House of Tolerance (2011) - full transcript

Life in an elegant Parisian brothel in the early twentieth century. The madam essentially owns the women: their expenses exceed earnings, they are in debt. They face problems of pregnancy, opium, age, and violent clients. One reads sociology at her peril. Occasionally, a client talks of marriage. There are also friendships and affection among the women. The madam is in a dispute with her landlord and calls on influential clients to help. There's a picnic one summer day, a wake, and an evening in masks. Have they expectations? In a coda, we watch a street scene in contemporary Paris. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
I’m so tired.
I could sleep a thousand years.

Don’t worry.
Tonight you’ll pick it up again.

It hasn’t changed much here.

It has changed.

It changes slowly.

How’s that?

It changes slowly, that’s all.

I’d like to talk to you.

I’m listening.

Is this a proposal?

The jewel, is it a proposal?

You stare at me...

and seem to want to hurt me.

And then your face
turns normal again.

And I recognise you again.

You continue to stare at me.

And then...

I feel you’re coming.

As you come between my thighs,

I feel your sperm
rise up within me

and fill me
and flow out through my eyes.

There are white tears,
thick ones, coating my cheeks.

My mouth is red,

and... and the white tears
trickle over it.

And I don’t want to wipe them away.

And... and I cry so much.
I cannot stop crying.

You don’t happen to have
an emerald with you?

No, I don’t have an emerald with me.

Perhaps next time.


Do you always remember
your dreams?




November 1899


Near the mirror.

Near the mirror, Clothilde.

I’ll show you.

Like this?

Can you pass me a hairpin?

- Leave me some.
- Don’t worry.

He’s nice but heavy.

Physically heavy too.

When he’s on top of me,
I’m crushed.

I’ll tell you,
he didn’t care about my legs.

I hope he hasn’t given me the clap.


I hope Victor
doesn’t come tonight.

I’m sick of him.

Three times in a row.
What a drag.

Always asking what I think
of his crooked cock,

before I kiss his ass.

- Who did you have?
- Michaux.

- He’s sweet on you.
- For now he is.

It’s only been twice.

He doesn’t want me now.

Do you like him?

Sure, I like him.

- That’s all?
- It’s something.

Do you really like him or do you think
of him as a way to get you out of debts?

- Well, is that a problem?
- No.

I might have fewer debts than you.

I don’t think so.


Good evening.

All right, here we go.

- Mine doesn’t work.
- Oh, no!

Oh, you lose.


- Can we come closer?
- Of course.

She’s very meek.

I call her Ninon.
Say hi to the ladies.

- It’s female?
- Yes.

Lie down.

She’s cute.


Oh, no!

No way!

Thank you.

Alla vostra!

Show me your hands.

- You won a point?
- Yes, by blowing I got...

Thank you.

Oh, Doctor, you’ve lost.

- You’ll have to drink.
- I’ve lost?

But we didn’t do anything yet.

Until later, sir.

- A bit more champagne?
- I wouldn’t mind some.

I just finished
an amazing English novel,

full of aliens and Martians

who invade Earth using rays
and chemical weapons.

They’re very powerful

and can easily eliminate
human beings.

They devastate all cities.

But in the end, because they’re
not immune to human diseases,

they end up dying.

The story is told by a journalist
who escapes from the first attacks.

And who seeks his wife
in an utterly deserted land.

It’s totally idiotic
and yet pure genius.

- Have you read it?
- No.

My only two books are
Sade’s diaries and the Bible.

And I haven’t read the Bible.

Samira, Louis’s glass is empty.

I received a letter this morning.
Shall I read it?


“Having heard of your house L’Apollonide

“and keen to enter your house,
I hereby offer myself.

“I’m fifteen and a half.

“I’m pretty, with nice hair
and fine teeth,

“I’m shapely, with very white skin
and not a blemish on my body,

“and, if you wish, you could
send someone from Paris

“to check if the details I mention
are correct.

“I also have a kind heart,
and I shall be obedient.

“If I prove suitable,

“you may send someone
to fetch me

“and bring me to your house.

Pauline Deshaies.”

- She drew a self-portrait. She’s pretty.
- Can I see?

A pretty drawing
means nothing.

May I?


Very nice, Marie.

I’d like to be here
to welcome her when she arrives.

She’s a baby.

With the countess dead,
who’ll be the 20th century’s beauty?

I say you are.

What did you say?

I said that the Jewess
is the prettiest one.


Good evening.

Il mio maestro.

I’ve missed you.

Caca, I was here two days ago.

Yes, but not yesterday.

Where were you yesterday?

With my wife.


- That’s scandalous.
- I still have a private life.


- I’ll be very good.
- No.

It’s been at least two weeks.

I mostly stayed at home.
I wasn’t in the mood for it.

And now?
Are you in the mood?

Very much.

I had an funny dream about you,
last week.

All the girls here say that.

- I promise you, it’s true.
- And what was it?

It’s a bit strange.

Do you want to tell me upstairs?

With pleasure.

Get some drinks and join me
in the room with the black curtains.

What are you doing?

It’s a gift.

I’m so tired.
I could sleep a thousand years.

Don’t worry.
Tonight you’ll pick it up again.

Will you give me a glass?

- Which one?
- Doesn’t matter.


Got any antiseptic soap?

No, I haven’t, it’s too expensive.

- And you?
- You’re annoying.

I’ll lend you some,
but buy your own. Okay?

Thank you.

Clothilde, can you help me?

Hold this.


What are you doing?

It’s a gift.

What’s wrong?


One never knows
what you are thinking.

I don’t think anything.

She’s nearly done.

- Send her to me after.
- All right.

She’s as pretty
as a blazing flower.

I can’t do it.
My fingers must be cursed.

The sound of the sirens...

I start to undress.

And you place a box
onto the bed.

A tiny box.

I open it, and there’s
an emerald inside.

You still say nothing,
so I’m convinced that...

Well, I ask if it’s a proposal.

You don’t reply.

Well, that’s it, then.

Loubet has finally
pardoned Dreyfus.

If you start talking about Dreyfus,
I’m going upstairs.

Come on.
Let’s go upstairs.

With pleasure.

Shall we do business?

I’d love to.

Do you always remember
your dreams?


I’d like to tie you up.
May I?

Yes, you may.

He’s jealous of my success.

He’s jealous of what I do,

he’s jealous of our relationship,

he’s jealous of everything.

I’m happy with you.






I love saying that name.

He’s a genius.


I love this song.

March 1900


Spread your thighs.

- Go on, spread them.
- No.

I need to see inside your sex
to paint you.

Even to do your face.

It’s very important.

Men never look into
the sex of women enough.


Well, I’m beginning
to see the picture.

I have the impression
I’ve painted your face forty times.

This face...

This face...

You smell nice.

It’s Jicky by Guerlain.

I know.
I loved a woman who wore it.

I’m not jealous.

How old are you?

Why do you ask?

So I’ll know.

I’m twenty-eight.

How long have you been here?

Twelve years.

I’ll leave this here.

It’s for you.

I really have to go.

It moved.

Even with two enemas, I lose.
It’s pathetic!

It makes me feel good.

- Can I have that one?
- Sure.

How are you, children?

- How are you?
- Say hello to Pauline.


- Everything okay, girls?
- Yes, fine.

- Have you met Pauline?
- Yes, we saw her earlier.

- One, two, three, Chinese arm lock.
- No, you didn’t get me.

Where are you off to?
Going out?

Yes, Maurice is taking me out
for the afternoon.

Lucky you.
I want to go out too.

- Hello.
- Hello.

- This is Caca.
- No, it’s Julie, please.

- My name’s Julie.
- Everyone calls her Caca.

My name’s Julie.

What are you doing
with my doll? Give it back.

That’s not allowed.

Ciao, amore.

It’s true, you are pretty.

Have you gotten yourself
registered at the department?

Yes, before I came here.

Did they do a medical exam?

Yes, I’m perfectly healthy.

Any scars?


And your breasts...

- Firm?
- Very.

- Even without a corset?
- They’re firm.

All right.

- You have your permit?
- Yes, I told you.

My... my papers are in order.

Undress, please.

- Now?
- Yes, now.

You’d better get used to it.
You’re not here to make jam.

- How old are you now?
- Sixteen.

I have a letter from my parents.

Do you speak well?


- You’re polite?
- Yes, I’m educated.

- Can you read?
- Yes.

- And write?
- Yes.


Turn around.

Nice buttocks.

- Nice breasts.
- I’m young.

Don’t get thinner, okay?

Can you let your hair down?

- And your voice...
- What about it?

It’s a bit weak.

- Well, I can speak louder.
- Try.

- I’ll manage it.
- Prove it.

If I say I’ll manage it,
I will.

- This isn’t some knocking shop.
- I know.

That’s why I wrote to you.

If you don’t fit in,
I can’t keep you.

You’ll learn the job as you go.
It’s not easy.

Can I get dressed now?

D’you have a nickname?

La Petite.
Will that do?

- Do you have a lover?
- No lover.

Are you a virgin?

You can tell me.
It’s not a problem, on the contrary.

I can check.

- Are you a virgin?
- No.

Why did you come here?

To be independent.
To be free.

To be free? In a brothel?
Freedom’s outside, not here.

To earn money of my own.

Do you want to marry?

- No.
- Why are you lying?

Don’t fool yourself.
A man rarely marries a prostitute.

We all live together.

We’re always together.

We’re nice to each other,
respect each other.

- All right?
- Yes.

We share beds.

You can sleep here.

There’s room with Clothilde.

You’ll stay until the clients go,
but get up when you want.

When you get up,
go down to the dining room.

Never go out alone.
Only with Madame or a man.

If you’re alone outside,
that’s soliciting. Understood?

At around 4:00, we wash.

We have to be clean.
Very clean.

Smell nice. Clean hair.

Soap your body and hair daily
and rub down with cologne.

Often we do it in pairs, it’s easier.

I wash you, you wash me...

I’ll show you the creams.

A hairdresser comes at 6:00.

He can curl your hair,
dye it and so on.

You don’t pay him.
Madame does.

And if a client likes your hair
one particular way,

don’t change it too often.

- Okay.
- Come on.

If a client complains that you smell
or that you’re dirty,

Madame will fine you.
It’ll only increase your debts.

So wash yourself well.

We all buy our own perfume.

You don’t use another girl’s.
You buy your own. Okay?

After each client, rinse your mouth
with water and a few drops of mouthwash.

It’s strong, but effective.

- My name’s Léa.
- Pauline.

I know.

- Welcome.
- Thank you.

When the client undresses,
discreetly check his cock.

Check for sores or spots.

Check his body for rashes too.

When in doubt, don’t have sex.

After each job, wash your lips,
rinse and rub them with cologne.

- Ever done that?
- No.

It stings a bit,
but that’s normal.

And when you go into a room,
what do you do? Talk?

Yes, you talk.
You chat a little.

They might talk
about themselves.

You have another drink.
It helps.

Find out what he’s like
and adapt.

After a while,
you get the same ones.

Just arouse them
and make them come.

But fake it during sex.

- Why?
- Because...

that’s how we do it.

- Hello.
- Hello.



This is for you.

What are you doing?

It’s a wine stain.
I can’t get it out.

Let me see.

I’ll wear it anyway.

Otherwise the old lady
will add it to my debts.

- Tighter.
- Don’t move.

Which one is best?
Carmine or vermilion?

Vermilion won’t clash so much.

I’ll be wearing the carmine,
so put the vermilion on.

I think it’s better that we don’t all
wear the same one, right?

- Checking for wrinkles?
- Yes.

Let me see.

No, you’re fine.

Just a few around the eyes.

That’s okay.

You don’t have a single one.

They’ll come.

Want to try?

It helps with the love-making.

- Good evening.
- Good evening, I’m Jacques.


- Shall I follow you?
- Yes.

Did Madame buy you
from another house or not?


You have no debts, then.

- What were you before?
- A seamstress.

I was a laundress.

I swear, it was torture.

My lungs are full of ammonia.

And you, what did you do before?

Me? I did nothing special.

You’re middle-class?

Lower middle-class.
Very low.

- You have no debts, then.
- We all have debts.

Yes, you work to pay them off.

In your dreams.

She makes sure you never pay
them off and leave.

Even with a lot of clients,
you always need perfume...

Go easy on that stuff.

But, Madame,
Mondays are quiet.

- It just helps us to relax.
- It won’t be quiet for long.

Come on, on your feet.

There’s a new one.

- Are you all right?
- Yes, fine.

That’s good.
Very good.


Still, Michaux could pay off
your debts.

If he does, I’ll marry him.
That’s that.

The tall girl is in demand.
Next to her, the Algerian.


That young one over there
is fifteen, and virgin.

I can send for a boy too.

Nineteen years old, very cute.
He can be here in an hour.

I need to think about it.

- Do you like champagne?
- Not really.

But he loves it.


It’s cold.

You’ll get used to it.

You’ll see, it’s delicious.

It’s wonderful here.

You can see girls
without their corsets.


- Someone for you.
- Who is it?


Hurry up now.
He’s in the blue room.

Michaux will be in at one o’clock.
Try to see someone else first.

When Pauline finishes,
see if it went well.

Why me?

So, shall we do some business?

- No, not today.
- Why not?


Too bad.

Who did Charles go with?

With Léa.

Has she already milked the first one?

That other guy...
Who did he go with?

No idea.

Won’t you sit down?

Could you lift your veil?

What’s your name?

- The Jewess.
- No, your real name.

- Madeleine.
- Madeleine?

My name is Jacques.

Why did you come up?

- I paid for the night.
- And why?

- Does that hurt?
- No.

How did it happen?

At least, if you feel like telling me.

It was a man...

whom I knew well.

We were in one of the rooms.

He asked if he could tie me up.

I said he could.
I played along.

And that was that.

No one ever comes to see you?


So what do you do here?

I make the beds.

I help in the kitchen.

I help in the laundry.

I look after the girls.

- Does she hide you?
- No.

Why are you asking me all this?

I don’t know, don’t you want
to have a normal life, outside?

You could find a job.

I could help, if you want.

I don’t know.

Now, do you want to make love or not?
I don’t want to talk anymore.



- Thank you again.
- My pleasure.

- I’ll get my animal.
- I’ll see you outside.

I adore her.

I’ve never had her.

When she goes off you,
you get this.

Pussy fur?

Who were you with?

With my Julie.

With Caca.

How many?





I’ll never get out of here.

Are you all right?

This crap is sticky.

I’ll help you.

What’s this?

It’s not easy in a bathtub,
but I’m fine.

- Want some ointment?
- No, I’m fine.

Did it go well?

I think so.

How do I clean the sperm
with the sponge?

Here, use this cream and rub gently.

It stings a bit,
but that’s normal.

It’s so depressing.
It’ll be dawn soon.

I drank too much.

Can you tell Julie
I can’t come back until Saturday?

- Will you?
- I will tell her.

- Good night.
- You too.

Thank you.


“Mr. Prefect,

“After my husband’s demise,
I’m left with my two children.

“My duty is to provide for them
and make a decent living.

“With my advancing years, finding a trade
other than the one I have is impossible.

“You know I run a respectable house.

“My girls are healthy, and we abide
by all the rules for such houses.

“I know the law and always uphold it.

“For instance, I’ve never offered
a girl to a politician

“or used one for corruption.

“In a word, the house is clean.

“The landlord, the notary Hallereau,
knows of your affection for this house

“and therefore demands
a large increase in rent.

“He refuses to negotiate.

“I paid for all the fittings.

“At the moment business is good,

“but this increase in rent
would force me into debt,

“as a consequence I would see no choice
but to sell the furniture and move out.

“I have no one else to turn to.

“And I beg you not to take away this
decent livelihood from me or my children.

“Please do not deprive me from the
consolation an indebted woman requires.

“Marie-France Dallaire.”

“My daughters...”

- I’ll be back.
- All right.

Once again,
“My daughters...”

- Is it my turn?
- Yes, you play hearts.

What are we eating?

- Pot au feu.
- That’s nice.

It reeks of sperm
and champagne in here.

- This one?
- Yes, put that one.

- Here you go.
- Thanks.

A bit more, please.

Here, I’ll serve you.

Swap your meat with mine.

Careful, it’s hot.

- Pauline, you must eat some.
- Let’s not start swapping pieces.

Why do they call you Caca?

Oh dear...

Why do they call you Caca?

Why don’t you ask me
why they call me Long Hair?

Let’s just say...

I have a specialty.

I get the picture.

Do you want me to tell you anyway?

Oh, no, Julie, we’re eating.

So what?

Don’t spoil it.

Does it still hurt?

It’s okay now.
Only a little at night.

- Did Madame force you to?
- No, she asked me.


I don’t know, he paid for the night,
but didn’t want sex.

Why not?

Probably just to see
the monster close up.

But he was kind.

He said he’d come back
next week.

But I don’t believe him.

You want me to read you the cards?
To be sure?

No, it’s fine.

Last night was
a real freak show.

I had one, who told me
he keeps going to confession

to talk dirty to the priest
to give him a hard-on.

During which he jerks off.

That’s disgusting.

I’d like to open
a brothel for women.

A great place with great men
who are hard all the time

and tell us we’re pretty,

even if we’re old
with saggy tits.

We would never ask
the stupid questions they do.

Do you like my tits?

Do you like my big tits?

What’s “whore” in Arabic?

“Zaniya” or “Qahba,”
depending how polite you are.

Which is the polite one? Qahba?

- “Zaniya,” the kept woman.
- I prefer Qahba.

Me, I wouldn’t mind being
a kept woman.

And do you think Maurice
is going to propose?

Well, perhaps.

If his wife dies.

But are you in love?


But he’s sweet.

The other day we went
to the Wepler for oysters.

And after that we went dancing.

Do you know what I told him?

“I would pluck out
my eyes for you,

“so you’d have more holes
to make love to me.”

Oh, he loved that.

Is this only for Madeleine
or for all of us?

No, for all of us.

The first four cards
will show the past,

the next four the present
and the last four the future.

- Cazzo...
- No, it’s all right.

That’s the good spade card.

It means stability, luck,

The nine of clubs
means a job, a situation.

And the Queen is a brave woman.

There’s a young man, single.

He’s next to a diamond card.

There’s a romantic project,
but it’s upside down.

That means there’s a problem.

A girl with long hair.

She’s upside down too.

You’ll have to be wary of her.

- Are you sure?
- Yes, I am.

I mean, that it’s upside down.

It’s always from the position
of the dealer.

They’re only cards.

If you draw them,
they’re more than that.

You’re a bit of a mystic, is that it?

I want to stop.

We’ve started, so we finish.

Come on, the future.

What did they call you before?

The Jewess.

Which is the worst one?

The ten.

Do you like that?


What do you want?

To see the Woman Who Laughs.

For sex or just to see her?

- Well, to see her first, then decide.
- No.

Inside a room
you do as you like,

but you see girls here for sex,
the normal way.

All right, fine, I’d like Léa, then.
As a doll.


You smell nice, my doll.

Who did you have?

And you?


Julie, no!

Do something! Help me!

Give it to me.

- You perverts!
- Give it to her.

Come on, stop it!

You want your hat back?

Oh, a peach. I want it.

- Well?
- Just wait, you’ll be stripping next.

- Prepare yourself.
- What came over you?


Come on, catch.

Yes, here! Here!

- Did you see that?
- Make a wish before...

Marie-France, where do
the clients get their money?

In industry, textiles,

And family fortunes, too.
Fortunes of the aristocracy.

- Are there a lot of aristocrats?
- Oh, yes.

We get a lot of aristocrats.

And what does Louis do?

Louis is in textiles.
He made his fortune in textiles.

Michaux has a family fortune.
And Charles has a family fortune too.

And who’s the richest one?

- The richest one?
- Yes.

Ehm, Charles.

He doesn’t spend the most,
but he is the richest one, I think.

Has he been coming long?

Yes, since the days
when I worked at L’Apollonide.

When I worked like you do.

My back hurts.

I’m sick of his doll thing.

Stop complaining,
there is worse.

I’m not saying that,
just that I’m sick of it.

You do as you want.

You get rid of those fucking creeps
with a few of your pussy hairs.

My whole bush
wouldn’t manage to do that.

It feels like an eternity
since we had a day off.


It’s me!

Give me your cigarette!
All right.

What is it?

Nothing, I was thinking
a Lanvin hat would suit you!

Go on then, Polo.

Treat me to a hat.


The fresh air loosens you up!

Want a drop of champagne?

Yes, please. All right.

Want some too, Polo?
Yeah, okay!



Oh, excuse me!
Pardon me!

It slipped out!
Calm down, Polo.

Oh well, but you know...

It’s... I’m sorry, it’s old age.

This is nice, eh?
Oh, yes! I feel so good!


Come on!

Come on!

You know, I don’t think
I’ll be here long.

I said that too.
Now look at me.

We’ll see.

I don’t have any debts yet.

We’ll see.

“I understand your disarray,
your feeling of injustice,

“and I’ve always supported you
as much as I could.

“But I am merely a prefect,
I cannot work miracles.

I cannot oppose
a landlord’s decision.”

- Good evening.
- Good evening.

- Who’s here this evening?
- The same ones.

- You still want to see the Jewess?
- Excuse me?

The Woman Who Laughs.
Want to go up to see her?

It’ll cost you, but you may.

Oh no, I was a bit tipsy last time.
Who else is there?

Who else...

Sweetness, Cléa, Climbing Rose,
Jewel, Fine Thigh...

Afterwards, women couldn’t
compete in the games.

Why not?

Good question.

They were thrown from a rock
if ever they went there.

But now they can go.

They couldn’t go
because the athletes were nude.

Now they’re dressed.

So women can take part.

Will you go up with me
and another girl?

With whom?

Anyone you want.
You choose.

I don’t know.

I think I’d rather go alone,
if you don’t mind.

- Shall I put you in my will?
- No.

Do you want to be in my will?


I want you to stay alive.

If anyone here is alive,

I am.

Good evening.

- Ah, Louis.
- Good evening.

Would you like a drink
or shall I call Samira?


“I understand your disarray,
your feeling of injustice,

“and I’ve always supported you
as much as I could.

“But I am merely a prefect,
I cannot work miracles.”

Thank you.

Some women
with very large breasts

could have an accident
and knock themselves out.

Yes, that’s true.

They could bind them, perhaps.

- It’s not so much fun.
- Indeed.

Fine Thigh.

Fine Thigh...

You want me clothed or naked?

Undress yourself,
I prefer that.

- It costs more naked.
- I know.

Talk to me in Japanese.

Go on, make it up.

Make it up.


What does that mean?

It means my tongue
comes towards you.

Slowly it slithers across the floor.

It slips under the bed.
It rises up the side of it.

It reaches your feet.
It licks them.

It glides up along your leg,
along your thigh.

It reaches your sex.

It winds around it.
It swallows it completely.

A sword swallower.

Your Japanese is very good.

Do you want some?

You don’t have to smoke it.

You can take a bit and eat it.

It’s okay, I know.

I’d like to see you often.

Won’t Clothilde
be cross with me?

I can see more than one girl, right?

Now stop asking questions
and talk to me in Japanese.

- You’re very young.
- Not that young.


Not many girls my age
have been fucked in champagne.

Did you like it?

I loved it.

You know, men never look into the sex
of women enough.

Oh, it’s wonderful.

After one night with you,
I could kill myself.

Say “ah.”

What’s that pimple?

- It’s nothing.
- Have you had it long?

It’s nothing.

All right, fine.
One month? Two?

- No, a few days.
- All right, fine.

- Any itching?
- No.


- No new rashes on your body?
- No.

Let me take a look.

Let me see.

Okay, fine. Lie down now
and let me examine you.

Let me see.

No, nothing around the anus.

I’ll use the speculum now.

Spread your legs wide.
It won’t hurt.

If ever I get out of here,
I’ll never make love again.

- No...
- Yes.

I have to examine you.
You’ll have to lie down.

- No.
- I have to examine you.

- I don’t want to.
- I really have to. Come on.

Just relax and spread your legs.

No two ways about it.
I cannot see your sex otherwise.

Come on now.
Enough of that.

- No, I want...
- Look at me. You have to lie down.

Lie down and spread your thighs.
You have to do it.

There you go.

The cervix is fine.
Heavy but normal discharge.

How about your period?

It comes and goes.

When did you last have it?
Two months ago? Three months?

Not long ago.
I forget.

Six months?

So you don’t have
your period anymore?

I’m not pregnant.

Six months.

I just don’t have my period

And how about your period?

Same thing.
It comes and goes.

And you?


- And you, over there?
- Yes, mine’s fine.

Let me examine you.

Lie down.

- You all right?
- Yes, I’m healthy.


It’s all right, I’m healthy.

And the others?

I don’t know.

- I promise, Madame...
- What am I supposed to do now?

You don’t think
they’re pregnant, do you?

No, I’m sure.

But, I’m sorry,
that girl there has syphilis.

- It’s okay. I accept it.
- Bravo.

I’d just like for someone
to hold me in their arms.

I’d like a macaroon.

What a shitty job.

A whore’s life is a bitch.

It won’t be easy tonight.


Have you seen my bracelet?

- Which one?
- The pearl one.

I think I saw it in the box.

I put a charm on her doll.

- I got a needle and...
- It’s not your fault, Samira.

It could have been me or you.
It’s the clap, that’s that.

Samira, go downstairs.
Louis will be here soon.

- Madame?
- Yes?

I have my period.

Oh no, not tonight.
We’re too busy.

- Take a cold bath.
- Please...

I can’t.

I’m already one girl short as it is,
and I cannot replace you.

You’ll have to work more.

Yes, Madame.

And please try to show
a little joy tonight.

All right?

Tonight, just pretend I’m dead.

You really have a tiny head.


A tiny head is pretty, isn’t it?

It’s very pretty.

You have a tiny head too.

Excuse me?

The size of your head...

My head is fine and delicate.

I knew it.

A woman called Pauline Tarnowsky has
written a scientific study on prostitutes.

She says their heads are smaller
than average.

The same is true of criminals.


I can lend it to you,
if you want. Do you?

If it’s any good.

It’s very good.

Currently, a standard girl
will fetch 300.

And 400 for a negress.

- Plus the debts.
- I can’t.

Even to keep Julie
without working, I can’t.

Paris has become too expensive.

I have a friend who organizes
special private evenings.

He’s very much interested
in The Woman Who Laughs.

I want to pay off your debts.

- Five times six... eight.
- Eight.

- 30... 40.
- No, 40.

Here you are.

Five times seven?

No,we’re up to five times nine.

What time is it?

It’s only 8:00.
Go back to bed.

You’ll look dreadful tonight.
Go and sleep.

Five times nine?

You’re still here?

Will you sleep with me?

It’s too late now.

Or too early.

I didn’t mean sex.
Just sleeping.

I don’t want to go home.
I don’t feel well.

Just sleep, then?

At 8:00 a.m.
there’s no more business.

You can lie between Samira
and me, if you wish.

I promise.
I’ll be fine between you.

Léa, go to bed.


Good night.

I can’t bring myself
to go home.

- Where is Pauline?
- Pauline is asleep by now.

With whom?

Do you mind
if I stay here a while?

If I go home,
I’ll be a wreck.

Why aren’t you seeing Clothilde?

I don’t know.
I adore her, but...

we don’t have fun anymore.
I think I make her sad.

But I’m very fond of her.

I have a deep love for whores.

I find them wonderful.
They move me.

I’m happy with them.
Terrible, isn’t it?

No, I understand.

I understand well.

It’s occupied.

“Anthropometric Study
of Prostitutes and Thieves”

“Pauline Tarnowsky - 1889”

Spread your legs.

So I can see you.


My geisha...

“The prostitute is to the female
what the criminal is to the male.

“We observe an encephalon
several millimeters smaller,

“which can be explained due to the fact
that prostitutes have smaller heads.

“Consequently, this means
they have much less brain matter.

“Their weak intelligence
and mental limitations are normal.

“The dull spirit of some
can become stupor in others

and even attain
a state verging on idiocy.”

Get up, Clothilde.

- I’m fine here.
- Are you?

Stupefied, you’re fine?

You’ll end up
in a Marseille brothel,

on a vermin-ridden mattress,
turning tricks like a machine.


D’you know what I’ll do?

I’ll sell myself
to another house.

For a high price,
so I can pay off my debts.

Of course.

But no one will want your debts.

Well, I’ll sell my teeth.

A Marseille brothel,
with the clap.

Sounds fine to me.

We deserve the clap.

We deserve our punishment.

I’ve been here for twelve years.

The clap will be a nice break.

Be brave.


My dear Julie...

my little Caca...

it hurts me to write this

because it will hurt you
to read it.

You’re ill, my little Julie,

and I wish I was there
to comfort you.

But there are things
I must say.

Don’t think I’m abandoning you.

I’d never abandon someone I cherish
as much as you after all these months.

But I must tell you this.

Our relations must change, because
I don’t want to catch your disease.

I never hesitate
to sacrifice myself,

but now that sacrifice would hurt me
and not help you.

You will understand
I cannot pursue your disease.

I think I have eluded it,
as I have no symptoms,

but I’m not yet out of danger.

I have to wait two more weeks.

Julie, if I were ill,
I would forgive you.

But no one in my family
has ever had such diseases,

and I wouldn’t like
to infect others.

Men have secrets
but no mystery,

and I’m so sorry,
my little Julie.

I still love you,

even more now
because you’re ill.

Your loving friend, Maurice.


“Men have secrets
but no mystery,

“and I’m so sorry,
my little Julie.

“I still love you, even more now
because you’re ill.

Your loving friend, Maurice.”

Where did you find it?

In the mail.

Tear it up.
She mustn’t read it.

That’s really sick.

I can keep her
because he’s still paying.

Even if he no longer sees her.

Any news of Pauline?


Is the house closing down?

I don’t know.

Does it suit me?

It’s funny.
She looks like an old doll.

No, she’s too thin.
She’s like a big puppet.

But I like her breasts.

Pinch her nipples...

See if she stops smiling.

Do you think Pauline has left,
or did something happen to her?

Could Madame have sold her
without saying?

Do you think she will sell us
one by one?

Will she sell us one by one?

I don’t know.

God only knows
where we’ll end up.

Maybe in some seedy brothel,
with revolting clients.

Especially past twenty-five.

Looking at the freak?

Forgive me.
I’m sorry.

You too.

I don’t want to die.

You’re not going to.
I promise.

I want to see Maurice.

He’s going to come, soon.

I feel your sperm fill me up

and flow out through my eyes.

There are white tears,
thick ones, coating my cheeks.

My mouth is red,

and the white tears
trickle over it.

And... and I don’t want to wipe them away.

And I cry so much,
I cannot stop crying.

You don’t have an emerald?

No, I don’t have one.

I want to tie you up.
May I?

You were on the floor.

I picked you up.

Thank you.

You said something
in your sleep.

What did I say?

“If we don’t burn,
how will the night be lit?


“my fragment...


I said that?

Don’t be afraid
to express your love.

Don’t be afraid.

What’s your name?


No nickname?

Just Madeleine.

Long live France.

Where will they go?

I’ve sold some
to other houses.

A man has bought Samira.

And the others will do
what they can.

Enjoy them while they’re here.

I’m not staying.
I’m in no mood for a party.

I just wanted
to give you a kiss.

- A new Jeanne Paquin dress?
- Yes.

You are ravishing.

Thank you.

Well, cheers.

My favourite sound.

It’s not crystal anymore,
just glass.

That’s not so bad.
It’s still champagne.

You look wonderful.

Look, they’re starting
to have fun now.

Do it.

Go on.

You know, I attended the opening
of the metro yesterday.

It’s horrendous.

It’s pitch-black, the seats are hard,
and it’s so sad and gloomy.

And everyone seemed happy.
Stupidly happy.

They loved crossing Paris

It’s appalling.

I walked back from Porte Maillot
to Palais Royal. I thought of you.

What will we do without you?

You’ll have other experiences.

All the other houses
will be closing too.

It’s sad, but it’s the way it is.

These days love is out on the street.
No one can stop that.

What will you do now?

I don’t know.
I’m a bit tired.

Promise to stay yourself,
even without L’Apollonide.

Keep the flowers, the music,

the fine dresses, the colours,

the champagne, even in glass...

Make noise, please.
We’re going to need it.

- Have we met before?
- Perhaps.

I would have remembered.
What’s your name?


What are you like under there?

However you want.
How do you want me to be?

I don’t know.
Won’t you ask me what I’m like?



Léa’s up in a room.

Hear that, Simone?

That’s fireworks, right?

It’s the fireworks!

Don’t be scared.

My pretty Ninon...

It’s Bastille Day,
but no one’s beheading you.

Musik, bitte.

I’d like some champagne.

Musik, bitte.

Yes, come in.

You really do like it.

I’d like to stop.
I don’t like it anymore.

I’m paying, so I decide.

What will you do now?

I don’t know.