How to Keep the Red Lamp Burning (1965) - full transcript

It is with a heavy heart that Monsieur Charles has to close his Parisian brothel in 1946, following new legislation outlawing such establishments. As a parting gift, he offers the brothel's red lantern to one of his star employees, Lucette.

High Lifers


About the demise of
a proud working class...

...that Europe envied us for.

How Mr Charles predicts the
social promotion of his best worker.

About a gift he gave her
as proof of his high esteem for her.

Turn off the light.

Sometimes bad memories
have to be recalled.

The war had led to
great confusion in people's minds.

That's the only explanation
we can provide for the...

...regrettable events that took place
in our country on 13 April 1946.

The day when intolerance
caused the closure of certain houses.

Did you see madam cry?
-Yes, so?

She has a strange kind of class.

It's over.
-Not so gloomy, Mr Charles.

One day they'll regret it.
-Then it'll be too late.

Don't be silly. You're all gloomy. Accept it.

I'm all nerves.
-Don't act like a child.

I'll make you scrambled eggs.
-That's sweet, but I don't feel like it.

Some days you don't want anything.
You only want to disappear.

The big human tragedy is that we
can't stop thinking.

You're torturing yourself.

Ladies, pack your suitcases.
It's almost time.

Shall I make the beds?
-No, we're closing. Don't you get it?

I'm like sir. I can't get over it.
-And open those shutters.

Can I open the shutters
at the very last moment?

The little girl.

Why do you look at me like that?
-I admire you.

Your dignity. You could teach people
a lesson these days.

Who could that be?

The cops, madam.
-You have to be out by 5.

It's not our fault, Mrs Blanche.

It'll be empty.
My word of honour.


What is it, darling?
-I'm sad.

I know. We all are.
-Tell me about it.

We'll have to start all over.

Find a brothel, eat in bistros.

And a laundry.

Apparently, they're hard to find.

Do you know what you're
going to do?

A friend is finding me something
in the visual scene?

In the what?
-In showbiz.

He opens up Toulouse and needs breasts.
-We're not all built for that.

I've become sensitive to cold here.

'The New Heloise'.
-And this, 'The Social Contract'.

'Emile', 'Les Confessions'.

Is it interesting?
-I don't know. It has no pictures.

I got them from a customer, last
Tuesday. I'd prefer a perfume.

If you want, you can keep them.
-I wouldn't say no to that.

Books by the bed look good.

That's funny.
I've known a Rousseau too.

But his name was Arthur,
not Jean-Jacques.

Colette, give me a hand.
Before I get a fine.

You will long back for
those good old days.

Are you going back to Nice?
-You'll never guess. Much further.

To Oran.
-Are you going to start there?

Are you crazy?
I'm opening my own shop.

Selling what?
-I don't know yet.

Just a shop.
Pascal organised it.

He used my money for that shop.

Will he go with you?
-He can't.

He's in Dakar for business,
at the moment.

Will you go alone?
-Oh no.

Raphael, Pascal's cousin,
is coming too.

He knows that town like the back
of his hand. He'll show me around.

What's Raphael like?
-We've never seen him.

Pascal said he'd recognize him.
He has the same accent as me.

Where's Pascal from?
-From Bastia.

Hey, Mauricette.

-Do you want this one?

Oh yes.
-Will you stay in Paris?

Definitely. Because of my
massage course.

The doctor says masseuse is the
job of the future.

They'll need me everywhere.

But you do need a diploma.
-May I?

-Are you giving books away?

Yes, I gave them away.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

What a coincidence. I've known
a Rousseau as well. His name was Gaston.

Breathe in.

Stop breathing.
Breathe in.


Yes, right. Again.

Breathe in.

You're very healthy. But eat well
and avoid alcohol.

At least you had good food here.
And fixed hours.

From now on, mind
what you eat.

Be sensible.

And my legs?
-That's normal. Everybody's got it.

I've had it since I was young.
I started too early.

In this job, the floors kill us.

Goodbye doctor.
-Goodbye Carmen.

And thank you.
-My pleasure.

And, Isolde, interested in books?
Show me that.

Oh, Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
-It's a small world.

I've known a Jean-Jacques.
But his last name wasn't Rousseau.

His name was Vital.

Poor doctor, you get no
satisfaction from your work.

They'll soon be ill again anyway.

Meeting all these strangers out there...
They'll all catch something.

Saint-Louis will be under siege.
-Don't get things wrong.

Dangerous living is no longer possible,
with all the antibiotics these days.

Everything's cured within a month now.
Specialists like me are history.

Oh, there will always be sick people.
-Sick, sick. What does that mean?

I'm a brothel doctor. Am I supposed
to start treating whooping cough now?

Want a drink?

No, I stopped drinking.

Put it there,
but carefully.

Mrs Blanche, we have to tell
you something. We're going to America.

Say, Charles.
Look at me.

It's very good that you're
going somewhere else.

Half a year in the countryside.
Fishing and hunting.

Why? What's wrong with me?

You're overworked.
A manager's disease.

Running a company like this
is not easy.

It's not like running
a grocery.

We had no time to ourselves.
We lived for the business.

Now that it stops, I'll start living
selfishly, like everybody else.

When this is over, I'll come
and see you for a check-up.

Of course.

Put your suitcases here,
next to each other.

Not in front of the piano.

Are you still wearing your pyjamas?

We're not working anymore today.
-We have to take the suitcases down.

That'll wrinkle our clothes.
-Get the suitcases then. Quickly.

Careful. They're
very fragile.

As if it's all not bad enough, the doctor
looked me in the eye and got a shock.

I have manager's disease.
I have to take it easy.

It doesn't matter whether the police
tell us to close or the doctor.

Very funny, madam.
-Don't get angry.

I'm not laughing at your health,
but at those two dreamers.

Do you know what Solange and
Mauricette told me?

I don't like riddles this morning.
-The ladies want to emigrate...

...and start a career in America.

Congratulations, you've got courage.
Which America will it be?

South America, Mr Charles.
-That's good thinking.

The pesos, the bolivars and
the cordobas are waiting for you.

I understand, but you
have to earn them first.

You have to learn Spanish or
Portuguese or else you won't get there.

We're learning words each night.
-Oh, come on.

You should be able to recognize
a rich customer.

You don't want to take a poor bastard
for a planter.

Is that really true?
-You explain it, Charles.

Our voyage on that banana boat...
our arrival... in that beautiful bay...

I had just bought her two dresses
in the Brady Passage.

And I'd bought myself a suit.
-I was wearing goat's leather boots.

Crocodile leather wasn't in fashion yet.
- Yes.

And new shoes. I'd hardly put them on
the quay, when my watch was gone.

-Antoinette, open up.

Yes, this way.

Put your suitcase here.

We hate it, Mrs Pauline.
-There's nothing to be done about it.

There's Marcel.

Say it's not true.

Who's that man?
-Marcel from Toulon, boss of Grand 8.

The boss of Grand 8?

Who is it?
-The boss of Grand 8.


He has class.

My friend.
-I know.

Sit down.

You look beat.
And your sensitive little lady?

How's she taking it?
-She had to be hospitalised.

Nervous breakdown.
-So you had to get through on your own?

Alone. Like a pariah,
a leper.

When I drove through the city,
nobody said hello.

Customers I've known for 20 years,
people I've helped.

When they saw my car,
they looked away.

So much for gratitude.
-Do you hear that?

So I took off.
I went up north.

A mess everywhere, Charles.

Do you hear?


Riton in Al?s, Big Louis
in Valence, Madame Aim?e.

Somebody who's been
in Auxerre for 15 years.

All on the streets.
In their Cadillacs.

It's like the big migration of peoples,
from the schoolbooks.

Luckily, there are some
who don't give in.

And I'm the envoy of this resistance.
-What are they resisting against?

Against this unjust law
and these roguish measures.

A committee was established last night.
-You're kidding.

We were 37 colleagues.
The elite of our profession were there.

The plan was accepted unanimously.
-What plan are you talking about?

An action plan.
Don't you understand?

3000 people are on the way to Paris
for a demonstration.

And mind you, it'll be chaos.
-Yes, at the police station.


The committee thinks you're most suited.
-Suited for what?

To organise the Parisian girls.

You could organise 1000 girls.
That would make 4000 demonstrators.

Can you see it?
In all the newspapers, the next day.

Yes, I see my name in big letters.

Don't we have enough problems?

I don't get it.
I thought you had a brain.

I'll tell you what I think.
You'll go straight to jail.

They have a lot of room.

You think?
-Of course.

So we should disband?
-And fast.

Before they arrest you for incitement.

What about human rights?
-Marcel, you really have to stop.

I'll give you advice. Tell your colleagues
to keep their 3000 girls off the streets.

You have to be more careful than that.

We'll find a solution.

We have to.
The main thing is not to give in.

That's not so easy.
-You had a good business in Toulon.

Don't tell me you're broke.
-Yes, Charles.

They squeezed every cent out of me.
We had to close, but casinos reopened.

And they sent me completely broke.

You must be hungry, in spite of this.
There's a buffet with caviar and salmon.

And even scrambled eggs, if you want.
Come, ladies. To the dining room.

Did you hear that? Caviar and salmon.
-How nice.


Yes, it's here but it's closed.

No, we're not refurbishing.
We're closed.

We're closed.

That's beautiful.
He looks like my father.

And he like my grandfather.
Mr Charles.

-He looks like my father.

And the Zouave looks like
your sister?

She only cares about pictures and dolls.

Does she still suck her thumb?
-Please, Mrs Blanche.

Let me get a new leg.
This one's all gone.

Look, there are sausages.
Pass me the champagne.

If your country treats you like this,
you can't expect better times.

You have to go abroad.
-You may be right, Mr Marcel.

Not maybe. For sure.

Do you know Tahiti?


The palms, the lagoon.
The hula-hula.

A girl like you could
ruin customers there.

And don't get me wrong when
I say 'customer'.

Nothing but nuclear physicists
and high-placed civil servants.

Let's go there together.
Bring Clara, since you like her so much.

And in two years, you're the madam
and she's your assistant.

Isn't that an interesting idea?

Do you hear him talk?
-The Tuamotus...

...doesn't that sound better than
the Rue Godot?

What's that fairy-tale no man's land
called, Marcel? Can you repeat that?

If it's as great as you say,
I might go there too.

Sorry, I got carried away.

I'm sorry, girls.

I got carried away
on a pink cloud.

That's alright, Mr Marcel.
We had a bit of fun.

That new girl's crying.
-I'm coming.

Leave it up to me.
This is men's business.

Drink a bit, darling.
-No, thanks.

Don't ruin your eyes.
You'll need them.

What did you do before this?

Ah, typist.
-Not anymore.

Why not?
-The director, the assistant director...

...the deputy manager, the personnel
manager and the department manager.

That meant ten hands.

Couldn't you slap them?
-Impossible, sir. I had to type.

I'll be.

Be careful. It's all fragile.

Boss, it would be hard
to shave in this mirror.

Don't worry.
You won't get to use it.

You don't care if they close.

Don't you know this place?

Modern politics have really started.

What'll be next?

They'll build swimming pools
and stadiums instead.

It's not the same.
-Disassemble this.

I'm going downstairs.
I'll wait in the salon.

Good day, gentlemen.
-The door was open, Antoinette... we came in.
-The movers again.

I'll get madam.

The Movers? Is that a new show?
-Or Mr Charles is doing the place up.

Since the economy's improving.

Madam, there are two customers.
They always show up during the car fair.

Well, ladies.

Good evening.

Mrs Blanche, good to see you.

We arrived 45 minutes ago
and went straight to you.

Mr Charles.

As usual, with all the ladies.
-And a show.

Tell them, Charles.

I can't.

Gentlemen, this is all in the past.
Fun is no longer allowed.

This kind of entertainment is
a thing of the past.

This house has closed and I don't
think you'll find one that's open.

Then they can close the car fair too.
-They can hold it in Abidjan.

Or in Hong Kong.

Since that's where the
tourists will be taking their money.

I'm talking about experts.
Men with good taste.

I'm not talking about nature lovers,
gypsy types. They get their ways.

Underwater fishing, sand castles,
all that nonsense.

In Descartes' country.
Think about it.

Bravo, gentlemen, you should be proud.
-That's not fair, Mr Charles.

We've been very reasonable with you.
But we're running out of time.

In 15 minutes, the new
occupants will arrive.

It will be empty.

But since you're so helpful,
help these gentlemen as well.

Show them around or take
them to a museum.

You can look after the tourists now.
-We could drop them off somewhere.

Yes, Quai des Orf?vres, the Conciergerie.
Three stars in the guide.

Follow us, gentlemen.

I've seen it all, Mr Charles.
It's not worth a lot.

Most of it's junk.
-Don't be nasty. Make an offer.

The rooms: 300,000 francs.

What's in the big salon: 75,000 francs.
-The sofas alone cost 60,000.

I need to find buyers for the stuff.
It's not very popular.

It was the same for me. I got 200,000
francs for all my Japanese stuff.

And that stuff's rare.
It's highway robbery.

Relax. I'll deal with it.

As far as the art objects go...

I'll offer you...
30,000 for the lot.

You offer 30,000? No.

And this one? How much do you think?
-200 francs.

I paid 4000 for it.

And this one? How much?
Don't, madam. Please.

I'd like to buy it.

It used to hang above my bed.

It gave me a lot of support.

Take it.
-Thank you, Mrs Blanche.

You're doing me a big favour.
-Well, give me a kiss.

You find a souvenir as well.
Something you like.

To remind you of sir and madam.

You've got some plans.
-No, crazy. It's for my kid.

Has he been bad?
-He wants to be a jockey.

What a huge thing.
-Just a souvenir, you know.

You're not going to take
everything, are you?


Mrs Blanche gave it to me.

You have a heart, madam.

Don't get upset about it.
-That's not it.

Lucette's father is buried...
in Melun.

Did he have a house there?
-In jail.

Ah, yes. Stupid of me.

He got life.
A mistake, according to Lucette.

Strange that she's not here now.
-Ah yes, Lucette.

She brightened up the house.

I can still hear her footsteps
on the stairs.

I know one thing for sure:
even if we ever open again...

...I won't find girls that speak
English and Spanish again.

They'll find other work.

I'm not talking about Lucette.
She's better than that.

We should give her something personal,
a lasting memory.

A permanent memory.

The lantern above the door.
Come, let's give her the lantern.

Colette, help me.

Do I take this one too?

How much?
-2,000 francs.

This is the age of the record player.
-Alright then.

Take it.

Mr Charles, we want to hear
it one last time.

We'll play madam's song.

It's the end of a world.


How virtue always pays off.

About a novice burglar who
steals the wrong thing.

How a lantern doesn't always
lead to enlightenment.

About a baroness who's
putting up a fight.

Mr Charles was right.
Lucette would go far.

She had weak ankles.

So she motorised the oldest profession
in the world.

This invention would soon
become increasingly popular.

She went from a Simca 6 to
a Citroen Traction Avant.

It was a first step in her
hunt for horse power.

Her career then quickly
gained momentum.

Her cars got bigger and bigger
and her dogs got smaller and smaller.

And the gentlemen became
less and less poor.

And also less and less young.

She climbed the social ladder...

...and underwent
a benign transformation.

By this stage, Lucette
was called Muriel.

Not everything needs to be
commented upon.

From now on, we're thinking in terms of
petrol, a Cadillac and a Chihuahua.

Let's also add that Lucette,
now called Barbara...

...had adopted another little animal,
named Le Viso.

This is the Baron Seychelles du Hautpas,
on one of his last day trips.

A couple of weeks later he would die
in the arms of his tireless wife... whom he left all his

Among those belongings
was this peculiar little hotel.

Soon, this hotel would
be receiving visitors...

...that were no less peculiar

I'm working. Can't you see?
You're bothering me.

Listen Paulo, if you're looking for a
way to pay for your cigarettes, alright.

If you want to look
for valuables, alright.

But you're getting on my nerves.

Leave me in peace.

Ah, you can't...

And if you continue,
I'll get you.

Get me what?

Did you hear that?

We'll have to be fast.

Don't think.
Just be as fast as you can.

Quiet, you're terrible.

What's all this?

Look at that.

Darling, this is terrible.
-Do something. Maybe call the police.

I will.

My lantern.


Arrested on 23 March, at 11 am
by officers Dolleville and Frapaux...

...when he was offering to sell
a bracelet that he stole on 22 March...

...from the house of the Baroness
Seychelles du Hautpas...

...from the Avenue Henri Martin.

L?onard Maburon has admitted
to the burglary?

...and told the officers
where he lived.

In his house, the police found
all his stolen objects.

Fifteen minutes, maybe ten.

All the stolen jewellery,

Not all the stolen objects.

According to the plaintiff,
an ornamental object is missing.

What do you have to say to that?
I'm listening.

I'm listening to you too, all the time.
I've got nothing to do with it.

This must be a mistake.

Really, I don't know anything about it.
I have nothing to do with it.

Really, Your Honour, why would I
return all the valuable jewellery...

...and keep a piece of trash?

Why? I'm asking you.
-No, I'm asking you.

Ah yes.

I'll tell you why you're
not telling us.

The police think you had an

...who has the object involved
in his possession.

An accomplice? Why would
I bring one, Your Honour?

Would you bring an accomplice
to such an easy job?

I've never worked
with an accomplice.

They call me
L?on the Soloist for a reason.

I've never seen this object.

The cops have too much

It would indeed be strange that,
after a voluntary return...

...that's how it's been described...

...the prosecutors come up
with another object...

...the existence of which has not
even be proven.

That was a good move of mine.

My colleague confuses voluntary
return and a house search.

Gentlemen, we can't even seem
to agree on those terms.

Let 's quickly go to the plaintiff.

You may sit down, Baduron.


Court officer, please call
the Baroness Seychelles du Hautpas.

N?e Lucette Grasnu.

A field marshal Seychelles du Hautpas
fought near Bouvines, high nobility.

Are you sure it's Lucette?
-It's all over the newspapers.

There was even a picture of her when
she married the Baron.

Come closer, please.

See that I was right?

She's so well dressed.

I would like to talk to you
without this charming little animal.

Silence, please.

It's a very pretty animal,
but still...

I'm sorry, Your Honour, but Margaret's
very hypersensitive.

That's the breed.
An almost extinct breed, by the way.

I don't mean to offend the court.
-Of course not.

But what can we do?
Court officer.

No, that's impossible, Your Honour.
Margaret's terrified of uniforms.

But what do we do with the
little animal?

Don't worry, darling.
I'll look after her.

Come, little one.


That's perfect.

Silence. Let's get to business.
We're dealing here with...

...a certain type of light.
-A lantern, Your Honour.

No, an imitation Louis-Philippe lamp.
-A lantern, Your Honour.

Well, a lantern. Alright then.

The existence of this lantern
is denied by the burglar...

...but confirmed by your house staff.

That testimony's contested. House staff
haven't been heard under oath.


Do you want to ask the plaintiff
a question?

Certainly, Your Honour.
-Then you have the floor.

Can you show us proof of property
of this mysterious lantern?

This is an impertinent request.
But we were expecting it.

We have looked.
Long and hard.

With good result.

It would have been easy to
produce any docket.

But it is our duty to inform the court
in a definite manner.

According to the adage
'Testi unus, testi nullus'...

...we will produce proof by
calling two witnesses.

The giver of the gift and
a witness of the act...

...are present here.
-We will hear them now.

Thank you, madam.
Please do not leave this room.

We may ask you later
for further details.

Fine, Your Honour.

A very unusual baroness.

Dear, I'm so happy to see you.

Such a fuss about
a silly lamp.

You'd almost think...

Call the first witness.

He aged a lot.
-Yes, he changed.

Are you surprised?
After everything that happened.

You're Charles Labergerie, born
on 9 March 1910, in Saint-Chamond.

-Marriage broker in Bourges.

Well... Still in the business?
-Old habits...

In April, you did not show up
when you were called by the court.

Excuse me, Your Honour,
but for us, marriage brokers... was a very busy time.

We had a huge Lent.
-Did you?

-Let's get to business.

You're supposed to have given
Baroness Seychelles du Hautpas...

...a lantern, years ago. Do you know
this lady and do you remember the gift?

Do I know Lucette?
Certainly, Your Honour.

I knew she'd make it big,
but Baroness... well done.

I'm proud to say it here:
Well done, girl!

Oh, Mr Charles.
-He's right. We found out...

...from the newspaper.
We're very proud of you.

This is really soft.
-I can only dream.

Money's quite something.

Oh, the money... Some days
I'm bored and I miss the old days.

I hate those days.
-You say that to make us feel better.

What breed is that?
-It's a Chihuahua.

It's a Mexican breed.
It was as expensive as a racehorse.

What's his name?

She's a real princess,
isn't she?

Ladies, silence, please.

That's enough praise for
madam du Hautpas.

Could you now tell us
about this lantern?

Especially about the circumstances
of your gift.

I was afraid we'd be opening up
old wounds.

Yes, I gave the lantern to Lucette.
Excuse me, to the Baroness.

And I don't regret it, because
she deserved it more than anybody.

But if you want to know more,
I have to drag up a painful history.

Was he in the resistance?

-I worked hard for 25 years.

Day and night between four walls,
like a prisoner.

Never a moment's rest. I lost hope
of a peaceful old age...

...when that damned law made
me lose my business.

I was homeless and became
a prey.

A prey to cannibals.

The sharks and the vultures
feast on you.

They're having a field day.
It's carnage, Your Honour.

You're on the ground and they want to
finish you. But men are fighters.

But the women. What about the women?

What happened to mine is simple.
She wasted away.

She wasted away slowly.
Her grief was worse than a cancer.

Is madam dying?
-Madam is dead.

They're doing well.

Yes, madam's dead.
Did she deserve this?

They killed my little queen.

The poor woman.

Always in good spirits.
Always herself.

A real lady.

And then he steals the lantern.
He deserves the guillotine.

She thinks it's the 18th century.
-Stay calm.

Now she's going to far. She's not
talking about your head, but mine.

Let's get back to business.

-Mr Labergerie.

Your client's on trial, not me.
-And I wonder why I am.

I've never seen that lamp.
You could do this without me.

Mr Labergerie, tell us how you
knew the plaintiff.

Especially since you seem to
admire her so much...

...I ask you: what exactly was the
nature of your relationship with her?

The bastard!

On the money.

Can I answer him?
-I'd certainly recommend it.

I've always advocated respect
and decency.

So, next time you
disrespect a lady...'ll have to deal with me.

Quiet. We're not in the circus.

Sit down. We'll call you again later,
if need be.

We're very happy to see you.

Where's the dog?
Did she run away?

Here's the little princess.

Thank you, sir
-Court officer, call the second...

...witness of the applicant
for compensation.

Who could that be?

A second witness?
Is that possible?

Your Honour...
-Your Honour.

Can I get another lawyer?

What did they do to Marcel?
-It's a disgrace.

A man like that.
-Oh, Mr Marcel.

-You're Marcel Froment.

Born in Paris, in the
20th arrondissement, in 1915.

-Business promoter.

Is that what you call it?
-I see what you mean, Your Honour.

You believe the slander too.
-I'm just looking at your record.

You've been convicted three times
for pimping.

You're currently serving your last
jail term in the Poissy prison.

It's correct that I'm in Poissy.
All the rest is false.

My profession is business promoter.

Since your testimony's
important to this trial...

...I'll interrogate you based on my
discretionary powers.

If you have knowledge of certain facts,
inform us about them.

Deprived of your rights as per
article 40 of the penal code... cannot declare an oath.

Such an honest man is not
allowed to declare an oath.

What world do we live in?

Oath or no oath, the truth is...

...that home knitting is
an honest profession.

Home knitting?
What are you talking about?

I'll explain. Imagine
your colleague needs a sweater.

But he can't find one that fits.

Sometimes the sleeves are too short,
and sometimes they're too long.

I solved that problem, Your Honour.

One phone call and one of our
talented knitters...

...comes to your house,
dressed professionally.

She stays as long as it takes.

Even until late at night,
if so required.

The court thinks you have original
ideas about working at home.

Mrs du Hautpas, approach
the bench, please.

Well, go.

Thank you.

Yes, a good idea to leave
Margaret behind.

That's what you call her, isn't it?

Alright, madam.
Please face the witness.

Is this indeed Marcel Froment,
whom you called as a witness?

I can't hide that this
surprises me a little.

Do you recognize him?

No, I've never seen him before.

You called a witness you don't know?

Excuse me. Everybody knows
Marcel. He's a legendary man.


Don't you know his house in Toulon?
-No, unfortunately not.

Was it good?

Classy furniture, some of it rare.

Visitors came from all over
the world, Your Honour.

From Australia, New-Zealand. Even from
Reims, with its Palais Oriental.

His house was a jewel, Your Honour.

With a beautiful park around it.
A garden of Eden.

Do you remember
the day of the opening?

My girls were so cute.

And there was an entire show,
Your Honour.

With pantomime
and Lot's daughters.

Biblical and entertaining.

With respect for the arts,
Your Honour.

Say, Froment, was that place called
"Le Grand Tivoli", by any chance?

You're absolutely right.

Your Honour, I have to point out that
we're talking about prostitution here.

Prostitution? Such big words again.

And what would you know?
You were young when they all closed.

Your Honour, he must have been a virgin.
-Maybe. How old were you?

Eighteen, Your Honour.

What did I tell you?
-Your Honour, I was 25.

And I knew what I was doing.
-We had that foolishness behind us.

How old were you?
-I was in the army at that time.

Such a disgrace, those brats!
-Your Honour, Your Honour.

Quiet. Madam, please show some

I'm not disrespecting anybody.
He just doesn't know what he's on about.

Quiet there.

Madam, let's stick with the
business at hand.

It's about a lantern. They stole a
100 million worth of your jewellery...

...and you're worried about a lantern.
-Because that lantern represents... youth.
-I respect your feelings, but...

How long is this going to take?
I'll be back late.

And I won't have anything to eat.


All this fuss about a cheap lantern...

...that will be sold
somewhere in the province.

This session is postponed.
Clear the room.

Why are they doing that?
-Because they don't know what to do.

Clear the room.

Evacuate the room.

Your Honour?


I'm very sorry for causing
such a disturbance.

It was a total lack of respect.

But the Du Hautpas are known
for being tempestuous.

And it's stronger than me.
I can't handle blockheads.

What did she say?
-Madam says she can't handle blockheads.

How did it go?
-Very well, darling.

We do not yet know Archibald
Gordon from Texas.

He's a man
you want to know.

Copper mines, oil tankers and
various other activities...

...that Lucette, now called Doroth?e,
must have heard mentioned.


How a good deed ended
Mr L?on's gloomy celibacy.

How a house filled with friends
is a gift from the gods.

Malicious slander...

The light shines and reveals
the triumph of an honest heart.

This story could only happen
in a small French town.

This town counted 7836 people,
which is a sign of moderation...

...and, therefore, of good taste.

The town had a community centre, an
Avenue Jean Jaur?s, a girls' school...

...a Freedom Boulevard, a man cheated
on by his wife, hello Mr Martin...

...a president of the Red Cross,
hello Mrs Marthe...

...a 13th century church, worth the
detour according to the travel guides...

...and most of all a gym,
property of the Athletic Club.

That's where these gentlemen
meet once a week.

They practice judo, a Japanese method
to stay young.

A serious session.

I lost at least 800 grams.
-They must have come off your biceps...

...and your pectorals.

I lost three kilos.

Well, two. Two. Well, almost.

That thing's not very precise.
-Enough. How much did you gain?

100 grams.

Alright, 300 grams.

How much did you gain?
-500 grams.

Big liar.

And how's it going up there?
-Fine, look.


I'm growing little hairs.
Very little. Look.

I keep putting egg white on.

I massage with egg yolk
and mink oil.

It always works, except not as quickly.

In America, they have a special
technique to make your hair grow back.

It's good.

In America.

Are we still on for tomorrow?
-Yes, but be in time. I leave at 8:29.

You're very punctual.
-One has to be precise to get there.

To get there on time, at least.

His wisdom and originality
define Mr Haudepin.

Mr Haudepin is what they call
a self-made man.

Head of an insurance company, single,
lover of crosswords and patriot.

Mr Haudepin is a tough one.

The police were busy doing
their rounds that night...

...because of the congress of the
Foundation Against Juvenile Delinquency.

Sir, pretend I'm with you.
-Pretend to whom?

To the police.
-Let go off me.

My name's Eloise.

Why should I care?
-There they are. Pretend we're together.

Out of the question.
Who are you anyway?

A murderer or a thief?

No, a whore.

You can't be.

Caught red-handed.
I'll free you off her.

The worst kind of woman.

Rude policemen are even worse.
-I don't understand. I'm doing my job.

You can do it politely.
Tell me, Inspector...

...weren't you transferred from your
previous job for inappropriate language?

And even customs didn't want you.

That was because I failed the

Not even customs.
That's saying something.

The lady's with me. Get lost.
-Excuse me.


What are you insinuating?
Here you!

You sounded salacious.
-Sala what?

Never mind. Go.

-I don't know how to thank you.

No need, Goodbye, Miss.

He's following us.
-Time for an atemi and a stranglehold...

...because I'm a blue belt.
- Goes well with your grey eyes.

Right, I'll walk you to your door.
-I don't have a door.

I see.
-I just arrived and the hotels are full.

Are you married?

Take me to your place.

Only 5 minutes.

He'll think I'm staying.
-I really don't want that.

I have a reputation to think about,
Miss Eloise.

Call me Marie. That's my real name.
Eloise is my pseudonym.

No is no, understand?

You should have let him arrest
me from the start.

Now, he'll be really angry.
-When I say no...

Come in.

There was no way back.

Daddy drank and so did my mummy.
They were always at each other's throat.

You have no idea what hell
that house was.

I read Zola.
-In 1943, the Germans executed dad.

He had deserted from the
French Waffen-SS.

In 1945, my mother was shaved bold
and thrown into jail.

I had to look after my three
brothers all on my own.

When I was twelve,
I got to know men.

Does your Zola mention that too?
-Not much but Eug?ne Sue a lot.

Never mind. Continue.

A failed relationship... cheated on
by my big love. Discarded.

Then it went downhill.

Quite a story, no?

Thanks to Marcello,
I started working on my career.

He was a perfectionist.
He gave me training.

Le Panier Fleuri in Toulon
and then La Madeleine.

You can go.
We don't need anything.

I could have been on the
Champs-Elys?es by now.

But one night it snowed.

I was standing in front of a caf?.
-Wait a moment.

A young man came out and put
a snowball in your dress...

...and you got pneumonia.
-How do you know?

Victor Hugo.

Germaine, bring the fruit.

I thought you had finished,
because you're smoking.

What is this?
I beg your pardon.

Where were we?
-Marcello didn't want me sick...

...and swapped me with G?deon
for a girl from Brittany.

And G?deon sent me here
because of the congress.

-That's it.

Thank you very much.
You were great.

I'll go see when my train
leaves tomorrow morning.

Where will you sleep?
-At the station, I think.

Wearing that?

Do you call that a coat?

Out of the question. Quiet.

Germaine, prepare the purple room.
-Madam's room?


She gets on my nerves.
-I thought you weren't married.

-She said "Madam's room".

No, that's my mother's room.

That's too much.
I can't accept.

But she accepted anyway.

Eloise slept alone that night,
for the first time in a long time.

She admired Mr Haudepin
for his strong personality.

But in reality, he only liked
round and cuddly brunettes.

One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.

Mr Haudepin always
gets up at 7:30 am.

So he can be at work at exactly 8.45 am.
He's done this for 25 years.


Listen, you should...

You should stay here, dear.
I don't want to cause an epidemic.

Inhale that.
Flu is...

Flu can become Spanish flu.

No, wait.
I haven't finished.

Let me finish.
So it can end badly... go ahead.

I say cataplasms, hot water bottle
and grog, until I say otherwise, right?

Alright, Mr Haudepin.

You've gone crazy.
That creature will never leave.

Sir, either she goes or I go.

Now that is a real man.

Authoritarian behaviour, however,
has a flip side.

The emperor may end up on an island
and as a bachelor in the kitchen.


What are you doing here?
-You told me to be on time.

What are you doing?
-Making coffee.

Coffee? Where's Germaine?
-I kicked her out.

That can't be.
-Yes, I kicked her out.

It's an ordeal.
A perfect housekeeper.

Yes, perfect.
-Too perfect.

Beef on Sundays.
-That's nice.

Monday chicken, Tuesday croquettes,
Wednesday pigs in a blanket...

Don't you like pigs in a blanket?
-No, so Thursday...

I do.
-I don't.

I love pigs in a blanket.
-I don't like them anymore...


Bless you.

Mr Paul Arnaud, Miss Eloise.
What are you doing up?

I was thirsty.

She has a fever.
-I see.

I came to get a glass of water.
I'll help you with the coffee.

-Yes, be nice.

Out of the question.

Come on.

Why that story about your housekeeper?
You could just have told me...

...that you found a younger one.

No, that's enough.
I don't like these salacities.

Especially in the morning.
She comes from a good family.

Where did you find her?

On the street.
-Good one.

I was walking home quietly.

And... she said... sir...
and... then a man with a hat...

What could I say? And...

Alright, about the sport. The articles
of the club are due tomorrow evening.

-Not so rude, Mr L?on.

I kicked that woman out...

...I mean, Germaine's
visiting her sick mother.

And tomorrow I have 8 people from the
Athletic Club over for dinner.

And nobody to cook.
-You have me.

She's nice.
-And very charming.

But you can't cook for eight people
on your own.

Why on my own?
I can get some help, can't I?

The help was called Sophie.

She had been through even worse times,
in her life, than Eloise...

...but had nevertheless remained
a very sociable person.

You haven't finished your champagne.
-Excuse me. To your health.

Thank you.
-To your health.


Excuse me.
-It's nothing.

Spilled champagne brings good luck.
-Ah yes.

A bit more?


There you are.
-I almost broke my neck outside.

It's totally dark.
-This will make you feel better.

Gentlemen, dinner's served.
Dinner's served.

Have a nice meal, everybody.
-Thank you.

That girl's very spontaneous.

Are you sure she has experience?
-Oh, la la. If you only knew.

Gentlemen, be seated please.

Mr Delegate, to my right.
The doctor on my left. Get up, Boudu.

The inspector there. Du Guano, there.

Mr Lefrou. No, Boudu.
Mr Lefrou, there.

No, Boudu. You there.

Paul, opposite me.

Gentlemen, I'll keep it short.
You've put your faith in me.

You asked me to draw up the articles
of our club. Here they are.


Article one: the Athletic Club is a
non-profit institution.

Start there, Miss.

Affiliated to the National
Sports Council. Article 2...

...the chairman is chosen with an
absolute majority of votes.

Very good. Bravo.

It's very good, good, good.

Article 3: the membership
fee is determined each year.

-What's wrong?

I think you're not listening.
-Yes, I am.

I've got that feeling.

Article four: new real estate
will be financed...

...via special transactions. Paul!
-Of course. Obviously.

The current grounds will be sold in
order to purchase larger accommodation.

Nobody's listening.
And you're not listening either.

Yes, I am.
-Listen to me!

Be polite and sports-minded.

Let's talk about the value increase.
We bought the accommodation 5 years ago.

Miss, go behind me.

That's the second time.
Considering this...

Look at me, please. Please.

Right. Considering this...
Look at me!

-'Look at me'.

The value increase doesn't completely
cover the price difference.


But it must be clear to everybody...

...that the grounds bordering
on the road to Maupertuis...

...on the railroad and
a country road..

...and on the property of Pouillac...

...has not been purchased
for speculative purposes.

Nobody's listening to me.


Boudu, what did I just say? Quickly.

You don't know, do you?
Sit down. Listen everybody.

Everybody's presence is required,
except in case of force majeure.

Presence is compulsory.
-That's logical.

As you wish. Compulsory.

And we have to set the membership fee.
-Of course.

An objection?
-A suggestion, if I may.

We need monthly meetings
for health checks.


Why don't we decide on
weekly meetings?

I actually think that
twice a week would be good.

Maybe I'm taking liberties...

...but, if Mr Haudepin agrees,
I'd like to suggest..

Yes, what?
-That all meetings will be held here.

The climate?s a lot healthier here.
-And this is a much nicer place.

And also more exciting.

Listen, I don't know.
The brasserie's next to the club.

That's practical.
-No, I don't think so.

If you want to turn us
into alcoholics...

Sports people in a bar... What message
will we be giving off to young people?

If you knew the damage
done by vermouth.

As bad as the first World War.
-Alright, I'll think about it.

Now we have to vote on who
will be our chairman.

So, who?

I propose L?on.

It's not true.
-Yes, yes.

Oh no.

You must be kidding.
-You're the man for the job.

That's too much honour.
How can I thank you?

I'm overwhelmed by this display
of friendship and confidence.

It's not true.
-Yes, it is.

This was the first of a series
of pleasant surprises.

L?on Haudepin's life was about... unfold itself like a fairytale.

Oh, nine o'clock.

Sophie, wake up.
Hurry, it's already 9 o'clock.

That's not possible.
Who's that? Don't come in.

Wait... come in.

I'm sorry, Mr Haudepin.
I didn't hear the alarm.

This is unforgivable.
Terrible. It's 7 past 9.

Do you understand that I'll look
like a fool... my colleagues, who thought of me
like a living clock?

Your breakfast.
-I don't have time.

How beautiful.

Sophie just picked it for you.
-That's why we're late.

How nice of you.

But we are nice.

I'll pour for you.

A bit of milk?
-Just a drop.

Stop, that's it.

How many sugars?
-Just one.

Butter or jam?
-Both, of course.



A bit of butter.

A bit of jam.

Wait. Careful, careful.

Bless you!
-Thank you.

-What are you doing here?

Last night, I forgot my hat.
-You get it. I don't have time.

Listen, let me ask you.

Did you ever have breakfast in bed?
It was fantastic.

Mr Haudepin would soon make
a second discovery.

Look at the time.

I'm a bit late.
I had a talk with Mr Gaubert.

Yes, he left.

It's not the same one.
The little Gaubert.

What's with all the questions?

The Malestras file?
-Already mailed.

The Blanchet file?
-All taken care of.

-Handled over the phone.

So, everything's fine?
-Perfect, sir.

Well then.

Mr Haudepin discovered that one
can arrive at work late...

...without the world ending.

If he wasn't so naive, he would have
discovered something else that day.

Bless you.
-Thank you.

Did you find it?

Your hat. Have you got it?
-Yes, it was there.

Paul stayed for dinner that night.

Eloise and Sophie
did their jobs... a way that shows
great team spirit.

The next morning, Mr Haudepin
had breakfast at 10 am.

She had worried for no reason.
He passed away...

He died for nothing.
That thought pained him...

...more than the fact that
Genevi?ve was innocent.

The black eyes, the shiny
skin and such sensuality...

Hello, judge Hardouin speaking.

What? Is it L?on?
It's L?on.

How are you? Good.

Yes, fine, but...

It's like a hospital here.
My wife and my housekeeper are in bed.

I'm sorry to...

I'm sorry that I have to ask.

But is it alright if we
have dinner with you?

You have a good heart.

Nine o'clock sharp.
I'll be there.

The Athletic Club
means a lot of work for us.

Sophie is happy to help.

She's very helpful.

Mr Paul each evening and sometimes
the judge, that's doable.

But if there will be more and more,
it'll get out of hand.

We have to think of our health.

Listen, what can I do about it?
-That's the thing.

I have a friend who's
very hard working.

Her parents perished during the Siege
of Madrid. Her brother was executed.

A book by Andr? Malraux.

But she can come.

The inauguration of the Haudepin house
as club centre was an emotional event.

The new assistant was
called Carmen.

It was very clear that she'd
fit in without a problem.

To the health of our chairman.

May I?


What is it?
-Just something small.

You shouldn't have.
-I'm always at your place.

Over the top. Really over the top.
-They picked it.

Do you like it?
-It's not all. Come have a look.

Close your eyes.

Come this way.

I count to three.
At three you can look.

One, two, three.

I should get angry.
Who bought that?

Not me, I hope.

No, these gentlemen.

On the club. Special expenses.
-Have another one.

That's true.
-Come have a look.

Full of nice things.

Look, the champagne of
Mr Paul.

The anisette of the judge.

And for whom is this?
-For whom?

For L?on.

Dear friends, gentlemen, I don't
know how to thank you.

Let go off me.

Tell me, who's the pimp here?

What did he say?
-That's G?deon.

Whose joint is this?
Who is it?

What's happening?
-Whose joint is this?

L?on Louis Marie Haudepin.
And you are?

You stay here.

-I'm her man.

You were!

You're an oaf, a loser.

Worse, you have no manners.

Mind your words or I'll beat you up.


I'll get you...
-I forbid you.

Not a hair!

No, no, no...

First of all, you used my woman
for a week, so you have to pay.


Don't you think it's time... do something?
-The law protects us against your sort.

You want to take the mickey
out of me. Fine.

I tried to negotiate,
to use diplomacy.

If you can't be constructive,
I'll get destructive.

I'll destroy your entire brothel.

My what? My brothel.
My brothel.

My brothel?

Mr Haudepin?s generous heart could
not cope with this malicious slander.

Hello, judge Hardouin speaking.

Put me through to
Chief of Police Pichout.

Hello, Chief?

Five minutes later, the brute pimp
was arrested and interrogated.

Based on an impressive list
of crimes...

...he was condemned to 20 years.
The law is the law.

But this isn't a brothel.

This is not a brothel.

Is my head a brothel?

L?on Haudepin had to take two
months of rest.

The doctor diagnosed hepatitis and
a small affliction of the brain.

Who's that?
Is he a brothel?

No, he's the doctor.
-He has a brothel.

A brothel.

During these months, the loyalty
of his friends was amazing.

Evening after evening, they were there,
awaiting the health update.

-His temperature is only 37.9 degrees.

Some even stayed until
the next morning.

Come on, Boudu, come.


The ladies were of course
on top of it all.

Eloise became a mother,
Sophie became a nun.

Carmen became a nurse,
and the nurse...

Who's this one for?
-I don't want it.

No, I don't want it.
-This person had such natural talent...

...that she was added to
the Athletic Club... a carer.

Eight. I've got that.

I've got that one too.
One moment, please.

-I've got it.

On May 15, Mr L?on
started his recovery.

Miss Lili, a friend of Eloise,
was a masseuse...

...and was accepted into the club.

-A bit harder, harder.

It was her job to make the athlete's
muscles loose and flexible again.

Don't tap, massage.
Just massage.

Massage as you breathe.

Breathe, massage...

-Easy, easy, easy.

She's tapping again.

Since modern ailments
tend to come as epidemics...

...the newcomer had a lot of
work to do.

For a while the Athletic Club's...

...days were without problems and
its nights without surprises.

Until the end of July, when Mr L?on
made a crazy decision.

What's wrong?

...what if I went back
to the office?

Do you want to kill yourself?
-I could at least try.

No, no...

But he recovered more and more
and come September...

...Mr Haudepin went back to the
maelstrom that was his work.

Did Mr Bedouc pay?
-Yes, he paid.

And Mr Lecucq?
-Not yet.

I'll go see him.
-No, absolutely not.

He wants to come to you,
so he can talk to you.

Yes, he's nice. So all's well?
-Everything's fine.

Am I not being missed?
-Yes, everybody's missing you.

Alright, goodbye sir.
Don't worry. I'll look after things.

What's the date?
-It's the second, sir.

The day before yesterday was the 31st.
-Yes, of course.

Aren't you forgetting something?

My salary.
-Excuse me?

My salary, my cheque. I should have
gotten it already. Make sure to be...

...on time next time.

If I don't get the next one on the 30th,
you'll be in trouble.

I'm all clammy.
-Much less than before.

I'm less clammy?

Unfortunately, the slightest effort
was too much for him.

Have you calmed down?

Since he couldn't work, Mr Haudepin
turned his attention to his hobby...

...the day-to-day worries
of the Athletic Club.

You afternoon snack, sir.

Put it there, sweetie.

Turn it towards me.

My yoghurt?
-I forgot to buy any.

That's alright.
I can do without.

No, Loanne.

Sir has been taking antibiotics for two
months. The yoghurt's for his intestines.

Relax, she means well.
So much work and so little sleep.

Look at those grapes.
-What's wrong with them?

There's skin on them

Oh, that's so pretty.

It's a gift from the doctor.
-The doctor, such a dear friend.


This one too?
-This one's from the judge.

Also such a good friend.

They're such a comfort.

Still eating?
-Poor me.

He's trifling with his food.

You're still looking better.
Look at this.

Isn't it beautiful?
-Oh, that's so cute!

Your new little friend.
-You're all spoiling me way too much.

I don't deserve it.
Me, sick old man.

Look at the gentleman.

Like this.

On 1 October, Mr L?on made
a daring decision.

He went out again for the first time.

I bought you this for the occasion.

This is a memorable moment.

Isn't the colour a bit light for me?

It goes with the season.
-That's true.

That's true.

At Miss Eloise's initiative and thanks
to the increased membership fee...

...the club centre of our sporty family
became more and more luxurious.

Everything was ready for
a big Christmas party.

Hurry, ladies.
Mr L?on will be here soon.

Eloise, Sophie, Carmen,
Miss Jeanne...

?Lili and Loanne got the last
presents ready.

A little smile.

Thanks, ladies.

Gentlemen, your turn.

Everybody was happy and
life was sweet...

...when everything suddenly
seemed to fall apart.

Thanks, gentlemen. My compliments.

Do you know what people are saying?
Very nice to hear.

Don't get sick again.
-What's wrong with you?

They're gossiping. They say I'm
a buffoon, living in luxury.

That the lights in your rooms stay on
until the early hours of the morning.

And that some of you are playing shadow
puppets behind the curtains. Well?

What about that?

Sometimes there are lights on behind
eleven windows at the same time.

And why? I'll tell you why.

Because you don't close the shutters.

So from now on all the shutters
of the house must be closed.

All closed.

Don't laugh. And the only
way to not forget... to always keep them closed.

What's that?

The big surprise.

I nearly died.

You can't see a thing out there.

Merry Christmas.

Is that funny?
He thinks it's funny.

Yes, because I have a surprise too.
Paul, get the steps.

Miss Eloise, help me.

What could it be?

What is it?
-A ham.


I saw it.



Look how clear that is.

-Yes, now everything was clear.