and subject to public judgement.

He said they were rough

expressing only a fleeting moment.

He thought often of his wife?
of her liveliness,

of her advice, always sound;
of her hips,

of her belly that gave him two girls
who were now women.

Once he dreamed of sojourning
in deep water

He had renounced all he loved
on earth.

When he awoke,
he recalled his "Tomb of Sorrows",

composed when one night his wife
left him to embrace death.

He was also thirsty.

So he played "Tomb of Sorrows".

He did not need to consult his book.

His fingers placed themselves
on the strings.

He had other visitations.

My teacher; first fearing
he was mad, thought:

If this was madness,
it made him happy

If this was truth,
it was a miracle.

His wife's love surpassed his,
for it reached him from so far

and he could not return it.

He asked Baugin,
a painter belonging to the guild

to paint the writing table close
to where his wife appeared.

He hid the canvas in his room,

and told no one of the visions.

He thought his anger was fading.

Deep inside,

he felt that something had ended.

That was when a big boy of 17,
red as a cock's crest,

knocked at his door.

It was me.

Sir, my name is Marin Marais.

My father is a shoemaker.

At 6 I joined the choir
in the church

at the gate of the Louvre palace

and sang.

For nine years I sang in the
king's choir at matins, services,

high mass and vespers.

Then hair grew on my face and legs,

my voice broke.

I was thrown into the street,
as my contract provided.

For the last time,
I opened the great gilt door.

I ran down the steep hill
to the river bank.

I wept.

The Seine was bright with sunlight.

My dormitory mate,
Delalande, still had his voice,

and so he stayed.

I felt alone,

my thick prick hung
between my thighs.

I followed
the river home.

There, I shut myself into
a room above the workshop.

As usual, my father was
hammering and scraping.

The hammer blows unnerved
and disgusted me.

I hated the smell of urine
the skins were cured in.

The squeaking leather stool,
my father's shouts

were all unbearable. I thought:

I want to leave my family.

I'll get even for my lost voice.
I'll be a famous violist.

I went to Mr. Caignet,
who kept me nearly a year.

He sent me to Mr. Maugars.

He asked if I'd heard
of your 7th string, of your fame.

Maugars trained me for 6 months,
and judged me so good a violist

that he sent me here
with this letter.

Just tell him to play.
To improvise on the "Follies"

Please improvise
on "The Follies of Spain".

I don't think I'll take you on
as a student.

Tell me why?

You make music.
You're not a musician.

Wait, father! He could play us
a composition of his own.

That was good.

Very good.

You agree?

Come back in a month.

I'll tell you if you're worthy
of being my student.

I arrived for my first lesson.

opened the gate for me.

Her dress was unlaced.

I'm putting my hair up
for a swim.

That cabin is
where my father plays.

You didn't play badly.

Your posture is good.
You play with feeling.

You bow is deft.

Your left hand slips
like an eel on the strings.

Your ornaments are clever
and often charming.

But I heard no music.

You could play for dancers,
or singers on a stage.

What you write
will please, and offend no one.

You will earn a living,
but you won't be a musician.

Can your heart feel?

Can it recognize sounds

that aren't meant for dancing
or pleasing the king's ears?

Your pained voice is
what touched me.

I'll take you on for your grief...

Not for your skill.

Months went by.

One very cold day,

we couldn't practice
for long in the cabin.

Our fingers were numb.

We took refuge in the kitchen.

This wine warms
my lungs and heart.


You know the painter Baugin?

No. Or no other painter.

He once did a painting for me.


It's the corner of my desk
in my music room. See?

I do.

Let's visit Baugin.

You hear?

The melody is staccato
over the bass!

Death is the sum
of what it steals from us.

Its all the worldly pleasures
bidding us farewell.

Listen to the sound
of Baugin's brush.

That's how to use a bow.

What are you mumbling?

I was comparing my bow
to your brush.

Those are just words.

I like gold.

Dead things pay well.


the secret of our art

is surprise.

Monsieur, seriously,
do you think gold stinks?


you have learned...

how ornaments stand out.

It was also a chromatic descent!

Maybe true music
is linked to silence?

It's late.
My feet are cold. Good night.

Go on!

Go on!

Go on, sir!

Now let us hear some emotion.

He's angry. I played for the king.

Go on, Marin.

Look. A guard warned me
my viol was afire.

- Play!
- Look!


Explain yourself, sir!

What is an instrument?
it's not music.

This will buy a circus horse
to entertain the king.

Listen to my daughter's woeful sobs.

They're closer to music than
your scales.

Be gone for good!

You're a great acrobat.

You never lose your balance.
But you're no musician.

You should play at court,
or in a square,

for drinking money.

I'll teach you everything
my father taught me.

Your father is a wicked man.

I went back.

We'd go...

secretly to Madeleine's room.

She taught me all her skills.

We 'd slide under
the cabin so I could hear

what ornaments and chords

the master now favored.

When I turned 20,
in the summer of 1676,

I informed Madeleine
I'd been hired as a royal musician.

One day a storm broke
as we hid.

Don't, father!

Father, I love him!

The storm was violent but brief

Soon the chairs were back
in the garden.

Soon the chairs were back
in the garden.

I never want to see you again.

You won't.

You wish to marry my eldest?

It's too soon for me to say.

Toinette's working
with your Pardoux.

She'll be back late.

I don't know if
I'll give you Madeleine.

You've found a lucrative position.

You publish clever compositions...

Embellished with ornaments stolen
from me.

No matter...

They're just black
and white notes printed on paper.

There are other things...

Worthier things...

Like the passionate life
that I lead.

You live a passionate life?

You do, father?

There's a question
I've always wanted to ask you:

Why don't you publish your melodies?

I don't compose.
I've never written anything.

At Easter

the reformists' church
sent a carriage

so my teacher
could play at Vespers.

At this service,
tall candles

representing God's name
are put out one by one.

It reminded Sainte Colombe
of his late wife

and his sorrow
at having been absent

when death took her

His love for her
was alive as ever

and seemed to him
quite unchanged.

Every night was that same night.

Every chill was that same chill.

Now we must go.

I wish I could make
you some crushed peaches.

I can't.

I can't.

This sounds odd, Madame...

12 years have not cooled
our bedsheets.

I came less often.

Madeleine told me everything.

She confided that he'd composed
the loveliest melodies.

He played them for no one.

There was "Cheron's Boat",
"Tomb of Sorrows", "Tears ".


Madeleine, our scales by thirds,
our arpeggios.

Yes, father.

What do you think of me?

Do you want some brew?

Too much mint.

The chapel was lovely...

Got it!

I did!

My body's wearied of you.
I'm leaving.

I've seen new faces now.

Life, to be sweet, must be cruel.

Stop talking, go away!

Madeleine grew so weak, she took
to bed. I'd made her pregnant.

She was delivered
of a stillborn boy.

Madame, how can you
appear here after death?

Where is your boat?
Where are my tears? Are you a dream?

Am I mad?

Don't worry, my love.

Our boat long ago sank in the pond.

The other world is leaky as a boat.

It hurts me that I can't touch you.

There's nothing to touch but wind.

But even wind can suffer...

Sometimes the wind
carries music to us.

Just as the light can bring you...


Madeleine became seriously ill.

I'd meet Toinette for news
of her sister.

He said his father made them
to his specifications.

I stopped coming.

In time, I lost touch
with the Sainte Colombes.

Toinette married Pardoux's son.

He still makes my instruments.
They had 5 children.

When Caignet died,
I entered the king's household.

I married Catherine d'Arnicourt.

I conducted Lully's orchestras
and played "The Dreaming Girl "

which I composed years ago
for Madeleine.

Sainte Colombe came to her bedside.

He tried hard,
but found nothing to say to her


Do something for me?

Please play

"The Dreaming Girl"
that Marin wrote for me.

Soon afterward, he sent Toinette
to find me in Versailles.

He ordered me to rush
to his dying daughter.

My father won't appear.

You won't recognize Madeleine.
She can hardly walk.

My father spoonfeeds her.

He insists she eat crushed peaches.

You're marvellously beribboned...

And fat.

Thank you for coming
from Versailles.

Please play the melody
you once wrote for me...

The one that was published.

"The Dreaming Girl"?

You know why?

- Is the viol still...?
- Yes, it is.

Your cheeks are hollow.
Your eyes, too.

Your hands are terribly thin.

It's a very delicate statement
of you.

Your voice is deeper.

Yours is higher.

Don't you have some great sorrow..?

You've become...

So thin.

No, I haven't...

I've had no recent sorrows.

Still angry?

Yes, Marin.

You still hate me for what I did?

Not just you.

I also despise myself.

I let myself be destroyed
by my memory of you

and by sheer sadness.

I'm a bag of bones!

You were never fleshy.

When I wrapped
my hands around your thigh,

my fingers touched.

You're so witty.

To think I wanted to be your wife.

Your love for me was as flimsy
as this gown.

That's a lie!

Please play.


I'd rather you played.

Slowly... Slower.

He didn't want to be a shoemaker...

He didn't want to be a shoemaker...

Each day dawns but once.

He didn't speak for six months,

nor touch his viol.

That was the first time
he ever hated it.

After hearing of Madeleine's death,
I couldn't sleep.

I thought endlessly of the titles
she'd confided to me:

"Hades ", "Charon's Boat",

"Tears", "Tomb of Sorrows".

I was horrified that he wanted
his music to die with him.

I grew obsessed with hearing it all,
if only once.

I wanted those works

In any weather,
I'd go every night to listen.

I followed the trail
Madeleine had shown me long ago.

Each time, for three years,
I wondered:

"Will he play them tonight?
Will this be the night?"

He never did.

He was mostly silent
or talked to himself

I heard him dusting his viol
or the table.

Where is your boat?
Where are my tears?

At last, on January 23, 1689

It was icy cold. The wind stung
my eyes across the frozen ground.

Not a cloud in the sky.
I'll never forget it.

I thought:

It's a clean crisp night

with a full moon in the ageless sky.

My horse galloped on.

My rear was cold,
my prick tiny and frozen.

My rear was cold,
my prick tiny and frozen.

Have some crushed peaches.

I speak only to aged shadows
who no longer move.

If only there were someone alive
besides me who loved music!

We could talk...

And then I could die.

Who is that sighing in the darkness?

A man fleeing palaces
in search of music.

What do you seek in music?

I seek sorrows and tears.

Sit down.

May I ask you for one last lesson?

May I attempt a first lesson?

I wish to speak...

Music exists to say things
that words cannot say.

Which is why
it is not entirely human.

You've found out that music
is not for kings?

I've found out it's for God.

You're wrong. God can speak.

For the ear?

Things I can't speak
of are not for the ear.

For gold?

For glory?

For silence?

Silence is only the opposite
of language.

For rival musicians?


The sorrows of love?


A wafer for the unknown?

Not that either. What's a wafer?

You can see it, taste it.
it's nothing.

I give up.

I give up.

One must leave a drink
for the dead.

You're getting warmer.

A refreshment for those
who've run out of words.

For lost childhood...

To muffle the hammering
of shoemakers.

For the time before we were born,

before we breathed

or saw light.

A moment ago you heard me sigh.

Soon I'll die; my art will die with me.

I'll be missed only
by my chickens and geese.

I'll give you a few airs
that can wake the dead.

Let's begin.

We need a drink.

We also need the viol
of my late daughter,


I'll play
"Tomb of Sorrows".

None of my students
had enough ear to hear it.

You'll accompany me.



Thus we played
from "Tomb of Sorrows",

a piece called "Tears ".

I'm proud to have been
your teacher.

Please play me the air
my daughter loved.