L'avatar botanique de Mlle Flora (1955) - full transcript

A young woman lives sadly in a small garrison town with a soldier. Little by little, won over by boredom, sadness, total inaction, she develops a relationship with plants and starts talking to plants.

Mademoiselle Flora's Botanical Avatar

My name is Flora.

And before having
joined the vegetal silence,

I lived 46 days in
Nemours with a soldier.

And I was pissed off,
it was unfathomable.

His name was Charles.

It was in November,

I knew no one.

In the bedroom
there was a plastic curtain

which gave off
an industrial smell.

If only Charles had
been there more often,

I have felt less like
I was sleeping all day.

I didn't feel anything.

I didn't do anything.

Apart from a little cooking.

Sweet stuff.

I slept with Charles
who was handsome.

But he grumbled so much
about military life,

I felt even more sleepy.

The objects were disgusting.

I had no books,

no money to buy them.

All day,
I waited for evening.

And evening, the next day.

It's crazy how
gelatinous everything becomes.

I couldn't bring myself to move.

I read old magazines
with free patterns.

There was talk of cold women.

Of the drama of frigidity.

But why always cold women
and never the others?

It went on and on...

Oh how slow it was.

Charles was yelling at me
because I was kicking him out.

How he could moan!

He moaned when there
was interference on the radio.

He moaned when the
soft-boiled eggs were hard.

I wasn't even sick of it.

Charles would go out at seven,
come back at noon,

leave again at one,
return at seven,

leave at eight,
come back at midnight.

Night exercises...
I should have pitied him.

But then...

what intermissions!

In the empty house

there was only
one sad old lady...

and a pig merchant...

and fortunately...

a green plant.


I've never lived in the countryside.

The evenings...
Only the evenings

were delicate
on the north bank of the Loing.

The Loing was stirring.

The banks of the
river smelled of lime trees.

And if I hadn't known
that you could die

from drinking dirty water,

I'd have drunk
all its muddy meanders,

hugging the small pointed islands.

I never looked at men again.

Only the plants.

I'd gotten used to the
musty smell from under the bridge.

If only Charles
had been able to speak...

but he'd broken
his nose while boxing.

His only civilian clothes were

a soft nylon suit
with knee pockets.

I sometimes
wondered at mealtimes,

if he was not that Java Man,

so sought after by ethnologists.

He had such a flat face.

and such pitted skin.

I said to myself:
It's not possible,

tomorrow I'm leaving.

I'll return to Paris,
18th rue de la Guadeloupe

and check the buses.

But for that...

I'd have to force
myself into a decision.

And decisions
were already out of reach.

So I stayed in Nemours.

What's more I had to be
there for him to drink his coffee.

After meals,

Charles ceremoniously drank
copious amounts of coffee.

Me, I hate that!

First of all, I don't like

food that's not nutritious.

It puts you on edge.

But Charles liked coffee.
He'd never drink tea or chicory.

He said it's worse
than a little coffee.

He reminded me of my grandmother.

We were spending
insane amounts of money on coffee.

He who was going
through the shopping lists.

We never ate butter,

always "Vegetaplase"
from "Lagarinon".

How disgusting.

It'll kill you.

I read in the
newspapers last year that

thousands of Dutch people
died from spreading it.

And yet, they are more
agricultural than the Americans.

But Charles doesn't
believe what's in the papers.

It would take more than that
to have him change his mind.


were accomplished through me.

At my expense.

I had the impression

that they were
hiding something from me.

Fortunately there was water.

I went every evening
to its damp banks.

It was a space

almost temporal.

This place where
the earth turned to mud

and the mud turned to water.

I knew that one
day this brighter blood

would rise up my arteries.

I was recovering.

It was a ventral return to life.

And my thoughts were awakening.

They jumped
like little amphibians.

On Sunday...

after mass where Charles dragged me...

I remained crushed between
the sabre and the bottle brush.

Charles said:

work is a necessary evil.

And he brooded over his
military manuals for hours.

He was sometimes...



Unfortunately, there
was a time for everything.


That day...

I ran.

I felt the pull of the water.

I had to go to the river.

I went to the river
and found myself.

When I came home
Charles was chewing silently.




A great silence rose up in me...

wonderfully vegetal.

I no longer belonged to the world.

Goodbye my sister...

who worked for a dry cleaner.

Goodbye lemonade...

and waxed shoes.

The following day,

Charles got as far
as half a thought.

Looking at me he said:

Ah, a beautiful woman!

But got no further.

So I went down...


for the last time.

My feet were heavy.

I had to pull them
out of the earth.

I knew Charles was following me.

I didn't care.

I was going to join the Loing.

Finally I will
continue my existence

in my real skin
traversed by water.

It is 1:00 p.m.
screamed Charles.

What time will lunch be ready?

I ask myself!

It's crazy.
That's all there is to it!

I don't believe it!
It's not possible!

There's no more coffee at home!
There are no more potatoes!

What a lack of responsibility!

I was...



What a soldier you'd make,
you poor thing.

I'd have brought you to heel.

It's incredible!
What am I doing here?

Life in society...

Life in society
is not what you think.

Come to the barracks for a bit,
you'd have a hard time of it.

Oh, women...

The more they change,
the more they stay same.

I was becoming a leaf....


I was green and sable...

Pay attention to your duties.

It's for your own good.

I really don't care.

You need some discipline.

We must deserve,
yes, deserve society.

Me, I give up.

So stay there planted like
a stake if it makes you happy.

I've had no lunch.

Oh, women!

Goodbye, Flora.

This is how I changed
my useless flesh...

against my leaves...

my branches...

and my roots.

corvusalbus, zaza