Scene 56. Ext. Night.
Leaving the lit-up boulevard, the lovers round a comer and wander off toward a dark
street, which rises up on a steep incline. They retreat from the camera, walking arm in
arm, oblivious to the mounds of refuse, strange slogans wheat-pasted on election boards,
a stray dog come out of nowhere. As they move with an unconscious grace, a knot of
men hails them with hungry eyes. The camera pans to the narrow doorway of a hotel.
Just like that, they're in the modest foyer.
We dispense with the obligatory sequence of signing at the desk, surreptitious looks,
sleepy night clerk, the whole cascade of tired signifiers for a classic topos?the lovers'
rendezvous?to flatten out the text's referential function. Let the world's semaphoric
arms drop down, for once.
Shooting from the bottom of the stairs, the camera crops Pierre, his back to us as he goes
up, silver cufflinks brushing the oily banister. Hansi enters the frame six or seven steps
below, close-up on her slender ankles. Pierre's head is ever so slightly turned toward
Hansi, yet he won't let himself look back as if rehearsing for Orpheus leading Eurydice
out of Hades.
Scene 57. Int. Night.
No sooner has the couple entered the room than they throw themselves on the bed
without bothering to close the blinds on the thin white gauze looking more like a used
apron than a curtain. Moonlight, that nosy neighbor, tells all.
Pierre: I think the way a girl takes off her dress...
Hansi (standing nude in the window): Then behold your impudent thought. It is
always in front of you.
Pierre: But always somewhat secretly. Come back to bed, please, Hansi.
Hansi (lying on her belly, face propped by elbows): And how did that little
thought come to you? (Starting to get the giggles): On a midnight train? Did the
little man tell you that? (Her hilarity worsens; she flips on her back and reaches
for her azure toes) This little piggy was too weak to think; this little piggy lost it
in a fit; this little piggy shouldn't speak; and this little piggy licked the dish
clean and thiiiis little piggyyy peed all the way home. (She's overcome with
hilarity, meowing and cooing in turns, pushing her ribs down to keep from
Pierre: What a child! (He kisses her). But here we are, finally alone. No more
riding crop, no more Lulu.
Hansi: Ha! That's what you think, darling. But she can't be far. (Making a
funny face). She never leaves me. I locked her in! (Convulsed with laughter).
Search the premises. Monsieur 1'Inspecteur. Let's see. Where did I put that
silly goose? Sous le lit... sous I'armoire, mince comme elle est...
Pierre: Hansi, please, you'll make yourself ill...
Hansi: Je l'ai cachée... dans les cabinets (She's shrieking-with laughter by now
and stretching the syllables like a naughty girl.)
Pierre: Je vais chercher a boire?
Hansi: Ne me laisses pas, chéri, j'ai la barre...Quelle tête tu fais! Je n'en peux
plus! (She's practically dying with laughter, wiping her tears.)
Pierre: You are impossible (lighting a cigarette). Revenons a nos moutons. I
want to know if I should be jealous of the pretty soubrette.
Lying now on her belly, her legs bent, Hansi listens with a bemused, pouty expression.
The shot, without being a direct quote, could bring to mind Brigitte Bardot in Le Mépris.
Pierre: Have I drawn the right cards? (He starts to caress her back) Is there
anything more holy than this? (He gestures to her voluptuous flanks)
What has unleashed Hansi's laughing fit, in Pierre elicits a boundless gratitude, an
ineffable sense of delight that scatters the joy in God he has known. Everything now is
reversed and must pass through the eye of the needle, that exuberant, incomprehensible
pleasure. He bends down to kiss Hansi's buttocks. What was once defiled is now holy;
what was cursed and indecent, now blessed in the ephemeral dawn that gathers the lovers
as in a shroud.
Fade out. Aria music over the fade.
Scene 58. Ext. Noon. Street outside hotel.
Almost empty, the street is a stranger to itself. Under the noon sun it looks parched and
dusty like a Western set waiting for its lone hero to meet his fate. Camera hugs the old
houses, the windows getting smaller toward the top floors, the noon sky above. The hotel
door opens and the faded marquee is glimpsed for a second. Some letters are missing.
...RS OF .ROS spread over in red. It's both not enough and too much. (Although,
parenthetically, Bataille's assiduous student will be here recompensed for having
immediately recomposed the famous title, i.e. Les Larmes d'Eros.) No one needs the
password. The lovers exit as if walking on air. Their bodies, impossibly young
indivisible, obey the camera's silent order: "Come!"
Scene 59. Int. Late afternoon. Movie theatre.
Maria Falconetti's tear-stained face fills the screen. She has just been asked if she is in a state of grace.
Jeanne: "If I am, may God keep me there. If I am not, may God grant it to me."
Her voice is like a Judas window opening on the dark night. Our young pair sits near the
screen, children that they are, banished from home, all bunched up and shivering,
devoured by pity for la petite Jeanne. A tight montage in black and white rapidly shows
a horror sequence: a descending blade, a drowning man against rising waters, a torture
chamber, with tight close-up on instruments, a noose being prepared by a tree, an old
woman squatting in the street, naked dancing bodies densely packed as in a
slaughterhouse, the heavy-lidded eyes of a judge, Christ and his wounds, a throat beaded
with sweat, a pre-war classroom with its children following the writing arm of the master,
a mouth full of gold, a bandaged eye, a diseased lung, a fork digging its tines into flesh,
ending with shots of the bonfire from Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc.
Every effort must be made to avoid rendering the characters as if they belonged to the
world of identity and psychology. The mad corrida of the previous images is only meant
to be a direction or musical key to play up the immeasurable, the unthinkable, the
sacrificial self in God's absence. Death's choke must be the bird that sings divine
1. Subtitles will translate the French in this scene. Under the bed. Under the armoire, thin as she is. I've hidden her in the water closet.
2. I'm going to get something to drink.
3. Don't leave me, darling, I've got a cramp. What a funny face you have! I can't laugh anymore.
4. Let's come back to our sheep, i.e. to where we were.
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