Curiosa (2019) - full transcript

A passionate love story set against a backdrop of sexual freedom, loosely based on the relationship between 19th-century authors Pierre Louÿs and Marie de Régnier.

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Hello, Pierre.

curiosa:
erotic object, book or photograph.

It’s been a while.

Too long.

I missed you.

Handsome as ever.

Hello, Claire. How are you?

Imagine if we were blondes.

We’d be worshipped.

Who put the narcissi there?

Flowers that love their image.



Like you, dear sister.

Loulouse!

Stop, you know Loulouse is a cactus.

So what am I?

You?

A rosebud.

Ready to blossom.

- About time!
- Hey!

Relax, Helene.

Henri must be quite a gardener.

Green thumb?

- Pierre?
- I think so.

Gardens need cultivating.

This show is not meant for you.



Sorry, I didn’t ask
the Pharaohs’ permission.

Admit, it’s tempting.

I’ll see you later.

Can he smell
with all his nose hair?

Facial hair tickles.

Really? You’ve already kissed?

Just Father’s moustache.

Pierre...

- Staying for tea, Jean?
- Yes.

Don’t I get a kiss?

Whatever you want.

Whatever you want.

What lucky future husbands.

Pierre.

Girls, please leave Pierre alone.

- He’s outgrown your childishness.
- I enjoy it.

You’re incorrigible.

Henri, you’re writing a book of poems?

- Indeed.
- Recite some.

- With pleasure.
- I’m all ears.

Heron on swamp or swan on river

Whether spring blossoms
or autumn rains

My arrows have pierced every hour

- Time has shed...
- All its feathers

Pointed breasts nude like a mother’s

- Their silken defeat...
- Lies on the floor

And naked

And the torn dress terribly askew...

- It’s not that.
- Not at all.

I knew it by heart!

Excuse me.

Girls to be wed put on shows!

Like houses not for rent,
awaiting buyers.

Have Antonine serve tea.

We can be visited,
but not every floor.

Dare not imagine her unclothed.

Marie, wait for me.

Antonine needs help.

My dear Henri,
I have loved Marie for a while.

The only way to spare her
this needless rivalry

is to tell her of this double love.

Yours, Pierre.

You’re pretty.

Very pretty.

He’s kind.

He’ll be gentle with you.

I like him.

That’s a good start.

Marie?

Come, please.

I wanted news of you.

- You’re my friend.
- Your friend?

After informing me by telegram
of a life-altering decision?

I was in love with Marie.

What’s the problem?

We had an agreement,
but I had to try.

While you sat still.

- Bad sport.
- My love exceeds yours.

- You lied.
- I was desperate.

Enough to betray a friendship?

Yes.

To betray the best friend I ever had.

I love her madly.

How will you get out of this?

I admit you’re doing well.

Love...

So you believe in it.

For me,
love is the satisfaction of the senses.

Then you’ve never loved.

Love, Henri,

is a freshly waxed pussy,

washed and perfumed, top to bottom.

Ready for other games, if asked.

Round, firm, solid...

extremely tight and deliciously juicy.

Am I shocking you?

You’re taunting me?

I was getting worried.

So?

How was the play?

Sardou found a very clever title:
Let’s Divorce.

A theatre full of women!

I took my sisters for ice-cream.
I’m out of money.

I saw a hat I can’t afford.

Come now, Marie.

Women don’t go to cafés alone.

Except courtesans.

“Freshly waxed pussy...”

Henri?

What’s going on?

I saw Pierre.

He’s back?

And not alone.
He brought an Algerian in his valise.

A gorgeous girl, I hear.

He claims she’s his muse.

He seems bewitched.

He doesn’t stop photographing her.

- Madame.
- Monsieur.

- Good day.
- Good evening.

For me?

Please.

Your turn.

Nice pose.

Careful, it’s fragile.

Act One.

Again.

Ready?

Ready.

- Like it?
- Love it!

More!

Again.

Go on, hurry up, Jean!

Ready.

Yes?

Is Pierre here?

Working.
He can’t be disturbed.

I’m used to it.

Marie.

Henri told me you were back.
With...

Meet Zohra Ben Brahim.

She’s pretty.

This is Marie de Heredia.

De Regnier, sorry.

I’m not used to it.

How odd to use his name.

It’s pretty here.

You need some flowers.

Have your native get some narcissi.

I saw nice ones at the market.

You like narcissi, don’t you?

Are you jealous?

You photograph her with this?

It’s you that I wanted.

I was furious that he stole you.

Naught will be done
but by autumn night...

You saved yourself for me?

Naught will be done
but by autumn night

I who embrace you did not carry

I who embrace you

I did not carry

The gold

frankincense and myrrh
of your virginities

And the blood of Aphrodite

And the blood of Aphrodite

And the blood of Leto

May I?

Interested in politics now?

I’d like to learn.

I’ll give you a rendezvous
in the personal ads

Codename: MLH.

The letters of your names:
Marie, Louise, Helene.

Very interesting.

Pierre, I want to be photographed

in poses that morality condemns.

Come in, Marie.

Is it you
who wants to be photographed?

I feel like I’m in a studio.

Do I sit there?

Hat on.
I’ll do your portrait as is.

Like a stranger I spotted in the
street.

Have a seat.

Marie, you must sit still.

Pretend you’re an apple.

Do apples move?

Turn your head to the right.

Lower your chin.

Very good.

Smile less.

- Concentrate.
- I am concentrated.

Remove your hat.

I can’t be your husband,
so I’ll be your lover.

I’ll teach you vices
you can’t even conceive of.

Write me to describe your
pleasure.

All right?

It’s me you love, right?

Love?

We know this is just for a laugh.

Or a cry.

I’ll call you “Fly”

for your winged black hair,

so long, so fine, so blue,

and the gold circles around your pupils

in the deep shadow of your eyes.

We even installed “water-closets”.

Love letters
will now circulate with shit.

- Here she is.
- Pierre!

You’re here?

Back from my travels.

You’re late.

I was with my lover.
He wouldn’t let me go.

You see?

She hasn’t lost her humour.

So, Pierre... how was your trip?

Exceptional!
You missed our wedding.

That’s Marie’s way of saying
we missed you.

We’re homebodies now.

Simple daily pleasures with Marie

make me very happy.

Daily life is boring.

Tell me about your trip.

It’s more amusing.

It’s impossible to sum up.
Impressions, colours, images.

I wish I’d photographed it all.

He’s attached to his Kodak.

A Kodak?

We took pictures too, right?

Would you mind getting them?

I’d love to.

You’re crazy.

Can I go back to the studio?
I’ll behave.

You’ll do whatever I say?

Everything.

Here.

So...

The entire family.

Everyone but you.

Was it the most beautiful day
of your life?

It was very moving.

- You’ll see when it’s your turn.
- If it ever is.

See how amusing it is?
I look dead.

My lover wouldn’t let me leave.

And her husband considered this excuse

a joke in bad taste.

I dislike the maid,
lascivious lipped

Who tells her new master,
head slightly tipped

“Should Monsieur ever ring

“at bedtime

“Remember I do a wicked 69”

What floor?

Last one.

You’re killing me.

You must introduce me to Lucille.

Lucille...

But you’re always with Zohra
and your new strumpet.

She’s no strumpet.

So why hide her?

Afraid? Who is it?

- Push.
- So?

- Push!
- She’s upper-class?

She’s upper-class!

Mr Pierre, I want to fuck.

Not “I want to fuck.” Say:

“I’m nervous.”

Oh my love, fuck my two holes!

Look at this.

You could say you’re eclectic.

I have 12 dildos in my drawer.

Instead, say...

“I never get bored alone.”

“The Female Posterior”.

- How many are there?
- Here, about 60.

- And all together?
- Several hundred.

Hundreds?

I have files on the ones I sodomised.
Name, address, age.

Fascinating research.

Fingerprints too?

Almost.

Seriously, why take notes?

I don’t know.

I shouldn’t have shown you.

Allow me to be a bit...

overwhelmed.
It’s rare to see a notebook

where someone classified women.

Take the plunge.

Are we ugly or pretty?

You laugh, I show my teeth

I like your pupils
because I see myself in them

When...

I undo your braid

You weigh my heavy hair

And for your scarlet tongue,
I have coral

So?

Not bad.

- Not bad?
- Pretty good, even.

It’s a lesbian poem?

You’ll kill me!

How do you wear it?

I’m used to suffering.

Are you suffocating?

Are you?

What is it like to have one?

Can you show me?

Next time I’ll bring another woman.

We’ll both make love to her.

It’ll do you good.

She’ll watch you.

I’m not enough?

Yes, but...

But?

Three is more fun.

She can be between us, looking at you.

You’re playing with me.

Not with you. I just play.

I hate you.

Who for example?

You have other mistresses?

Would I love you less?

If I had others?

Answer me.

- Do you?
- Would I love you less?

Of course I have others.

- I love you.
- Would I love you more if I had others?

You can’t.

- I can.
- No.

- I can.
- Don’t ever try.

Only you can do me good.

Your poem was a lot more fun.

Did you write it?

You read Pierre’s manuscript?

A few pages.
I have some reservations.

Not about the style.

- What is this about?
- Pierre.

His book,
The Woman and the Puppet.

What is the woman like?

Dark-haired, as usual.

And very seductive.

He writes well, undeniably.

But he may be going too far.

I don’t believe it.

A girl from the gutter

manipulates her benefactor
like a puppet.

A gentleman cannot be so easily
conned.

Pierre has imagination.

She sleeps with someone else
and he allows it.

Is that believable?

Not so easily, I agree.

Fly!

No sense of morality?

Does it bother you?

No, it thrills me.

Not yet.
I want to take your picture.

You’re handsome
when you concentrate.

Don’t fall.

- I don’t move?
- Or talk.

Quiet.

Give me remorse.

Lots of remorse.

I’d like to remember every second.

I’m in your collection now?

Pinned up with the others?

You searched my papers?

Yes, wasn’t I supposed to?

Kiss me.

You can’t stay longer?

I’m late.

It’s as if you already left
anyway.

Help me.

- This one?
- I’ll take it please.

10 sous.

Here you go.

Flowers?

- How much?
- 10 sous, sir.

Undress.

Raise your arms.

Yes, like that.

Excellent.

Turn around.

More slowly.

It needs to be dark.

Let me see.

Show me.

Come on.

Wait...

Come in.

Look.

Can I have it?

For our secret album?

Who’s with Pierre?

How graceful.

Marriage suits you.

You’re gorgeous.

If it has hidden virtues,
I don’t know them.

How nice to see you clothed.

I don’t feel well.

Let’s go home.

Please, I never get out!

People are staring.

- I can’t.
- Marie, stop.

We’ll go discreetly later.

93...

94...

100.

Goodnight, Marie.

Pierrot, my favourite horseman

Henri gets back at 5.
We’re alone.

You’re mad.

Don’t make fun of him.

Pierre doesn’t love you!

He shares Zohra
with his friends at night.

You saw how infatuated he is!

Stop.

Stop, you’re...

You’re hurting me...

You’re hurting me!

What do you want?

To be treated like Zohra?
Like a whore?

My love...

Stop.

What did I do to you?

I don’t love you.

I don’t love you.

I don’t love you!

Her whole body was expressive,
like a face.

More than a face.

Her head full of hair
fell on her shoulder

like something useless.

Smiles in the fold of her hips,

blushing cheeks
at the bend of her side,

her chest looked ahead
with two eyes, fixed

and black.

Why are you frowning?

Are you crying?

What is it?

What?

Is it me?

I don’t want you to be sad.

Not because of me.

Don’t move.

Stop.

Cold Paris light doesn’t suit you.

I’ll only know you

when I take you somewhere
with date trees

and oleander.

You’re wasting away here.
You need light.

I won’t go back alone.

You won’t be alone.

You’re a model, seductive.
Someone will tend to you.

You must leave.
I can’t explain, but you must.

When will you come?

You love me and chase me away.

You need me.

Stop, that’s enough!

I don’t want to get upset.

We had a great time together.

You’ll need it.

Honey, you have to go now.
Come.

Why must you send me back?

I didn’t know!

This is your fault.

He didn’t decide it alone.

He’ll come back to me.

He loves me!

He needs me. I do it all.

So? That’s not love.

What would you know?

I know how to love men.

Love can’t be learned.

You see?

You know nothing.

Have a seat.

He likes when we do this.

Head to toe.

Can you do it?

Look.

It’s your treasure.

It needs only your fingers.

Pierre...

Remember when you told me

with you,
my future was guaranteed.

In the tomb

you’ll write to me.

To prove we still have something.

Pierre, how I adore you.

I read your book.

And?

Scandal will make you rich.

An excellent story.

It rings true.

I feel your cuckold lacks
something.

Noblesse, perhaps.

More power in the description.

You think so?

Are you feeling well?

Are you in love?

I’m worried.

- Teasing me?
- No, I’m worried.

I kicked out Zohra.

She weighed on me. Now I miss her.

You don’t believe in love
yet you have the symptoms.

It’s not love. It’s a passion.

It destroys you
but you can’t pull away.

Passions must be quenched.

Why not join her in Algeria?

Stop. I don’t want to.

Come on, just for once.

I said to stop!

It’s no game!

I’ll be in Algiers when you get this.

You’ll be good till I come home?

Will you write?

Think about me.

You can talk to me.

I can’t manage.

I love one person in the world.

Forget him.

Come see.

I can’t.

Wait, go on...

Come see this ring.

See it?

Forget him.
He makes you unhappy.

I can’t.

There.

Perfect.

You’re pretty!

Don’t move.

You’re pretty.

So pretty. You get me hard.

Please, Pierre.

It made you laugh.

I won one laugh.

Bon appétit, my love.

This frown soup is as good as
usual.

Henri, you’re perfect.

So?

Thank you, Helene.

Marie is my most artistic
daughter.

The most sensitive and fragile.

Cheer her up, entertain her.

Take her to the races.

She loves horses.

Go to the opera.

- I don’t know...
- She won’t go out.

I’m afraid to leave her alone.

She’s considering divorce.

She’s capable of anything.

No...

You know...

Stop her melancholia.
Protect her from herself.

Entertain her.

Get her out of her room, dammit.

Don’t let her act like a little
girl.

Behave like her husband.

Yes, her husband.

It’s you.

Jean!

You’re not a ghost?

It would be possible here.

I like that awful insect.

And you?

I admire it, as one admires
horrors.

It’s frightening up close.

You’re a scaredy-cat.

Nothing scares me anymore.

“Par arru sada”.

All right.

“Netsuke”.

Yes... “Fly”.

Funny.

What?

- Too many flies.
- Another.

Mushroom and fly.

“Fly and lotus leaf”.

“Volubilis and fly”.

Jean.

To overcome your fears.

Like it?

My good-luck charm.

Are you working?

I’m writing.

Willy is signing.

Write for yourself.

I adore what you do.

You’ve read me?

Of course.

I’m proud you like something I did.

I’m happy to see you.

I get very bored.

Without me?

I didn’t say that.
I said I’m bored.

With someone else.

You make me laugh.

Good start.

You looked so glum.

I was afraid to tell you.

Feeling better?

It’s... bitter.

I like that.

Taste.

You’ll see how evil my thoughts are.

You think I’m silly.

Silly? No.

Surprising.

Shy.

Intriguing.

I feel...

you’ll make me suffer.

- So you’ll come.
- Yes!

I’ll come.

And be my mistress?

That doesn’t matter.

It does for some people.

Maybe not for you, but...

When?

Damned need to travel!

Yuck! I spit in my palm

Did he need to change?

Since, my beauty is idle

In vain, my body perfumed

My charming breast bloomed

Cheat on him with a gnome

My lover cannot be undone

How fickle this young man

With Zohra sleep he must

From that pretty place

He treats me like dust

Cheat on him for a gnome

Nothing will bring my lover back

Under this date tree

A slave undresses you

Here, entirely nude

Your young girl’s body

Sharp shadow and raw sun

Share your brown skin

The slowly vanishing day

Leaves you blue in the moonlight

My lover cannot be outdone

I’m coming back.

Don’t scold me.

Now I know my love for you.

Don’t say you don’t believe me.

You’re not like other women.

You know not their petty jealousy.

Because you’re an old guy,
as you said.

Remember?

Jean, don’t come Tuesday to the flat.

It’s over.

I told you it wouldn’t last.

Sorry if I am hurting you.

Don’t regret me. I’m not worth it.

- Jean.
- What?

- Sit still.
- It’s not easy.

Be an apple.
Do they move?

An apple. I’m an apple.

Smile.

- What are you doing?
- Concentrate.

I can’t!

You’re torturing me!

I know.

- It’s new to me.
- Me too.

It doesn’t show.

Don’t move.

Another?

- No.
- One last one.

With you?

Naughty boy!

- Do you agree?
- Sure.

Are you here?

What kills me is doubting the past.

I think she loved me.

She stole my thoughts.

She’s taking the best of me.

I’m in agony.

Understand me, Pierre,

I can’t go on living.

Listen to me!

I never loved him!

Listen!

Pierre, listen!

Listen to me.

You left me alone.

I never stopped being yours.

Adoring you.

Murmuring your name.

Desiring your mouth.

I love you.

I love you. Do you hear?

You must believe me.

You must believe me.

A publication?

No, something more personal.

Were you named head of the
library?

Soon, but that’s not it.

- Is it about your wife?
- No, Marie.

She’s pregnant.

He’s moved as if he were family.

My grandson. Can you imagine?

A grandson, a grandson...

I hope it’s a boy.
Girls cause trouble.

Would you accept to be the
godfather?

It would warm my heart.

We’ll name him Pierre.

If it’s a boy.

My child, forget Pierre.

You can’t deprive your husband
of an heir.

He’s been very patient with you.

It will make you both happy.

Happy?

You feel this way now,

but you’ll start living again,

loving again.

Soon enough life will be
wonderful.

Forain needs you to smile.

For your portrait.

Pierre,

your silence pains me so.

I am sure the little tiger inside me

is the fruit of our one imprudence
before you left.

Do the maths.

It will be born in September.

Answer me, I beg of you.

Without you, life is nothing.

Fly.

My tiger.

Little Pierre.

I’ll get some lemonade.

The stand is nearby.

Little Pierre.

He’s scared of me.

He’ll get to know you.

See the resemblance?

He’s handsomer.

Now someone binds us forever.

I love you, Fly.

Really?

For how long?

15 minutes?

What’s so funny?

He asked if Tiger would look
like his father.

Better he look like his mother,
right, old chap?

Look!

Bring us back one from Africa!

A photo of Tiger with his cousins!

Look, little Pierre. Tigers!

Stand here.

Perfect.

Smile, little Pierre.

Smile.

Don’t move.

Henri, step away.

Of course, I’m sorry.

First, mother and child.

Henri, you’re so awkward!

Going home?

Sorry, this was a bad idea.

He’s hungry.

- Your leg hurts?
- It’s fine.

I feel nothing.

You think I’m a poor cuckold?

I think that our friendship

and your courtesy
leave a gentleman no choice.

I detect pity.

Absolutely not.

I’d rather it be you, than
another.

Without you, I’d have quit.

Like a debt I can’t pay.

Yes.

Yes, Pierre.

You could.

Madame de Heredia.

Sorry to bother you so late.

What’s wrong?

I’ll leave you two.

I’m grateful Henri named
your father to the library

and has put us up.
Otherwise we’d be homeless.

But we still have Louise.
You know her.

She has her whims.

She wants to marry.

So marry her off.

Not easy without a dowry.

She speaks only of Pierre Louÿs.

Loulouse?

Her name would be Louise Louÿs.
Ridiculous!

What’s got into you?

Are you upset?

Not at all.

You know that...
he’s not the marrying type.

He travels non-stop.

He goes out with his mistresses.

She’ll be unhappy.

Why wouldn’t she be happy?

You are.

MLH, like before.

Tomorrow at 4.

- Loulouse?
- Pierre.

- What brings you?
- The friendship between our families.

Listen.

Father is so bad with money.

I’ll have no dowry, so no husband.

I need to get by.

Can I be your secretary?

Did you send Louise to me?

You could have resisted.

You can’t decide in my place.

It’s you who decided.

Once you gave in,
you committed to marrying her.

Your marriage will be like mine
with Henri.

I don’t want to get married!

It will be so much easier.

I’ll be able to come see you.

To tend to you, to be close.

That way, I’ll never lose you.

Don’t you always need several women?

I love you enough to share you.

Do you hear me?

Who will you love deep down?

Marie?

Louise?

Or the creature of your dreams we form?

Imagine.

Imagine her damp hair.

Her shoulder sticking out.

You pull apart...

her curls, looking for her mouth

which I hear moaning without seeing.

Which burns me right through my scalp.

You’ll compare our breasts,

our vaginas,

our moans, our shouts...

Afternoons with me,

nights with Louise.

You’ll remember

my first times.

The same brown curls,

the same mouth.

You’ll make Louise happy

as well as me.

You’re as quiet as a cat.

Forgive my appearance.
If I’d known...

Your miniature shield...

- I need to talk.
- Don’t speak.

Ever.

I’ve begun to write.

Will you read me?

Your opinion is precious.

Of course.

A love story?

Does it end well?

All love ends in ashes.

Didn’t you know?

Leaving without a word?

Come now.

Marie, photo time.

You’re late.

A kiss!

Beautiful.

You were in a fitting.

Seeing the dress is bad luck.

Really?

Loulouse, come on.

No one told me!

Open your eyes.

Mothers should not give
their daughters

books which say:

“Don’t sleep with your sister’s lover.
It’s incest.”

Girls have good excuses.

Landouzy came by yesterday at 5.

He prescribed a hydrotherapy cure.

Everything I see dazzles me.

I’ve never exercised so much.

Never gone to bed so early.

Can you imagine? Me?

I who swore by cigarettes,

dark-haired women and blank pages,

am now reduced to abstinence.

It’s a relief.

The Fickle Woman

If I get better,

I’ll be happy
to have seen things this way.

This slight dazzling

heightens reflects
and brightens shadows,

showing me a new nature,

a beautiful one.

And if I don’t get better,

all those images I photographed...

No one can take them back.

No, no one.

They’re inside me.

To bring them alive, I close my
eyes

and project them for myself.

The newsstands are mobbed.

- La Revue is selling like mad.
- Really?

Like mad?

Gerard d’Houville is a hit?

They imagine Gerard d’Houville

bearded and boring,

not a stunning woman.

Maybe it will increase sales!

Everyone likes love stories.

Especially scandalous ones.

Did I scandalise you?

You charmed me.

No need to be exotic à la Louÿs
to treat your subject.

We sense you talk about yourself.

Without subterfuge.

I’d almost say: it’s manly.

It’s modern.

Don’t badmouth my friend.

He’s an artist, a great poet.

Provided he doesn’t forget it.

Are you free for dinner?

Not tonight.

See you soon.

Remember one night
we lived a unique hour

When gods grant one instant

To the leaning head

The trembling shoulder

The pure spirit fleeing time

Remember that one night

Lying on our bed

Stroking our fingers
quivering to unite

We shared, mouth to mouth

The indestructible pearl
where memory sleeps

Loosely based on the photographs and letters
of Pierre Louÿs and Marie de Régnier.

Subtitles: Andrew Litvack

Subtitling TITRAFILM