Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) Poster

Paul Bernard: Jean



  • Hélène : It happened gradually with my realizing it. I couldn't laugh. I couldn't sleep. I wondered if it was your fault, but no. You're as wonderful as ever. You stay the same. I am the one who has changed. I asked myself over and over. Why am I no longer impatient? Why does my heart not leap up when he arrives? The sound of the elevator's approach no longer thrills me.

    Jean : Hélène!

    Hélène : It's a horrible discovery, but I wish to be frank. My heart is drifting away from you. I'm ready for your reproaches, bitterness and insults. I've called myself the worst name already. Only one insult could wound me now - hypocrite.

    Jean : Hélène, you are wonderful. You were the first to speak, but I was guilty first. The story of your love is exactly the story of my own. All you thought, I thought as well. I kept silent, suffering. What a lesson you've taught me!

    Hélène : Really?

    Jean : Really. Hélène, you're beautiful, you're stunning. It's as if I'm seeing you for the first time. We should congratulate ourselves. It would have been awful if one went on loving longer than the other.

    Hélène : Yes, awful. What now?

    Jean : Neither of us has betrayed the other. We can avoid a messy breakup. We'll continue to see each other. We'll elude the death throes of a languishing love. No deceit, no suprises, no disgust. We'll be unique among our kind. I give you back your freedom, and you give me mine. We each go our own way. We'll be each other's confidant though I doubt I'll find anyone to confide in you about. You've set such a high standard. Can anyone ever know the future? I may soon find you were the only woman capable of making me happy. Perhaps you'll feel the same. And one day we'll meet again, I'll be at your side until we die.

    Hélène : What if you don't find me when you return? Anything's possible. I might fall for another. He couldn't compare to you, but still...

    Jean : That would be nobody's fault. Goodnight, Hélène.

  • Jean : Since we met, I've felt attached to you by a string. I simply follow it.

    Agnès : Is that string called indiscretion?

  • Hélène : You've married a tramp. She was a cabaret dancer. You've played a trick on me and now I've played one on you.

    Jean : You?

    Hélène : Yes, me. You don't seem to realize where a woman's scorn can lead.

    Jean : You?

    Hélène : Don't be absurd. You've married a tramp. Now you must face the consequences. You're suddenly so sentimental.

    Jean : You're horrid!

    Hélène : Since your marriage seems to mean so much to you, you mustn't run off. Return to Agnès' side. You won't be the only one to console her. All her lovers are inside. And there are plenty of them!

  • [last lines] 

    Agnès : You're here. In time perhaps you'll forgive me. But don't hurry. So many honest girls become dishonest women. Perhaps I'll show the opposite can happen. I'm not yet worthy of having you come close to me. Wait. Just leave me a little hope. Then you can judge my behaviour. I'll be happy if you can bear my presence. Show me a corner of your house where I can live. I'll stay there without protest. I'm not evil. I know myself. I was weak. And I was in love with you. That's my only excuse. I lacked the courage to tell you the truth. Remember the letter you wouldn't read? It wasn't pleasant. You can forgive me. I won't trouble you anymore. It will be easy.

    Jean : Hold on to life with all your strength! Hold on to me! I love you. You can't leave me! Try to hold on! Fight!

    Agnès : I am fighting.

    Jean : You are my wife. I love you! Stay with me!

    Agnès : I will try.

    Jean : That's an order. You can't disobey! Stay with me!

    Agnès : I will stay.

  • Jean : Why do you live so alone? So removed from everything? You are made to be loved and admired. Use your charms - not just your feminine charms, but that magical charm of yours.

  • Hélène : You like my ladies from the Bois?

    Jean : They're unlike the ladies you usually associate with.

    Hélène : Very perceptive of you.

  • Jean : I can't do without her. I managed to see her again.

    Hélène : Whom?

    Jean : The girl from the Bois. I found their haven, thanks to you.

    Hélène : Me? Did I give you the address?

    Jean : Not you. Your mouth.

  • Jean : Sometimes our mind lets words slip from our tongue unheeded.

  • Jean : I love her. I'm losing my head. I'm capable of anything. Agnès' face is like a gash across my heart. I meet her in my dreams and dream of her in my waking hours. I walk the streets thinking of ways to break down her door, to storm the barriers she's erected, to scream out the pain I feel.

  • Jean : So this is where she lives and sleeps. She plays piano here, and she sits and reads over there. The lamp is her. These flowers are her. This cushion, this frame - it's all her.

  • Jean : I've only a moment to tell you so much. Let's make this moment last forever. We can do it. We can make it last an entire lifetime, Agnès. Let's go far away.

  • Jean : Agnès, tell me this isn't some absurd dream. Tell me you're putting up barriers between us that don't really exist. That everything is clear and simple, and nothing separates us.

  • Jean : I can't work. I can't talk to anyone anymore. I can't read or write or live anymore. I haven't a shred of will left. I'm a walking ghost. I wish I could just sleep.

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