Welcome to the Sticks (2008) - full transcript

Although living a comfortable life in Salon-de-Provence, a charming town in the South of France, Julie has been feeling depressed for a while. To please her, Philippe Abrams, a post office administrator, her husband, tries to obtain a transfer to a seaside town, on the French Riviera, at any cost. The trouble is that he is caught red-handed while trying to scam an inspector. Philippe is immediately banished to the distant unheard of town of Bergues, in the Far North of France. Leaving his child and wife behind, the crucified man leaves for his frightening destination, a dreadfully cold place inhabited by hard-drinking, unemployed rednecks, speaking an incomprehensible dialect called Ch'ti. Philippe soon realizes that all these ideas were nothing but prejudices and that Bergues is not synonymous with hell...

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Raphael, stop running, you'll fall.
We're a long way from the car!

Pretty, isn't it?

It all seems so complicated.

You'll see.
This will change our lives.

If you say so.

We'll be happy in Cassis.

- We're not in Salon-de-Provence?
- Sure.

But we'll have the seashore!

- Don't, it's dangerous.
- I have an earplug.

Here I am. Hello?

Jean! Funny you should call.
We're just leaving Cassis.



Not good news

about the transfer …

I'll call you back.

What's going on?

- No need to quit your job.
- What?

My transfer was denied.

No need to get upset.

I'm not upset. Do I seem upset?

Then stop saying that. Shit!

Everything OK?

I understand.
Just see what you can do.

Thanks again, Jean.

Why do you thank him?
The strings he pulled didn't help.

Not his fault. The handicapped
come before string-pullers.



The Riviera is handicapped only?

Of course not.

I was so happy to move.

You were tired of the idea.

Because I knew we were moving.

Now that I know we're not,
I feel we missed out.

- This summer …
- No! The hell with vacation!

You said we'd move to the shore.
You worked so hard I never saw you.

I want to live there,
Philippe Abrams!

Yes, darling.

- Are you upset?
- Yes, so?

Don't be. It won't help.

Why are you always against me?

You're crazy to come here!

Anybody follow you?

Were you seen entering?

You didn't talk to anyone?

Come on,
we work for the post office.

Quiet, my neck is on the line!

No it's not. I didn't get the job.

I'm an executive,
11 years busting my ass in Salon!

If you shout, I'm done for.

I earned that transfer,
handicapped or not.

I'll reimburse you.

Find me a spot.
Julie's giving me hell.

In Sanary-On-The-Sea,
the director's retiring in a few weeks.

Perfect. I must have it.

Keep your damn voice down.

- There.
- There what?

Yes?

No, I'm not busy.

The boss wants you.

Oh. Why?

I don't know. You're busy?

Be right there.

Don't leave with me.

Say I'm handicapped on the request.

Are you insane?

Why not? A mistake on a form.
What's the risk?

Big! Big risk!

If they find out, you're in trouble.
But I'm dead.

One moment.

Thank you for coming, Doctor.

- Doctor?
- No, I'm not taking sick leave.

It's very minor.

Goodbye, Doctor.

Julie!

To Sanary!

Thanks. You still have me for 2 days.

Excuse me, sir.
An inspector wants to see you.

What inspector?

It's about your transfer.

- Where is he?
- In the lobby.

Stall him for five minutes!

Shit.

I should have tried it out!

I'm Philippe Abrams.

Name's Lebic. Just a few questions
about your transfer request.

Of course.

Those brats.

School kids slashed my tires.
I won't miss them.

- Need help?
- I must do it myself.

Sit down. I already am.

What can I do for you?

How long have you been
handicapped, Mr. Abrams?

It's hard for me to remember.

I was little. It's all a blur.

Reliving it is traumatic.

Sorry.

Muscle spasms.

It's over. I'm fine.

Mr. Abrams. I have
two transfer requests in your name.

One, recently,
for a limited-mobility person,

for the Sanary spot.

The other, for Cassis,
6 months ago. No handicap.

Did you make both requests?

I made both requests.

Yes.

The first,

as non-handicapped,

because I wanted to be
treated as normal.

Like anyone else.

It's important to us,

the handicapped,

to be seen by people like you
as deserving more than pity.

That's very laudable.

Of course,
if my transfer depends on it …

No, not at all.

This is just
an obligatory verification.

You know, I often
get false declarations

in requests for sought-after posts,
like the Riviera.

- No!
- It's rampant.

How shameful!

You can say that again.

You'll love Sanary.

I won't bother you anymore.

Not at all.
Goodbye, Mr. Lebic.

How shameful.

Nut job.

You're a total nut job.

You're my friend.
You'll fix this.

I'll fix nothing.

Don't you dare say we're friends.
Not here.

Not a handicap imposter.

I only did it for Julie.
I'm terribly sorry.

All right.

Good news and bad news.

I've been suspended?

Worse.

Fired?

Worse.

- Worse than fired?
- Transferred up north.

North? Not Lyons!

No, not Lyons. The north north.

Not Paris. Don't tell me.

Not Paris.

Farther north.

Belgium?

No. Before Belgium, there's …

The North region. Near Lille.

Little what?

No! The city of Lille.

Lille? That's horrible.

Starts next Monday.

This coming Monday?

I can't. I have no warm clothes.
No place to live.

There's an apartment
for the local manager.

What's the place?

Bergues.

I'll refuse it.

Can't. It's disciplinary.

What's the good news?

That was it.

What's the bad news?

You stay there 2 years.

- Two years?
- Minimum.

Two years in the north. No!

It's the north or you're fired. Sorry.

How can I tell Julie?
She thinks it's Sanary.

You leave when the coast is clear.

Now!

Hi, honey.

I'm looking at apartments
in Sanary. Great.

We must hurry.

Don't worry, it's off.

It fell through.

Another handicapped guy?

Sort of.

- I can't believe it.
- Hang on.

They offered better.

You scared me. Where?

- Bergues.
- Where?

Beautiful Bergues.

In the north.
Isn't that wonderful?

What did you do?

Me? Nothing.

I'm not an idiot.

If you do well, you stay south.
You must've screwed up big-time.

No, it's just the opposite.

They offered me 2 years up north.
I earn points,

get priority
for all the Riviera jobs.

In terms of index,
after 2 years in the north,

it's like I'm handicapped!

Turn it down. I won't freeze.

Who's going to freeze?
We're not living outdoors up there.

Dad,

I'll lose my toes.

Why would you?

Not the North Pole.

Not the North Pole. The north!

The truth. What did you do?

I got a great promotion.
I don't get this.

I'll call Jean.

To get the Sanary job,
I said I was handicapped.

You pretended you were handicapped?

I'm sorry.

Go to the North Pole alone!

What is it?

Recognize me?
I married Julie, your niece.

Right, she said you'd come bug me.
What do you want?

I have to go to the North region.

A transfer.

Julie said you know
the area near Lille.

In 1934, my mother
slept with a Sheutemi.

What?

I said, in 1934,

my mother slept with a Sheutemi.

A shut-in?

Not a shut-in!

A Sheutemi.

That's what they call people up there.
Men, women, children! Sheutemi!

Shutemies?

Even animals are Sheutemi! Dogs …

Cats are sheutemi.

Cows, chickens, calves
are all sheutemi.

And the language is sheutemi, too.

They say O instead of A,

SHKA instead of SH,
and they say SH …

but instead of S.
They're crackpots!

Just when you think you got it,

they tell you a "mop"
is a wassingue!

And what's life like there?

Pretty easy?

Rough! Very rough!

Only the ones in coal
live well.

The others are just …

miserable.

They die very young there.

Good thing my mother
came back south.

I was ten.
I couldn't stand the cold.

It's cold up there?

Summer's all right.
About thirty degrees.

But in winter it goes
down, down, down.

Twenty, zero, minus twenty!
Minus fifty!

You figure you'll stay in bed.
It goes to minus 60!

Minus 60?

The north!

You asked, kid.

It's the north.

Got your answer?

Good.

See? Freezing fog.

- What's freezing fog?
- A horror.

Look. 40 in the morning,
fifty at midday. Not that cold!

Think those are real?

Aren't they?

Open your eyes. Regional officials
pressure the weather service.

- Or no one would go there.
- Think so?

Freezing fog.

Bergues.

Probably not in there.

Calculating route.

It is.

Shut up, bitch.

I can't go.
I'm not strong enough.

You're better off here,
with the boy.

Don't take that off.

I'll be too hot on the way up.

Better you get used to wearing it.

Raphael,

take care of Mom.

- I'm counting on you.
- OK, Dad.

All this is my fault.

No, Julie. It's destiny.

I'll call you when I get to …

the North region.

Hello, Mr. Bailleul?

Philippe Abrams.

Your new manager.

I'll arrive this evening.

Meet you at City Hall.

Can't hear you. Bad connection.

See you tonight.

With the North Sea

to wave our last goodbye,

and waves of dunes
to hold back the waves

and the backs of rocks
drowned by the tide,

sunken is the heart
when the tide is low …

Shit!

Police. License and registration.

Sorry, I was speeding.
I was preoccupied.

I know I'm in the wrong.

You were doing thirty.

A hundred thirty?

No, 30. 15 times 2.

30? Is that possible?

It's dangerous to drive slow
on the highway, Mr. Abrams.

I'm writing you up.

I've been transferred to the north
so I'm in no hurry.

The North region?

Go ahead.

Thanks.

But step on it a little.

Be brave.

Jacques!

Oh fuck.

The North region.

WELCOME TO THE NORTH

You've reached your destination.

No, it can't be.

My God! You're not dead?

Welcome, Mr. Abrams.

Mr. Bailleul?

Yesh, it'sh me.

Oh, vandeus!

Don't move. Better call for help.

I'm jusht fine.

I might have killed you!

It'sh all right.

I shaw your lishensh plate.
From out of town.

I waved to you to shtop.
You didn't she me. I'm OK.

Your jaw is hurt.

- Huh?
- It hurts you to talk?

Whot?

Your jaw OK?

No. My ash shmartsh.
I fell on my ash.

Your "ash"? This isn't good.
Wouldn't you like to see a doctor?

No, I shed I'm fine!

Listen, you're really talking funny.

Cosh I talk shti?

- Talk what?
- I talk shti, that'sh ole.

You mean that's sheteumi?

Your plashe is upshtairsh.
Over the posht offish.

Here we are.

Great.

In here.

Thanks.

Good night, shir.

See you tomorrow.

Tomorrow, right.

Bailleul, wait!

No furniture!

Where's the furniture?

I don't get it.

Isn't it furnished?

The ex-manager took it.

Why?

For hish new offish?

- What fish?
- The furniture.

I don't get it.

For hish new offish.

New fish?
Why would fish need furniture?

Why give it to fish?

Offish! He didn't give it to fishkas.
He took it with him.

Why give it away?

I never shed dish.

Why dish? You said fish.

You said for his new fish.

Oh, all right.

I shed, hish new offish.

That's what I said.

Hish offish.

His office! Not his fish.

His offish. Dish ish it.

You all talk like that here?

Yesh. The Shti all shpeak Shti.
Shome shpeak Flemishka.

What fun.

- What will you do?
- Take me to a hotel.

In Bergues, at this hour?
Vandeus!

Dish ish my housh.

Doesn't even sound like language.

Nothing.

Not very big,
but at least it's furnished.

Nice of you
to invite me to sleep over.

My pleashure. Hungry? Thirshty?

No, I want to sleep.
It was a long trip.

Go right to bed then.
Upshtairsh.

Are you married?

Married? Me? No chance.
Me and women …

You live alone?

- It's my mom's housh.
- Your mom?

That'sh her room. She's shleeping.

Bathroom down the hall.

That'sh the room.

We can't make noishe.

You OK? You're pale.

- Want pajamash?
- No, I've got it.

Hang on.

I see.

You southerners like lavender.

Clean sheets, lavender schent.

It shmellsh sho good.

Should we make your bed?

I'll manage on my own.

Good night.

Sleep …

… well.

You …

… too.

That takesh the cake!

Mr. Abramsh, it'sh time.

Time to wake up.

You frightened me.

You frightened me.

What do you want?

No, what do you want?

What do you mean?

For breakfast.

- What time is it?
- 7:15. Almosht time for work.

Are we still in the north?

Yesh. It'sh a housh,
not a houshboat.

Tea, please.

No tea, only coffee.

- What else?
- Only coffee.

Coffee then.

Why'd he shleep in your room?

It'sh yoursh.
You shouldn't lend it, that'sh all.

There'sh no tea?

I dishlike tea.
Are you lishening to me?

Mom, I couldn't put him
on the couch.

He'sh my new bosh.

Datsh no reashon!

Morning, ma'am.

- Morning.
- Sit down.

Chew dishturb the boy'sh room?

No.

Chew make up the bed?

Not yet.

Quit it, Mom.
She'sh kidding.

I'm not kidding. He'sh your bosh,
no reashon to put on airsh.

- Right?
- Yes.

Caramel?

Chicory. We alwaysh put it in coffee.

What?

Chicory!

Tashte it, before critishizing.

- Not good?
- Sure, very good.

What's on the bread you dip?

That?

It'sh maroilles.

What's that?

Cheese. A little shtrong.
Like vieux-Lille.

Want to tashte?

Not ash shtrong in the mouth
as in the shmell.

Good, huh?

Just as strong inside.

That's why we dunk it in coffee.
Takes the edge off.

Dunk it.

I'd rather not.

Good, huh?

Young man!

A brown sugar faluche.

You hardly ate.

Thank you.

It's about time!

My shon, my shon.

- See you tonight.
- Not too late!

Promish?

- Your mom's unusual.
- Not to me.

Maroilles in this?

No, the shmell lingersh.

Everything stinks.

Breathe through your mouth,
air it out.

That's maroilles.

Strange. It's not so cold.

For April, it's warm.

That's what I thought.

Must be global warming.

Used to be harsh, right?

In April, we used to shkate,
make shnowmen.

Really?

The besht part ushed to be
delivering mail by shled.

Are you putting me on?

- Just a little.
- It's not funny.

Why come north
if you fear the cold?

- Hey, Antoine.
- Hey! Zounds!

Mr. Abrams, the new P.O. manager.

Mr. Zounds.

Mr. Zounds!

That's a good one.

Don't laugh at my ignorance!

We didn't mean it.

So smug with that accent,
smelly cheese and red brick houses!

We're sorry.

Where are you going?

To work.
Laugh with your friend.

Mr. Abrams, let me introduce
Fabrice Canoli,

our senior carrier.

Sir, welcome to Bergues.

So I've been told.

And Yann Vandernoout,
our postal bank specialist.

From the shouth?

No, from the south, with an S.
Never heard of the shouth.

What'sh dish?

See you tonight.

Morning! Closhe your mouth,
you'll catch a fly.

You're Mr. Abrams.

Annabelle Deconink,
registered mail and accounting.

Hi. My office?

Yes, I'll show you.

I got mail to deliver.

Ash hole.

Hish posht offish will go "south".

Shtop. He'sh a good guy.
You can tell by hish eyesh.

He'sh going to busht our ashesh.

I can tell.

Know the biker boubourse
who dropped Annabelle off?

Where ish your head?

You forgot your lunch.

Mom, we're eating out today.

Don't washte your money on nothing.

It's not nothing, it's to eat.

Take thish, you showoff.

Mom, I'm 35!

Hush. Your tongue's used up
and your arms are shtill new!

Hi, Mrs. Bailleul.

She's shtill here?

How'sh he like hish offish?

It'll go by fast …

Two years go by fast.

- Hi, Annabelle.
- Hi, everyone.

How's it going?

Like an oldshter.

Your new boss is here?

Started this morning.

Can I shee him?

I'll go shee.

- What?
- Cushtomer for you.

- What for?
- To shee you.

What can I do for you?

Mighty glad to shpy
the one in charge

of my bank account.

I don't take confabulation.
Don't beshmeer me.

I didn't get that.
What do you need?

I don't cotton to confabulation.

Doesn't work.

What you beshmeering?

Two seconds.

Two seconds, sir.

There.

What do you want?

I wash a need a quipment
for me gard.

Cosh it mighty mucked. A whop.

It was better before.

It wash dandy but the bankbook
wash a wee shortish.

I don't bray but I needsh
a shmall advansh.

Till the next shtalment
of my pension.

Next, pension.

Yesh or no?

Don't go away.

- Your name again?
- Annabelle Deconink.

Annabelle, could you see
to this gentlemen? Because I …

Fine.

Yes, Mr. Vasseur?

Come to lunch with us?

- Where?
- The french fry shack.

The French Fry Shack. Nice name.

Where's the restaurant?

What restaurant?

The restaurant.
The French Fry Shack.

It's not a restaurant. It's a shack.
It's right there.

It's a camper.

It wash a camper.

They don't sleep in it.
They make french fries.

Next.

Zounds! What'll it be?

Hi, Momo.
The usual?

Two fricadelle, one American.

Martine, 2 fric, on yank!

Whatsha want?

I don't know. The same.

Another fricadelle, Momo.

Sauce?

Picalily.

Oh, it's gypsy food.

No, it's a local delicashy.

It's good.

What's in it?

Can't ask what'sh in it.

In the north, everyone knowsh
what'sh in the fricadelle.

Nobody shays it.

Like Americans and Coco.

And what?

Coco-colo.

Oh, Coca-Cola.

That's what he just said.

Nice little square.

It'sh the big shquare.

Charming little church.

Not a church.

It'sh not religioush at all.
Our belfry.

In the Middle Agesh,
a lookout for invaders.

- Of all kinds.
- Stop.

It'sh a great view from up there.

Ashk Antoine to take you.
He'sh the carilloneur.

Carilloneur?

Up there, there are over 50 chimes,
called a carillon.

Only Antoine can play.
It's come down father-to-son.

When he plays, it's beautiful.

It's heard for miles.

True.

Fries and a beer.

Antoine! We're talking about you!

Yeah?

Not about your showoff biker?
Doeshn't he like friesh?

Stop.

I can show off with my bike!

Come sit down.

I know him! The shoutherner.

Not frozen yet?

Something wrong?

Lasht night he shlept over,

shaw picturesh from Dunkerque carnival.

And he barricaded the door!
Afraid I would fall in love?

A little respect. I don't want
to cite you on my first day.

I'm sho afraid!

Our treat.

Don't they shay thank you
where you come from?

Antoine, enough.
You should be ashamed.

He just arrived.

What if they shpoke to you
like that in the shouth?

I know Antoine well.
He's a good guy.

That's no reason to insult me.

And there's no drinking on duty.

Hish mother is hard on him.

That's no excuse.

You're giving him the citation?

Forget something?

- How are you?
- What is it?

We all got together.

We all chipped in
to furnish your place.

A shkair!

Eclectic,
but it'sh an improvement.

A flea market
minush the pricetagsh.

Very nice of you.
You shouldn't have.

But I'm a little shad.

Why?

To shtop shleeping with you.

How can I thank you?
Outside of the fry shack.

We can have dinner in Vieux-Lille.

No, my back hurtsh.

You eat with your mouth,
not your back!

Know Vieux-Lille, sir?

Another of your smelly cheeses?

Yesh, but also a nice town.

What shall we have? My treat!

Lotsh of delicashies here!

I like the chicon au gratin.

The shish-kebab?

No, the chicon au gratin.
Endives in white sauce and cheese.

Alsho the maroilles pie.

I know maroilles.

He can't leave here
before he tastes the carbonade.

- The what?
- The carbonade.

It's like a shtew, but with beer.

Can't order everything!

A little of each, and we'll share.

There you go.

It's not hard to speak shtimi.
For example,

we don't shay, "Sorry,
I didn't quite follow your drift."

We say, "Huh?"

That shounds like ha, ha.

It hash to come from here.

Great!

When you shtart talking Shti,

or its coushin, Picard,

jusht add "huh" at the end
of each sentence. Try it.

I got it, huh?

Perfect!

You're shpeaking Shti.

Fuck.

No, we don't shay "fuck" like you.
We shay "Vandeus!"

Vandeus, huh?

Lovely, biloute.

Who?

Biloute.
That'sh a generic nickname here.

What does it mean?

It means …

It means nothing.

It means little weenie.

It doesn't mean weenie.
It's a term of endearment.

Oh, I see.

Teach me dirty words.
That's important to learn.

Instead of "shit,"
we say da braun.

"Asshole" is boubourse.

Where I come from,
we say couillosti.

How pretty!

"God damn" is millard.

Millard! Da braun, huh?

I also noticed that instead of "me"
you say "yo".

No, I mean "me" is "mo"

and instead of "you" it's "yo".

Like S is SH

and SH is shka.

Like for example,
fish are fishkas!

Right!

You order.

That way you can practish.

Good idea. Sakadon.

What?

Sakadon.

What's that mean?

It means, don't be afraid, boss.

Excush me!

From the gut.

Good evening.

Evening, biloute.

Mo and the posh offish shtaff want …

Wont.

We wont …

to order

the shame again pleash.

Sorry, I'm not Shtimi.
I'm from Paris. I didn't get that.

Philippe, are you all right?

What's the matter?

You were supposed to call
when you arrived.

Shit.

I thought something happened.

I'm so sorry.

It's just …

a little complicated.

- What did they do?
- Nothing. I didn't want to worry you.

But now … all is well.

Honey, you can tell me.

Tell you what?

It's horrible, right?

It's actually not that bad.

Sure,

it's the north. But it's not so cold
and people are very …

What's the word?

Friendly.

Stop it, please.

- Stop what?
- Don't lie to me again.

Don't act strong to spare me.

You can tell me the worst.
I'm your wife.

It's true.

Philippe!

It's true. It's terrible.
I'm suffering.

It's horrible.

See? I know you.

My poor dear.

Come home quick, I'll see to you.

These two weeks will be long.
It's going to be a nightmare.

I'm proud of your sacrifice for us.

I love you.

I love you, too.

You all right?

Antoine, how are you?

Fine, and you?

Morning, Yann.

Have a good day!

Rue Nationale.

Have a good one.

It's open.

Two weeks flew by!

Careful on the road.
It's a long trip.

Drive carefully.

Call us when you get there.
Ring twice, we'll know it's you.

You're not his mother.

- See you Monday.
- Have a nice weekend.

Thanks. Where's Antoine?

It's his carillon day.

Don't you hear him?

He's playing?

He's very good.

The besht.

Dad!

You're not in bed?

Mom said I could wait up.

- Let's see your toes.
- I've got them all.

Honey.

How was the trip?

- You're wan, but not too thin.
- I'm fine.

- I'll put Raphael to bed.
- Let me see your toes!

I didn't lose any!

It's all right, Mom, he's fine!

- Night, pal.
- Night, Dad.

Pleasant dreams, little man.

Have some more bouillabaisse.
It's good. I made it yesterday.

Always better the next day.

Have some pistou soup.

Or some tapenade on bread?

- No, thanks.
- You love that.

I'm not very hungry.

Cry. If you need to, go ahead.

I can't.

What happened up there?

It's hard to talk about it.

Are they horrible to you?

They're …

Well, they drink.
All of them. A lot.

That's all they have.

The Middle Ages.
When they speak, it's all like …

Sure, alcoholics.

Not really alcoholics.
They drink to keep warm.

But it's always cold.

What a nightmare.

My darling.

This will hold you 2 weeks.

It went by so fast.
Wish I could stay one more day.

Be strong.

Present.

Fleece-lined.

Put it on.

It's not that cold up there.

Don't be overprotective of me.
Put it on.

100 miles an hour.
You're doing better.

Yes, thanks.

Not going to the north?

Yes, but I actually like it.

Good, I'm happy for you.

It'll cost you 150 euros.

Da braun!

What?

Nothing.

Step out.

- Hello.
- Zounds!

- It'sh cloudish.
- Gonna muck!

Antoine, for the sorting center manager.
It's urgent.

Call me and tell me he has it.

I'll call and shay whot.

That he has it.

Right. I'll call and shay whot.

I just told you what.

- I got it.
- You'll call me.

Yesh.

I give it to him, then call
and I'll shay whot.

I don't know.

Something like,
"Hi, it's Antoine.

"I just gave it to the manager."
Is that clear?

Yesh. I'm no boubourse.
I'll call you.

Good, call me.

And shay whot.

Look at me.

Are you drunk?

Boss, "I'll shay whot" is Shtimi for
"I'll let you know what's up."

Oh, I see.

Sorry, Bailleul.

Forget it.

Call me and say what.

That he got the envelope, right?

Thank you, fans.
The players are back!

Take dish.

My kid forgot his lunchka.

My Antoine ish mighty impreshkonable.

Don't lead him around
all the time with you.

No fry shack every day.

Can I count on you?

Yes, ma'am.

Dishgushting.

My lipsh are shealed
but don't ashk what I think.

Heavensh.

There. Shorry it took a while.

Bye.

Next!

Hello, can I help you?

I need thish weighed and shtamped.

Pretty shtamps.

For my shon. He collectsh them.

How shweet.

These all right? With a hedgehog.

Perfect.

The envelope.

Vandeus! 26 kilos!

Can't be. It's in grams.

Right. I was thinking, what'sh in it?

17 hedgehogs.

That can't be.
How much is each stamp?

Mind if I mix owls in, too?

I'm out of hedgehogs.

You're making a mistake.

There'sh not enough room
for all these hedgehogsh.

I'll have to put shome
on the other side.

17 stamps for 26 grams.

It can't be. It's a mistake.

I swallowed some owls.
I won't charge you.

Stop it!

Give me that. Move.

I'll take care of this.
We won't charge you. It's on us.

I'll take care of it.

Be right there.

- Remember?
- Stop.

Go home and rest.

What would I do without you?

You wouldn't drink
and it would do you good.

- Well?
- Fantastic!

Nice, right?

How are you doing?

Always good by the shore.
I can't bray.

- Bray?
- It means cry.

- How do you say laugh?
- Laugh is laugh.

Same word.

We got to shpeak a little Frenchka
now and then.

Everything OK at work?

Great.

By the way, I'm speaking for all of us.

We're happy you're our manager.

Thanksh Antoine.

Your region is really very friendly.

Maybe so,

but with no one to welcome,
who cares?

So we thank you.

Don't mention it. Huh?

There's a Shtimi proverb.

When a stranger comes north
he brays twice.

When he arrives and when he leaves.

I was a bit down at first.

Just wait till you leave!

We'll shee.

The south is my home.

We'll shee.

And 30.

Bye, Ma'am.

What do we have on for tonight?

Sir, it's Friday.

- Aren't you going home?
- To the shouth.

Friday already?

Vandeus!

Surprise!

Your friends came to cheer you up.

- Dad!
- Hey, little man.

Julie told us how hard it is up there.

When I open up it's still night.
Sunrise is at 11:30.

And at 5, boom!
Night falls again.

They're all so …
All of them. Pale, white.

They don't get much light.

And the hygiene!
Last week, an epidemic started.

Cholera.

You got vaccinated?

I'm going to have to.

We'll check your boosters.

It's worse than hell.

Strange. I worked up north.
I have good memories.

Next weekend in Belgium?

Could be nice.

I have to work.

You don't like him seeing us?

No, that's not it.

So kish me.

Don't be ridiculous.
See you tonight.

- Kish me!
- That hurts!

Problem, Annabelle?

No, I'm fine.

What is it, mailman?

What you want?

Got mail for me?

Stop, Tony.

No mail, but a text message.

You can't read, so here it is.

Stop.

No parking in front of the post office.
Signed, Postman.

Where's your mother?

Picking up after you?

Stop it!

Chime boy, want to fight?

I oppose violence
between humans.

However, with objects …

You're sick!

Stop!

Stop that.
Come on, give me a hand!

Stop it.

Mr. Abrams …

- He's not well.
- He's fine.

- He's not answering.
- He's fine.

Come on, boss.

He can't shay no.

You know how it is.

You go see people,
bring the mail,

so it's "Have a little drink."

Little by little …

He winds up fighting outside,
in uniform. That's intolerable.

He can't say no. I say stop!

An official reprimand is a lot.

Are you defending him?

I'm not defending him.

I want him to get better.

Reprimanding him won't help.

You know what Antoine's problem is?

He's in love with you.

Well actually …

we were together for a year.

Why'd you leave?

He left me.

I don't understand.

I was very much in love.

I stood up to his mother,
who's very overbearing.

I got very mad.

And I told Antoine to choose.
He chose her.

So? I'm a postal manager,
not a social worker.

Beautiful, Antoine. Keep playing.

Are you here to give me
a music degree or a reprimand?

Why don't you talk
to your mother?

I spoke to Annabelle.
Your mom's the source of the problem.

I have to be kind to my mom.
She's had a hard life.

By not telling her
what's on your mind?

We're all the same.

I love my wife,
but I lie to her all weekend.

Why?

It's a long story.

- I didn't know you were married.
- I am.

Then why doesn't she come
and live here with you?

My wife is …

Depressed. Clinically, even.

If she came north, she'd get worse.

Why?

I mean, it would be worse
for her to leave home.

Wherever she went.

I see.

Antoine, all I'm asking

is to go easy at work.

Drinking won't make it better.
It can only get worse.

I acted like a babash.

We all make mistakes.

What counts is how you fix it.

It can't be fixed.

You can fix anything.

Except maybe his motorcycle.

You want to try?

- What?
- The carillon!

You must know a tune.
It's like a piano.

Everyone will hear.

Plug in the earphones.

Go ahead, biloute.

Not that one.

Not easy.

Higher.

Antoine, wait!

I'm coming with you.

I know my route.

I'm coming along.
You have to learn to say no.

You're the bosh.

Hey, biloute!

Mr. Mahieux.

Hi. Philippe Abrams,
the post office manager.

Nice of you to come.

Come in a minute.

No, thank you Mr. Mahieux.
We'll be moving on.

Too early for cocktails.

- How about coffee?
- That's different. Fine.

- A little juniper?
- Not for me.

No, thank you.

It'll warm you up.
A southerner like yourshelf!

I can't drink that.

It's a local specialty. Just taste.

It disinfects.

To your health!

Sugar takes the edge off.

Sugar?

No sugar!

Thanks for the coffee.

Don't mention it.

Come back any time.

See you tomorrow.

Have a good day.

You see, Antoine,

how one can be cordial
with a customer,

while drinking only coffee.

Yes, I see.

But that's it!

There are limits!

- No more jennifer.
- Juniper.

Don't ring the bell!
They'll offer us a drink.

It's registered.

That's different.
But no going inside. No drinking.

Come in!

No, we'll stay at the door.
It's too dangerous.

You. Voice sounded familiar.

Mr. Vasseur. What a nice surprise.

Registered letter. Sign here.

Guess what. I speak fluent Shtimi.
I understand you now.

Perfect Shtimi, written and oral!

Let's celebrate.

Come in, we'll toast.

- Any juniper?
- Juniper?

No. I never touch alcohol.

I might have a wee yellow,
like in your neck of the woods.

I got it as a gift.

- Yellow?
- Pastis.

Pastis, just like home.
A little yellow!

I won't drink.

A little pastis won't hurt you.

I better not.

Just one, I'll close my eyes.

I'd rather not.

Bailleul! It's an order.
Comes from upstairs!

- Lots of water.
- If you like.

Here kids.

Don't pour it higher than the glass.

Firm. Stop. Nyet.

- My block.
- Look out for your mother!

Brought me a she-shkell
And shyrup dripplin'

down your lil shkin
three hoursh runnin'

Shleep my lil pumshkin
my big munshkin

You'll make me bray
if you don't shleep till morn

Thanksh.

That's lovely.

So beautiful.

Hi, biloutes!
It's the mailman!

No need to say hello each time.

I'm thirsty!

See how I turned down
that fifth beer, Antoine?

Firm!

Cordial, but firm.

You shouldn't have.
It was picon beer.

I love it,
and it doesn't get you drunk.

Now we have to stop.
Everything with moderation!

- The magic word?
- Thanksh.

No! The word is no!

No thanksh.

Right.

I love your region, Antoine.
I love it.

I love the north!

And you too. I adore you.

I like you too, sir.

Call me Philippe, Antoine.

Vandeus! Da braun!

My stomach hurts.

Long as it'sh not your ash,
you can shtill shkit!

Hi, Antoine. Sir.

It's OK. He opened the door.
You can stop ringing now.

Mr. Leborgne,
there's no mail for you.

But we'll have a drink.

To toast our friendship.

Come in.

Want to race, Antoine?

No, no racing.

Last one to the post office
is a double boubourse!

Watch out! The stop sign!
Philippe!

Come on! We can lose them!

Stop!

Goshk, my ash!

You all right?

- Who are you?
- Police.

I work for the government too.
Bergues Post Office.

Come on, we're taking you in.

Shtop it, biloute.
We're all Shti here.

I'm Shti now, right?

Hey, biloute. Don't be a babash!

Calm down, sir.

Come on, aren't you shti?

You're not. Let me see.
You're not a shti.

He's not shti.

Let's all go to the french fry
shack for fricadelle!

Momo!

Four fricadelles, Momo!

We haven't eaten yet!

No! Hang on, hang on.

Honey?

Can't come home tonight, hon.
I'm at the police station.

Philippe, were you mugged?

No. I just had
a little to drink.

So I got arrested.

In your car?

On a bicycle.

Why were you drunk, on a bicycle?

Saying no to liquor.

Oh my darling, what's going on?

Don't try to drown your sorrows.

I know it's hard. Be strong.

All right.

I have to go. They're sobering me up.
I love you.

Me too. More than anything.

Well?

Well what?

Let's see your hands.

No trembling. Two days sober.
No side effects?

I'm fine.

Oh no!

What is it?

You drank my perfume?
I read where alcoholics do that.

No, I'm holding up.

I'd rather go get you a bottle
than have you drink my Givenchy.

What's this?

Julie.

I was weak. I'm sorry.

What's all this?

My bags. I'm coming with you.

What about Raphael?

My parents will mind him.

We'll find him a school up north.

What about your store?
Your job?

I took a leave of absence.
I'm coming north with you.

No, Julie.

I'm scared, but I'm happy
to be going with you.

We'll stay together.

We'll be stronger together.

Got your seatbelt on?

Of course.

He's a maniac!

What speed were you doing?

The right one.

We're taking you for a blood test.

My husband didn't drink.

He may have perfumed his mouth.

Don't worry.
Go with the tow truck.

I'm staying with you.

Go back, reassure everyone.
Take care of the insurance.

I'll take the train.

Good idea.

All right, but you be careful.

I'll come as soon as I can.

Great.

Come into my office.

We have to talk.

This is very serious.

What ish it?

My wife's coming tomorrow.

Good news.

Not really.

- Marriage not good?
- Yes it is.

Since we've been 700 miles apart,
it's great.

My wife is depressed.

It helps her
to know I'm in the north.

She focuses on a concrete problem.

I'm not sure I understand.

I lied about you.

She thinks I'm in a living hell.
The more I suffer,

the better she feels.

Pretty twisted.

Maybe, but it works.

We have never been so happy.

What did you tell her about us?

A few clichés.

General notions.
I didn't make anything up.

I said you were a little …

basic.

A little …

simple,

a little rough.

At times vulgar.

Dense.

Backward, too.

And a few other things.

Hello, my love.

This is very pretty.

Honey, I have something to confess.

Welcome to the north, Julie!

Welcome kish!

Welcome to the north!

Come on!

Drink up!

We'll take care of the bosh' wife.

That'sh for sure!

Get out of here!

Back to your shack!
Don't come back in the morn!

Where are we?

In Bergues, honey.

Evening.

Look at all these mushelsh!

What'sh the two looking at?
Never sheen me?

Shtop your crapping, Ma!

Who are these people?

They're miners, from the mine.

Aren't they closed?

Not thish one.

Not much left, but even closed,
we live inshide it!

Where should we go?

Vandeus! Dirty kid!

All the shame.

I'll shlap him shilly!

Shee you later.

That'sh Shity Hall.

Down there's the posht offish,
and ballroom. No more balls.

It's worse than you said.

I tried to warn you.
I didn't want you to see this.

No! You live here?

Yes.

It has southern exposure.
Good light.

I forgot. Dinner ish at 9.

Don't be late!

Can't we eat alone?

No, it's the welcome meal.
If we don't go, I'll pay.

Make conversation.

Nice eating outside.

Can't stay late,
cause of the jackals.

What are we eating?

Meat.

What kind?

Depends what we find.

Shit! Missed.

Fabrice, we got enough. Come eat.

Coming.

Dinner's served!

I can't.

Pass me some bread.

Tomorrow,

we'll go to the mine
to play hide-and-seek.

Good.

Hide-and-seek.

Did they go sleep at the mine?

I doubt it. It's only 1 a.m.

You can hear the neighbors.
What are they saying?

They're fighting.
Like almost every night.

There. It's settled.

Someone's dead?

He fires to calm his wife down.

What a nightmare.

How could you ever make it
two years?

How could you stand it this long?

I could use a drink.

You have to go back. I'll take you
to the train in the morning.

All right.

To get the rest of my things.

It's clear Raphael can't come.

He'll stay with my parents
2 years if necessary,

I'll stay with you.

You can't. I don't want you to.

I love you.
If it's your life, it's mine too.

Well?

Nothing. Maybe they're sleeping.

Should we finish it off
with a fire?

Are you crazy?

You're babash.

Sure, if I shuggest it,
it's da braun.

The shot was a good idea.

Another?

No, Yann. That'sh enough now.

Let'sh go home.

Not coming?

Shomeone hash to be here
in the morning.

Yeah, right.

Annabelle, wait.

Maybe you should sleep here too.

Antoine, please.

If I'm alone tomorrow morning,
she might get suspicious.

Right now, I'm suspicious.

For once, we're together in Bergues
without my mom.

Good night.

- Did it go all right?
- No.

Me neither.

- She wants to stay.
- In the north?

No. Right here.

We dissuaded her in every way,
she's still willing to stay.

Why?

Because she loves me.

Oh millard. Da braun.

I fought to get to the Riviera,
to save my couple

and here in the north,
it all works out!

That's great if it works out.

But what now?
She won't leave this dump!

- Tell her the truth?
- No.

My wife loves me.
I should ruin that with truth?

- Coward.
- I'm not a coward.

You are. Your wife loves you.
You're here

and you can't level with her.
Be a Shti.

I won't listen to a boubourse who's 35
and can't stand up to mom!

What did you shay?

You're no braver than me.

I can talk to my mom any time.

Then do it.

Go talk to your wife and butt out.

Fine. You, your mother.
Me, my wife.

Mrs. Abrams!

Can I help you?

I'm lost. The Bergues post office?

Bergues?

This isn't Bergues.

It isn't?

No, it's the old mining village.

Bergue's over that way.

Oh.

Thanks.

Get on.

I'll drop you off.

Get on, I won't bite you.

My wife is missing.

No. She's waiting for you upstairs.

I had to tell her.

No palace, but it's livable.

The Shtis lent me furniture.
They're very nice.

You've been lying for months.

I tried to tell you.
You wouldn't believe me.

I said what you wanted to hear.

That whole act so I wouldn't stay.

It was going great between us.

We separated
so we'd be better together. No?

I'm going back south.

Ah, little biloute.

Mail for your mom?

No, we have to talk.

What'sh the matter? You shick?

You catchka something?

Jush lishen, don't talk.
Whatever you shay won't matter.

Becaush it ish the way it ish.
That'sh all. OK?

I didn't shay a word.

I'm leaving the housh.

I'm getting my own plashe,
with Annabelle.

Maybe you don't, but I love her.

And she's the one I chooshe.

Now, what do you shay?

It'sh about time!

I wash wondering when
you would finally do it.

You're not mad?

Why should I be mad?

That'sh all a mother could want.

For her shon to find happinesh.

I didn't raise you for myshelf.

And if one day,

you have a wee biloute,
or a wee biloutesh,

I'd be very happy.

All right.

Anything elshe?
I have to finish my potatoesh.

Take some time to think.

Just know I'm right here,
if you need me.

I'll come, right away.

My love to Raphael.

Hello, Annabelle.

Mrs. Bailleul. Can I help you?

I came to congratulate you.
Well done.

You won my shon.

I'm leaving him alone now.

I'm done.
I don't watch him anymore.

From today on,

I'm watching both of you.

And you better be happy,
or you'll deal with me!

Got it?

All my besht.

Thanksh.

That wash playing
when I met Annabelle.

He'sh one of ush.
Shti Veewonder.

Sorry, don't feel like laughing.

I didn't even ask you
how it went for you?

Great. I talked to my mom.

I shed I'm marrying Annabelle.

How'd she react?

She wantsh a wee bilout or biloutesh.

Fantastic.

Now I just have to tell Annabelle.

You haven't?

I'm afraid she'll say no.

Still with the biker?

I don't know. I hope not.

It's you, sir? What is it?

I need you. It's urgent.

At this hour?
Can't it wait?

It's an order!
Come down, please.

Stay right there. Don't move.

She's downstairs. Ready?

- I have stagefright.
- Go! Sakadon!

ANNABELLE,
I LOVE YOU

MARRY ME BILOUTE

Before you answer,
I left my mother.

I know.

She told me.

Then it's yesh?

It'sh very pretty.

I have no shkeets now.

Took you long enough,
Antoine Bailleul.

When we met, we could be anywhere.

We were happy, just being together.

How could we forget that?

I love you.

I want you to come live in the north.

I don't want us to be apart.

Ever again.

Dad, Mom …

Why are you kissing in public?

Let's go lose some toes.

Mail.

For you, Philippe.

Shit. It's H.R.

Been three yearsh.
Had to happen one day.

Well?

Porquerolles.

That's great.

See you tonight.

You managersh are all the shame.

Come out of nowhere.
Got to get ushed to you.

Jusht when everyone's happy,
you leave.

Quit bitching.

For the road. It's chicory.

And beer for you.

We'll see you for vacations. Right?

The shouth isn't good as the north.
But it'sh not half bad.

Thanks for everything.

You don't have to thank me.

Yes, I do.

See? I was right.

About what?

A stranger in the north brays twice.
When he arrives, when he leaves.

I'm not crying.

Yesh you are.

No, I'm not.

Yesh, you are.

No, you're not crying.

for my mother, Danièle, a wonderful Shti

Took the furniture?

For hish offish.

What fish?

Not furnished?

The old manager
took it with him.

Why?

Why give furniture to fish?

Fish, dish.
You all talk like that?

The Shtimis all talk Shtimi.

And Flemish, but hey.

Sorry.

Boubourse. Where I come from
we say a custayi.

Hi, biloute!

You better be happy.
Got it?

Or you witch deal …

You better … Shit!

Nice of you to come shee me.
Come in a minute.

No thanks,
but we have to go.

A little early for cocktails.

Not even coffee?

What?

What is it?

It's not a commercial.

Come in a minute.

Hello, zounds.

Philippe Abrams,
bank manager.

Pastis, like home.

I'm not drinking.

Cut!

We can't.

Just one. I'll close my eyes.

Annabelle Deconink,
I'm at the rigis …

Try it again.

Hi, honey. Not too thin.

Dad,

I don't want to lose my toes.

Why would you lose them?

North Pole.

It's not the North Pole.
It's the north.

What an idiot.

I'm at risk here.

What risk? I didn't get it.

I've been busting my ass
in Salon for years.

What?

Long live the Shtimis!