Total Eclipse (1995) - full transcript

In 1871, Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), an established poet, invites boy genius Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) to live with Paul and his young pregnant wife, Mathiltde, in her father's home in Paris. Rimbaud's uncouth behavior disrupts the household as well as the insular society of French poets, but Verlaine finds the youth invigorating. Stewed in absinthe and resentment, Verlaine abuses Mathiltde; he and Rimbaud become lovers and abandon her. There are reconciliations and partings with Mathiltde and partings and reconciliations with Rimbaud, until an 1873 incident with a pistol sends one of them to prison. Codas dramatize the poets' final meeting and last illnesses.

Sometimes he speaks
in a kind of tender dialect...

of the death
which causes repentance...

of the unhappy men
who certainly exist...

of painful tasks
and heartrending departures.

In the hovels
where we got drunk...

he wept looking at those
who surrounded us...

a cattle of poverty.

He lifted up drunks
in the black streets.

He had the pity a bad mother
has for small children.

He moved with the grace
of a little girl at catechism.

He pretended to know
about everything...

business, art, medicine.

I followed him.

I had to.

Someone for you, sir.
Over there.

Do I know her?

She gave me her card.


Please sit down.

Has Andre
been looking after you?

Can I get you
something to drink?

No, thank you.


It's really
a business matter...

I want to discuss
with you, Mr. Verlaine.

This was published
a few months ago...

an unauthorized selection
of my brother's poems.

My mother and I
are anxious to prevent...

anything like this
from happening again.

We thought you might
be able to help us.

I? How?

I understand you have
a large number...

of my brother's manuscripts.

I have some, yes.

My mother and I
would be very grateful...

if you would return them.

I've always tried to use
the utmost discretion...

in everything
concerning your brother.

I think I can say I've always
defended his interests.

Sometimes I wonder why,
since in many ways...

they're diametrically
opposed to my own.

I don't see how.

It took many years for his work
to be understood...

but once his name
began to be known...

it soon became clear
that our ways were numbered.

The music of old-fashioned verse
was no longer enough.

He swept us away.

Not that I mind, you understand.

I know I was once a good writer.

I didn't know his name
was so well-known.

The young understand him now.

He's the voice of the future.

What matters to me most...

is that we did
our best work together.

Both of us.


I'm looking for Paul Verlaine.

Are you Monsieur Rimbaud?


Monsieur Verlaine
is not with you, then?


He went to the station
to meet you.

He doesn't know what
I look like, does he?

I am
Mrs. Maute de Fleurville...

Monsieur Verlaine's

and this is my daughter...
Mrs. Verlaine.

How did you get
from the station?


Perhaps you'd like a wash.


You're even younger
than we imagined.

How old are you?

Darling, it's not polite
to ask people their ages.

I need a piss.

How old are you,
if you don't mind?

He does.


You did say in your letter
you were twenty-one.

I noticed you at the station...

but I didn't think
it could be you.


Those poems you sent me...

were remarkable
for someone of twenty-one.

For someone of sixteen,
they're unprecedented.

That's why I told you
I was twenty-one.

I didn't want you
to feel patronizing...

before you'd read them.

Of course. I hope your mother
isn't too angry with me.

Once she'd found out
you'd sent the fare...

she seemed quite happy.

You come from the Ardennes,
don't you, Monsieur Rimbaud?


Pleasant town,
Charleville, isn't it?

Last place on God's earth.

What does your father do?

Drinks mostly, I believe.

We haven't seen him
for ten years.

I'm sorry.

No need.
He's very well out of it.

Perhaps you'd like to read
something to us after dinner.

No. I don't think so.

- Why not?
- Don't want to.

I never read out my poetry.

All the other poets do.

I'm not interested
in what they do.

We have soirees.

And you think poets
can learn from one another?

Only if they're bad poets.

You know about this?

I know what it is.

It's the poet's third eye.

Melts glasses.

What do you think of my wife?

I don't know.

What do you think of her?

She's still only a child,
of course.

So am I.

Absinthe, two.

You should do something
about getting it published.


Because that's what writers do.

I couldn't care less
about being published.

The only thing that matters
is the writing itself.

Everything else is literature.

Your last book
wasn't good enough.

You don't think so?

Premarital garbage.

No. Love poems.

A lot of people
found them very beautiful.

But they're all lies.

They're not lies. I love her.

- Love?
- Yes.

- No such thing.
- What do you mean?

Whatever binds families
and married couples together...

that's not love.

That's stupidity
or selfishness or fear.

Love doesn't exist.

You're wrong.

Self-interest exists.

Attachment based on
personal gain exists.

Complacency exists.

But not love.

Love has to be reinvented.

Why did he want so much
to escape from reality?

There never was a man
with such an aim.

Did he perhaps know secrets
to change life?

"Sometimes I've seen...

"what people
think they've seen."

He's not how I imagined him.

"I've wept too many tears...

"heartbreaking dawns."

I prefer your poems.

I don't really understand
that kind of thing.


No. This is something new.

"I've wept too many tears...

"heartbreaking dawns."

What is it?

He's kicking.

You see?


Don't you think
it would be more sensible...

to get one of
your friends to put him up?

People don't understand him.

I'm the only one
who understands him.

Well, Daddy certainly
won't understand him.

We had a revolution this year
which I supported.

I could have been shot.

If I hadn't been
thrown out of my job...

you think I would have accepted
your father's damn charity?

For God's sake, all I'm doing
is helping a friend!

Why must we go through all this?
I'm your husband!

I'm sorry, Paul.

Are you trying to annoy me?


Well, don't.

Everyone's in bed, I'm afraid...

unless you've come
to see the old boy.

The old boy?

Maute de Fleurville.
A friend of his?


You wouldn't like to buy
a crucifix, would you?

I can let you have this one
on extremely reasonable terms.

It's made with real pearls,
I think.

Who the hell are you?

I might ask you
the same question...

except I'd be more polite.

I am Maute de Fleurville.

Then this is your dog
I just broke.



Dogs are all liberals.

Since when
have you had the right...

to invite people into this house
without my permission?

If I can't put up a guest
in my own home...

I might as well
live somewhere else.

If you weren't so idle,
you could afford to.

- You know very well...
- Any excuse.

I don't notice you working
your fingers to the bone.

When you next see
that hooligan...

kindly ask him to return
the objects he's pilfered.

- What are you talking about?
- He'll know.

Ask him yourself.

I'm happy to say,
he's left the house.


Thank God.

I thought I would
never find you.

I don't know what that bastard
thought he was doing.

It's his house.

Yes. Come on.

We'll find you somewhere.

It's not much, I'm afraid.

Just for a few days.

It's fine.

So do you love her?

Of course. She's ideal.

Eighteen, beautiful,
plenty of money...

all the wifely virtues,
and she's giving me a baby.

- Do you have anything in common?
- No.

- Is she intelligent?
- No.

Does she understand you?


Then the only thing
she can give you is sex.



Did you find him?

I did.

And did he give you back
Daddy's crucifix?

If your father's capable
of throwing that boy out...

he's got no right having Christ
hanging all over his walls.

You people don't understand
what poverty is.

In Charleville,
if he wanted a book...

he had to steal it.

That proves
what kind of person he is.

I'm sorry.

You shouldn't have said that.

I'm sorry.

- What's going on?
- Nothing.

Are you all right, my dear?

Yes, I'm all right.

It was last summer
during the war...

one of the many times
I ran away from home.

I came down to the river
to fill my water bottle...

and there was a Prussian soldier
not much older than me...

asleep in the clearing.

I watched him for a long time
before I realized...

he wasn't asleep.

He was dead.

And somehow that
clarified things for me.

I understood
that what I needed...

to become the first poet
of this century...

was to experience
everything in my body.

It was no longer enough
for me to be one person.

I decided to be everyone.

I decided to be a genius.

I decided
to originate the future.

Thank you.

The principle
is very like photography...

only instead of
photographing a man's face...

you photograph his voice.

Then twenty years later...

just as you'd open
a photograph album...

you put the relevant cylinder
into the paleophone...

and you listen to
a poet reading his poems...

or singing his songs.

And you think
you could invent...

a machine like that
which worked?

For Christ's sake,
let's get the fuck out of here.

- We can't.
- Why not?

- He's about to read.
- Which one?

Aicard. Over there.

I don't think
I'll like him very much.

Verlaine showed me
some of your poems.


Remarkable. Very promising.

Only, it seems all
that ingenuity is marred by...

Well, not exactly
a juvenile urge to shock...

but something of the sort.

- And were you shocked?
- No, I wasn't.

Then why would you suppose
I intended you to be?

That's not really the point.

Seems fair enough to me.

I could object
to your technical approach.

I could object to your tie.

He doesn't like
discussing his poetry.

I see.

A surprise for our friend.

Thank you.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Sulfuric acid.

I would ask you
to bear this in mind...

although, as with all
worthwhile work for children...

it's hoped what is said
is of relevance to adults.

The poem is called
"Green Absinthe."

Green absinthe is the potion
of the damned...

a deadly poison
silting up the veins...

while wife and child
sit weeping in their slum...

I don't believe it.

...pours absinthe
into his brains.


O drunkard,
most contemptible of men...

- Shit!
- Be quiet.

It's authentic shit!


...degraded, fallen,
sinful, and obtuse...

I like it! beat
your wife and child...

For trying to deprive you
of the juice!

- Get out!
- Me?

Yes, you offensive
little bastard. Get out.

I think I may be permitted
to raise some objection...

against the butchering
of French poetry.

No, you may not.
Apologize and get out!

Don't come near.

Be careful!

You think you can frighten me
with that thing.

Careful! Careful, I say!

Get out!

Come on.

Now you, you fucking...

Come here!

Come here!

In the days of Francois I...

wise and benevolent giants
roamed the countryside...

and one of
their primary functions...

was to rid the world
of pedants...

fools... and writers
of no talent...

by pissing on them
from a great height.

How to make your way
in the literary world.

The depressing thing
about this city...

is that the artists
are even more bourgeois...

than the fucking bourgeoisie.

We should make a bargain.

You help me, and I'll help you.

If we go away together...

I'm sure you'll be able
to do good work again.

And when we've taken as much
as we can from each other...

we simply split up and move on.

And how would we live?

You have some money,
don't you?

I understand.

I help you by supporting you...

and you help me by renewing
my rusty old inspiration.

Is that it?

Not altogether.

Where have you been?

I thought I'd probably
just get in the way.

Don't shout.

You'll wake the baby.

Is it a boy?


Funny-looking little bugger.


All right.

All right.

Thank you.

Thank you.


Why not?

The baby was born.

- Isabelle!
- I didn't know you were coming.

Where is the mouth of darkness?

Mother? She's in
the fields with Vitalie.

- Do you want to see her?
- No.


Are you back for good?

For good I don't know.

For better or worse.

There's work to be done
in the fields.

There's work to be done here.

I thought you were
getting on well in Paris.

Verlaine's wife
started to make trouble.

What kind of trouble?

Threatening a divorce.

She thought we were spending
too much time together.

Spoiled rich girl, I suppose.

That's right.

This work you're doing...

is it the kind of thing
that will lead to anything?

I don't know.

it's the kind of work I do.

I don't suppose Paris
ever gets as exciting as this.

You look like a fucking saint.

Except you haven't
got your halo.

I'll give you your halo.

He's back, isn't he?

I can't leave
Mathilde at the moment.

She's not very well.

I'm not surprised if you keep
setting fire to her.

I haven't set fire
to her since Thursday.

No, it's not very funny.

It's pathetic.

Your acts of violence
are always curiously disgusting.

What do you mean?

They're not clean.

You're always in
some sort of a drunken stupor.

Then you start
apologizing and groveling.

I don't like hurting people.

Then don't.

But if you do, do it coolly.

Don't insult your victims
by feeling sorry afterwards.

I love her, you see.

You can't possibly.

I love her body.

There are other bodies.

I love Mathilde's body.

But not her soul?

I think it's less important
to love the soul.

After all,
the soul may be immortal.

We have plenty
of time for the soul...

but flesh rots.

It's my love of flesh
which keeps me faithful.


What do you mean?

I'm faithful to all my lovers...

because once I love them...

I will always love them...

and when I'm alone
in the evening...

or in the early morning...

I close my eyes...

and I celebrate them all.

That's not faithfulness.
That's nostalgia.

If you don't want
to leave Mathilde...

it's not
because you're faithful.

It's because you're weak.

If strength involves brutality,
I prefer to be weak.

With you, weakness involves
brutality as well.

Don't expect me
to be faithful to you.

Why are you so harsh with me?

Because you need it.

Isn't it enough
for you to know...

that I love you more
than I've ever loved anyone...

and that I will always love you?

Shut up, you sniveling drunk.

- Tell me that you love me.
- For God's sake!


It's important.

Just say it.

You know I'm very fond of you.

- Do you love me?
- What?

- Do you love me?
- Yes.

Then put your hands
on the table.


Put your hand on the table.

Palm upwards.

The only unbearable thing
is that nothing is unbearable.



We have to leave.

I don't know.

Yes. It's time.

The happiest days
of my life was last year...

when I ran away from home.

Didn't know where I was going.
I just carried on.

I've never seen
such long and colored days...

and I could never
get far enough.

I've never seen the sea.

I wanted to walk to Africa...

and cross the desert.

I wanted the sun.

I wanted the sun.

I want the sun.

Do you understand me?
I want the sun!

Where do you want to go?

I don't know.

I don't care. Just away.

I can't leave Mathilde
right now.

She's not very well.

Then don't.


Don't leave her.


To life.

Come on!

Do you remember happier times?

Why did you leave us?

I had a tip-off I was going
to arrested for my work...

in the propaganda press
during the Commune.

But that was over a year ago.

the police may be slow...

but they're methodical.

I couldn't bear to go to jail.

I think it's best to stay out
of the country for a few months.

With Rimbaud?


I suppose he's wanted
by the police as well.


Why do you prefer him to me?

I don't.

Don't have to get dressed
right away, do you?

I told Mummy
I'd meet her for breakfast.

- What's she doing here?
- She came with me.

That's another thing.

I certainly can't stand living
with your parents anymore.

It's not safe anywhere else.

What do you mean?

You know what I mean.


I had this idea.

I thought of this idea.

I thought we might emigrate.

Emigrate? Where to?

New Caledonia.

A lot of your friends
from the Commune are there.

You'd be able to write.

It would be like it was when
we were first married and...



No. Go on.

I was only going to say
that you could stop...

If you wanted...

It would be easier for you
if you wanted to stop drinking.

You're frightened of me,
aren't you?

Don't think
that I like getting drunk.

I mean,
I do like getting drunk.

I don't like being drunk.


when I hit you...

I feel so terrible
all I can think of...

is to get drunk again
and forget about it.

Can you see us
living in a grass hut?

Why not?

Let's go, for Christ's sake.

Let's go before it's too late.

We can go whenever you like.

Not now!

Why not?

Help me with this.


Help me with this.


Why are you doing this to us?

Don't worry.

You can have him
back quite soon...

and only slightly damaged.

He's coming back now.

What are you doing here?

What's this?

"My poor Mathilde...

"Don't be upset. Don't cry.

"This is a bad dream.

"One day, I'll wake up.
Love, Paul."

Nice, was it?
Scene of conjugal bliss?

I'm going back
to Paris with her.


- Wait! Let me explain.
- Why should I?

It's not what you think.
It's something else.

She suggested we emigrate
to New Caledonia.

It would be a change.
A quiet life.

I could stop drinking.
It's a good idea.


Don't you care about
my happiness?

No, and neither should you.

You don't understand
how much I love her.

This morning,
she was lying there naked.

She looked so beautiful,
so young and so...

What's so funny?

Was she really
lying there naked?


My estimation for her
goes up a long way.


For realizing what was needed
and providing it.

What does it matter?

You love her, right?
Go back to her.

All change!

Border patrol!

Please have your passports
ready for inspection.

Border patrol!

Please have your passports
ready for inspection.

Thank you.

I'm just going
to find a newspaper.

Don't be long.

Look there.

See white?


It's England.

"I became a fabulous opera.

"I saw that all creatures
are condemned to happiness."

What's this?
Are you going back to rhyme?

"I have researched
the magic shapes...

"of the happiness
no one escapes."

That's wonderful.

I've often wondered
why you chose to write to me.

You're so far up ahead...

I can never understand
the signs you're making.

You make me feel
I'm from another century.

"I've researched
magic shapes...

of the happiness
no one escapes."

It's wonderful.

I chose you
for a very good reason.

You see...

I've always known what to say...

but you... you know how to say.

I thought
I could learn from you...

and I have.

What's your greatest fear?

I wouldn't like
to mislay my balls.

What's your greatest fear?

That other people
will see me as I see them.

Getting quite short
of money, you know.

So you keep saying.

Perhaps it's time we took a job.

I have no intention
of taking a job.

My work is going far too well.

I can't afford to waste time
earning money.

I... I had a letter
this morning...

from Mathilde's lawyer.


She's applied for
legal separation on grounds...

that you and I are indulging
in immoral relations.


- Like a hat, sir?
- Possibly.

There you are. Take a look.

He wants to know
if we're prepared...

to submit
to a medical examination.


How can they make such
outrageous accusations?

I'm going to write and say
as far as I'm concerned...

all of them
can look up our asses.

What are you, insane?

They can give her a divorce
on desertion alone.

If it's desertion and sodomy,
they can throw us both in jail.

I'm not going to jail.

I don't know.
Would it be so bad?


I can hear the wind
rustling in the palm trees.

What's the matter?

It's so difficult.

Who would have imagined
it would be so difficult?

I wrote to the lawyer today.

I explained it's her father
who's in the wrong.

How many times have I asked
for my things from that house...

and he takes no notice

You're in the wrong.

All right.

All right. I'm in the wrong.

I'm in the wrong, if you say so.

That's established, isn't it?


I don't know.

What... What is it?
You seem different.


It's the writing.

The writing has changed me.




I suppose you think
I've been just lying here...

all these weeks
in a state of paralyzed sloth.

Well, not necessarily.

Well, I have.

But bubbling
beneath the surface...

and rising slowly through
the layers of indifference...

has come a new system...

harden up, reject romanticism...

abandon rhetoric...

Get it right.

And finally
I've seen where my attempt...

to conquer the world has led me.

Where has it led you?


My search for universal
experience has led me here...

to live an idle,
pointless life of poverty...

as the minion
of a bald, ugly...

aging, drunken lyric poet...

who clings to me because
his wife won't take him back.

How can you bring yourself
to say a thing like that?

It's easy. It's the truth.

You're here living like this
because you have to...

drink and sex and a kind
of complacent melancholy...

and enough money to soak
yourself oblivious every night.

But me... l'm here
because I choose to be.



And why exactly?

Why did you choose
to come to London with me?

No doubt you regarded it as
another stage in your odyssey...

only by plunging ever deeper,
if I may mix my myths...

will you gain the right to graze
on the slopes of Parnassus.

Of course there are
less subtle reasons...

for putting up with me.

Such as?

Such as the fact
that I support you.

Your mind is almost
as ugly as your body.

Where are you going?

- Are they fresh?
- Yes.

This one.

God, you look such a cunt.

Where are you going?

Where are you going?


Paul, wait!


Don't go!

Come back!

Don't leave me!

Come back!

I'm sorry!

I'm sorry!

How am I supposed to live?

Come back.

Please come back.
You're my only friend.

I promise you
I'll behave myself.

It was only a stupid joke.


I can't tell you how sorry I am.

When I called you,
why didn't you get off the boat?

We lived together for
two years to finish like this?

Think back to what you were
before you met me.

Listen to your heart.

Yours for always.

I'll go back to Paris tomorrow.


it won't happen again.

I'll never walk out
on you again, I promise.

No, you won't.

I'm not going
to give you the chance.

What was I supposed to do
in London with no money?

I'm sorry. I was very hot.

For God's sakes, why?

I've said far worse things
to you than that.

You really did look like a cunt.

Where have you been?


I went to
the Spanish embassy again...

to see if they'd change
their minds, but they wouldn't.

It's fucking ridiculous.

"I'm willing to fight
and die for your cause.

"You can't afford to turn
away volunteers."

They said they weren't
taking on any foreigners.

Then I said, "You deserve
to lose the fucking war...

"and I hope you do."

You were at
the Spanish embassy all morning?


You're drunk.

I have, yes, had a few drinks.

What are you doing?


Where are you going?

I'm going back home to Roche.

I'm going to finish my book
and have it published.

Oh, publish.

I thought you were
far too important for that.

Anyway, I've decided.
We're going back to London.

We're not going back to London.

It's by far the best idea.

Then why did you go
to the Spanish embassy?

I didn't.

Don't go. Think it over.

I've thought it over.

Do you know what day
it is tomorrow?


It's my wedding anniversary...

and I haven't seen her,
my wife...

since we made love here
in Brussels nearly a year ago.

She won't answer my letters.

I wrote her if she didn't come
to Brussels within 3 days...

I'd commit suicide,
and she didn't even reply.

But then you didn't
commit suicide.

I suppose
you think that's funny.

No, it's pitiful.

How many people did you tell
you were committing suicide?

I'm surprised you didn't
send out invitations.

How can you be so callous?

You abandon me in London...

then summon me to Brussels
and expect me to hang around...

while you decide whether
to leave your wife...

join the army,
or shoot yourself?

Then when you fail
to achieve any of these aims...

as you undoubtedly will...

you want me to go
back to London with you!

It's not gonna happen!
I'm leaving you!

You can't.

You can't!

Look, look.

Look, this summer...

Remember last summer
when we set out...

how wonderful it was?


Why don't we go south?

Late summer
on the Mediterranean...

we could dedicate
ourselves to warmth.

Or Africa.

You've always wanted
to go to Africa.

Just for a month,
then make up your mind.

Look at the sun.


Why not?

I can't.

It's no good.

It's too late.

It's not!

I promise you, it's not.

You know if you leave me,
you'll kill me.

I can't bear to be alone.

I don't exist
without someone else.

I don't care if you stay with me
out of pity, just stay!

- I can't.
- Why not?

You don't care.

You have no idea
what this means.

For God's sake, stop whining!

It's very hot.

Take off your coat.

I will.

I did some shopping
this morning.

I bought a gun.

What for?

For you, for me...
for everybody.

I hope you bought
plenty of ammunition.

I'm not going
to let you go, you know.

This is a rather
entertaining number.

We haven't seen this one before.

I'll kill you!

For God's sake,
pull yourself together.

I read your letter.

You begged me to come back.

You said you were crying
as you wrote it.

I could see
your tears on the paper.

That was before I thought
of pawning your clothes.

I didn't mean to.

Look what you've done.

I didn't mean to. I'm sorry.


Oh, my God. Kill me.

Shoot me.

Shoot me!

How can I, you stupid fuck?

You've just blown
a hole in my hand.

Oh, God. What have I done?

You missed.

Open up!

Open up in there!

What exactly
are you doing in Brussels?

I was hoping my wife
might come and join me here...

as she had done on one occasion
since our separation.

I fail to see how
the departure of a friend...

could have cast you
into such despair.

Did there perhaps exist
between you and Rimbaud...

other relations
besides those of friendship?


This is a suggestion
slanderously invented...

by my wife and her family.

Take off your trousers
and lie down on this, face down.

Both doctors have testified...

that on the basis
of their examination...

they are satisfied
you have recently indulged...

in both
active and passive sodomy.

Have they?

Do you deny you're
a practicing sodomist?

The word is sodomite.

Whatever the word may be,
the activity it describes...

is not one which is
encouraged in Brussels.

Paul Verlaine,
the court finds you guilty...

under Article 399
of the penal code...

of grievous bodily harm
and sentences you...

to a fine of two hundred francs
and two years imprisonment.

Now what's the matter?



What does it mean?

I don't understand
what it's supposed to mean.

It means exactly what it says.

Word for word.

No more, no less.

How are you?

Where's your rosary?

I thought you'd have a rosary.

Is it true in prison
they called you Jesus Christ?

It happened quite suddenly.

When the governor said Mathilde
had been granted her divorce...

I lay down
and looked at my life...

and saw there was nothing.

The only thing I could do
was submit myself to God...

ask him to forgive me...

and help me face
my situation and He did.

I promise you He did.

Now you want us to love
each other in Jesus?

I want you to follow my example.

I hope you didn't think
I might be angry with you.


You didn't know
I'd be put away so long.

I certainly forgave you for it.

- I didn't forgive you.
- What for?

For missing.

Tell me. Why did you come here?

I want you to find
some direction in your life.

I want God to help you
achieve your aims.

Aims? I have no aims.

- Your writing.
- I've stopped writing.

I don't understand.

Let me put it another way.

I no longer write.

Why not?

Because I have
nothing more to say.

If I ever had anything
to say in the first place.


I thought that what I did
would make a difference...

change the world.

I thought nothing
would ever be the same again.

But it's no good.

The world is too old,
and there's nothing new.

It's all been said.

Not in the way you can say it.
You have a gift.

It's no good throwing it away...

because your expectations
were unrealistic.

It's the expectations
you should change.

It's my gift.
I can do what I like with it.

But you can't give up.
You've hardly begun.

Don't worry.
I'll be very good at it.

No one will be able to touch me.

The master of silence.

But if we don't,
who's going to tell the truth?

Three years ago, you said
the truth was this and that.

Then along comes
the angel of the Lord...

and the truth is something
completely different.

But I've changed. Change...

I thought
that was what you wanted.

You've changed, have you?


Then here, in the wilderness...

I offer you
an archetypal choice...

a choice between my body...

and my soul.



Your body.

Let the ninety-eight wounds
of our Savior burst and bleed.


Listen... I sat in my cell...

and thought
how happy we could be.

It should be the easiest
thing in the world.

Why isn't it?

Because it never worked for us.

It will never work
for either of us.

I wanted us to go away together.


What am I going to do?

You'll have to find
somebody else.


No, no, I can't, please.

- Let go.
- Please.

Let go! Let go!

"I shall return
with limbs of steel...

"And dark skin and wrathful eye.

"I shall have money.

"I shall be cruel and idle.

"I'll be saved."


Something he wrote.

The point is, Mr. Verlaine,
to speak frankly...

a number of poems
he wrote in extreme youth...

were quite indecent...

and in some cases, even profane.

He wouldn't have wished
to be remembered for them.

My mother and I plan
to destroy those works...

he would have destroyed himself.

I see.

What you may not know...

is that Arthur was converted.


I reasoned with him...

and prayed for him
for weeks while he was ill...

and eventually
he asked to be confessed.

God kept him alive
long enough to repent...

so that he could be saved.

What was the matter with him?

He had a tumor on his knee.

That's very strange.


That's what I have...
a tumor on my knee.

He spent ten years
in Abyssinia.

He explored the whole country...

places no white man
had ever been...

and he ran
a trading post in Harar.

There was no doctor there...

but he wouldn't
leave his work.

He insisted on staying until
the pain became unbearable.

Then he designed
himself a litter...

and hired ten men
to carry him to the coast.

The journey
took more than two weeks.

In Africa...

did he write poetry?




First, as soon as he arrived...

he went into the hospital
in Marseilles...

and they cut off his leg.

What's the matter?

Don't you see the carriages
driving in the sky?

I have to help people, you see.

It's my duty.

I know you do.

I don't want money
unless it's drenched in blood.

Maybe the sea
will wash away the stains.


There's one thing, Isabelle,
you must promise me.

It's very important.
Will you promise?


Never let them amputate.

He would only
stay at home a month.

He kept saying he had to travel
back towards the sun...

that the sun would heal him.

Please, don't get up.

Let me see you to your hotel.

No, no. It was an honor...

to meet such
a distinguished poet.

A pleasure to meet you.

You have my card, don't you?

Will you send the manuscripts
to that address?

- Of course.
- Please don't forget.

We shall make a very careful
selection of what is to survive.


Absinthe... two.

Tell me if you love me.

You know I'm very fond of you.

Do you love me?

Put your hand on the table.


Put your hand on the table.

Palm upwards.

Since he died,
I see him every night...

my great and radiant sin.

We were always happy... always.

I remember.

I found it.



It's the sun mingled...

with the sea.