The Salt of Tears (2020) - full transcript

A provincial youngster who travels up to Paris to sit an entrance exam for a "grande école". His path crosses that of a young woman and they strike up a short-lived relationship.

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THE SALT OF TEARS

Excuse me.

How do I get to Croix de Chavaux?

Can you tell me?

Croix de Chavaux...

Do I take that bus?

No, it heads away from Paris.

Come here.

Croix de Chavaux.

Change at Mairie de Montreuil.

And then take the metro.



I take the metro?

- Yes.
- Okay.

Been waiting long for the bus?

Here it is.

Hello.

I'm not from Paris.

First time here?

No, I've been before.

But I'm not local.

Mairie de Montreuil.

I get off here too.

- Good luck.
- Bye.

Wait.

Excuse me.



- Can I see you again?
- I dunno.

This afternoon?

I have to work.

After, I can meet you from work.

I finish at 5.

I'll come to meet you at 5?

- Got a pen?
- Yeah.

6, Rue...

des Acacias.

"Des Acacias"...

Where is that?

Behind the market square,
one of the side streets.

- See you later.
- Okay.

Don't get lost.

No, don't worry.

He's here.

Where is he?

Hi.

Had a good day?

Yeah, very good.

I saw a friend of my dad's.

That's all.

What shall we do?

I haven't thought about it.

I don't know this area.

We can walk a bit.

Okay, sure.

What's your job exactly?

Nothing interesting.

I screwed up, I ran away,
so I had no choice.

I'll do evening classes next year.

Okay.

And you?

I do joinery.

Really?

You make shelves and stuff?

Yes...

That's right.

I work with my dad.
He's a joiner.

But I'd like to be a cabinetmaker

and study at Boulle.

What's Boulle?

The top cabinetmaking school.

I'm taking the entry exam.

I'm staying
with one of my dad's cousins.

It's not easy.
There's not much privacy.

Okay.

You're a gentle guy.

You think so?

I really think so.

At the workshop, I had a teacher

who was a total alcoholic.

Old-style.

He cut off his finger
showing us an exercise.

- See?
- Horrible.

His first reflex was to smoke,
with his finger dangling.

We were there...

This is it.

- You live here?
- Yeah.

Come on.

Well...

See you.

See you.

- Djemila, right?
- Yeah.

- And you're Luc?
- Still.

- That hasn't changed?
- No.

Bye.

The next day, Luc took the exam.

Hello.

Hello, everyone.

All right.

Look at this chair.

What style is it?

Directoire.

What period?

Late 19th century.

Idiot, it's being made.

Sorry.

What period?

Modern.

Modern period.

Directoire is late 18th century.

Now tell me...

What's missing?

Lacquer.

No. On a joinery level.

Crosspieces there.

Not exactly crosspieces.

Angle brackets.

Yes. How do we fix them?

With dowels.

What kind?

Get up to speed.

Learn all that.

Okay, thanks.

Goodbye.

Thank you.

He's someone who's...

You felt that with him?

He was...

- You felt something?
- Yes.

You'll see.

Just watch.

- How's it going?
- Fine.

- You found it okay?
- Yes, no worries.

So, how did it go?

Pretty well, actually.

I answered nearly every question.

That's all I can say for now.
We'll see.

- When's the results?
- In a few months.

Imagine waiting that long.

We have to go.

Already?

It's 1:30.

Can't you say I'm sick?

Sick?

- Okay, I'll tell them. You're sure?
- Yeah.

See you tomorrow.

Bye.

Sorry, it took a while.

That's okay.

I was so stressed out.

Can't we go to your place?

Impossible.

We really can't go there?

- Where then?
- I dunno.

Are you mad at me?

No.

No, but...

I'm leaving soon.

I know.

You're already thinking of that?

Hold me again.

I'd just like an evening with you.

Just the two of us, see.

Want that?

Yes.

You really want it or not?

Jasmine went to fetch Djemila,
saying they were going out,

and Djemila joined Luc
who took her to his room,

hiding as they passed his cousin's door.

Hold on...

Not that.

What?

Not that.

- Why not?
- Because.

Why not?

Because, that's all.

You're scared?

I'll walk you home.

Already?

What d'you want to do here?

There's other stuff we can do.

Hi.

- How's it going?
- Fine, and you?

Great, thanks.

I'll go.

See you later.

See you.

I came to say goodbye.

Yeah?

My train leaves at 5.

Was that planned?

Yes.

I only came for the exam.

Let's go somewhere.

Come on.

What time is it?

Nearly two o'clock.

I'll never forget you.

Luc lived and worked with his father.

His father had a poet's soul
and his son admired him.

That's Cassiopeia.

Right, there...

That's the Lion constellation.

Nice and clear tonight.

See how it's set out?

I'm getting there.

That's Betelgeuse.

It's really bright.

We have that coffin to finish.

In a coffin,
the base board is slanted

so the body doesn't slide.

Or it's on its knees for eternity.

Was Paris okay?

Yes, just fine.

I might be the last one doing this.

Making coffins?

One of the last anyhow.

People still die.

But they won't die here.

Get out on this side.

All right?

Can you open it for me?

Come on.

Your sweater's in the boot.

Roman, are you there?
Can you lend a hand?

Geneviève!

Luc?

Luc met Geneviève again.

He hadn't seen her since high school.

- How come you're here?
- How are you?

- I'm working here.
- Doing what?

Odd jobs. My dad sends me.

- You?
- I mind Sabrina's kids.

You've met?

We were together until high school,
then I moved.

It's been 5 or 6 years.

So give each other a kiss.

This is crazy.

I'm glad to see you.

Me too.

They withdrew to a bathroom

while the owners had lunch.

I wanted it right away.

As soon as I saw you.

You were talking about joinery

and it was all I could think of.

You're so beautiful.

Remember when I had braces?

You said it hurt to kiss me.

I thought of you every night
after I left you.

- I wanted you.
- Your pals made fun of me.

They were jerks.

Jealous too.

I cried so much when we moved.

I kept thinking about you.

Did you think of me?

You didn't forget me?

No, I didn't.

I just thought we'd never meet again.

I look at pictures of your town
online.

I imagine you in its streets.

I have regrets, perhaps I was wrong.

I miss you.

Djemila

My father died when I was five.

They hid that from me.

I kept waiting for him.

I asked when he'd be back.

My mother had remarried.

It was a taboo subject at home.

I'd ask,

"What about my dad?

"All the other kids have one.
Why not me?"

That went on until I grew up.

When she told me he was dead...

I was already 15, so I left.

It was crazy not to tell you.

He drowned himself in the Deule.

Everyone knew.

My mother was ashamed.

Did you ever find out why?

Yes, an old lady told me.

He was so deep in debt
he couldn't bear it.

It's okay, Dad, it's history now.

Where's the Plough?

What?

Where's the Plough?

No idea.

I don't care.

Dad...

Why did you stay a joiner?

There's no harm in it.

You could've designed furniture too.

It's all been done already.

Okay, but when TV arrived,
they had to make furniture for it.

People watch TV on tablets now.

Okay, but they still need chairs to sit

or beds to sleep.

Furniture is for when you settle.
Nomads don't have any.

The way things are,
we'll all be nomads soon.

So why send me to Boulle?

Because I didn't go.

Wood smells so good.

Come anytime, if he's here or not.

Would you like us to marry?

Of course.

But you need to ask him.
It's not up to me.

I think he has someone in Paris.

No, he'd have told me.

He tells me everything.

How are you?

I was waiting...

I was scared.
I didn't dare call you.

I snapped.

I can't wait for Friday.
And you?

Yes, me too.

I may not be able to meet your train.

Okay.

For the room,
I'll refund the whole amount.

I have to go.

Ask if you can pre-pay.

- Take care.
- See you on Friday.

Shall we go?

Yes.

- Who was that?
- No one.

A friend.

- Not another girl?
- No.

Luc!

You promised to come.

I know, but I don't want to now.

You don't want to?

You don't want me anymore?

It's just that I don't want to go.

It's always the same jokes
and stories.

Think you're better?

Not better, different.

It wears me out.

But go.

Not without you.

You're the one who matters, Luc.
You know that?

You matter for me too.

- Don't be mad, I'm beat.
- I'm not mad.

That's settled then.

I'll stay with you.

Good evening.

Do you sell cigarettes?

No.

- But you can have one of mine.
- Please.

Got a light?

No. Sorry.

Never mind.

He didn't come?

Maybe he'll come tomorrow.

Maybe.

Or never. Who knows?

I've seen women

wait for a man all their life

and they're alone in their grave.

Thanks for the cigarette.

Thank you.

Hold on.

Won't you be cold dressed like that?

The Paris train isn't until 6:20.

I'll be okay.

Good luck.

Make us coffee?

Luc hated the cowardice he showed

to both Djemila and Geneviève.

He felt his cowardice
had favoured Geneviève

without him deciding it.

Dad!

"Sir, we're pleased to inform you
of our decision

"to admit you to the Boulle School

starting September 2019."

I'm happier
than if they'd picked me.

It's a big day, you realize?

I know, Dad.

Doors will open, it's up to you.

I won't disappoint you, I promise.

If I could have lived that dream...

But that's how it is.

I have to tell you...

I'm off to Paris in September.
I passed.

And me?

What happens to me?

It's no different.

We'll see each other less at first.

Then I'll find a job near the school
and you can join me.

Can we live on that?

I don't know. I'll get organized.

You can find a job too.

It scares me a bit.

You being so far away.

Scared I'll forget you?

Yes.

A bit.

But you know I love you.

Yes, you love me... for now.

It's like a cathouse.

As if you'd know.

I'll miss this in Paris.

It's you I'll miss.

What is it?

Are you mad I'm leaving?

Think it's funny?

- No, I don't.
- I'd never guess.

Let go of me! I need to pee.

Your future's at stake, remember.

I know.

Paris is full of temptation, be careful.

Stop worrying, Dad.
I know all that.

Turn your collar down.

And don't screw up.
The room costs a lot.

I promise.

I know you like the girls.

Staying for dinner?

I promised Geneviève...

I'll see you every other weekend.

I'll come here

and then...

you'll come to me the other times.

That's expensive.

How will we do it?

We'll manage.

Believe me?

I believe you.

I'll walk you home?

Want to spend the night together?

Actually, I'd like to stay with Dad.

Understand?

Do I have a choice?

I'll leave you here.
After, it'll be too hard.

I have to tell you something.

What is it?

I'm pregnant.

What?

I'm expecting your baby.

Hold on... Are you sure?

I was going to write to you in Paris
to tell you but...

I can't keep it to myself.

You can't do this to me.

I didn't do it alone, okay!

I'm not ready. You know that.

You've betrayed me, trapped me.
You never asked me.

What would you have said?

This is madness.

You're totally reckless.
In my situation...

A child isn't possible.
I'll be in Paris 3 years,

I'm broke, we'll be apart...

It's the fruit of our love
and you can't change that.

I'm just not ready.

I'm having it anyway!

I'll tell it how its dad reacted!

In Paris, Luc began at Boulle.

That's pretty.

Like this.

Where are you eating?

I don't eat lunch.

- You don't?
- No.

Where do you eat?

We found a place
with Jean-René and Lucie.

It's not bad, the owner's nice...

Sure you won't?

No, don't worry. Some other time.

Coming, Victor?

- Okay, I'm going.
- See you.

He's afraid of disappointing you.

You've set a high standard.

You always urge your son
to do better than you.

Maybe he could've done another job.

Maybe we were too close,
that's the problem.

The two of us living together
isn't good for him.

But that's not why you're here.

No.

He doesn't want to keep it?

He never told me. I'm surprised.

I didn't expect this.

You want to keep it?

Yes.

My mind's made up.

What can I say?

It never happened to me.

I'll go to see him in Paris if I must.

Don't cry, dear.

We parted so coldly.

I've had no news since.
Not one call.

Nothing.

- How's it going?
- Alright. Well?

When I first got in, I felt let down.

But once I got in deeper,
she was hot.

I don't want to know.

How about you?

It was good.

Shall we go?

It's fantastic.
Nothing replaces whores.

You find a girl
and in 10 minutes she's naked.

Luc, we need to talk.

I'm managing fine on my own.

I'll call to say when I can come.

Dad.

Here are some cigarettes
as I'm sure you can't afford them.

Luc guessed what his father
wanted to talk about

and he was happy
to delay the moment.

Luc was preoccupied at the time

by the idea love may not exist.

What he had known
with Djemila and Geneviève

couldn't really be called love.

If he asked himself
if he had known love,

he was obliged to say that he hadn't.

It hadn't defeated his ambitions

or touched his friendship
with his father.

Back off or I'll call the police.

Sorry, I wasn't following you.

One day, Luc would find himself

facing a woman who'd be his equal.

This is how it happened.

Have you ordered?

I was waiting for you.

Seen that girl?

- Pretty, isn't she?
- Yes.

Hold on, I'll try my luck.

Don't I know you?

No...

I'm Jean-René.

Alice.

You look familiar.

Your eyes.

I'm at the school next door.
What do you do?

I'm a nurse at St Antoine.

Okay.

Want to go out tomorrow night?

I'll meet you outside the hospital at 8.

Okay, suits me.

Use the staff exit.

All right.

Do you have a friend who could come
for my buddy?

That'd be nice.

Okay, I'll ask a girl I work with.

Great.

See you tomorrow then.

Sure thing.

That's settled, man.

What?

She's Alice, a nurse.

We're seeing her and a friend of hers
tomorrow night.

Really?

You're too much.

How much have you got?

Frankly, I'll tell you...

Nothing at all.

Look.

Okay, we'll manage.

Hi, how's it going?

- Luc.
- Hi, I'm Betsy.

Betsy... Jean-René.

- Jean-René, delighted.
- I'm Betsy.

I hope it's a good place.

Victor seemed to think it wasn't bad.

We're going to dance.

Hey, Lucie's here.

Hi, Lucie.

How are you? What's up?

- I'm changing my shoes.
- Okay.

See you later.

A friend of yours?

We're in the same year.

Of what?

Hold on, where's Simone?

Have you seen Simone?

No.

Let's go.

We'll wait here.

He was looking for her all night again.

Good night.

- And Luc?
- Bathroom.

- That was fun.
- Yeah, it was.

What's going on?

I don't know them.

- What?
- Shut up, nigger.

Who are you talking to?

- What is it?
- Look down.

Don't talk to me.

- Hands off!
- Watch it!

What do you want, you fat pig?

Who are you, Sambo?

Luc!

What the hell are you doing with them?

Fucking traitor!

- Motherfucker!
- Piss off!

C'mon, there are others.

Give me that!

It's Sunday.

It's not my birthday.

Every day's your birthday
when I think of you.

Every day?

Luc found a weekend job.

Every day.

Luckily, as the savings

from his father had melted away.

Dad, what is it?

I wanted to say something.

I didn't know how to write it,
so I came.

Well?

Geneviève lost her baby.

She lost it on purpose.

She might not have said,
but I wanted you to know.

She had an abortion?

How did you find out?

I found out.

Should I write to her?

I don't know what to say.
You're old enough to manage.

Got someone else?

Be careful then.

Betsy...

My father.

- Miss...
- Hello.

- I'll...
- Yes, I'm going.

- I'll be along later.
- Okay. Bye.

When's your train?

I'll go to Bastille then leave.

See you soon.

Take care.

So that's why they say
this is the life line.

- This one?
- Yes.

Okay.

Okay, my story sucked.

Your turn.

Once upon a time,

in Baghdad...

A tale?

From The Arabian Nights.

Once, in Baghdad,
there was a sultan...

Well, a money-digger...

He told a woman he loved her.

But in fact he loved her money.

One day, he sent her off by ship
and said...

Luc!

It's Dad!

Open up, I missed my train.

Stay here.

It's Dad. Open up.

Forget it, we won't open it.

I missed my train.

I'll get the next one.

See what you make me do.

What passion makes you do.

I've never argued with my dad.

If you say so.

How's it going?

Paco, meet Luc, my love.

This is Paco, a colleague.

Can he stay with us a few days?

His landlady needed his room
for her daughter.

Yeah, okay, no problem.

I'll be discreet.

Thanks.

It's okay?

Yes.

What's on your mind?

What do you think?

Me too.

My love...

Stop it.

Who cares?

Stop it.

Who cares? He's asleep.

- He isn't.
- He is.

- Sure?
- I swear.

I'm not so sure.

Make less noise.

Betsy and Paco slept until midday.

They worked afternoons and evenings,

while Luc got up early for school.

A thought nagged him

even though he tried to ignore it.

What if the woman he loved

made love with Paco
while he was out?

Do you love him?

No.

I like him, that's all.

Been sleeping with him long?

From time to time.

Often?

No.

Did you do it with him
before me?

A little.

A little?

Yes, we necked a few times

without going all the way.

It's not like with you.

It can't be as powerful as between us.

I love you.

Shit,

we're out of gas.

Wasn't it changed last week?

Not my job.

Okay, we don't eat.

What were you making?

Trust me, we're out of gas!

What's the dish?

Carrot risotto, not happy?

I am.

It's that or nothing.

I don't know...

We need to get another.

- Want a hand?
- Please.

- What time is it?
- No idea.

Hurry, I'm hungry.

Let's go.

Thanks, guys.

Luc and his father
often wrote to each other.

The son never said
that he and the nurse...

Closed.

...lived with another guy.

I told you so. Forget it.

What're you doing?

I'll try to open it.

- No, stop.
- Let me try.

- No.
- Let me, I want to eat.

Let me.

Put it here.

In there?

C'mon, quick.

Good night.

Go on in.

When his father came to Paris
for an operation

and saw the room
where the three of them lived,

he understood.

Three of you live here?

She sleeps with you when he's out?

No, when he's here too.

He doesn't mind?

I think he does,
but she calms him down.

Calms him down how?

She goes to sleep with him,
then comes back.

He gets scared alone.

A man in my woman's bed...

You throw him out?

I leave.

Know what I was thinking?

He could go now.

So we could be alone.

Right?

If you're asking me to stop...

Asking you to stop?

Why "asking you to stop"?
Do you absolutely need this?

You need him?

I don't get it.

When they wanted to be alone,

each couple put a tie
on the door handle.

That day, Luc saw the tie
and turned back.

Luc thought of Djemila,

the girl he met before the exam,

and how he had hurt her.

He suddenly wanted to see her again,

thinking he could sleep with her.

Hello.

I was passing by
and wanted to see Djemila if possible.

Do you work with her?

Yes, I used to.

A colleague to see you.

Coming.

Come in.

Hi.

You're expecting?

You're married?

Okay.

I shouldn't be here.

When he got back,

Betsy told Luc
his father had died in hospital.

It's about your dad.

What about Dad?

It's over, Luc.

He didn't wake after his operation.

I don't get it.

He said it wasn't serious.

He lied to you.

It's not possible.

It's not possible.

Who told you?

You left your phone
and the hospital called.

I'm sorry.

Piss off, you. Piss off!

Take your stuff and piss off!

I don't want him around anymore!

Take it all and piss off!

This is yours, right?
Piss off!

Piss off!

Enough!

Your phone.

In the bathroom,

Luc could see the sky
through the window.

He realized
that as he didn't believe in God,

his dad wasn't in heaven,

just that he wouldn't be around anymore.

Subtitles by Ian Burley

Subtitling TITRAFILM