M (2017) - full transcript

Lila and Mo meet at a bus stop. Lila has a paralyzing speech impediment. Mo is chatty and exuberant. Lila is preparing for her exams. Mo illegally races cars for a living. Opposites attract...

I called

the information desk

to get train times

at Gare du Nord

and the guy...

he just thought

it was a practical joke.

It's not...

It's not a game.

I stutter, and that's how it is.

I began to stutter late,

around when I was 13.

Before that,
I just mispronounced sounds.

I waited a long time
before seeing a speech therapist

specialized in stuttering.

Before that,
my family talked to me about it,


at school and university.

But I didn't want to.

I didn't...

My parents would point it out to me,

when I'd stutter,

so I could become a bit...

"aware" of it.

But I was fully aware.

The way I stutter is different.

I don't repeat words and syllables.

It's more like my...

my mouth freezes up,

and my face, too.

It's always been that way,

since I wanted to hide the fact
that I was repeating syllables.

Oddly enough,

I've noticed

the more I like someone,
the more I stutter.

When I said I don't stutter,
I meant to say...

I stutter, but I accept it.

That word: acceptance.
It's like a dream come true.



You can easily talk about stuttering.

Yes. Now I can,

but I had a really hard time
accepting it.

And when I finally...

I finally realized

it was a part of my life,

and I started talking to family
and friends about it.

It's like I'd been set free,

like I was relieved of a huge burden

I'd been carrying for years.

Since then, I try to live with it,

and accept my stutter.


And your neighbour?

Have you ever had the chance

to tell friends or family
that you stutter?

If so,

did you feel a weight was lifted?

You, uh...

Is it painful for you?

Rue des noeuds. Garges-lès-Gonesse.

Now phoning home.

Shut up.

Excuse me.

Where's Rue des noeuds?


Don't draw a picture,
use your hands.

Like a stewardess.

Here, I made some last night.

Take my number.



49 39...



Open the door, yo!

- 'Sup, Bernardo?
- Hey retard!

How are you?



I'm handing back your papers
on Gros-Câlin.

Overall, they're better than usual.

Cathy, 13.

Rachid, 15.

Sadly, Clara was off-topic.


Off-topic, Suzanne. 8.



The retard got 18?


Can anyone answer
the question concerning

the text, please?



Speak up!

- Cortex...
- Say something!

That's funny?


Can anyone else answer
question 4?

I can. So, the contorted language
refers to the passage:

"It would be very hard
if I were summoned

"to use words that have no...


and that remain meaningless."

Is that it, sir?

Lila, come see me after class.

The orals are coming up.

What'll happen, then?

I'll need a miracle.

Quiet, please!

Don't count on miracles.

So, I'll say it again:

Your oral is in a few months.

Only studying very hard
will allow you to pass.

Let's look at it.

Sharing your macaron?

It's a racist text.

I can't. It's a gift!

It says pythons are bad,

and come from the ghetto.

So that makes us pythons?

From who?

We have to go!

She's sick.

She gets hot flashes.

I'm keeping this!

You may not talk, but...

I put a little extra for the rent.


We got three letters for you.

Speeding tickets

and the penalty for unpaid fines.

What's that say?

190 euros. The late fee.

No, that word:




And possible confiscation.


I'll deal with it.

I'll write a check, then pay me.

I'm keeping this.

"It's Lila...

from yesterday.
The macaron was good."


This is Lila's friend...

She's not here.

No, she doesn't have a phone.

OK. I'll tell her.

When are you two meeting?

I’ll call back.


OK, I'll let her know.

No worries.



His voice is so sexy!

His voice is so...

You can just tell he's hot!

Come on!


Looking for someone?

You lost?

The women here are shy. Do something.

Want me to wash you, sweetie?

You're beautiful.

What's going on?

A kiss on the cheek?

I see.

So, we're friends.

We're like...

Chip 'n' Dale.

I'm gonna trap you.


Since you don't have one...

That way, we can talk.

What's up? You don't talk?

Put the pen down, OK?

Let me see that.

It's fine!

It's all good.

Can I say something?

I don't care if you stutter.

What's going on?

Stay with me.

I don't care.


At the bus stop,
they called you "Ber-Bernardo."

They were making fun?

Were they?

You... eat what?

If you tell me,

we'll go now.

You have to tell me.

Talk to me.

What should I do?

What are you writing?

Stop writing everywhere.

I'm talking to you.


What are you doing?

Say something!

Finally! Is that all?

Keep going!

Tell me to stop.

Tell me to stop.

Was that "stop"?

Go on. Take your pen,
and your hand.

I'll take you home.

There are...

th-three humps in an M,

like in Monday. Remember?

- Like this?
- Exactly.

Make an effort.

An M or an E?

M like Mon...


Christ... Monday!

Good morning.

I think I need reading glasses.



I tried to read this,
but it's so tiny.

Can you read it?

- Can you?
- Sure.

What does it say?

"Your crystalline voice

leaves me little choice."

What frames did you want?

There are all kinds.

Some have frames, some don't.

Any preference?

They're expensive. I'll come back.

Got anything for tear gas?

Excuse me?

Tear gas.

Something for the pain.

I want pain relief

but also want to...

- Collyrium.
- Good. I'll take that.

Make sure to attack me from behind,

so I don't look weak.

Then steal my briefcase.

It's all good.

And remember: don't mace the girl.

- Got it?
- No problem.

Home sweet home.



Open the door.

Throw everything on the couch.


My eyes...

They're on fire!

Don't worry, it's OK.

Everything's fine.

I just need to close my eyes
for 15 minutes.

Closed tight...

I didn't even see them!

Those bastards came out of nowhere!

Are you OK?

Where'd they come from?

Did you see it?



Behind bus.

Could you try again,
but with less words?

Smaller ones?

Are you smiling now?

You're smiling.

It's nice when you talk.

You make me feel so calm.

That all of it?

I sorted them out.

You choose.

- But bring them back.
- No worries.

You want to try them on?

Ready to order?

I'd like the...

I'd like the...


And you, sir?

Same as her.

Plus a salad.

Anything else, miss?

I don't understand.

She said she wants me.

My wife doesn't like

to waste her saliva on this.

Go on, get out of here.

Fucking zombie.

It's because...

I don't know him.

Keep talking to me.

I kind of freaked out.

Hey, stop it.

Don't apologize.

How long have you been like this?

Ever since...


- Ever since I was...
- A kid?

- Know why?
- What?

Know why?

My m-mother stuttered...

Am I bugging you?

I don't want to.

You should ask me
more intimate questions.

It's just...

people are...

they're embarrassed for you.

What bothers me... the most

is that sometimes, I want...

I want to say something

and I don't have time.

No time?

When you stutter, people...

get annoyed.

They get tired of listening to you.

They have no time.

So they...

Do you ever hold back?

All the time.

The worst is when it's impossible

to use the word I really want.

I'm always forced
to use a different word.

There's no shame in that.

You know that, right?

Who cares about them?

They have no life.

They're the ugly ones...

with their dirty souls
and old bodies.


It's just you and me.

Just you and me.

What are you doing with me?



That's me.


My sister made it.

That's me.

That's my dad.

I have to...


I take care of my sister because...

my dad's a bit...

let's say "weird"

ever since my mother died.

I take care of her,

help with homework...

Sounds familiar.

I had to wipe my sister's ass
when she was one.

Day and night.

I was only six.

Wasn't your mom around?

My dad died, and my mom's a bitch.

What do you mean?

Let's not talk about it.

But you're lucky

your mom's still alive.

She's dead to me.

Forget about it.

Excuse me.

Thank you.

Bon appétit.

Where'd he go?

Yes, sir?

I'd like to change.

Is there a problem?

I just changed my mind.

What would you like?

Do you have pasta?

We have squid ink spaghetti.

OK, but with tomato sauce.

You know what?

If someone intimidates you,
picture them naked.

And you'll be fine.

Which is what I'm doing right now.


His caresses...

His hands...

His warm pearly white stomach...

You know how burned houses

bend towards each other

How branches break
without being weighed down

And how two animals crack with joy
in the night

That's the kind of car...
wankers drive.

This is my sister.


Say hi.

Hi, Mr. Momo.

No, not Momo.

Just Mo.

Just Mo.



Come on.

We'll do your dictation first.


Let's start with "cactus."

Go ahead.

This one.


That's not a C.

What is it?

A C is...

a s-semi-circle.

A "sesame" circle?

I don't understand you.

Try harder.

- Stop it.
- Soraya.

Look. It's a-a...

a semi-circle. See?

I'll do it however I want.
I don't care.

I'm not doing it.

Stop it. Look.

- Go away!
- Soraya.

I don't want to write!

I don't give a fuck.

Stop that!

That's e-enough!

Stop it!

- Take the pencil.
- I don't want to!

Leave me alone!

- Take it, or else...
- Fuck this!

Soraya, finish it.

I cut myself!

What's wrong?


I'll let you do it.
She's such a pain.

I’m taking a shower.

You won't, will you?

Get to work!


Go on, write!

You're going to write the letter A.

Fill that line with A's.

Got it?


Then B's.

Nothing but B's. Then C's.

And then...
then the letter after that.

I'm in first grade.

This is me.

Can't you write M?

Come here.

Come here!

Don't scream.

Know what I'll do?

Do you know what I'll do?

Open your mouth.

Don't scream. Open up!

See that baby tooth?

I'll pull them all out,
one by one.

Then your eyes, then your tongue,
I'll poke out your eyes,

I’ll burn your flesh.

If you talk,
I'll poke your eyes out!

I'll do it if you snitch.

Can you keep a secret?

I'm sorry, I'm sorry.


It fell out of there.

Spit, spit!

Show me how you write M.

This is "mon."

This is "nom."

The M is at the beginning.

And with "nom,"

it's at the end.

So, here it's "mmm"

and with O-N, it's "mon."

But, N plus O spells "no",

and if you add a silent M,
that's "nom."


But in that word,

M makes a "mmm" sound.

- M is "mmm"?
- Yep.

So why is the M silent here?

I didn't invent letters!

The M at the end has no sound?

It should make a "mmm" sound.


No, because it's at the end.


Give me that.


With E-N.


You have "en" twice:

at the beginning and the end.

All this is "en."

Because you've got
an E and an N.




Thanks for explaining that,

but why are you talking
about "en" now?

We were talking about "mmm".

But it's the same thing.

There are different M's

but there's also "on" with O-N

and "om"

with O-M.

With O-N, you can write "moron."

And with O-M, you get "mom."



I don't get it.

- Wanna see a trick?
- Wait...

Before your tricks,

isn't that an M at the end of...

It's an M, right?


Do you have a lighter?

- Are you an arsonist?
- No.

Explain this to me.

Do you have a lighter?

Please, explain this to me.

First, hand me your lighter.

- Why?
- I'll show you.

Explain this first.

Explain it.

You can burn the city down after.

First... this.

Explain it.

You said N makes a nasal sound.


The O doesn't move.


But the word is now backwards.

It's backwards?


Why would it be backwards?

Because the meaning is different!

If you take one hump away

that makes "non."

But, if you add a hump

you get "nom" like "name."

"My name is..."

But, when there's

an M,



There's another M.

For example: "comment"


That's like "-en"

but only if there's an M, B

or P.

Got it?

For development, I wrote:

Here, metamorphosis
is like shedding skin,

like a python.

A certain bastardization,


through your own origins.

One's own origins...

It's self-generating

or "bastard writing."

You're going to ruin your future

just because you need a crutch

to pass your oral exam?

You read a text, answer questions

and you'll ace it!

You can go far in life.

You can study at a top school.

What a waste!

So, what now?

Is this how you want to live?

I read the poems in your notepad.

They're stunning.

Whatever's going on up there

is stunning!

Lila, look at me.

Who has read them?

Just answer that.
Has anyone read them?

No one?

Let's do something different.

I'll read you something.

It's called

"The Dog Who Dropped His Prey
for A Shadow."

"This world is full

"of shadow-chasers.

"Most are fools.

"And far too many to count.

I refer them all to Aesop's dog."

It’s easy to make pizza.

The key is to knead it
for a long time...

Is Game of Thrones on?


I want to watch TV,

with beheadings and dragons.

Lie back down.

"I refer them all to Aesop's dog.

"This dog

"crossing over water,
saw the meat he bore, below

"to seize its image, let it go

"and thought

"he would drown.

"The waters got rough
and he was dragged down.

"He then regained the shore


Use your Walkman!

You think I want to live like this?

Going to see your bastard?

Don't you know I see you leaving
with Knight Rider?

My "Knight Rider"...

Ever since I met him,

I can finally talk

without feeling ashamed.

Don't you see?


He's opened me up.

You should love him. You should...

You should even

find him some work.

Maybe a job in your restaurant?


He can wash dishes, and...
lots of things.

He's my boyfriend, dad.

That's hilarious!

You've found a boyfriend?

With your face and your father?

Good riddance.
Go see him. I don't care.

You have no choice.

Tomorrow, I'm seeing Serge
to talk about it.

And you know how movements
are frozen in the cold fat of habit.

I wrote that.

Have you seen the comments?

My French teacher...

suggested I join

this poetry club...

to practice for the Baccalaureate.


it's a group of people...

who get together

and debate

a spoken text.

My teacher says

it could be

good practice for me.

What do you think?

Do you think I should go?



I had a rough day at work.



Dessert platter and apple pie.
Table 5.

Floating island for 6.

"Like an iron,
the white midnight smooths out

my sad heart."

It's beautiful, Lila.

Very surprising and powerful.

Do you think a lot before you write,

or does it appear in a flash?

It's like a flash.

Because you're alone with yourself?
No one's around?

I'd like to know.

Why at night?
I'd really like you to explain.

The silence is...

it's different.

It's different
and more conducive to writing.

And it's funny:
"Stupid and still as a gem"

It yanks us out of this night

that permeates everything.

That needs to be developed.


I'm Lila's French teacher.

Hello. Sorry...

Monsieur Tabaz.

Nice to meet you.

His colleague, Nicolas.

Everyone here wants you to succeed,

to be strong.

It'll seem hard at first, but then

it'll be much easier.

The exam's a formality.

Just arrive
as "stupid and still as a gem"

or as an examiner,
and you're fine.

"Stupid and still as a gem"!

It's so funny... and magnificent.

Like a haiku.


A simple sentence,

a tiny aphorism that unlocks...

the entire universe in four words.

And so mature:

"Drab and lazy like a sickly scab."

A scab you can't get rid of.

You write beautifully
about ugly things.

That relationship to...

Really clashing imagery...

I can't write poetry.

I only write letters.

There's a publisher I know

who publishes...

No, I write letters I never send.

Prose, right?

Maybe in verse?

That's why I deeply admire poetry.
It's like music.

Sounds and meanings...

"Like a wet cloth

Wrung out with solitude."


flies stop


on the roads


because they

come crashing,

millions of them,

on the windshields

of the cars

interrupting them

in the throes of their nuptial dance.


are even

forced to stop because...

Your pronunciation...

Shall we take a break?

If I'm not home by 9:00,
my wife will...

Two steak tartares, table 1.

Egg and foie gras, table 8.

What was before the foie gras?

I don't know.

Bread! We need bread.

What was before the foie gras?

- What table?
- Table 7.

What is all this?

I already told you:
all old orders go here.

This is a mess!

Why don't you check?


- What is this?
- Wait!

Just a second...

That's the foie gras!

Maybe it's there!

It's chicken scratch!

I came here to work, OK?

Doesn't your brain function?

Do you even have one?

Learn it by fucking heart!

Is this kindergarten?
Egg and a tartare!

Do your job and make the food.

Anyone home?

You're being mean.

- Am I?
- Yes.

Am I being mean? Fuck me up, then.

Get over here, she's spying on me.

She'll see me from the window.

I thought you quit.

I like it. Especially when I see you.

You make me anxious.

Got any perfume?

Are you free these days?

What do you mean?


Like an hour every weekend, or so.

Why? Why do you ask?

Maybe you could teach me
to put letters together.

To make words. Whole words.

Can you teach me?

Teach you?

That's a job. I can't do that.

Can you help me?

No, I wouldn't know how.

I don't want to...

I want you to learn, but properly.

I don't want...

I don't think I'd know how.

Go to the town hall.

They've got competent people there.

Come on.

That kind of place can really help.

That kind of place? Sounds like...

It's the best place for you.

OK. Shut up, now.

Me? At school, at 30?

Is that my life?

Forget about it. You're a traitor.

- Me, a traitor?
- Yeah.

No one's helps me.

I've never turned my back on you!

You act like a little traitor.

Am I to blame
if you had to leave school?

Go on, turn your back on me.

Forget about me!

You're a heartless traitor.

Look at you.

Your betrayal is making you fall.

- I'm so tired!
- Of what?

I'm tired of you!

Tired of my cash?

- You only ever yell.
- I'm just talking!

Don't I give you enough cash?

You'll take my cash,
but when I need something...

- Your face is blank.
- What a hateful family!

- All I see is anger.
- There's no love.

You're heartless.

You beg till nothing's left.

Can't anyone give? Or help out?

It's mom's fault.

She's ashamed of her son.

Of her own flesh! Why?

All because I couldn't read.

Who kicks their kid out?
Who refuses him love?

What do I do?
Didn't I lose my father?

Didn't I?

What do I do now, huh?!

What am I supposed to do?
Tell me!

Didn’t I lose my dad?
Didn’t that happen to me?

What do I do now?

She wanted me to be a man,
but she can’t love me.

What do I do? Now, I'm begging

for you to teach me words.

What do I do now?

She never loved me, that's all.

Even I'm ashamed of me.

She was so ashamed of me, now I am!

I hate myself.

Hey, look at me!

Look at me!

I hate myself.

I can't look at myself.

I can't stand myself or my thoughts.


What happened?

Please explain to me what happened.

My father got you that job.

You can’t understand.

What do you mean?

Why not?

You can't understand.

Try to explain.

Maybe I'll understand.

Why'd you hit him?

What are you doing?
Who are you talking to?


Who are you talking to?

I'm talking to you.

On your phone.

No one.

I'm on my blog.

The poetry club.

Since when do you see
your teacher in a café?

Do you find that normal?

Talking to random men?

What do they have that I don't?

What are you saying?

I see them for work.

Things have changed.

They've changed.

What do you mean?

You want the old me?

The one who can't speak?

You're talking to strangers?

What do you say to them?

Stop that.

You want me to feel guilty.


This is bullshit.

It's bullshit.

I don't get it.

You punch people now?

A guy comes up, boom!

You just punch him in the face.

You find that normal?

Shut the fuck up!

You and your dirty mouth...

What do you want?

Are you a cop now,
asking me questions?

You have no idea!

You have no idea what's going on!

I defended myself.

You don't have my back?

What's that all about?

Tell me!

You got my dad in trouble.

Enough, already!

He came after me!
Was I supposed to shut up?

He said things you can't understand.

No, but...

I'm supposed to shut up?

You could've...

Why are you with me?

I've got nothing to offer you.

Why are you with a guy like me?

What are you doing?

I've got nothing!

I'm an idiot,

and you're smart. So smart.

Happy now?

I'm an idiot
and you're a smart woman.

You're a smart woman.

But, before my phone?

You talked to walls, by yourself.

Now you talk to your pals,
you blog all the time.

You'll stutter in front of them.

Hi and thanks for coming.

I'm glad we can finally meet.

I called you because...

I'm a little worried about Soraya.

First, she confuses certain letters

and the problem is that

she's very stubborn

and persists in her errors.

She insists, and tells me I'm wrong.

I'm sorry.

I wanted to see you because

she says her dad taught her all this.

You take her to McDonald's
after class

and correct her.

You correct the mistakes
she learned here.


that's not possible because...

my father never...

never takes us anywhere.

He never helps her with homework.

That's impossible.

Tell her it's not dad.

Soraya also has lice again.

- That's the sixth time this year.
- Sorry.


Don't swear!

- Don't touch me!
- Enough!

Stop it!

Why didn't you tell us?

Well? Anyway,

I know you're eating gum again
off the sidewalk.

Maybe Mo snitched on me,

but all you ever say is
I'm the problem!

He taught me to write M
with two humps

like the M in McDonald's.

He can't even write his name.
Want proof?

Is that my writing?

He copied off me.

Look, he wrote that!

I couldn't sleep that night.
I saw him.

He writes like a kid
in kindergarten.

I wanted to see you

because I forgot

a book at your place...

for my exam.

Since it's tomorrow,
I was wondering

if I could stop by later?

How many lice
are on your lousy head

How many are there?

Knead, knead, knead...

I'm kneading.


Your hair's

Got such flair!

Don't take that off!

You're under quarantine.

You're a biohazard.

It's like an ant farm.

Tell me lice, sweet little lice...

Put that away.


I'll make you nuggets.

That's all your stuff.


Let me talk.


I wanted to say...

I'm sorry for the poetry club.

All that stuff...

I never realized!

I was...

I couldn't imagine it.

I didn't know.

How to put it?

My teacher was with those nerds,

they were showing off

and I was...

I don't care,

you see?

I just went for my exam.

And, I don't even know if I'll go.

What'll you do, then?

What'll you do?

I'm nobody.

Our relationship is more
important to me.

For me, it's more important.

Nothing else matters.

I don't care about that other stuff.

You say that now.

But you'll be tired of me
in a year.

You'll toss me out like trash.

I love you as you are.

You're perfect for me.

Nothing else matters.

Don't you love me?

Do you love me?

I'm sorry if I was stupid!

But I didn't know!

Are you sneaking out
with your loser?

You should study
instead of playing Cinderella!

Get in here, or else!


Please wait!

Did you see that?

Check it out!

Tonight, Mo's dead.

I'll send him crashing.

It's me, again.

I went to your bus but...

you're not there.

I'm at your bar
and I see your car

but I don't see you.

Call me back.

What's going on? You're late!

What is it? Lila?

- I don't want to.
- Why?

Because it's...

You must.


Because I'm going to...

I'm going to st-stut...

You're perfect. Your mouth is too.
Don't worry,

you won't block up.

You'll get an excellent grade.
This is nothing.

It's a formality.

The words will flow out

on their own.


mouth will be all twisted...

You mustn't say those things.
It's not true.

You'll be fine.

Go ahead.


Calm down,

take a deep breath.

Let's go.


I stutter.

That's fine.

Go ahead.

Look at this object...

it's a mannequin,

a thing...

an inanimate thing.


you're going

to make it speak with a...

human voice, gentlemen.

You'll even make it...

make it say

words of love



Without pressing anywhere,


no secret buttons,

just your own means.

Then you'll be able to...

to live...

to live alone


very comfortably...

for want of nothing,

to be independent,

and with...

and with far less...

far less risks, but also...

I want to see mom.

Have one.

Hey, mom.

Come to the living room.

You OK?


this is Lila.

She's my girl.

She's going to teach me to read.


Subtitles by Christopher Silva

Subtitling: HIVENTY

I would gladly relive
our great day together

And the love you'd given me

For the pain