The Silence of the Sea (2004) - full transcript

In a small town in the West of France, during the German Occupation, a room is requisitioned by a Wehrmacht captain, Werner von Ebrennac. The house where he now stays is inhabited by young Jeanne, who makes a living by giving piano lessons, and by her grandfather. Quite upset, the two "hosts" decide to resist the occupier by never speaking a word to him. Now Werner is a lover of France and its culture, and he tries to persuade them that a rapprochement between Germany and France would be beneficial for the two nations. Quite unexpectedly Jeanne, little by little, falls in love with Werner. At the same time, the francophile officer loses his illusions, realizing at last that what Nazi Germany actually wants is to thrall France and to stifle its culture...

November 1941

Francois, concentrate.
Your hands, look at your hands.

No, Relax your arms.
Look, like this.



We still have a long way to go.

Tell me, do you enjoy playing the piano?
- Yes.

You do? Wouldn't you rather play football with your friends out there?
- If I could choose.

If I had the choice...

Children! Snack is ready!
- All right. Go then.

Hey! He nicked my chocolate bar!

I didn't steal it! He gave it to me!
- Why would I do that! You took it! Liar!

Have you heard from your husband?
- I did... Healthwise he seems to be fine.

That's the main thing.
- Do you know when he'll be back?

The Marshal is doing his utmost to organize
the return of our war prisoners.

So, I must have faith. And wait.

Take heart. And see you next week.
- Goodbye.

Wait! Hey!...

Stop that!

Written by

Based on Vercor's novel "Le Silence de la Mer"
and "Ce jour-la"




Art direction

Director of photography

Edited by

Good bye, miss.
- Thank you, Albert, good bye.

Music by

Albert Larosiere 1885-1918
Odette Larosiere 1891-1932

Directed by

What did they want?
- Oh, I don't know.

They had a look at the house
and then left.

What does it mean, do you think?
- What a nice bouquet!

It's for mum,
she would've been fifty today.

You should move in that room,
you know.

The victorious march of the Third Reich's
armies against the bolshevism continue.

After the Soviet troups have been wiped out
around Smolensk the outcome...

What's that?
- Rhubarb jam.

I made it with must.

We can't find sugar anymore. We
have to make do with what we've got.

You're right. One thing yet that
the Germans won't have, eh?

It's them again.

Let me deal with it.
Let me...

Mr. Larosiere?


Your house has been requisitioned
to accommodate a German officer.

I am his orderly and I am here
to choose a room for him.

There must be some mistake.
We have no rooms left.

The house is big.
- Yes, but... there are many of us...

I had read in our report that
your son died at Verdun in 1918,

and your daughter-in-law
died in 1932.

So, you are living alone here,
with your granddaughter.

Here is the order, sir.

Please, show me to the rooms.

Jeanne, show him the rooms.

Go, then!

This is mine.

And this one?

It's impossible.
It is my parents' bedroom.

So, it is available.

This one will suit perfectly.
Excuse me.

He choose their room.

You must prepare some sheets and
a towel for Captain von Ebrenach.

As for me, I will sleep in the
little outbuilding by the house.

This is very nice.
The Captain loves flowers.

Thank you, my dear.

You are cold?
- I can't seem to warm up.

They say winter will be harsh.

I wonder when he'll show up.

It will show up early this year.
- I'm talking about the German.

We'll know soon enough.

Why don't you play something for me?
It would please me and would... would warm you up.



Allow me to introduce myself

Werner von Ebernach.
Captain von Ebernach.

I'm sorry...

My presence here is necessary, of course.

I would have avoided it,
had it been possible.

I could go to my room,
but I don't know the way.

I bid you good night.

This room is perfect.
Thank you very much, Miss.

Thank God, he...
he seems quite decent.

Don't forget to buy me
some tooth paste, will you.

Don't throw away the tube,
I must bring back all the packages.

In order to buy eggs. You got to
bring back the empty eggshells, too... Eh

Good morning.

I have spent a very peaceful night.

I wish yours were as good.

Your mayor told me that I
would be staying in a Chateau...

I imagined a large building...

But I'm not at all disappointed.
Your house is splendid.

It feels like it has soul.

As for my meals, you do not need to worry.
I will have them at the Commandant.

See you this evening.

Good morning Jeanne!
- Hello... Hi!

You've got a lodger?
- If you can call it that.

How long will he stay?
- Jeanne!

How are you, kid?
Doing your homework?

Yes! Look!

Pierre, come and help me.
- "A star bearing the effigy of Marshal Petain?"

I am as shocked as you are,
but what can I do?

At his school anything goes
to sing Petain's praises,

spelling books, dictations... The other day, they
were even asked to write the man a letter.

You could try to explain to him...
- Explain what? He's only six.

Let him enjoy it while it lasts.
He'll grow up soon enough.


Goodbye Daddy!
See you this evening.

It's his latest fad.

Did you see how fast I run?
- Yes. You're a champion.

Well-done! Solange.
Beautiful job.

We can move on to something else now.

Besides, I have a surprise for you.

Look, I found the piece you wanted.
- Great!

See you on Thursday.

- Hi!

What brings you here?
- I need some milk... if there's any left.

Always, for my cousins.

Well... especially for my lady cousin.

How are things at home?
- Fine.

I've heard you've put a German guy?

We're not 'putting him up'.
He just moved in one of the rooms.

And how is he?
- Nothing much to say.

Well, he's a Kraut, isn't he?

You're lucky he hasn't thrown you out!

Thank you.
- Hey!

You'd be better off living here.
I wouldn't mind at all.

I must go. My grandfather is
waiting for me. See you.

Hey! Tomorrow we're going for a walk
on the beach with some friends.

Would you like to come along?

Oh... tomorrow, I can't.
Some other time.

See you.
- See you.

What is it you're sewing?
- I'm altering one of mum's dresses.

What do you think?

Something's wrong with it?

A bit too long...?

I haven't hemmed it yet.

Good evening.

I hope that you had a nice day.

They say... the weather is about to change...

with the spring tide.

I get back generally around ten.

If you prefer, I will get in
through the rear entrance.

Then you may lock the front door.

I bid you good night.

Mind you, it would simplify matters...

- If we locked the front door,

we would be spared the sight of him.

We've never locked that door.
There's no reason why we should start now!

All right!
As you wish, my girl.

You are hurting?

Oh, one never fully recovers
from a war injury.


What can you do?
Pain is just another enemy.

Yes, one has to live with it.

Good night, little one.

Sleep tight.

Just look at them Krauts!

They're going to pig themselves on...
...I would kick this lot out!

In the meantime don't try
to jump the queue!

I'm not jumping anything. They are the
ones taking the bread out of our mouth!

At least they are better educated
then some French types I know.

Oh, so madam is partial
to German courtesy?

Then why don't you go and eat with them?
What are you waiting for?

That's enough now, mister!
My husband died for France!

Your husband was very lucky.

The following forward, please.

You're sure you'd chained up your bicycle?
- Of course! To the railing, with the padlock!

Well, someone pinched it.
- I can't believe this!

My son has lost two in the same way.

Now he goes around on foot.

Come on. Next!
Hurry up, please, hurry up!

Does it feel better?
- Not really.

The blisters are particularly painful.

Anyway, I'll have to get used to it.

Good night, Franz.
Till morning.

Good evening.

The weather was very cold today.

I heard it was the same in Germany.

I always loved France.

I was a child during the other war
and I already loved this country.

Yet, I have lost my father, too.

Which famili, French or German,
has not lost a dear one in the Great War?

I have a deep respect
for people who love their country.

It has been a long time since you...
last played the piano.

What do you want me to play?
Bach, Mozart, Beethoven?

What are you talking about?
There aren't only German composers.

I won't play while he is here.

May I offer you to make use of my car?

For heaven's sake! What's the matter Solange?
Don't you like this piece?

I do!

Your mind is elsewhere, Your playing is lousy!
- I'll have to give up my lessons.

Give uo your lessons!
And why, may I ask?

My father has lost his job.
- Because of the new laws.

Against the jews.


Listen, I won't hear of it.

Let me work with her.
Money's not an issue.

See you next week.

He got beaten up good!

What happened?

Two young guys laid into him in a dead end.

They managed to clear off, but they
messed him up something terrible.

Well, it serves him right!
Filthy Krauts!

Where are you going?
- Back home.

Hop in. I'll drive you back.
- I wouldn't mind. My feet are so sore.

See you.

Say! Your cousin is real cute!
- Yeah, well, each where he belongs.

What does it mean?
- It means hands off! Jeanne is spoken for.

Marshal Petain that,
Marshal Petain this...

The bloody man is everywhere.

I wonder why I keep buying this newspaper.

Good evening.

Please, forgive me, but...
my room is very cold.

If you do not mind, I... would warm
myself up for a few minutes by your fire.

It is nice.

At this very moment I could almost
believe that I am at home.

That of this fire, no doubt.

Balzac, Baudelaire, Corneille,
Descartes, Moliere...

and all the others.

French writers are so many,

one does not know where to start.

What greatness.
What a great people!

But when it comes to music,
then it is us...

Beethoven... Wagner...
Haendle, Mozart, Bach...


Nothing can compare to him.
Don't you think?

I do not think I told you, but...

I am a musician, too.

A composer, in fact.

Some join the army... vocation.

In my family, it is a sort of tradition.
We are not really given the choice.

I bid you good night.

His long monologues are getting tiresome.
- I don't pay attention to them.

You know, that I... I can't bear to
offend anyone, even if he is an enemy.

We are the offended.
Besides, we don't have a choice, either.

- Daddy!

Come on, son! Come on, my boy! Go on, go on...
- I am exhausted!

Hello, Jeanne.

Ow! It hurts. Ow!

It is nothing...
Do not worry.

Following the terrorist attacks of the 20th and
21 rst of October... that killed two German officers...

99 hostages have been shot.

Marshal Petain offered his apologies
and his condolences to

the occupation authorities.

99 French people... for two Germans.
Talk about a tab.

Do you know any
Resistance fighter?

Those who are don't brag about it.

By the way, I heard that they are teaching
vegetable cultivation in town.

Would you be interested?
- Me? What on earth for?

Well, you could start a kitchen garden.

Grow carrots, potatoes,
green beans...

And I could cook you nice little soups,
yummy mashed potatoes, yummy gratins...

Funny that, I was hesitating between
gardening and the Resistance,

but now I think I've made my choice.

There's a bit more than the usual, today.

Pierre! Be careful, eh?
Don't get into mischief.



What an awkward little lump that boy is!

Wait here!

I told you to be careful, didn't I?

It stings.
- It's normal. Sea water does that.

By the way, what did the German man
say to you last time, when you fell over?

That it wasn't serious.

That's all?
- No, he also told me that his name is Vrener.


All right. Let's go.

I am cold.

You'll soon have a big glass of hot milk.
It will warm you up.

But I can't get in right now.
- Of course you can. Look, we're almost there.

We can't, I'm telling you!
Mommy's put the geranium outside.

The geranium?
And so what?

When mummy puts the geranium out it means
she's talking to people and it's not for little children!

You'll warn the others, won't you?
- Yes.

Good day.
- See you.

Hey! Did you have a good catch?
- Yes, for a change.

- Oh, that's a lot!

I've got some butter left.
Do you want some?

What? Er, no, thanks.
I'll do them without. Bye.

Won't you stay a minute?
- No, I must go.

It stings.

Of, yes, he fell down on the beach.
You ought to clean his knee.

Come one, little guy. Let's go
tend your wounds.

It hurts?

I'm going to bed.

- It's late.

Let,s play a game of chess, shell we?
- No.

Good evening.

The wind is blowing hard tonight...

and the sea is rough...

It is warm in here.

How lucky you are to be viling by the sea.

What I lile most...
about the sea...

It is its silence.

I do not mean, hum... "Brandung"...
the undertow?

I am talking about...

...what is hidden...

what one can perceive underneath...

The sea is silent...

But one must learn to listen to it.

I am very happy...

to have found here

a dignified old man...

and a silent...

young lady.

I bid you good night.

What are you staring at me like that?

Don't forget to set the log
aside before going up

so as not to let it burn needlessly.

What a bloody racket!
Look at that stream!

I swear, they're driving me nuts!
What a bunch of... Krauts.

Excuse me, is it black or
white pudding, you're selling?

White pudding, but there's won't
be enough for all of you.

All right, next!

Pudding for the Miss.
Very good.



Jeanne, wait!

Take this.
- You shouldn't...

Merry Christmas.
- Thank you very much.

You'll eat them with your grandfather.
This new hairstyle suits you very well.

Do you know? My husband
will be returning soon.

That's fantastic!
- Oh, I am so happy!

Me too, for you.
Merry Christmas!

You too.


It's no use insisting.
They are gone.

On holyday, you mean...?

They left during the night with suitcases
and their car crammed with bundles.

They didn't let you know?
- No, they took the piano, as well?

Well, no. They left the piano behind.
Oh, and the bicycle, too, I think.

Just wait a second...

Here. Take it. It might as well be of use to somebody.
- No.

If not you, then someone else will take it.

You'll give it back when they return.

Since they are your friends.

I don't know what the Germans
have against the jews...

but one must admit
that they are a strange lot.

They don't blend in.
They keep to themselves...

as if they had something to hide.
Well, that's what I'd say...

It is a wonderful little wine...
- That's fortunate,

I've got a few cases left in the cellar.
- It is... how can I say...

It's really good.

Hey! Here she is!
- Hello.

God, you're soaked thtough. Come and
have a dram of brandy to warm you up.

No, thank you. I'm going up to change.

Just look at what Pascal brought
us for Christmas. Come.

The German wanted to grab everything,
but I managed to save this one.

I thought it would please you.
- You bet we are pleased, aren't we?

Yes, it's kind of you.
I'm going up to dry myself off.

Thanks. Goodbye.

Say, you wouldn't have some of that
pate left, you know, the one with cep?

You see the one I mean?
Hey, I'm talking to you!

I don't know...

Next time you come over bring a tin.

I mean... a tin or two. Oh, and...

...if you had a dry sausage,
while we're at it!

Er, right...

Won't you have a quick one
before you leave?

Eh...? Er, no... no thank you.

She's really going to enjoy it, you know.
She hasn't eaten chiken for weeks, so...

She's good at hiding her delight.

Young people, you know...
aren't the type to show their feelings.

Well then... Happy Christmas!
- Thank you.

Happy Christmas!
And thank you, eh? Thank you again.

She'll enjoy it so much...
Have a safe journey now!

What's the matter?
It doesn't fit?

No... I just thought for a second that your
mother was standing here, before me.

Can you give me a hand?

I wonder where they are.
- Who?

Solange, Francois' father...

One comes, one leaves...

Life is strange.

Wait for me, I'll be right back.

You're not going to spend
the evening on your own!

Make a little effort.
You might not have a lot of fun,

but it will do you good to go out.

You will meet people you know, people your age,

friends of yours. Pascal might be there.

All the more reason for me not to go.

Good evening.

I came to change before
returning to the Kommandantur.

They are giving a big party.

That's Fernand.
- Leave it, leave it. I'll clear away.

So, you won't come to midnight mass?

I told you, no.
- Whyever not?


Go, he is waiting for you.

Well then... Merry Christmas!
- Merry Christmas!

What a beautiful night.

Three months already as I have been here.

The day I arrived,

you were playing Bach's Prelude.

It is the most beautiful, the purest...

It is one I like most.

I wish you a happy Christmas...

There's only a little today.
- Better than nothing.

Thank you, goodbye.

- Hi.

Good catch?
- Yes.

It looks like spring is coming.

And about time too!

What do you want?
- I wanted to ask you something.

In fact... I wanted to invite you this
evening... There's a dance in the village.

It's nice of you to ask, but...
I don't feel like it.

Besides, I'm a lousy dancer.
- I'll teach you!

How about that?
- Stop it! What's the matter with you?

What? You've got someone else?

You've got someone, is that it?
- Stop that!

Let go of me!

No! Nooo!


All right! I got it!

What happened?
- Nothing.

Come, Jeanne, what happened?
- Nothing, I tell you!

Jeanne, dinner is ready.

I wanted to tell you something.


I bid you good night.

Here, Polo.

Open up!
- Take him out!

Hurry up!
- Come on!

Get him in the car.
- Hurry!

Get in!

Ok, go!

Come on, Pierre, try a bit harder.
Write your letters properly.

Am I disturbing you?
- No.

I am making Pierrot work.
Come in. Sit down.

- Look!

Oh, that's good. Apart from
this one which is all crooked.

I've got vegetable stock. Would you like some?
- With pleasure.

It's a jumper you start on the neck.

It allows you to lengthen
the sleeves and the bust.

Clever, isn't it?

Apparently, it is a German pattern.

Which goes to show that
these people aren't all bad.

I'm sure you'll like it.
I've added some bacon.

It is delicious.

It's amazing how a piece of meat
changes the taste of things.

You know, your friend...
the young man with the cap...

He was arrested by the Germans.

What did you say?

The young man who came to see you, the other day...

They arrested him this afternoon.


In a small house, on Long Reages street.

I've finished.
- Gather your schoolbag, Pierrot.


Come now!... Just this once.

Working at this wretched
old stove, won't help any.

I only want it to heat.

A stove is meant to heat.
I just want it to do the job.

Good morning.

Two German officers will be
joining me here for a few days.

They are old friends.
I am greatly looking forward to seeing them.

I thought I might put them in the outbuildings.

They will not be very warm, but you would
not have to look after them, at least.

I wish you a good day.

Right. I'm going for a walk.

Excuse me, but... I am tired.

Spare France's dignity!
Heavens, Werner! What do you mean?

Why do you think we've gone to war?

France is vanquished, my friend!
And we are the victors!

So let us behave as such, with pride and honour!

Precisely! Shouldn't honour...
...forbid the victor to humiliate the defeated?


You've suddenly all gone mad!... Mad!

Absolutely not, my dear boy.
We're neither musicians nor poets.

We are German officers...
Men of conscience and commitment...

Loyal to the Reich and to our Fuhrer.


Good evening.

I have something serious to tell you.

Come on... play!

Everything I have said
since my arrival...

Everything the walls...

of this house have heard... must forget.

All hope is lost...

There is no longer any hope.

What should I do?

I think you are right.

The only worthy answer... to remain in faithful... one's duty and ones commitments.

You forgot your billy.
Have a nice day!

Faster daddy, faster!

Come on, faster!

Hello, Jeanne.
- Hello, Louis.

Daddy! Go faster!

- Wait!

Did you speak to anyone about
what you told me the other day?

No, why would I?

Pierre, you'll catch a cold.
Get back inside.

Why? What's the matter?
- It's about Pierre...

What about him?

Would you agree to look after him
if something happend to Louis and me?

Why do you say that?
What could happen to you?

Pierre, go back home!
Move it!

You're preparing something, right?
- I need an answer.

Me too.

I can't tell you anything.
Can I depend on you?


Thank you.

Can I have one?

- Thanks.

It is very cold now.

Today I got a letter.

From whom?

Have you heard that?
- I didn't hear anything, it's very cold.

And in Germany, autumn is cold.
- You are right.

The red wine of last night
what was its name?

- I liked it.

It leaves the palate like the velvet.

We should have something like that.
- We already have it.

Yes, you're right.

Look, here too.
If we reinforce these areas...

will be impossible to be attacked.

He's taking his time.

Let's get in the car, he'll come soon.
- As you like.

Ordinance, the horn.

To your orders.

Start the engine,
that way he'll come.

Get help!

Get help!

A blanket!


Where is the water?

Get out of the way!

What are you doing?
I said get out of the way!

Had we been questioned by these ones...

We've had a narrow escape.
- Whom do you mean?

The SS... Had they questioned us...
- We had nothing to say.



Don't stop here, Fernand.
Drive on, drive on!

Mummy! Daddy!

Daddy! Mommy!

Wait for me!

Go home, Pierre! Go!

Pierrot, go back home!

- Go back home!


Mommy! Daddy!

Go away, Pierre! Go away!


How is he?
- He went to sleep.

But where are you going?

You know full well.

Don't do that, please...
We've Been lucky this once.

If they take you again,
they won't let you go.

I must go.

What do you hope to achieve?
You think you'll have them released?

It is the only chance they have left.

Let me pass!
- No Mrs. stop.

I know nothing.

We don't know anything.


Come on, go away!

You can come in, Mr.

I'm leaving.

I requested my transfer
to the Russian front.

The propaganda only talks
about the victories of our army,

but there is 40 0 below zero...

and the soldiers can't stand it.

I'm leaving tonight.

I wish you a good night.



Come on, finish your milk, or we'll be late.

Hurry, come here.

I will dress you up.
I put the chocolate in the pocket. Drink all your milk.

You can't continue so thin, right?
- Yes.

Come on, goodbye.

When do you come back?
- After my classes.

Well, come on, let's go.

After school... you will help me
to digging up the carrots.