How to Be a Good Wife (2020) - full transcript

Paulette and her husband have been running a housekeeping school. After the sudden death of her husband, Paulette discovers that the school is on the verge of bankruptcy and has to take her responsibilities.

Not long ago, girls were fated
to be perfect wives and mothers.

France had over 1,000 institutes
to train homemakers.

This is the story
of the Van Der Beck Institute,

just before the May 1968 uprisings
brought radical change.

Madness swept over France,
all the way to Bœrsch,

a walled Alsatian town known
for its vineyards and strudel,

where our story begins...

-How many did you say?

-So 15 less.
-My stomach hurts.


No fever.
Stick out your tongue.

It looks fine.

You work too hard, Robert.
Ok, I'm going down.

-What's for dinner?
-Boiled chicken! Always on Day 1.

And stop fretting.
You'll end up making yourself ill.

I'll get your sister.



Come on, it's time!

Coming down?

Yes. I'm coming!

-Headmistress, I must warn you.
-What, Marie-Thérèse?

-There's a redhead.
-Excuse me?

-We have a redhead.
-I heard you. And?

I needn't tell you,
a redhead always spells trouble.

Now, now!

Allow me to exempt her
from lessons:

body hygiene, mayonnaise,
beaten egg whites.

And no sauces! She'll turn sauces.

Why, Marie-Thérèse,
this isn't the Middle Ages!


If I may,
I'll nail a cross over her bed.

I had a long talk
with Mr. Van Der Beck.

We have 15 fewer pupils
than last year. 15!

Let's not worry about a redhead.

She'll be a bad influence
on the others.

Everything all right?


I didn't ask about your hip today.

It's no better, sister.
No better.

Soon you'll have to carry

That's all we need.


Say, Marie-Thérèse,

this redhead...
It's the first time?

I mean, we've never had
a redhead before, have we?

Not to my knowledge.

Let's hope she's not a jinx.

Girls, girls,
let's have silence, please.

You are in a serious institution,
a quality institution.

I demand good behavior
and respect. Shall we begin?

Let's begin.

Your parents chose the Van Der
Beck Homemakers Institute.

A fine choice.

For the 2 years we'll be together,

your future instructors and I

have the delicate mission
to instill in you

the 7 pillars that will make
you ideal homemakers

to delight your future

Your chewing gum.

We're not at the café.

That goes for all of you,

Pillar no. 1:

The good wife is above all
her husband's companion.

That means selflessness,

and good humor.

Between us, if wives and

were better wives and

there would be fewer
broken homes,

and fewer unhappy,
unruly or even depraved children.

Families would be
prosperous, society stable,

and the world a better


On to the next pillar.

Pillar no. 2:
It is the duty of a true housewife

to fulfill her daily chores:

cooking, ironing,
mending, housework,

in total abnegation
and with never a complaint.






Pillar no. 3:
A housewife manages the budget

with a constant eye to thrift.

She assesses the needs
of all without whim

and never puts her own

You are a treasurer,
not a spendthrift.

Raincoat on the hook!

Don your smock in silence.

Pillar no. 4:

A housewife is the

of body and home hygiene

for the entire household.

Always in a clockwise

You thus ensure
your family's reputation, honor

and popularity.


Enough obscene behavior!

Good, Ross.

Pillar no. 5:
First up, last to bed,

the good wife is always on
her toes.

Her appearance, her kindliness,
her good manners

ensure what we call

"the family spirit."

In a nutshell,

never wear the same outfit
two days in a row.

Pillar no. 6:

The good housewife abstains
from alcoholic beverages,

always setting an example,

especially for her children.

However, she will turn a blind eye
and show tolerance

if her husband
gives in to such baser instincts,

which is frequent.

Pillar no. 7:

A final duty is
to the good wife

what work is to the man:

sometimes a pleasure,
often a chore.


I'm talking about conjugal duty.

In time,

and by applying yourself,

you will overcome this

no matter
how thankless and unpleasant.

Experience will teach you

that it conditions
the physical and moral health

of the whole family.

Quit blubbering, dammit!

Why are you crying?

She doesn't even know.

Only two more minutes!

Lights out at 8 p.m. on the

Are you done?

Stop or I'll knock
your heads together!

Who is speaking Alsatian?

We do not speak Alsatian

Where are you going?

-To brush my teeth.
-Why now?

What's that get-up? Men's pajamas?

What next?

-I sleep in them at home.
-This isn't home.

Read the rules.

Brush your teeth in the morning,
and wear a nightgown to bed.

A girl in pajamas!

My mom wears them.

Talking back to boot!

The same goes for all.

No preferential treatment.
Get used to it.

Can't I even pee?

You heard the

WC after the dining hall,

at night the chamber pot!

It's too small, sister.

One pot for four is absurd.
It'll overflow.

Let us go pee, sister.


We can't hold it!

Jesus Marie Joseph!
Why all these weak bladders!

Pee-pee, sister!

Would you be quiet? Quiet!

You'll wake the headmistress.

All right!

All right.

One at a time.

The last one flushes.

I have orders.

And wear your slippers,
please. Slippers!


Does de Gaulle have what it takes?

What with French Algeria
gone and...

What do the papers say?

What are you doing?

You interested in politics

A New US Import:
French beaches go topless

Sure I am.

I can even vote if I want.

In Besançon,
the mill is still on strike.

In Strasbourg, the leftist

called a boycott against
the new Social Security edicts

breaking up the fund.

Happy now?

I tell you, it's spreading.
They're at our door.


Stop acting dumb!

The commies!

What commies?

And we're next on the list.
They'll replace our institute

with kolkhozes!

What on earth?

All hell's gonna break
loose, I tell you.

Wait till they're in your bed.

Meanwhile, you're the one
coming to bed, sweetie pie.

And make it snappy!

I don't believe it. Not again!

She does it on purpose.

Every night, the same

Go up and talk to her.


Yes, now.

It's time to act
like a head of household.

The horrific silence

Snow-white solitude

You won't come to me tonight!

I shout out my awful plight

The snow falls on my flame

This ceaseless little game

It's you.



Paulette can't stand it.
Please. Be a dear.

See? When I put my foot down...

What's wrong now?

Look, Robert, can't we skip it?

First day of class. Can't you

Make an effort.
I'm totally exhausted.

Cut it out!

You say so yourself
that it's healthy.

And it'll take our
minds off things.

All right.

But make it quick.

It goes in and out

through the little
hole. What is it?

-The thread!
-My uncle.

Who said that?

You think I'm naïve, Fuchs?

I wasn't born yesterday.

you won't last a week.

Your trousseau, girls, is
your passport to the world.

Do you know why?

A woman with no trousseau
is a woman with no future.

That's why it is so important
to prepare it with great care

and all your heart.

If there's one masterpiece

a woman must
create before marriage,

it is her trousseau.

Your thread is way too
long, Ziegler! Sheer laziness.

Follow Wolf's example.

Show Ziegler the proper length.

For what could be more gratifying
than to lie down the first night

with the one who will
father your children

in immaculate sheets

on which you have embroidered
your initials

with your nimble fingers?

Now what are you up to?

Those aren't your
initials! Why a "C"?

Is this a joke?

Your name's not Des-Deux-Ponts?


Would you explain
what you're up to?

I'll never marry, sister.

Fancy that. And why not?

-I don't believe in marriage.
-Don't you, now?

What do you believe in?

-I believe in love.
-Love, huh?

You may have the means
to fulfill your ambitions,

but what about us down below?

Get married first, then we'll see.

Never forget.
We can't always choose a husband

and if you don't make an effort,

you'll end up a spinster.

Imagine you're at the
Forbach subprefecture.

On the walls, de Gaulle's
photo decked with flags,

the same photo
as in our town hall.

On the mantle, a bust of Marianne,

and, hanging from the ceiling,
a huge crystal chandelier,

from our famous
Saint-Louis glassworks,

sparkling brightly.

The subprefect's wife is there,
sitting with the subprefect.

And she gives you the signal.

You, and you alone,
have the immense privilege

of serving them tea.

Now, open your eyes.

Who's game? Who wants to try?

You, Fuchs?

Your family's in the business,
you should know how.

Tea at the café?


Are you going to pour or not?

Don't shuffle!

Who will comment
on what just occurred?



-Well what?
-She spilled it all over.

What else?

Come on, wake up!

Schwartz! Always a step behind.


You must drink tea at
your chateau, don't you?

She did pretty well for a first...

Protecting your friend, I see.

Then I'll tell you.

I'll tell you what's wrong.

Fuchs holds the
teapot like a water jug!

That won't do! We're at the
subprefecture, not in a barn!

The subprefect
sounds like a blast.

Back to your seat.

Now watch me. Watch carefully

how you pour a cup of tea

when you're a girl
trying to fit into society.

Someday you'll all thank me.

Onions! Bring me the onions.


Who can tell me what's in my hand?

Black currants?

Currants in October?
Tell me where, Goetz.

-That's it.

In your rear, maybe.

I won't pull it out.

They're juniper berries.

Very good, Des-Deux-Ponts.

Juniper berries.

Any idea what I'll do with them?

Season my sauce!

Because a sauce,
girls, is not just a sauce.

It's the secret of your heart.

When you make a rabbit fricassee
for your husband's dinner,

always add a personal touch,

the little something

that will bring you so much more.

Is that what they call
getting it on like a rabbit?

Always your mind in the gutter!

Girls, bring me the schnapps.

By the way,

rabbit fricassee

is Mr. Van Der
Beck's favorite dish.

So I never forget to
deglaze generously

with schnapps

to season the sauce

in which Mr. Van
Der Beck will dip his...

Spuds! We forgot the spuds!

Know what my mom says?

That one day women won't
be men's slaves anymore.

Your mom says that?

When mine gets fed
up with housework,

she threatens to
join the feminists.

-The what?
-The feminists.

Who's that?

Women who want to be men's equal.

Holy cow!

My brother says
they have whiskers and hairy legs!

Can you imagine? Men
cooking and changing diapers?

How degrading!

There's a TV presenter,
Anne-Marie Peysson. Know her?

We don't have TV.

Come watch it at the café.

So, Guy Lux... See who he is?

He hosts the Bandstand
show on Channel 1.

He wants her taken off the show.

You know why?

Because she's pregnant.

-You think that's ok?

My mom says it isn't
fair. Is she a feminist?

-Why are you in the garden

without supervision?

-It's Miss Gilberte.
-She sent us here.

We forgot the spuds.

"Spuds." Awful word!

I assume you mean potatoes.

Allow me, headmistress.
I'll handle this.

Are you sure
you haven't forgotten something?

Take a good look around you.

You've forgotten something
just as important as the potatoes,

something the garden
offers at little cost,

something that will
delight your husband

and brighten up your home,
however modest it may be.


I'll say it over and over again:

always make room for flowers.

You may be a housewife,

but you are also

a hostess.

You're bleeding.


Tilt your head back.

Careful, she'll stain her smock.

Bleeding redhead, looming dread.

Clean her up in the scullery.

Open the medicine
cabinet, by the water heater!

Bleeding redhead...

-What are you muttering?
-Looming dread.

If she stains it,
wash it in cold water!

Use cold water!

-And the spuds?
-They're coming.

-What's wrong with her?

Tilt your head back.

We're fine!


Your smock!

-Van Der Beck will kill me.
-I'll handle it.

-It won't come out.

It's the one your mom gave me.

She'll get you another one.
No big deal.

Put this on.

-What about you?
-My blouse is dry.

Still bleeding?

I don't think so.

What's the matter?

Why are you looking
at me like that?

Are you nuts?

Bless this meal, Lord,

and give bread to
those who have none.


There you are. Where were you?

I'm indisposed.

To your seat,

and button your smock.

You ok?

Fricassee of rabbit.

That's enough.
Thank you, Gilberte.

You won't turn down a nice thigh,
will you?

With sauce.

I used juniper berries

and flambéed it with schnapps.

No! What did I say?

Arms by your side.

If you want to be a
proper young lady,

food goes

from plate to mouth,

never the other way around!

Watch Mr. Van Der Beck.


-Your fork isn't a trowel!
-Sit up straight.

Sit up straight and chew
with your mouth closed.


What'd I just say?

Why are you here?

Why d'you ask?

The rich usually stay in school.

Here you're with bumpkins.

And why are you here?

My parents are
paying for my brother's

education, so
they stuck me here.

-What's he studying?
-Law. In Strasbourg.

And you?

-Know what you want to do?

Open a beauty
parlor in Strasbourg.

My mom wants me
to take over the café.

-I wish she'd get out of my hair.
-Yeah, literally.

What about you?


Yes, you.

What do you want to do?

Me? I'll do what I'm told.

So why'd you embroider a "C"
instead of your initials?

It's the name of the one I love.

I didn't tell you.

The wedding with
Jean- Yves is set for May.

You don't love him.
Your dad chose him.

Don't judge my dad.
Yours exploits us.


-He's choking!
-Pound him on the back.

It's the rabbit.
A bone caught in his throat.

-Take off his tie.
-Spit it out, Robert.

He can't, the poor man!

Fuchs, you know
how the phone works.

Ask the operator to send help!


Can you hear me?

Answer me, please!

My dear brothers,

my dear sisters,

in this month of November

when all reminds us
that summer must come to an end,

our Lord

has chosen to call

our brother Robert back to Him.


who, like his father Auguste
and his grandfather Ernest,

devoted his life to
education and morality.

Not just any education...

-Their aim was above all.

to help young girls find

a better place

in the world, to rise up,

at once in their minds

and in the rigor of
their daily chores.

Without him, how many
souls would have gone astray?

Now our brother Robert

leaves behind him a wife

and younger sister in mourning.

Let us wager

that they will overcome adversity

and find in this great misfortune

the strength for both
of them to survive

in a home without a man.

My Lord, closer to you

Closer to you

Tis the expression of my faith

Closer to you

The day the ordeal

Overflows like a river

Keep me close to you

Closer to you

What's his name?
Do you see him often?

-We practically grew up together.

Have you done it?

-Wait up!

Not going to pick out your dress?

I'll go later.

And your fiancé
let you go like that?

Hurry up then!


Orange soda or lemon soda?

Watch this.

Your turn.

Last one doesn't
get a caramel shell!

Caramel shell?

RTL radio, 3:05 p.m.

Ménie Grégoire answers.

Valérie B., writing from Limoges,

wonders why she can't reach orgasm
with her husband.

What a bore!
Pick another station.

She worries about feeling
nothing during intercourse.

It's hard for a young wife
to experience pleasure

when she hardly knows her body.

As I often say, it's our

upbringing, because
since childhood,

we women are all
taught to deny our

potential, be it sexual
or even sensual.

That's why I'd
advise Valérie to

start achieving
pleasure on her own

before seeking
harmony with her partner.

It is important to know that
masturbation is not shameful...

-What's that?

The thing she said. Mastur...'s necessary
to achieve pleasure together.

Many young women
do not know their bodies

or anything about their clitoris

and the pleasure it can give them.
-How gross!

They must understand
we are in 1967,

and that if women
have the right to take the Pill

to control their fertility
and enjoy their sexuality

without worrying about pregnancy,

they also have the
right to change partners.

Do boys have a clitoris, too?

I've seen mine.


What's it like?

Go on, look.

Are you nuts?

So you can show Jean-Yves the way.


No, I've seen it.


-Go on, look.
-I don't have one.

What do you mean?

I don't have one, that's
all. I don't want any trouble!

Too bad. You don't
know what you're missing.


She told me to go up
and whistle from the hill

To wait for her with
a bouquet of daffodils

I went up with flowers
and whistled all I could

But she never came
although she said she would



What's the matter?

Come on. Come on, then!

We have to do this. There's
no turning back, Gilberte.

Christmas is the perfect time.

Don't be a silly goose.

May I use the big brown suitcase?

Of course.
But they must give it back.


Are you sure?

Look, Marie-Thérèse,
it's hard enough as it is.

If I decided to give
Robert's clothes to charity,

it's not to keep a pair of socks
or an undershirt.

24 years together.
Can you imagine?

Next year was to be
our silver anniversary.

Good old Robert.

Your brother wasn't always easy.

But he and I formed

a good team.

I'll never forgive myself.


Don't start that again.

It's my fault. I killed him!

It's not your fault. It's...

It's fate. I tell you, it's fate.

Not fate. It's the rabbit he ate!

My rabbit.

My God...

The main thing
is that you and I...

get along well.

Don't we?

Come on, buck up.

What's this?

Now what?

And this?

-What about it?
-It's brand new.

I know it is.
Robert never played tennis.

Give it anyway?

What do we do?

I don't know. I don't know.

We keep it.

No tennis court.

Figure it out.
We have other fish to fry.

The little sneak!

How poetic! How sensitive!

If I'd only known.

We could've put
them in our crèche.

Look at this one. It's so cute.

A sheep!

Isn't it pretty?

You're so pretty.

Where's baby Jesus?

Have you found him?

Horse racing


At least we know
it's the right year.

-What's that?
-Bill collectors.

-What do you mean?
-A reminder, and another one.

-Reminder of what?
-Oh, my God.

What now?

I don't feel well.

Final Notice

May I come in?

Being with all his things,
it's as if he were here.

It's a good thing he isn't.

He'd get an earful.

I have very bad news for you.

We're ruined.

Are you sure you don't want me to

Speed up, headmistress.

Speed up, for heaven's sake!

Shift into second gear.

Second gear.

Let out the clutch,
you'll rake the gears!

Second gear!

-Woman drivers, no survivors.
-Don't you start!

Is it my fault Robert
never let me drive?

I'd have rather found out your
brother was cheating on me

than that he'd ruined
us by playing the horses.

Me too.

Shift into third.

Third gear.

-How much is the debt again?

-Old or new francs?
-Good question. Old or new francs?

Have you both forgotten we changed
to new francs 7 years ago?

Be forgiving.

You know that if Robert believed
his wife shouldn't drive,

even less would he let
her look into the books.

He wasn't entirely wrong.

Papa felt a good
wife shouldn't interfere

in her husband's business.

He found it unseemly.

Unseemly. Yes, that's the word.

But still,

I'm terrified at the idea
of talking finance with this Mr...


You'll drive us into the ravine!

You win, Marie-Thérèse.

You may take the wheel.


Come in.

Allow me to present my
sincerest condolences.

Thank you.

My sister-in-law,
Gilberte Van Der Beck.

To you as well, madam.


Please, sit down.

First I want to explain

why I wanted my sister-in-law,

who is left penniless
by her brother's death,

to attend this meeting.

I was orphaned by my
parents' death, Mr. Grunvald.

As spouse, I inherit
all the property,

nearly all the Van
Der Beck property,

but I of course cannot leave
my sister-in-law unprovided for.

That is entirely to your credit.

Ladies, I needn't remind you

of the financial straits we're in

since your husband, your brother,
one of our best customers,

went astray in games of chance,

losing his soul and all his money.

It's baffling, Mr. Grunvald.

My brother was the
epitome of rectitude.

A man with such scruples,
such caring for others.

Do you think we can
save the institute?

I admit it will be hard to
grant another mortgage.

What do you mean,
another mortgage?

Mrs. Van Der Beck,

I regret to inform you that
your husband had made four.


Four mortgages? Did
you know, Gilberte?

So there's no hope?

What will become of us?

I needn't tell you the economic
circumstances are difficult.

I know. We could not
even buy Christmas gifts.

Strikes are on the rise,
jeopardizing our industry.

Everything is uncertain right now,

The management's
orders are very strict.



If we open a new account

in your name, with
your signature...

A new account? In my name?

We could turn a blind
eye to your husband's debt

so you can start over
with a clean state.

You would do that?

Why wouldn't I?

You mean I'd have a checkbook?

In my name?

In who else's would it be?

You're saving us, Mr. Grunvald.

You know, Miss Van Der Beck,


is a ship.

A ship that sails across
the ocean's whims,

an ever-spinning carousel.

So when providence

reaches out a hand

and gives back
what you believed forever lost,

you should accept it.

Don't you think?

I'll see you out.

Where did you go?

What about you?

I looked for you everywhere.

Didn't you get my letters?

What letters?

-I want to see you.

I'd forgotten my bag.

My, my... He's a
fine-looking man.

I'm certain he'll
pull us out of this.

Even though a housewife

does not understand figures,

she must keep a careful record

of household income and expenses.

For convenience's sake,
she will keep close to hand

in an easily accessible drawer,

but out of the children's reach

the daily ledger of
income and expenses,

which she will turn
over to her husband

at the end of each month.

Never forget that the housekeeping
money your husband gives you

does not belong to you,
but to the household.

Managing it means
never asking for more

and disciplining oneself
to refrain one's desires.

You will learn at your own expense

that women show too much concern
for their appearance.

They will be forgiven, for they

have a duty to
please their husband.

But beware! Too much
frivolity dents the budget

and compromises household morals.

Something you don't
understand, Ziegler?

What does "morals" mean?

Don't laugh. It's a
very good question.

What we call morals
is what is done,

as opposed to what is not done.

Is that clear?

-Need a picture?
-Quiet, Fuchs!

I'll explain.

In life there are things you do,

I mean,

all the things nature orders,
to which we submit.

Good things, meaning good morals,

and bad things,
which are, alas, many.

Things we do when we go astray

from the right path we
take the day we marry.

Clear now, Ziegler?

What are the bad
things we must not do?

I don't know!

Daydreaming, laziness,

greed, unhealthy melancholy

all lead to depravity

and debauchery.

A good wife focuses on housework

so as not yield to temptation.

In short, busy hands

keep evil thoughts away.

Friday is body hygiene class.

We'll be doing a practicum.

Don't forget your sanitary pads!

I remind you

that your husband's shirt

is the ultimate test,

the acme that will make you
a respectable wife,

a wife worthy of the name.

As the saying goes:

Shirt impeccable,
husband respectable.

An electric iron does
not prevent creases.

The damp cloths
that Ziegler is passing out

will help you get it right.

Everyone have a sleeveboard?

Yes, sister!

You have 7 minutes and counting.

I needn't remind
you a good ironer

always starts with a
clean, dry garment.

Ready, set, go!

Van Der Beck Homemakers Institute.

Do you want to drive me mad?

I must see you.

No, André. It's pointless.
Don't insist.

One last time, Paulette.

I'm a married woman.
It's senseless.

For Pete's sake,
it's been 3 months!

I know.

What's stopping you?

I ask you... I have principles.

-One last time.
-No, I won't give in.

-Lispach Road.

I'll be there in 15 minutes,

All right.


Hold the handle firmly
in both hands.

Tip the pelvis forward

for stability.

Squeeze your buttocks. Focus.

And get it off with that pan.

Your turn now.

I'll count to 3.

Almost. Fuchs, very good.


Schwartz, a little weak.


What are you waiting for to
send that crepe to 7th heaven?

A little umph!

See, when you try?

You're no dumber than the others.

I'm going shopping. I
checked: we're out of everything.


You said we could
get through the month.

But we can't do
without sugar and flour.

Without flour,
no bread, no crepes, no cake.

So no more cooking lessons,
no more Institute.

I'm off.

Hurray for the girls...

Vanilla twirls!

-And for the boys!
-With their toys!

Remember, it was one year ago,
in March 1967,

a few months before
the Pill was authorized,

boys at the university dorm
defied the rules

and broke into the girls' dorm
to spend the night.

Apparently today,

the first day of spring 1968,

this arrogant youth
has decided to go farther.

As I speak,

picket lines won't let professors
enter the university,

wreaking havoc...

Expecting someone, miss?

I should never
have agreed to this!

Then farewell.

But this is senseless!

I'm married. I love my husband.

He's dead!

That's no excuse.

Let's not kid ourselves.
We've written our lives.

-Come on.
-There are nettles!

My shoes!

Ever been up there?

Up there?

-Mado's Place.
-Mado's Place?

It's a disreputable place, André.
Everyone knows.

It's where illegitimate
couples meet.

All the more reason.

Out of the question!

I survived thanks
to you, Paulette.

I refused to die
without holding you once more.

I'm suffocating.

We can't make up for lost time.

Ever. It's too late.

Then I'd rather die.

I'd rather die if we'll
never be together.

I survived a lot in the war,

but after finding you again,
I won't survive.

I'd rather die now, by your hand.

Kill me. I'm ready.

Hit me.

Right here on my temple.

Above the scar. Hit hard.

My darling,
this would be the sweetest death.

Who did that to you?

It doesn't matter.

Is it true what they say?

The camps?

And your parents? Your brothers?

Why not answer my letters?

What letters?

I sent the last one June 4, 1946,
leaving the hospital.

I wrote you every day. You
must have received them.

-Where'd you send them?
-Your home. Church St.

I had moved long ago.

Daddy died in the labor camps.

Mom died of grief.

I was alone and penniless.

I had to find work.

So I started as secretary at
the Van Der Beck Institute.

Robert fell in love with me.

He asked for my hand, and
since I hadn't heard from you...

You never believed I'd come back?

I waited so long!
If you only knew.

That's all I did was wait!

Forgive me.

You're mad. But...

My class! I have class!

What class?

Body hygiene!

I'm coming with you.

No! I forbid you.

I forbid you
to make me wait another 30 years.

Do you have children?

Two. And you?

And your wife?

What about my wife?

I love you, Paulette Van Der Beck!

Today, March 22, 150 students

are occupying the faculty room
at Nanterre University.

They say they are
against imperialism,

police brutality and capitalism.

The anarchist movement leader,
Daniel Cohn-Bendit,

promises radical action if law
enforcement dares intervene.

These youngsters have some nerve.

We are determined to fight...

Dear Mr. Grunvald,

dare I say, Dear André,

since your eyes met mine...

Since my eyes met yours...


our eyes met,

and your words,

which rang so true...

We're not children anymore.

And the ocean of life

that threw us toward one another

is only waiting to unite us.

Are you sure?


If I went to Paris for
good, would you come?

Would you come with me?


"The financial situation

Labor Code

as regards employment..."

Am I disturbing?

I'm studying.

Want to get in my bed?

Get over here.

Come on.

It's fascinating.

I'm learning so much.

Any news from Mr. Grunvald?

We spoke a few times on the phone.


Can we save the institute?

We must, Gilberte.

But we have to stick together.

Mr. Grunvald's on our side,
and that's essential.

It should give us wings.

And in fact,

I bought myself a gift.

It's been so long. Want to see?


And we have to make you official.


An instructor
should be on payroll.

Payroll? What for?

So you can get paid!

Robert always said it was
unnecessary, since I had

bed and board in the family home.

That's not the point.

Your father didn't declare you,

but Robert should have long ago.

Bed and board isn't a job status,

it's exploitation.

Robert wouldn't like
to hear you talk like that.

With me, you'll be paid monthly,

you'll have pay
slips, vacation time

and a pension. You're
my right-hand woman!


You find them improper?

I get the message.
I'll take them off.

No, wait!

Turn around to see.

Turn so I can see the back.

They give you a great ass!

Really? You think so?

Will you wear them out?

Yes. Maybe. I don't know.

Take a few steps to see.

They make you look so young!

What a change.

How do you feel in them?

A little tight

in the crotch, but otherwise,

I feel... protected.

Gilberte, I have to
tell you something.

-Me, too.
-Something important,


that'll make you angry.

Me, too.

I keep wondering,
how will Paulette take it?

Maybe she'll get angry.

But go on, you first.

No, you first.

Could you

pack it all in

if you fell madly in love?

Marie-Thérèse! Good grief!

Your pants! Wait!

Wait for me!

Hands up or I'll shoot!

It's me, sister.

Who's me?

Me, Fuchs!

Fuchs is in bed! Thief!

-Stop it. You're scaring me.

Can't teach your
grandmother to suck eggs!

Sister, it's her!

It's Fuchs!

-It's me, sister!
-No, it's not you.

What are you doing
outside at this hour?

have you gone mad?

I'll show you, you communist!

It's not a communist. It's Fuchs!

Put that gun down,

-That's an order.
-No! She shouldn't be there.

Think you're atop a watchtower?

You'll end up hurting someone!

Put that gun down

or I'll call the police!

In my office, both of
you, and make it snappy.

And you, shoo!

Back to bed. No argument.

-What's going on?
-Go put the girls to bed!

What's going on?


Come in.

Is it still loaded?

-Excuse me?
-The shotgun, is it loaded?

You walk around with a loaded gun,

-not even broken?

What do you mean, yes?

What's gotten into you?

The headmistress hasn't heard?

-There's rioting in Paris.
-So what?

Is that a reason to carry around
my father-in-law's shotgun?

Mr. Robert gave me the cabinet key
a few months ago.

What cabinet?

Under the stairs,
where the gun's hidden.

My husband never
cared about firearms!

That's why he gave me the key

before he died. Since I
was in the Resistance,

I know how to shoot. Just in case.

I'm not impressed.

Despite my respect for your
feats of arms during the war,

I must disarm you.

And ask for the key.

-Mr. Robert didn't...
-He's gone.

I'm in charge now.

In that case,

please accept my resignation.


Are you sure?

Yes, headmistress.

It's out of the question.

Thank you, headmistress.

Now, Fuchs, over to us.

Come closer.

Lower your collar.

I said, lower your collar.

Can you explain?

An allergy, ma'am.

My mother has it, too.

Too much housework
breaks blood vessels.

You take me for a fool.

Who did that?

You did it?

I'm asking you. Did you do it?

Leave us, Marie-Thérèse.

I'll handle this with Fuchs.

Do you think you're the first
to sneak out?

Do you think I don't know why?

Look at me when I talk to you.

I'm looking at you.

Never forget
that the boy you were with tonight

isn't the one who'll wind up
with a kid to take care of.

You're 17, with your
life ahead of you.

-Think about your future.

What future?

Under a man's thumb
and told to shut it?

Is that your great
idea of a future?

I want to live.

I want to be free
and love who I want.

Think of your reputation.

What's it to you?
I don't care what people think.

Watch your words.
I could expel you.

What have I got to lose?

Much more than you think.

Freedom has a high price.

-You'll learn the hard way.
-What do you know?

Look at you. You turn us
into slaves. Like yourself.

Go to bed now. I've heard enough.

You will be severely punished!

I'm not keeping you,

I told you to stop!

Stop it!

Has the devil gotten into you?

Now, give me that!

Stop this, I tell you!


Yes, what?

The answer's yes.

I'll go with you
to Paris for good.


I don't want to marry Jean-Yves.

I want to be with you.

Only with you, forever and ever.

But promise me one thing.

I want to see the sea.

I've never seen the sea.

I want to see the sea with you.

I love you.

There's nothing like bleach
to clean up marble.

Look at that. Like new.

Hey, you little spot of

Think I didn't see
you. Naughty you.

Are you glad, Robert?

Glad to be taken care of?

You always liked to be
taken care of.

And Mama, are you

And Papa? And
Grandpa? And Grandma?

Are you all glad to be with

If everyone's
glad, then I am, too.

Hand me the duster.


Are you daydreaming?

The duster.

See how sad she is,

She's sad, but she's so

She's your little wifey.

She'll always be your little

What's the matter?

What's the matter, Popo?

It's because of what you said.

Knowing Robbie is all

I'll get water for the

He's not alone, Popo!

He's with Papa.
And Mama.

If it'll make you feel

don't forget you'll join
them one day.

And I'll be so happy to
know you're finally all reunited

as a family,

like in the good old days.

So you don't misunderstand, since
I didn't get a chance to answer,

1) I'm married.

But good news: I'm a

2) I have 2 grown children
no longer in Strasbourg;

3) I won't be a
grandpa any time soon;

I don't play bridge or
golf, so I have time for you;

4) Since you kept
me hanging for weeks,

I scouted out your bedroom.

You know where my
bedroom is?

Third floor in the back,
third window from the left,

just below your sister-in-law's.

I checked, the gutter is

So 5) don't try to
escape. You're trapped.

6) Will you marry me?

Did you order this local
gastronomical masterpiece?

Not at all.

And yet it's a huge, majestic,
arrogant dish of choucroute

that has just come
between us like a wall.


I believe this choucroute
got the wrong table.

Excuse me, sir?

We didn't...?

-It's not ours.
-Mr. Frantz!

I'll be back.

I have a choucroute for table 12
and they say it was misrouted.

That's unfortunate, Birgit.

I'm sorry, sir, but we do have

a choucroute with extra pork shank

ordered last night

by phone.

No matter, sir. Do you know why?

It's the best day of my



View of the mountains.
And you?

The parking lot.

I'm scared.

No offense, gentlemen. I'm
now speaking to the ladies

from the Van Der Beck
Homemaker Institute,

randomly selected
by a highly qualified jury

under the patronage
of Mrs. de Gaulle

to represent Alsace in the
next Home Economics Fair

at the Paris Center of New
Industries and Technologies.

Who knows if we are not before
the future recipients

of the best Homemaker
Institute award.

Hello, Mrs. Van Der

Hello, Christiane.

I understand you
run this excellent

institute with an iron hand,

and I'm delighted to
see the lovely display

of flower boxes with geraniums
at the windows.

True, at the Van Der
Beck Homemaker Institute

we strive to instill in our

the importance of well-kept
and appropriate floral decorations

for we believe the flower garden

is the first room in the

What better way to
welcome one's guests?

Welcome to "Bonjour

Aren't they charming!

Ready for the big
trip to the capital?

Bags already packed?

Have you ever been to

And you?

Not you, either?
Aren't they darling!

Paris! What a trip!

Dear viewers, see how Paris still
works its magic on the provinces.

In a word,
Paris will always be Paris.


Van Der Beck
Homemaker Institute.

I booked Room 12 for
tonight. All right?

Yes, love of my life.

-See you this evening.

-8 on the dot?
-I'll be there.

-Meet you there.
-Until later.

-You're on my mind.
-You are, too.

-All the time.
-I love you.

-I love you.
-I love you!

Wrong number.

Here we are in the place

where our house fairies
ply their secret talents

to offer their family
fortifying, varied meals.

I mean, the kitchen.

Hello, Gilberte Van Der

Is it the delicate aroma
of butter-browned apples

I detect in your kitchen?




It's for...

It's for the...

For the...

Pray tell...


Oh, provincials!

What's the matter?

I couldn't say it, Popo.

But we rehearsed.

Take a deep breath,

and repeat after me.

Yes, it's a strudel...

Yes, it's an...

It's an apple strudel.

It's an apple strudel,
dear Christine.

I mean, dear Christiane.

What skill!
What a fine education,

and how glad I am
to see French girls

ready to devote themselves
to their future husband,

and hence to France.

Any takers?
These hearts are unattached.

Be forewarned:
no rock'n'roll or wild ways here.

Their hearts are always
in their work.

Dear viewers, we'll
never say it enough:

This glowing, healthy youth
holds France's future in hand.

Allow me now, in the name of
the Young Homemakers of France,

under the patronage
of Mrs. de Gaulle

and our official sponsor Arthur
Martin at the Home Economics Fair

to present you with this
automatic washing machine,

which will simplify life for
our apprentice homemakers.

In the name
of the Van Der Beck Institute,

we thank Mrs. de
Gaulle and Arthur Martin.

The scissors!

Where are the
scissors, Marie-Thérèse?



What now!

Fuchs, where is Ziegler?

-She got a letter.
-What letter?

It's bad news.

Go get her.

No one has scissors?




Help me!

Oh, my God!

Put her down.

No one can force you.
No one.

Open up.

Open the door!

Why, Paulette, you've
locked yourself in for two days.

Ziegler made you eggs mimosa
with macedoine, your favorite.

She's fine. She's sorry.

She acted on impulse.

You call that impulse?

She tried to kill herself!

Honestly! You're dramatizing.

Open your eyes!

We've got it all wrong!

What all wrong?

What do you mean? She's a kid.

A kid making a fuss over nothing.


Being forced to marry a man
she doesn't love?

A man old enough to be her father?
That's nothing?

How long have we
been endorsing this?

You're taking it too seriously,
Paulette dear.

This marriage is a
great chance for her.

It's a big farm. I know it. She'll
always have enough to eat.

Wake up, for Pete's sake!

The Good Wife is through!
We're aboard the Titanic!

I'm done with telling them

they'll be happy as men's slaves.

I'm throwing in the apron!

What about the
Home Economics Fair?

Don't you want to go?

It's a great opportunity for us.

Think about Mr. Grunvald.

And the girls.

What'll we tell the girls?

And Yvonne de Gaulle?

Say what you want.
I'm closing up shop!

You're here?

You stood me up at Mado's Place!

Only your sister-in-law or
Sister Whatsit answer the phone.

I've played the plumber, the
carpenter, the butcher's wife.

I'm out of ideas!

Sorry, André, but
this isn't the time.

I'm coming up.

-What're you doing?
-This time, I'm coming.

Sorry, André, but
I need to be alone!

What do you mean, alone?


And I'm not getting married.

It's not "getting
married," it's marrying me!


Christ said, "I am
the good shepherd."

The other day,

I was the man of your life.

But I can't marry you.

I don't want to tie the knot
around my neck!

What're you talking about?

I love you.
I don't want a slave, I want you.

And if it makes you feel better,

I'm an ace with an iron,

I darn my socks
and I'm a good cook.

You can cook?


Paulette, what's going on?

Everything all right?

Fine, Gilberte!

A bird flew in, but now it's gone.

If you can really cook,

tell me how to make strudel.

To make a good apple strudel,

sauté 3 big red apples diced

very evenly,

in a quarter cup of butter,

sweet butter.

Add the juice of one orange,
freshly squeezed,

then a teaspoon of spruce honey,

smooth and creamy,

and nice plump currants

that've been soaked

overnight in sugar water.

Brown sugar, nice and dark,
a quarter cup as well.

And stir in

the cinnamon.

Simmer it for 15 minutes, no more.

Want the recipe
for puff pastry, too?

Don't move. I'll be right back.

All right. We're going.

Changed your mind?

I can't deprive the girls
of their first trip to Paris.

Oh, He heard us!


Want me to help you pack?

No, no need.

But we won't stay
long at the fair.

We'll tour the city.
What time do we leave?

7:45 a.m.

I'll be there.

It's the Titanic!
You heard her. The Titanic!

We'll have to stick together
to avoid the iceberg.


I'll go reassure the girls.

I'll be down in a minute.

What about the pastry?

Who cares? Do you set it alight?

Of course, I'm on
fire! You're my flame!

I mean the strudel,
you fool! Flambéed?

Flambé a strudel?
Not on your life!

Silence, please! Girls!

Miss Gilberte isn't with you?

Isn't she down yet?

I'm afraid she took
your apocalyptic

remark seriously, headmistress.

-The Titanic.
-What about it?

Holy cow!


That's gorgeous!

May I ask a question?

How long did it take you?

Impeccable hems.

-Perfect finishes.
-Aren't they, sister?

With hems that good,

the ship won't sink.

In any case, love
suits you to a T.

You're beautiful.

Ready for the big trip?


I can't hear you.


Paris, here we come!


Ma'am, someone's calling you!


stop. It's André!

My mind's made up.

I'm quitting the bank. I'll
join you in Paris tomorrow.

Tomorrow? But André...

But we'll be at the
Home Economic Fair.

It's no place for a man.

Come on!

-See you tomorrow.

I love you.

Dear listeners,

direct from the Left Bank,
where thousands of students

are putting up barricades
and confronting the police.

The crackdown
may prompt a general

strike that could
topple the government

just as General de Gaulle
is off to Romania.

Vehicles are advised
to avoid the capital.

What's going on?

Demonstrators have
charged three times,

and the riot police
keep retreating.

But now, the riot police
are charging as I speak.

I'm right in the middle.

Stones are flying and
grenades are exploding.

What a spectacle!

Good morning, young man.

-What's going on?
-Fuel shortage.

Turn around.
You can't get into Paris anyway.

They've gone nuts!

What do we do, headmistress?

Good question. What do we do?

Go back home?

No, we're not going home.

We keep going.

We'll join the revolution!



Come on!

Pillar no. 1:
Not a maid, not enslaved.

The Good Wife is
above all a free woman!

Not a slave, not on display

Be kind, not confined

The Good Wife

She belongs to no man

She is her own woman

Yes, I'd love to be your wife

Not the shadow of your life

Pillar no. 2: The Good
Wife takes charge of her life.

There's no stopping the Good Wife!

Pillar no. 3:
The Good Wife earns her own bread.

And that bread is hers to spend.

Say that again!

The housework I can do

The ironing's up to you

I can scrub the john
The socks, you can darn

I'll make lemon chiffon!

My buffet, my lingerie

My soufflé, your mom's pâté

You forget my Beaujolais!

My fruit jellies,
my frilly panties

Craps with your buddies
Their hands on my boobies

Cuff 'em and throw away the keys!

Simone de Beauvoir

Sarah Bernhardt Mata Hari

Gisèle Halimi Marie Curie

Cleopatra Louise Michel

Frida Kahlo Olympe de Gouges

Juliette Gréco Virginia Woolf

Anaïs Nin Marguerite Yourcenar

Josephine Baker Isabelle Eberhardt

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Marilyn Monroe George Sand

Rosa Parks

Nina Simone Joan of Arc!

Alexandra David-Néel...

For us the Pill

Capital P, if you will

Why choose

Mother or whore

Why choose?

Saint or harlot

I want to take my pleasure

I wish without measure

To disobey

My true aspiration

Is education

Pillar no. 4:

The Good Wife has
control over her body.

Pillar no. 5:

And with men, she claims equality.

Contraception, procreation
Never subjugation!

Pillar no. 6:

Not abused or confused.

The Good Wife is
not to be misused!

Women of the world

Girls from nowhere

Nuns, mothers, harlots

Rise up!

Wake up!

Farewell confession,
farewell concession

Rise up, wake up! Join us!

Let's march away

Revolution's on the way!

Pillar no. 7:

I hereby declare the Good Wife
to be a thing of the past.

Goodbye to the Good Wife at last!

Watch your ass!

Rise up, wake up! Join us!

Let's march away

Revolution's on the way!