Grande école (2004) - full transcript

Paul and Agnes have been going out for quite a while and Agnes is shocked to learn that he'd rather live with two roommates on campus than move in with her. As soon as he meets one of his roommates, Louis-Anault, Paul's behavior changes - he is attracted to Louis without realizing so himself. Agnes, on the other hand, gets quite jealous and offers a bet: Whoever gets to have Louis-Anault first, wins... If she does, Paul will no longer explore his homosexual desires, if he does - she'll walk away. Meanwhile, Paul meets Mecir, a young Arab worker, who shows him there's more to life than elite colleges...

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So your son made it.

Getting into
such a top school!

You must be relieved.

Your firm
has a future now.

My son's
aiming higher.

Contracting is fine for my husband.

Some Bastille Day!

The fireworks will be great!

- Same school?
- l'm doing Lit.

Agnes is at Normale Sup.

You're a human rights activist?



Excuse us.

Why not? l work
for animal rights, myself.

- Know when the fireworks start?
- No idea.

- Would you know?
- Yes, right now.

That how you passed the entrance
exams? Congratulations!

You studied with him?

You're not rooming with him!

Him or another. We have to.

lt's regulations.
We're three to a flat.

Who's forcing you to?

You can share
my Paris studio with me.

And spend two hours commuting?

Relax.
We'll see a lot of each other.

l live on campus.



lt promotes competitive spirit.

Mine wasn't bad either.

Have you seen Paul?

You can't live here, baby.
lt's gloomy.

When did they
last redecorate... 1950?

Relax, Mom.
They want to keep us on campus.

But that's no reason, baby.

Don't call me that.

- Louis-Arnault R?al.
- Paul Thabor.

Bernard Chouquet.

l took the big bedroom.
First come, first served.

Excuse me,
but did your parents see

how noisy the big bedroom is?

lt's none of their concern.

lt should be. You won't get any rest
with all that noise.

But as for my Bernard,

the noise of traffic and drills
lull him to sleep.

The other room is fine.
l'm not taking his.

- We have no choice.
- Trust me.

All the campus apartments
are the same.

- Think it over.
- Please, Mom!

What's going on?

She thinks the flat's
not good enough for him.

- Oh, no? Where's he from?
- L'lsle en Dodon.

ln the southwest.

l see. The roommate situation
looks promising.

l don't mean you.

Then again...

Just kidding.

Here they are.

Paul Thabor. Bernard Chouquet.

Emeline Dejour, my girlfriend.

How convenient to have your
girlfriend in the same school!

Let's go.

My dear friends,

don't be surprised to hear
that word in my mouth.

l'm more than your academic dean.

l want to be the go-between
who helps you

gain admittance to the exclusive
club of captains of industry.

You may not always be liked.

You may sometimes be feared.

But you will always be respected.

Today, when the pressures
of globalization

maintain suspicions of easy money

l hope you always keep in mind
our school motto...

''No gain without pain.''

So when you are forced to wield
the axe, to call for layoffs,

remember that the good
of your company

is the result of your labors,
your self-denial,

your self-sacrifice.

So welcome to this house
which is now your home.

May it be the temple
of your achievements,

the crucible of your future.

What?

You hit 'Alt'' and ''F4''.

lt makes it automatic.

- Thanks.
- You're welcome.

- Did you pick your courses?
- Not yet.

We have to double up.

- Have to what?
- Work in pairs on certain subjects.

Certain subjects?

Macro-economics.
Management. Marketing.

l see.

This school has lots to offer.

Take advantage of it.

Here comes Emeline.

- Where?
- Just kidding.

That why
you won't take class with her?

Don't be silly.

This is my son.

He has the skills?
Painting? Masonry?

- He's a hard worker.
- We'll see about that.

Thierry, come here.

Put him on the paint job.

Go change over there.

Welcome to Normale Sup?rieure .

lsn't this beautiful?

Nothing like your business school.

Obviously. l'm normal,

you're superior.

When do l meet your friends,

the future masters of the world?

Soon enough.

Louis-Arnault's dying to meet you.

Seems l talk about you all the time.

Faster, guys!

You were terrific!
You're dripping wet!

No women in the locker room.

- Too bad.
- Sorry.

- ls it always like this?
- Especially when we win.

We're still dry. We'd better leave.

- l think so, too. Coming?
- Be right out.

l really like the flat
l found near campus.

The layout is stunning.

Will you come see it?

- l mean, with Paul.
- Sure.

Why didn't Louis-Arnault
move in with you?

Not so fast.
l value my independence.

But the four of us could do dinner.

l sure couldn't do one in my studio.

Are you cramped for space?

lt's OK,
but not as good as yours.

Not bad.

Sexy, aren't they?

l see we have similar tastes.

Your guy's not bad, either.

- Here come our athletes.
- How's it going?

- Need a lift?
- And our Business Club?

- We can take the metro.
- As you like.

- Later.
- Tomorrow.

Shall we?

Alone, at last!

Five minutes without Louis-Arnault?

What's that supposed to mean?

This sports craze is new for you.

Like your fits of jealousy?

Let's go.

You almost finished?

l think l told you...
thicker lettering.

- lt won't look nice.
- Beauty doesn't matter...

Make the D thicker.

Like that... You see?

The bigger the better.

''God is Great''...
''Deus Magnus est.''

Sure, l got it. 'Allahu Akbar.''

His dad was a diplomat in Asia.

You look surprised,

but you learn fast as a kid.

Since you speak Chinese,
ask him for silverware.

Be right back.

l could've applied for Normale Sup ,
too. For the beauty of it.

Meaning he thinks
he would have got in.

Say what you mean.
Math gets you anywhere,

Lit gets you nowhere.

The credo of bourgeois France!

Who was that?

A journalist who did two years
in a labor camp.

lt didn't put him off Chinese food?

lt wasn't in China.

- He's here for our conference.
- She's a human rights activist.

You asleep or daydreaming?

'Even sleepers are workers

and collaborators
in what goes on in the universe.''

A quote from Heraclitus.
A 5th century B.C. Greek poet.

Greek? ls that for Mass?

lt stimulates the senses.

You studied Philo?

Socrates, Plato... ring a bell?

That was ages ago.

What did they say?

That we each search
for our missing better half.

Without finding it, l suppose.

Not so sure.

'As they are already friends
without contact of the senses,

it is unlikely that the pleasures
tasted weaken their friendship

but rather serve as a pledge
of pleasures to come.''

There's a meeting on start-ups.
lnterested?

Not at all?

Coming to the start-up meeting?

l don't know.

We're having an informal
meeting on...

Hold on... Let me start over.

A meeting on the plight
of start-ups in our school.

- lnterested?
- When is it?

ln 10 minutes in Hall B.

- l'm waiting for someone.
- Bring him along.

- We'll see.
- Great. See you there.

Yes, buy!

Buy, l tell you. Buy right away.

Know how much
you made me lose last time?

l didn't say, ''Take out...
an option,'' l said, ''Buy.''

So do it.
You work for me, right?

You didn't want a croissant?

What are you doing?

l'm trying to de-bourgeoise myself.

The word is ''disembourgeoise,''
l think.

lt took coming here to realize it.

They see me as provincial,
hard-working.

l think l'm well-dressed, but to
them l look like a shop mannequin.

Next to me,
they're from another world.

l can't see that.

They invent these elite schools
to reproduce a notch higher,

to raise us above small trade.

Doctors, they see us
heading German labs.

Engineers, they see us
running Silicon Valley.

As if it weren't any less empty.

But they can still be CEOs.

But almost without wanting to be.

lt's a habit they acquire young.

We had to run to get this far.

We start out breathless.

We're privileged. Others would
settle for what we have.

Most even envy us.

There's an exam
that stands between us.

That exam is the key.

We're getting
the best education available.

The thing is to believe it.

You're one of the elite.
You're satisfied.

So for you, everything's fine.

l'm looking for my brother,
the new painter.

- The young guy?
- Yeah.

He must be back there.

Thanks, guys. Enjoy!

lt's the refrain. l just wrote it.

So?

Not quite.

- You mean it?
- Only Mouss could write lyrics.

Not that traitor!

Not: 'I walk head high
to hide my tears.''

No, it's:
'I walk with my head in the stars

to keep my tears from falling.''

- You can't write that.
- Why not?

- lt's too much.
- Too much what?

Too much self-pity.

So what?

- You asked, l'm telling you.
- Just wait.

Feelings are cruel,
but never excessive.

Look, l gotta get back to work.

- See you tonight.
- Right.

What is this mess?

Not you again!

- Sorry, chief, it was an accident.
- Glad to hear it!

- Look!
- What is it?

l'll re-paint everything.

Oh, yeah? Look at this cob job!

Did you learn in the Casbah?

Do something.

lt's not our business.

You should've used a drop cloth.
You call this a good job?

He reads too much Foucault!

You can't talk like that here.

- Excuse me?
- You heard me. Leave him alone.

- This your beeswax?
- You're on our campus.

You can't make racist remarks here.

- Who are you to talk to me like that?
- No one. Anyone.

- Get lost!
- Be polite or l call the dean.

Call the Pope while you're at it!

Can you paint, at least?

- l'll shove it down your throat!
- lt's a misunderstanding.

- What's going on?
- He's out of bounds.

He's just a bit excited.

We'll see later.

Back to work, gentlemen.
And you, calm down.

Out of my two years in prison,

l spent six months
in a detention center,

and 18 months in a labor camp.

That was the worst!

We had to carry heavy stones
from the docks to the boats.

ln the morning, we were only allowed
to drink the dirty river water.

But not while we worked.

The guards forced the sick prisoners
to spit in our food.

We had to eat in front of them
so we'd get sick ourselves.

They selected some of us
to beat with electric shock batons.

Just like that, for no reason,
to scare the others.

l spent a lot of time in isolation.

They called it ''jail within jail.''

Torture was part of the routine.

l had chains on my legs.

l could hear my friends' screams

as they were tortured,

while waiting for my turn to come.

Forgot your keys again? Great.

- Still working?
- You might say that.

- On your law case?
- Our law case.

Try using a glass.

You didn't ask Louis-Arnault
for help?

We can't ask him every time.

Good luck. Good night.

The bottle...
Will it put itself away?

lt's me. Can l come in?

Sure.

Am l disturbing you?

So, how was the conference?

Powerful. Moving testimonies.
l almost cried.

Our problems are nothing
compared to what they've endured.

- You just realized life's unfair?
- That what you think?

Not quite, happily.

- lt's quite an agenda!
- You should've come.

Another time.
You didn't stay with Agnes?

She was with a group.
So l came home. And the opera?

Sublime! Emeline was in tears.

- She didn't stay with you?
- She's not my whole life.

- What are you reading?
- Chateaubriand.

- You would read Chateaubriand!
- Why?

He's a bit...
conventional, isn't he?

Here.

Sit down.

Listen to this.

Here it is...

His impressions of America.

'English mores follow
the English everywhere.

After crossing regions
without a sign of life,

l spied the sign to an inn
swinging from a branch.

Once,
l entered one of these hostels,

and was stunned to see
a huge circular bed

built around a pole.

Each traveler got into the bed,
feet towards the pole,

head on the outside of the circle,

so that the sleepers
were laid out symmetrically

like the spokes of a wheel
or the ribs of a fan.

After some hesitation,

l got into this contraption,
as there was no one else.

l began to nod off,

when l felt something rub
against me.

lt was my big Dutchman's leg.''

- You find that conventional?
- No. You're right.

l never read him
from that perspective.

Well, then...

Good night.

Sleep well.

- What stocks do you have?
- None.

- What?
- l have none.

You have no portfolio? No capital?

Not really.

- You're a bad catch?
- And you?

l do more than just speculate.

Hey, guys...

l forgot a book at the library.
Catch you later?

Sure.

- Do you have a minute?
- My friends are waiting.

Do you have a moment, sir?

- No need for formalities.
- So you got a minute.

About the other day,
no need to thank me.

l should've done it in public,
right?

What nonsense!

Time to defend me,
but not listen to me?

Why'd you help me?

l don't know.
lt seemed the right thing to do.

Not to everyone.
Your friends didn't react.

lt brought back memories.

lt'd take too long to explain.

- Buy you a drink?
- No, thanks. Honestly.

Don't wanna be seen with me?

Don't read things into it!

- We can meet Saturday.
- OK.

- Give me your cell number?
- l'll write it down.

My name's Mecir.

Call me?

Sure.

Not staying?

l have to study with Chouquet.

- On Saturday! Can't it wait a day?
- Tomorrow he's with Yvette.

l mean... Eve.

An engineering student and ex.

l thought we had a date tonight.
You never stay over.

l'm free tomorrow afternoon.

OK?

Tomorrow.

Call me first.
l may not be free, either.

Oh, yeah?

You see? l came.

Let's go.

A car!
And you make me take the metro!

- This your car?
- Why? Think l stole it?

Think we're all dealers? We can't
have cars, credit cards and flats!

- You have all that?
- The flat, not yet.

- So where to?
- Relax, you're my guest.

lsn't this nice?
lt's like not being in Paris.

l don't know Paris.
l'm a provincial.

Where you from?

The south, minus the accent.
Carcassonne. And you?

From a village near theirs.
But l was born here.

- You drinking orange juice?
- No alcohol. lt's not for athletes.

We're not athletes here.

lsn't that why you invited me?

Should l have sent out an invite?
You people do that.

- What do you know?
- What l see.

You look so self-confident
yet so uptight.

Well-dressed, but out of style.
Arrogant and proud.

Outside of reality.

No wonder the world's a mess.

Oh, really?

lf your kind pulls the strings.

lnsensitive and ruthless.

You're judging from appearances.

You're generalizing.

Not you. You're not like them.
Though the first time...

- The first time?
- l saw you with your redhead friend.

Chouquet.

You looked pathetic.

l thought l didn't.

Relax. Less than him. When you
took my side, l was stunned.

- My dad barked at everyone like him.
- You, too?

Sure. Why not me?

There's a saying where l come from:

''Never tame a wolf to make a dog.''
Let's dance.

C'mon!

Didn't we have a great time?

- How'd you know l live here?
- You told me.

No, l didn't.

l'm sure l didn't.

l followed you the other day.

What for?

Guess.

Guess.

So you came home after all!

- Waiting up?
- We could've done something together.

- Did we plan on it?
- So we have to plan?

- l never know with you.
- lt's time to start knowing.

lsn't that friendship?

ls this your doggie?

You'll get dirty here.
Not in school?

l don't have school.

You at the big or little school?

The big school.

This is our school.
Look at all this.

And over there. And that's

the cafeteria. What's it for?

- To eat.
- Let's give your dog milk.

He doesn't want any.

Breaking your daddy's things?
He'll box your ears.

Sit down here.

Paul! Come here!

And your dog?

l told you to stay with me.

Never play with the workers.
Learn your place.

What is it?

Hold me.

Hold me tight.

You're an American banker.

A client wants to borrow
a million Swiss francs.

You'll make the loan through a
liquidity swap in US dollars.

Market conditions are as follows...

Excuse me, sir,
but what's a ''swap''?

A swap is an item-for-item exchange:
debit, credit...

Chouquet?

Bernard?

Louis-Arnault, you there?

- What're you up to?
- They're Chouquet's toys.

- You're up early.
- l couldn't sleep.

ls it the stress from school?

Not only that.

You're up early, too.

l'm training for Sunday's match.
Will you come?

Sure will. l wouldn't miss it.
Want some coffee?

Sure. Let me shower first.

Your place is as nice as ever.

You should come more often.

You see? l'm here.

'Morning, honey.

- Sleep well, honey?
- Sure did. l needed it.

l Xeroxed articles for your talk.

You had time? Thanks.

These are great.

l made you toast.

That's sweet.

''Discipline and Punish''?

My son has me read Foucault
on prisons. Very interesting.

l know. We have a classmate
who reads only him.

- Who's that?
- Paul Thabor.

Do l know him?

Did l meet him, honey?

No. He's a roommate.
He reads more than that.

- We're off.
- Going so soon?

We still have time.

- See you soon?
- l'll call you.

Forgive us.

- What're you doing in here?
- We'll be more comfortable.

Not in his room.

Come here.

You often study here alone
all weekend?

lt just turned out that way.
l'm not alone. You're here.

- And it just turned out that way?
- What?

Their agreeing to leave together?

They didn't leave together
but separately.

- At the same time?
- Not at all.

Chouquet goes home once a month.

Louis-Arnault went to see a regatta
at the last minute.

To leave you alone here

and give us free reign.

Here or not, what's the difference?
l could've come to your place.

What do you mean by ''free reign''?

Calling things by their name,
l suppose.

Louis-Arnault wasn't sure the regatta
would take place. Uncertain weather.

Uncertain weather
for a concerted departure.

lnsomnia distorts things.

Sleepless nights help you
see more clearly.

At night, everything is more
intense, more real.

- What're you getting at?
- l've become invisible because of him!

Whatever we do, he's always there.

- Let's make a deal.
- A deal?

Let's see which of us seduces
Louis-Arnault?

- What?
- You heard me.

What do you take me for?

''Better to burn out than fade away.''
St. Paul.

He never said it.
And nobody's fading.

You don't see it.
With me you're sweet, considerate...

But when he appears,
you're transformed.

This isn't funny anymore.

All right then.

lf you won't face up to it,
you're more nave than l thought.

Let's sustain the doubt.

Whether you play the game or not,
without you or me knowing it,

let's say l have
Louis-Arnault first.

- Have him?
- That l come and say, 'I had him.''

lf it's him you want him,
take him.

Why try to make me jealous?
You know my feelings haven't changed.

That's what makes me mad!

You're playing with me.

lf l win, l give him up,
but so do you...

Him and all the others to come.

You move in with me in Paris
and that's that.

You sleep with him
and you want to live with me?

On the other hand, if it happens,
without your knowing it, of course,

that you happen to have him first,

then l promise to give you up.

Tell me you don't mean a word
of what you say.

Emeline is an added obstacle.

Stop it, please!

That all the notes you took?

Just what interests me.

Meaning, not much.

Come with me to practice?

Right now?

Yes, now.

lt'll be a nice change.

A nice change!

Get a move on, guys.

Must l remind you
of this season's techniques?

Take your places!

ln threes.

You too, Louis-Arnault.

You okay? Coming?

- l'll wait.
- Come to the locker room.

- You sure?
- Sure.

Gentlemen,

since we have a guest,
let me congratulate you.

Honestly, you practiced today

like a bunch of ballerinas.

ls this the synchronized swimming
championship?

- We'll murder 'em.
- Sure.

We're not girls!

Look at how well l'm hung.

He's our captain!

This weekend's game is crucial.
You'd better fire up the team.

Count on us. We'll do fine.

Strong minds, powerful hands!

l'm counting on you.

l don't want to hear it.

Come and shower, coach!

We're all motivated!

Come to breathe the air
of management?

For the inter-school meeting.

Right, for that
Texas Death Row convict?

- Yes. You know about it?
- Sure l do.

What do you think?

He's guilty.
After all, he killed his friend.

They haven't proven it.

Don't men feel certain attractions
they won't admit to?

How'd you react
if your guy loved another guy?

No chance of that.

He likes women too much.
A bit too much, even.

But just imagine...

lt's crazy.
l never thought about it.

First, l'd feel wounded as a woman.

Then l'd try to understand:

Did l do enough to keep him?

lt rather thrills me.

What do you mean?

We have more than our femininity
to seduce men.

And women, too.

l see.

For you,
charm works through the mind.

That's where you Lit people
stump me.

You want to dissect everything,
find meaning everywhere.

l don't agree.
l wasn't raised like that.

- We're not of the same world?
- We're different, that's all.

lt's the guys...

With them,
we end up spending time together.

- We might as well...
- Still...

you had time
to form an opinion about me.

Yes, l had time...
And what Louis-Arnault told me.

He talk about me?

Sometimes.

l'm off to class.

See you later.

Your coach always like that?

He was overdoing it.
But it's a good team.

True. Real good.

l really have the feeling that...

l should take the offensive more?

Offensive?

To improve team spirit.

No, actually...

What l really meant was...

l have to tell you...

What?

Should l take up sports?

You should. lt clears the head.

The head?

All that muddle in one's mind.

- Depends on what you call muddle.
- Obviously.

Didn't expect to see me again?

- Are you parked far?
- Over there.

Wanna go for a drive?

lf you want to.

Yes, l want to.

Let's go to the coast.

- When?
- Right now.

- l haven't any money.
- l have my credit card.

Are you OK?

- Thanks for coming down.
- lt's nothing.

What do you think?

Effective.

A bit too much so.

That's just like you. Except in
the pool, you never take the plunge.

That's not why you asked me
to come.

No. l suppose you've heard.

Not again!

You don't let up.

There was no evidence.
He may be executed any day now.

Where do l fit in?

l heard that your father...

l get it.

He's preparing
the international summit?

Affirmative.

Ask him to submit this file
to the minister.

He hates being appealed to.
Especially by me.

Then let me make the case to him.

ls that all?

Look, it's a lost cause.

Don't be insensitive.

lnnocent or guilty doesn't matter.

- Happily, no. lf there's any hope...
- lt's not up to my dad.

He can gain time for us.
That means a lot. Please...

Help us.

Help me.

lf l do it,
l can't guarantee it'll work.

Of course not.

lt's at your own risk.

l'm sure l can convince him.

That deserves a small reward.

Already?

You don't do anything for free.

Let's just say that...

l take advantage of the situation.

So l can count on you?

Yes, boss.

Want to get a drink?

No time. l have to finish.

Business first.

Know all about it, don't you?

There you are.
Have you seen Louis-Arnault?

He's supposed to give us
Desvaux's lecture.

- Try the pool.
- He spends his life in the water!

lf you see him, tell him
we're stuck without his notes.

- l have them.
- Can we borrow them?

l need them. Tomorrow, if you want.

Problem is, the marketing case
is due tomorrow.

And neither of you could make
the class?

Desvaux's a good teacher.

Sure, but we three share the work.
Louis-Arnault was going...

That's not the best way.

And when he's no longer around?

Look, we'll ask
Louis-Arnault tonight.

lt's no big deal.

Fine. See you later.

- Thanks.
- She needs them!

But they were right here.

l'm sure we could've convinced her.

Charity for a former student,
please!

You always let the dishes pile up?

lt's Louis-Arnault's turn.
You see him doing dishes?

Not really.

lt's true.

Where is he? With all those red
lights, he should've been here first.

Maybe he went jogging first!

He won't be long.

Literature's great.
l never remember lines.

lt's a cast of mind, l suppose.

ln fact,
l'm more mathematically minded.

There's a bag missing.

- You sure?
- Positive.

l'll check the car. Be right back.

Chouquet, over here!

Help me.

What's all this blood?
What happened?

lt's nothing. Help me up.

Hold on! What's all this blood?

l'll explain later.

You should've come home with us.
Easy!

- What happened?
- lt's just a scratch.

- Get some gauze!
- lt's just a little blood.

Sit down.

Sit down. Calm down.

lt's OK.

Let me see.

Take this off.

What happened?

This won't hurt.

A guy ran into me.

l asked him to apologize.
He took it badly and pulled a knife.

- A guy in a tux?
- Yeah, a weird guy.

Could you recognize him?

No. lt all happened too fast.

The wound's deeper than it looks.

Wake up!

- What's wrong?
- He was attacked.

l'm OK. Where's Emeline?

The hospital!
What're you waiting for?

- Not you!
- Get a blanket, quick!

There's no room. Take a cab.

- You took your time.
- l ran...

l had no cash for a cab.

lt's not serious. He's asleep.

- Where are they?
- l got him a private room.

- Where?
- Room 20. 5th floor.

l tried to call Emeline...

Here he is.

Your hero.
The sleeping hospital beauty.

Quiet. You'll wake him.

Not a chance.

They gave him sleeping pills.

Don't!

l wouldn't hesitate if l were you.

Look how he's sleeping.

How soft he is.

At your mercy.
Take advantage of it.

lt's a once-only chance.

Stop it! You know l love you.

We've always been nice,
well-behaved little boys,

good at school, hard-working,

home for our snack.

Then we're nice teenagers,
insecure but in style,

ready to take exams,
ready to pass them.

And one day they arrive,

pull their knives and...

The world capsizes.

That's enough!
l thought we were going to study.

You're studying.

The case is due tomorrow.

Don't expect your name on it.

So you're up?

Sleep well?

Hard to, with the doors slamming.

That was Chouquet.
But he went out.

How you feeling?

OK.

lt still hurts and l have a fever,
but l'm OK.

- Need anything?
- No, thanks.

What happened here?
Did you two argue?

l said our lives hang by a thread.
He stormed out.

By a thread?

l meant our folks' sacrifices,
all those years of school...

Our parents' sacrifices?
That's not like you.

We're at the mercy of a knife attack.
That made him furious.

Sure, it's not very original.

l doubt it was
the lack of originality.

- What're you working on?
- A case study. Didn't get far.

l thought you were with Chouquet.

He doesn't understand much.

That complicated?

l don't even get the first four
we went over.

- What don't you get?
- The problem.

- ''Takover Bid to LBO''?
- l missed the class.

- On the LB0?
- And the one on takeovers.

- Didn't you attend any finance class?
- No.

- l see.
- Right. Let's skip it.

Maybe if l read the books
or even Chouquet's notes...

LBOs are designed to thwart
hostile takeovers.

lt's a leverage buy-out.

CEOs team up with finance agents
to head off a hostile takeover.

They buy their own stock.

- With what money?
- A small amount of cash,

and loans on the junk bond market.

You know what junk bonds are?

Sure, l do.

The biggest case was RJR Nabisco.

RJ Reynolds tobacco
merges with Nabisco, the food giant.

Ritz crackers...

Oh, yeah, crackers.

3 years later, after the biggest
LBO ever, they part ways.

Amount of their takeover
by their immediate predator:

$25 billion... A record.

What for?

No more bureaucrats,
no more inept management.

But the factories,
personnel and managers?

ln the hands of financiers.
Business engineering is out.

Today, financiers
and corporate lawyers rule.

And the real economy?

Get past
the industrial revolution, OK?

Not OK.

- What?
- l just can't get into it.

Look...

Thanks for your help.
You talk about it with passion,

but, frankly,
it doesn't interest me.

- And your finance case?
- l won't hand it in.

- What about the diploma?
- That's just it.

l don't know what's
happening to me.

l was good in Lit,
English and Philosophy.

Lit rated low in provincial schools,
higher than dance but lower than piano.

l wind up here to hear about LBOs.
Where did l go wrong?

What did l do?

l didn't see it coming...

l thought you wanted help.

You know what would help me?

What would really help me,

is that you do it with
my name on it.

You're not serious.

lt's not a reasonable request?

How can you be so reasonable,
so much a part of it?

You're in a bad way.

True. You got stabbed,
l have a knife in my head.

How do you cope with it all?
l just can't.

l need you, Louis-Arnault.

Don't look down on me.

- C'mon, old man...
- What's that supposed to mean?

- What?
- None of your buddy-buddy stuff!

Make your gestures meaningful.
That's all l ask.

Mother.

- l'm coming in.
- Go around.

What is it? You in pain?

lt's OK. l'm used to it.

l'll take you home.

l'm far from finished.

Meeting somebody?
You're all dressed up.

Don't expect me for dinner.

You're in love.

Love, you know...

You're wrong.
Enjoy it now, because later...

- You sure l can go?
- Go on.

- You're late.
- Sorry, it's Louis-Arnault...

He was attacked but he'll be OK.
He just needed pampering.

Pampering...

So you're learning with me,

practicing to be ready for him,
just in case...

Then l bow out.

What nonsense. You're jealous.

No, clear-minded.
You must do the same with Agnes.

How do you know?
You don't know her.

Simple intuition,
from being the token Arab.

- Stop, quick!
- What is it?

lt's important.

What is it?

lt's romantic.

See? That's important.

- You starting to enjoy it?
- Tell me...

How long have you been...

Been what?

A fag? That's not it.

Hetero, homo, all that's out.
lt's meaningless.

lt's because it's you, that's all.

l'm really moved.

You mean a lot to me.

l'm happy with you, too.

Take me in your arms. Hold me.

Hold me tight.

Tight, tight, tight.

Come on. Let's take a ride
on the merrygo-round.

Hold me in your arms.

l want to ride
the merrygo-round. Please.

Your snack first.
You haven't behaved with Mommy.

l have too behaved.

- You're in love.
- Love, you know...

Enjoy it now, because later...

l don't have school.

Big or little school?

Big school.

Paul, l told you to stay with me.

Never play with the workers.

- Your papers!
- Why us?

We didn't do anything.

You're Arabs, aren't you?

Look how well-hung l am.

What is it?

'It was my big Dutchman's leg. ''

- Wait. l'm about to come.
- Me, too.

Gorgeous house!

Not our doing. lt's been handed
down through the family.

Have a seat.

No, later.

You seem much better.

l have a fever.

lt still aches.

Want to see?

Don't.

Don't. Your father will come.

- My father's in New York.
- What?

- My mother, too.
- You didn't keep your word.

- l did.
- The execution is soon.

They're all well aware.
They've already stepped in.

- His fate'll be discussed, not changed.
- Meaning?

Pressure could backfire.

You lied to get me here.

So we'd be alone.

Let yourself go.

- Stop.
- You want me, too.

That's enough!

Because Paul's not here to join in?

What game are you two playing?

What game?

Stop acting innocent.

l know everything.

Do you?

You're using me to see
how far he'll go.

What are you talking about?

You're playing with fire.

You have him in a corner.

You're out of your mind.

ls it to keep him or dump him?

What are you getting at?

Deep down...

ls it to test his love or yours?

l hit it right on the head.

A change of rules
throws you off-balance.

You're not in control of things.

You hadn't planned on that.

You're nuts. lt's a typical male reaction
to accuse women to regain control.

That how you expect to defeat men?
By destroying their safeguards?

Defeat? We're not at war.

The silent war of the sexes.

A man's at a disadvantage
for not knowing what a woman is.

While we know a man's secrets
because we created him.

Try and uncover secrets,

and they crumble away,

leaving you naked.

This'll get us nowhere.

lt's the best place to return from.

Think about yourself.

About us.

Let Paul wallow in his anguish.

This season feels strange.

lt's the best time of year,
back home.

lt's like Christmas. lt's sacred.

lt's still mild.

The leaves have changed color.
The vines, especially.

Walking in the vineyards.
All those reds.

And the yellowish green pine trees.

l walk with my parents and talk.

l'm afraid of what l might say.

l watch them walk away,
or come toward me.

They're so handsome!

They were young once.

l want to hug them.

To shout to them.

What if we were dogs?
A family of dogs?

You licked me so much
when l came out of you.

And now l'm licking another dog.

l licked his snout
and let him lick me all over.

And because of that, you won't
take me by the neck and carry me?

You'll bare your teeth?
We'll all look mad?

We're not dogs. We're not even dogs.

Mr. and Mrs. Thabor.

Their son Paul

is the graduate of a famous school.

You OK?

Want one?

Sleep well?

l had such a strange dream.

- Tell me about it.
- lt was...

like feeling weightless.

They'd handcuffed me.

One should know better
than to expect anything of mankind.

Only one's own downfall.

The soldiers separated us.

The chain around my neck was gone.
You had it now.

l must give it to you.

- But it's from your mother!
- Exactly. lt's precious to me.

So long as you wear it,
l'll protect you.

What will you say?

That you lost it? Gave it away?

You know, there's so much
l'd like to say.

With parents, it's always too late.

You realize you haven't
loved them enough or said enough.

My mother, poor woman...

l'll never earn enough
so she can quit.

To send her on a trip.
All she knows is here and back home.

She breaks her back
so you can sit on clean chairs.

Would you let me meet your parents?

- Why?
- Not even as a friend?

You don't know my father.
Me having a worker as a friend!

And an Arab, to boot.

Say l'm from a famous school, too.

Oh, yeah? Which one?

Don't believe me? lt's nearby.

- What're you talking about?
- C'mon.

- There it is.
- But that's life!

Right! lt's the best school.

l worked on a site here.

l learned a lot.

Open your eyes.
Look at things differently. Observe.

- What a fabulous place!
- And there's more to it.

- You been here before?
- No!

Now it's gone!

Cut your card tricks!

Mrs. R?al, Paul Thabor...

His friend, Agnes.

- Your husband isn't here?
- He's stuck in Brussels. He's sorry.

So you're my son's roommate.

Such an interest in my father!

We didn't need him.

Happy birthday, honey.

My darling!

- What're you doing?
- We'll find a bedroom.

- No, not here.
- Yes, here. ln his home.

C'mon...

ls this yours?

lt was a gift.

From whom? Louis-Arnault?

Sure, from Louis-Arnault.

Come here, Louis-Arnault.
l want you, Louis-Arnault.

You and your Louis-Arnault!

lt's literally intoxicating.

So be nice.

We're not into exchanging gifts.

lt's his birthday, not mine.

lt's a gift from me.

l gave myself one since
you never do.

Dummy.

lt's true. l was walking by a store.
The chain saw me.

lt said: Come in!

l'll bring you happiness.

Just wear me around your neck.

l'll protect you.
l'll love you forever.

- Where've you been?
- Relax, l'm not late.

- You OK? What is it?
- l argued with Dad.

He gets me down.
He says musician isn't a job.

- He doesn't believe in me.
- He wants you to succeed.

l don't want to admit
no one cares about me.

- Cut the paranoia.
- That's exactly paranoia.

You resent others

to forget that you mean
nothing to them.

Believe in yourself first!

Then you'll see others differently.

l believe in what l do.

That's what gives me fire,
it gives me strength.

Where to?

Just drive along the river.

You sure?

Keep it down.
You'll wake the others.

How'd you get in?

Paul gave me the key.

But l didn't come to see him.

l was sure you'd hear me.

Changed your mind?

But l have no choice now.

l have to see it through.

For him.

For me. For us.

Through me he gets
what he wants from you.

Funny alibi.
lt won't change anything.

- You can't understand.
- Then call him so he can see us.

Emeline's here too.

Yes, but she's sleeping. Like Paul.

He's asleep, too.

Only you woke up.
l knew you would.

So the inevitable could happen.

Come to bed now.

l missed the stabbing.
So l lose you for being a bit late?

Lose me?
After 20 years of marriage, maybe.

- And our private life?
- No reason to make a scene.

A scene? Did you forget
everything between us?

l know what's between us.

Sex joins but it doesn't commit you.

Excuse me?

Sex is a world apart.
Like Greek or Math.

l'm not talking to you.

Let's just say he wanted me
and l wanted him.

And my desire?
You haven't always spurned it.

We're joined.
By being joined we're committed.

There are feelings binding us.

And there's a difference
of sensibility.

Not even. Of talent. Dexterity.

She may have more talent
for expressing feelings.

Or for hiding them.

Maybe she has no feelings.
She's just playing a game.

Play is all she can do.

We're always playing
someone's game.

Don't they teach you to play
with people to dominate them?

He isn't playing!
Are you, Louis-Arnault?

Answer me.

Am l playing? Look at me!

You had to turn up now
to make this scene...

This impossible scene!

You don't talk,
but you make yourself understood.

Nice speech about spurned desire.
What a Freudian slip!

l shouldn't have come.
Lucky she came in.

There are things that kill desire.

l'm leaving.

Wait for the first train at 6.

- Paul won't know.
- Won't he?

Then everything's fine.

For your taxi.

Oh, right!
l don't pay, l didn't have anything.

lf you change your mind,
there's Scotch tape.

- Going to the Normale Sup party?
- No.

- We go together or l don't go.
- Why not?

Agnes is your girlfriend.

And your best friend.

Sure. She has to be either
a girlfriend or a best friend.

Funny way to talk.

Who'd want to be a girlfriend
when she can be a best friend?

Yet when the word 'friend' follows,
what's best is obvious.

What'd she say?

- About what?
- About me.

You two did the talking
the other night.

ls that it?

No other factors?

Like what?

You're on the wrong track.
And forgetting Emeline.

Nice of you to visit.

- A mere coincidence.
- l don't doubt it.

- We've met?
- On campus. Painting.

That's right.

What brings you here?

The library. And you?

l'm working as a mason on this site.
But l told you that!

lt's my break. Want to have a drink?

Why not?

l'm waiting for my brother.

There's a caf?nearby.
Here he comes.

How're things?

This is Paul.

l think we've met.

What're you doing?

He's the guy who stabbed me!

l didn't do anything!

Stop! He's my brother!

- l recognize him!
- You got the wrong man!

l'm OK, let me go.

lt's not him.
He couldn't do a thing like that.

Leave me alone.

- Let me explain.
- Explain what?

- You let him go.
- You don't get it!

- lt was for you.
- l did get it.

My shorts aren't enough.
You sleep with that!

You know l love you

and you said nothing?

ln your opinion,

what would l do if l loved you?

What would l do?

C'mon! lt's pointless.

Leave me alone.

My brother couldn't have!
He'd have told me.

Him or another,
it doesn't matter now.

Don't cry.

lt's not worth it.
See how he treated you?

Stop it! You'll ruin everything.

- You can't prefer him!
- This isn't the time.

He lied to separate us,
to break with you.

l'm here... to protect you.

- That's enough.
- No, don't!

Keep it.

lt's no good to me now.

Don't part with it.

Tell me l'll see you again.

We'll keep going.
You can lie to me, but say it.

We'll see.

l'm so confused.

l need to be alone.

Alone.

You mean a lot to me.

l love you.

So it's come to this?

Why are you so surprised?

He's moving in with me.
ls it so hard to understand?

lt's obviously easy for you.

You weren't so sure that night.

There's no connection.

l knew Agnes wanted Louis-Arnault.

l put things in order.

The Louis-Arnault you dreamed about...
you lost him that night.

You don't know him.
You can't imagine.

lmagine what? Your reconciliation?

How he held you?
How gentle he was?

How touching? How he promised?

How he almost cried?

l can imagine it!

- You talk about him as if...
- Yes.

l wondered what you were up to.

l was about to leave.

l figured you couldn't carry it all.

Find a place?

l'll be at Emeline's.
Or at my folks.

You can stay with me.

l didn't see you at the party.

We weren't up to it.

- Was it fun?
- Terrific.

Lit students have a ball.
Agnes danced like crazy.

The white knight is back?

Speak of the devil.
What a coincidence.

So it seemed.

l didn't expect you this weekend.

Neither did l. The weekend's over.

Amazing we're up after last night.

l didn't go to bed.

lt's not the first time.

l went to the movies. A couple
were making love next to me.

Basically, you see...

The dream life you're planning...

may not be very admirable
or very virile.

- What was that?
- He doesn't mean you.

l may have a dated sense
of chivalry...

- Chivalry?
- What's he mean?

- The crusades, probably.
- lsn't that it?

Being good in finance,

looking down on marketing...
lt's all a bit common, isn't it?

And you talk of virility?

We used to understand each other,
we were in synch.

Then your eyes shone for Nabisco...

- What d'you mean by ''virility''?
- Financier,

corporate lawyer
in an international firm.

Meals, contracts,
seminars, executive dinners,

call girls, soundproof hotel rooms
with champagne in the mini-bar...

Life... Life!

Answer him!

What's left for us
if guys like you can't answer him?

What do you want me to do?

Punch him in the face?

Are you so pathetic
you have nothing to say?

Can't you see
he's missing the heart of the issue?

Negotiations,
psychological warfare, secrets,

strategies, signatures,
victory, noble things!

Can't you tell him that?

And you, Paul?

What will you do that's so great?
You'll fall in line.

You're both the same:
always dissecting things.

You wouldn't mind
if he punched him out.

But it's Paul
who used the word ''virile.''

Yes, l did.
l'm not sure you heard it.

And that changes its meaning?

So your dear Emeline
can express an idea, after all.

You should manage, too.

Well?

Got what you wanted?

l could've had him.

- But you didn't.
- l hesitated.

- Because of your bet?
- You were in on it?

- And you?
- lt was for you.

- Even that night?
- You heard it all?

- lmpossible not to.
- Bernard slept through it.

Chouquet uses earplugs.

And those airplane eye masks.

He barricades his head to sleep.

Emeline woke me.

You'd have gone on but
she walked in.

l would have done it for you.

You'd have won by saying:
l had him!

Well, l did have him.

What?

l had Louis-Arnault.

- What?
- As l told you.

Liar! Bernard said you argued.

That's why.

He came home drunk Thursday,
looking for me.

And you took advantage.
Want me to believe that?

That's right.

Why would he drink?
lt's not like him.

As an excuse
for what he was going to do.

He did nothing. l'm almost positive
he doesn't want anything.

You're right to say '?lmost.''

So he came looking for you?

He wanted to check his notes
against mine.

We looked at the case.

He dropped his hand, let it wander.

lt's not true.
He's not at all like that.

But in male sexuality,
there's something automatic.

Automatic?

lt doesn't matter
whose hand does the stroking,

if all you want is a reaction.

Thanks for the details!

The details say more
than all the rest.

The gesture explains
the step one takes.

So what you do when we're together
is just automatic?

You know it isn't.

Louis-Arnault won't try it again.

But just once in his life.

You made the rules:
once was enough.

l don't believe you.

l don't believe a word of all this.

You have to take my word for it.

So it's all said and done?
You got what you wanted?

Say we haven't lost everything.

l don't know.

We have something between us.

Our complicity.

You say things that are rarely said.

Between a man and a woman, we invent
nothing more than what binds us.

We invent... desire.

Maybe we should come back to that.

l want to be able to choose
so as not to have to choose.

Now l walk

with my head in the stars,
to keep my tears from falling.

Subtitles:
Cynthia Schoch & Lenny Borger

Subtitling TVS - TlTRA FlLM Paris