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Ridicule 1996

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Do you remember me?
Think hard.
Have I changed so much?
Remember... the ''Marquis de Stumblebum''?
You dubbed me that when I fell at a ball.
Stumblebum. So wounding!
I never lived it down.
Where is your fine wit now?
All gone?
What a loss for society.
Since my exile...
I've seen many lands...
with far ruder manners.
Yet I've never forgotten it.
But I am tiring you.
I'll wait on Madame and let him rest.
She's expecting you.
I fear that in his joy, Monsieur forgot himself.
- Go home. - But, Monsieur--
Your teeth are chattering. You're sick.
We're short of hands.
His father has the fever.
They say the king can cure the sick.
All men can work miracles.
Don't you believe me? Here's a promise.
We'll rid this swamp of evil.
- By having masses sung? - No masses.
We'll build dikes and canals...
plant trees and grow crops.
Then the land will be beautiful.
You're home.
When you see the king, ask him to bless my medallion.
I will, Léonard.
Let me bless you.
Your mother fears for you at Versailles.
Preach hope on Sunday.
I preach hope in God.
At Versailles, one man's will turned swamps into gardens.
The will of a king!
I'll knock on every door...
right up to the king!
Kneel down.
Take your hat off!.
Farewell.
The finest wit of our age.
And so handsome.
Milletail!
Back from America!
I missed the stench of Versailles.
I'm surprised you're here.
I'd rather bury him alive...
but God is our master.
Gentlemen! We're praying!
Come dine with me. A roasted chicken is better company.
Madame de Blayac will grieve for days!
Is this the Blayac house?
Are you related?
- I have an introduction to Monsieur. - He's seeing visitors now.
You'll recognize him by his widow.
His wit was a shining light.
He valued your opinion.
The Academy grieves.
He cared for it deeply.
What a loss.
Lord, what a loss.
Your husband was a friend of my father.
And of mine.
I've come from afar.
Do you know Versailles?
I was born here by chance.
A courtier by birth.
Not everyone born in a stable thinks he's a horse.
God is our only judge.
What, friend?
God pardons the starving.
We meet again.
What a pleasure.
Whom have I the honor to bleed?
Grégoire Ponceludon de Malavoy.
Marquis de Bellegarde.
Charlotte, my housekeeper...
and her son Paul.
He's deaf and dumb. A harmless idiot.
Travellers should be better warned...
about the robbers around Versailles.
A good doctor must judge blood...
the way a gourmet judges wine.
A nice, hearty red. Fluid but substantial.
You live in fresh air and eat lean meat.
I live in foul air, and we eat mostly carp.
My drawings!
- You're a water engineer? - I am.
I have come to Versailles to seek aid for this drainage project.
It's easier to be seen than heard.
I'll appeal to reason and compassion.
Are you so ignorant of the ways of Versailles?
I've bled you white.
You must rest.
Two days in bed, light food and a glass of wine each night.
Night is for sleeping. You exhaust yourself in vain.
''Study Addressed to the Regent...
Concerning Epidemics in the Dombes and Suggested Remedies''
by the Marquis de Gora.
It was never opened.
Will your study fare any better?
Thank you. You've spared me disappointment.
I've seen so many country gentlemen.
I'll plead my case orally.
And here I'll build a lock to create a storage pool.
His Majesty would certainly be interested in this.
He delights in all things technical.
His subjects are dying of fever. I know he's compassionate.
Too compassionate!
Which is why I certainly won't inform him of your plans...
nor of those to dig...
a tunnel to England, drain the Landes...
or make a map of India.
All very useful, no doubt...
but very costly.
At least drain the swamps!
You mean drain France's treasury!
I control its accounts.
You understand the problem.
What is a life worth?
Less than the destiny of France...
except to philosophers.
Good-bye. I have work to do.
I'll open the king's eyes!
Please do!
The Right Wing is bankrupting the nation.
I am in charge of military engineering.
Mr. Maurepas is old and cautious.
A man of youth and vigor--
My duties are too great to permit me to listen to flattery.
In the Left Wing...
we do not deal in favors.
Good-bye, sir.
I advise you...
to write a study, and I will circulate it.
The Left Wing is for ministers who serve the kingdom's needs.
The Right Wing is for courtiers...
who serve their own needs.
I only want to see the king.
Only? You jest!
We call you people ''suitors.''
There are thousands of you.
Some succeed!
Help me.
Present me at court.
You'll be more useful at home.
I need the support of Versailles.
You suitors!
You come dreaming of titles and grants.
The court! The court!
It intoxicates you.
I doubt you have what it takes to be heard.
Go home, Monsieur...
and thank me.
I'm sorry I troubled you.
Double three...
or I'll tell the Church's secret.
Do tell!
Oh, well, Purgatory doesn't exist.
Isn't that your patient?
Fresh from the country, you must find our courtly ways ridiculous.
''Judge not, lest not ye be judged.''
Were the Gospels of any use at Versailles, I would have heard.
Join us if you wish.
We play 1 0 sols a point.
My shoe buckles are all I have.
You'll judge their worth better by bowing lower.
What seek you here?
A grant to rid our swamps of mosquitoes.
Our peasants all die young.
Poor people!
They're not only dying, they're boring.
Remember, Monsieur...
peasants not only feed mosquitoes but aristocrats.
He's smarter than he looks.
That's where we differ, Monsieur.
Her Majesty the Queen!
Blayac!
May I borrow the abbot?
At your service, ma'am.
I'm playing piquet with such dull people!
I need some witty company.
Thank you. I'll give him back.
Perhaps you were busy?
It's of no importance.
Your patient has regained his wits.
Is it thanks to you?
I venture to hope so.
His tongue is certainly agile.
I miss you at my suppers.
I await the pleasure.
You need an invitation?
Bring your protégé.
Double six!
Your first skirmishes bode well for you.
The abbot is close to the queen. I crossed him.
Wit opens every door...
and you have plenty of it.
Who cares about the Dombes?
Only you, of course. But be patient.
If the court takes to you...
your Dombes will be cared for.
I've spent a year's money in a week.
If you don't mind discomfort, stay with me.
I tried to dissuade you, but now I will help.
What changed your mind?
Honesty and wit are so rarely united.
Too much powder yellows the teeth.
Feature your youthful complexion.
A little rouge adds color.
Is the countess close to the king?
Serious topics are deplored. Avoid them.
I'll restrain myself.
Be witty, sharp and malicious...
and you'll succeed.
No puns!
At Versailles, we call puns ''the death of wit.''
Voltaire! My bible.
One last thing:
Never laugh at your own jokes.
Red currants!
I adore red currants!
I could eat as many as Samson killed Philistines.
We all adore red currants. If Samson had--
If Samson hadn't--
- Where are your estates? - The Dombes.
A land of swamps and disease.
That's why I'm here.
What an unsavory topic!
Give some champagne to Mr. Ponceludon.
Baron, how did you find the English?
Droll. They have a way of speaking they call ''hew-mah.''
It makes them laugh enormously.
Is it like wit?
Not really, no.
What is it in French?
It's untranslatable.
Don't tease. Tell us!
Any talk that causes laughter must be a form of wit.
It's not exactly ''wit.''
We've no word for it.
Then give us an example.
I asked Twickenham how many mistresses he had.
He answered impassively:
''How many constitute several?''
It's the only example that comes to mind.
Comes to mouth!
How did Samson kill the Philistines?
Samson! The Philistines!
With the jawbone of an ass.
The jawbone of an ass!
''I could eat as many as Samson slew Philistines.''
''With the same jawbone, Abbot?''
The jawbone of an ass!
I'd have been the talk of the court.
Two hours too late.
Age is the enemy, Ponceludon. A few years ago, I'd have had him.
Wit eludes us all sometimes.
Not everyone.
Bravo, anyway.
You scored a point with ''Comes to mouth.''
A pity you laughed.
A tortoise.
An inkwell.
An amethyst.
A porcelain wagon.
A starfish.
A book.
Think.
A snuffbox.
Wrong.
An apple!
How could I forget?
You have odd pastimes.
Children's brains are moist and fluid.
As we get older...
the brain dries up...
and memory declines.
I file every witty remark in here.
Double entendres, repartees, quips...
wordplays, retorts, paradoxes.
Your ''Comes to mouth'' is a repartee.
I had a strange dream.
My head was on the block. The axman said--
''One quip and you can live.''
Everyone at court has that dream.
Don't laugh with your mouth open. It's too coarse.
Is Mr. de Montalieri dissatisfied?
Your letter alarmed me.
It's a good post, Mathilde.
Being a governess will aid your ambitions.
Monsieur is pleased with my work.
But...
it'd be indecent to remain in his wife's home.
''Monsieur de Montalieri...
shall have access to his wife's bed twice a month.
Her refusal will invalidate this contract.
Any breach of this contract...
will terminate the income of £2,000...
which Mr. de Montalieri bestows on his future wife.''
For the last time, are you sure?
There's no mention of the workshop I need...
for my research.
It's stipulated in the appendix.
My future bride...
defends her interests.
I approve of that...
but I wish to set one more condition.
My bride shall not...
before or after our wedding...
for any reason...
appear at court.
If she does, I shall be freed of my commitments.
Mademoiselle de Bellegarde, do you agree to this?
My daughter detests the corruption of the court.
Don't you, Mathilde?
I won't put any wedding date...
as Madame de Montalieri is still... with us.
How is she?
She didn't recognize me yesterday.
Help me.
It's not watertight.
Do you know the water pressure at 1 00 feet?
3 ounces per square inch. I've studied Pascal.
Nature put crabs under water and girls at home.
Nature gave your peasants fever.
- What grease do you use? - Otter fat? Why?
Seal the seams with tar.
Then observe...
how well it reacts to movement.
Turn around.
Do you love Montalieri?
Love?
I don't believe in it.
Why get married?
It's either that...
stay poor, or be a nun.
My father can't pay for my research.
You'll take a lover, like all noblewomen.
You can look.
Don't watch your feet!
Now spin.
Spin!
Had only the tyranny of wit done away with genealogists!
I'm trying to see the king...
to plead that my family be restored its historic title.
The Bishop of Caen is helping me.
I expect to be heard soon.
I'm glad.
It's important.
I'm in line for a post at the Academy.
A lucrative post!
Meanwhile, I'm a little short.
I'm sorry.
But I'd give you an I.O.U.!
I'm hard up myself. I'm sorry.
May I ask what you seek at Versailles?
A grant to drain some fever-infested swamps.
Do you have sponsors?
Do you have wit?
I know how to speak my mind.
Your best hope is to see the king...
but first you must prove your lineage back to... 1 399.
We belong to the House of Savoy.
I see...
but you have no proof of your family title.
We've always had it.
Perhaps...
but I need to see the birth certificate...
of Marquis Sigismond de Malavoy...
deceased in 1 507.
Our castle burned in 1 680. Papers--
Castles have a habit of burning.
Write to his native parish.
They may have baptism records.
Watch this. Galvani was right.
Electricity affects animals' wits.
I have a theory.
Electricity and wit are one and the same.
Such smooth skin.
Like the legs of--
You admire my greatest success.
That diving suit is madness.
Mathilde was born in the age of Rousseau.
I forbade her nothing.
Is this marriage her idea?
Her will is her own.
Thank you.
Excuse me.
Excellent news!
Dinner with the Duke de Guines!
I told you wit opened doors!
Thank you, Paul.
Excuse me. Is that boy a deaf-mute?
Yes, and a half-wit.
I can help him. I run a home for such children.
We have a language--
He's perfectly happy with us.
Charles Michel de l'Epée.
I'm delighted.
Excuse me!
Age and rank first.
My heritage is clear. We're cousins.
One of my aunts is a Ballencourt.
Ballencourt de Merignac?
Ballencourt du Tilleul.
It's the same family.
Look at our grandfather.
See the resemblance?
Our grandfather?
His is the one with four legs!
Reply, Monsieur...
with the wit that befits Academy membership.
It never befat one worthier than I!
''Befat''?
Droll language for a would-be Academician!
Don't be surprised.
Every harem has its eunuch.
That guard is watching us.
No wonder.
This is a lovers' walk.
We look out of place.
Play the lover, then.
Why waste your best years...
on a lecherous old man?
He's interested in science.
Discussing the facts of life may bring children!
I have better things to do.
Don't you?
I'm trying to save lives.
You're misguided.
Versailles doesn't save lives.
Rotten trees bear no fruit.
Is your harvest in?
Almost.
You think me heartless.
You're young.
You think you don't need anyone.
I have enough. Let's go.
Hurry up!
The bee has its pollen!
Pollinate these.
You disapprove of my reasons for marrying.
What is this variety?
You didn't answer.
You judge me.
Your vital instincts draw you to me.
Nothing else.
The portrait session!
That's enough for today.
You must compose a rhyming epigram.
A dull epigram will count against you.
Quips depend on luck. Epigrams need work.
Work kills inspiration.
Be bold but circumspect.
Beware of the abbot. He's a snake.
He watches in silence.
When he speaks, it's too late.
''Eyes, wise.''
''Missed, Eucharist.''
Verse form?
Iambic couplets.
The one joy here that I have missed
Has been to see our king so wise
LikeJesus at the Eucharist
Our mouths he feeds but not our eyes.
What mental dexterity!
Your turn.
''Skill, will.''
''Newcomer, summer.''
Permit me, Countess?
Is it Flemish?
What workmanship!
Verse form?
Octosyllables.
The abbot's quick wit has such skill
It inspires in every newcomer
He can be entertaining at will
Once in winter
And once in the summer.
The Count of Artois invited me to chocolate.
You're leaving?
On with the game!
I see the abbot trusts his memory more than his wit.
What price is your silence?
Fear not. I will not fan the winds of gossip.
You should use sealskins.
I will order some.
From Canada? That will be costly.
I will soon be wealthy.
- I used to swim here. - You can swim?
I'll teach you.
Have you seen a drowned body? It's horrible.
- Water harms only the fearful. - Nonsense.
There are boats and bridges. Why swim?
For fun.
There must be carp here.
What are court ladies like?
I hear they bathe in powder!
Many catch rich old goats, but few can swim.
Perhaps they had no choice.
Is it also true that suitors fish for favors?
You've changed.
You enjoy it. You're becoming like them.
What are you doing?
Archimedes' law says I will float...
but how do I move forward?
Push your arms back and move your legs like a frog.
I stand by what I said!
It's not natural!
I've been waiting for an hour, yet you see him before me!
Patience denotes nobility.
The problem in your case has been solved.
It's all settled.
But...
the birth certificate?
Were proof always required, most nobles would be commoners.
Your title...
signed and sealed.
Good luck.
I am deeply grateful.
The Countess of Blayac deserves...
the bulk of your gratitude.
The piety of children gives the kingdom strength.
Your parish will be cared for.
Now please excuse me, Father.
Christ be with you.
How can I thank you?
Please don't. I'm sorry you caught me dispensing charity.
Your heart is good.
So many give for show.
My wit has greater renown than my heart...
but you decide.
Does engineering interest you?
Since I met you, Mr. Engineer.
Tell me about your project.
Beneath my homeland is a layer of clay that traps rain.
The drainage--
A muddy subject! I want to hear of inventions.
The king can tell you more than I.
He does often talk of them.
You know tales of woe.
I've imposed long enough.
Thanks are no imposition.
Sit down.
Let's chat.
I hear Miss de Bellegarde is pretty...
but nobody sees her.
Does our intimacy embarrass you?
You think me clumsy for...
I am torn between respect for you...
and desire.
How convoluted...
for a man of wit!
Must you dine to shine?
Countess, don't be cruel.
I would be flattered were it not for the fact...
that my bedroom is known to lead to the king.
You misjudge me.
Swallow your pride. Let people help you.
Learn to hide your insincerity...
so that I can yield without dishonor.
Remember only that...
and you've profited here.
The record is 1 4 minutes. We can beat it.
Not me. You almost drowned!
I forbade you to do it!
''Forbade?''
Who are you to forbid me?
Not even my father dares.
Would you care if I died?
It would finish off your fiancé.
His wife finally died.
You'll be married...
as soon as decency permits.
He's kind, and his children love me.
I'm keeping this. Ask me for it next time.
I dread this marriage!
I doubt it. You're cold-blooded.
You belong with the fish!
Give me back my helmet!
I will miss her.
Have you no sweetheart yourself?
I am poor.
What have I to offer but swamps and fever?
Fine life for a lady.
To be happy we need women.
To them, a man's fears are never ridiculous.
Watch the hat on the grey horse's rider.
The king is selecting.
Have we a chance?
Not so loud!
Some have waited months...
like de Guéret.
I prefer my swamps to this.
The king heard about your horse quip.
Will it work?
Alas, the ''eunuch''joke is also on everyone's lips.
Make no mistakes!
What an angel!
Baron de Guéret!
Lend me your shoe!
- I'd be ridiculed! - I beg you! I was called!
People are staring!
Louis of France!
Remember, the nobles made you king...
those whom you now humiliate.
You abase us...
yet give a savage the cross of St. Louis!
Come away! We don't belong here.
The Sioux are our friends.
Half-naked with a necklace of bones...
and the name of Stinking Bear...
yet he almost makes us look ridiculous.
We see so little of you.
Sire, the Abbot of Vilecourt.
''Every harem has its eunuch!''
I've heard of you.
It's only de Bellegarde's idiot.
She's here, Madame.
Show her in.
Your father sings your praises...
but he hides you.
Will we see you at court one day?
You ordered my father to send Paul away.
Please forgive him.
Alas, the harm is done.
He's only a poor deaf-mute.
He'll be happier with his kind.
He's always been with us.
You haven't come about the boy.
I am well disposed to you.
I am fond of your father...
and I help my friends.
One day, you will see.
Madame, Paul!
You're yet a child.
Forget that half-wit.
How fares our Mr. Ponceludon de Malavoy?
Such a pretty wit!
He's very well.
I had heard of your learning...
but not of your beauty.
Are you also witty?
He'll be fine.
You've called them prisons.
The Abbot of l'Epée runs a very good home.
More straw? Fewer lashes?
I had no choice. Courtesy demanded it.
Courtesy!
What makes you so gloomy?
Ponceludon de Malavoy!
He saw us cheat at epigrams.
He could ridicule me in front of the king.
Don't worry.
He'll never sit at the king's table. Leave it to me.
Do you think I've lost my claws?
I'll have a dinner...
and serve Ponceludon de Malavoy a dish of ridicule.
Is this yours?
The countess won't make your rendezvous.
She's playing piquet with Madame de Lamballe.
Love's course is never a straight line...
Mr. Engineer.
I'll remember your geometry.
Tomorrow she's giving a dinner for wits.
You're invited.
Alone.
I don't pretend to inspire passion...
but at 30, Mathilde will be a wealthy widow.
Very wealthy.
With her whole life before her.
A drummer boy at the battle of Fontenoy...
who had half his head shot off by a cannonball...
managed to shout out...
''I fear I'm losing my mind!''
Now that took wit!
A carriage at this hour?
It's for me.
A lover's tryst?
I'll leave a lantern out for you.
Good night.
How unlucky! There are thirteen of us.
We must ask a footman to sit with us.
A killing cure!
Sit with a footman?
We'd look ridiculous!
Then one of us must leave.
He of lowest rank.
I propose a contest.
He who has shown the least wit when the soup arrives must go.
A tournament of wit!
So be it.
Let the contest begin.
How is your wife, Monsieur?
Asking a man about his wife...
is like asking about last year's fashions.
I pray to the Virgin once a month...
to avoid talk if my wife gets pregnant.
A wife who sleeps with her husband is in labor.
Why not go to a brothel?
The good company there isn't bad...
and the bad company is excellent.
Personally...
I no longer consort with whores.
They're as depraved as gentlewomen.
It's easier to die for a woman than to find one worth dying for.
I marry only virgins.
I pay dearly for what any man can steal.
Why do women's confessors always end up archbishops?
Women are wittier.
If the sinner lacks wit, the confessor atones for it.
What good is wit?
Without it, one is never bored.
A man of wit who says less...
isn't thought less of.
A silent fool is none the wiser.
Don't denounce the dull.
Without plains, there would be no peaks.
Wait! Ponceludon must speak.
Wit is like money. The less we have, the better.
''Wit is the opposite of money.
The less we have, the better.'' Voltaire.
Robbers should know whom they rob.
The contest is over.
I'm starved.
Serve me with the footmen.
We're judged by the company we keep.
A misjudgment.
Judas kept excellent company.
I'm sorry to miss your wedding.
You're rushing to leave me?
Yes.
A woman who throws herself at a man always loses him.
Give up your water-flowers and you'll be ordinary.
Why give them up?
We can share them.
Being married to an estate in debt...
will wilt your dreams.
If only I'd never met you!
I could still pretend I'm not selling myself.
The painter's waiting.
When he's done, can we take a last walk?
I must reach an inn before dark.
Is admitting love so hard?
You and I are alike.
Our plans come first.
Is admitting love so hard?
How convoluted, for a man of wit.!
You've changed. You're becoming like them.
You'll be more useful at home.
Poor people.! They're not only dying, they're boring.
Drain France's treasury.!
I dread this marriage.!
I've seen so many country gentlemen.
Wit debonair in the age of Voltaire
Was seen as a heaven-sent treasure
Wit opened doors to the company of Lords
And the tasting of noble pleasure
In the past it was able to put food on the table
But those days are gone forever
A witty rebuff or a verse off the cuff
Are no more the coin of the clever
What are you doing?
You're giving up £2,000! Are you mad?
I'm breaking it off.
On a whim?
Beg Montalieri's pardon.
No, Father. I've decided.
I can't bear to marry him.
Is it Ponceludon?
- No income from our woods? - I sold the five acres...
to buy a horse and repair the bridge.
Poor Grégoire.
You'll inherit only ruins.
How was Versailles?
- You saw the king? - He's very busy, but...
he listens to everyone.
Léonard is sick.
Since when?
Two weeks ago. He drank swamp water.
From the pond?
Here, Léonard.
The king blessed it.
He tells you...
he loves all children.
The priest will pray.
God will hear him.
Why has God sent us this curse?
It's those damned swamps!
Don't blame yourself.
Versailles took everything you had.
Is our cause progressing?
Yes...
but don't stop praying.
''I am everything that is, was, and ever shall be.''
The Egyptians who carved those words in stone...
believed in only one effect...
and only one cause.
They viewed the universe...
as one giant cause--
- Show-off!. - Who says we have no great preachers?
The prime cause of everything is absolute and perfect!
There can never be two perfect beings...
or they'd be One.
The perfect Being...
is indivisible.
What is in itself...
does not change.
Time measures change.
Perfection cannot change!
One, unchanging and eternal--
It is He! God!
Causa sui. He's His own cause!
Bravo, Vilecourt! Dazzling!
It's nothing. This evening I proved the existence of God.
But...
I can prove the reverse if it pleases Your Majesty!
I'll see you jailed, Philosopher!
Your Majesty! It was only a jest!
A blaspheming fool!
Sophistic braggart!
So near yet so far.
The king seems ill-humored.
Will you plead for me?
- I can't help you. - It was a jest!
Where did I go wrong?
The soul of wit is to know one's place.
Baron...
Many women would blush at the endearments I gave you...
yet you left with no word of farewell.
For you have I forsaken the Abbot of Vilecourt...
my confessor...
who resented my untiring praise of you.
I will forgive you forjeopardizing my soul...
in exchange for some news of you.
A woman's advantage...
lies in the influence she is able to wield at court.
I have wielded mine...
to make you the most-favored absentee of Versailles.
Who rings at this hour?
He wishes to see you.
Let him in, quick!
I have, Madame.
The boy died in my arms.
How dreadful.
To your canals.
To your locks.
What are you doing?
You sent for me?
I had a fit of palpitations.
I'm sorry to call you so early. I was so afraid.
Better safe than sorry.
Do you often get them?
Old friends meet again.
I'll take my leave.
Monitor Madame's heart.
Her palpitations worry me.
What are you staring at?
Have you seen a ghost?
Mrs. Montalieri--
Miss de Bellegarde?
You were away...
when she broke her engagement.
Your guile has no equal.
Be patient...
and you'll be thankful.
Why are deaf-mutes isolated...
cut off from the rest of mankind?
Do they not perceive objects as we do?
Why do they remain stupid?
Why do they become intelligent?
In the beginning was the Word!
Socrates said...
''If we could not speak and wanted to communicate...
would we not copy the dumb...
and talk with our hands, heads...
and bodies?''
This is Simon...
a merchant's son, aged 25...
born deaf and dumb.
He entered my care at 1 5.
Thanks to sign language, he can read...
write and count.
He has an artist's soul.
Here are Antoine, Pierre...
and Thérèse, aged 1 9.
After 3 years, she can do 4-figure sums in her head.
She's very devout.
This is Paul. He's 1 7...
and very gifted.
He learned my language...
in two months.
He can hold a conversation.
Next spring...
I will marry Thérèse and Paul.
You mock the holy state of matrimony!
I once saw Romeo and Juliet...
played by an ape and a poodle!
Can the groom even read that clock?
It's 3 minutes fast.
Louder, Miss. He didn't hear you!
Ask him what use a violin serves.
Watteau preferred seeing one to hearing it.
One question, Father.
Are their lives endurable?
What did he say?
It's untranslatable.
It's a ''play on signs.''
How do you say, ''Bravo''?
Like this!
Out of bed!
This is Signor Panella.
You need a court suit.
I have all the clothes I need.
At 1 1 :00 tomorrow morning, you will be at the Diana steps.
The king will be passing by.
The rest is up to you.
I'll leave him to you, Signor.
Is this the man you spoke of?
They say you have great wit.
- Sire? - Indeed, yes!
The countess sings its praises.
Come. Show us.
Be witty this minute!
Use me, for example.
Sire, the king is not a subject.
''The king is not a subject.''
Admirable!
Not a pun, I hope?
No, Sire. A play on words.
Most memorable.
De Malavoy may join us.
Come here, de Malavoy.
You're an engineer.
Handsome design, Sire.
However, if I may be so bold...
a sprocket here...
would maintain the elevation.
What a good idea!
Didn't you think of it?
I hear you have a hydrographic project.
To drain the Dombes swamps, Sire.
We'll discuss it.
Speak to my secretary.
Gentlemen.
The ''Ponceludon'' gun: the butt is wider than the mouth.
What?
Your butt is wider than your mouth.
I demand satisfaction.
Forgive me.
I had to see you again.
I'm listening.
Whatever happens...
we'll stay friends.
Why does it matter?
You made the suit watertight?
Promise to be careful.
I was unaware of your decision.
Did you come running when you heard?
To tell you I bedded the countess to get to the king?
For your peasants' sake, I'd have approved.
Your logic is impregnable.
From now on, I'll be true.
Why the instruments?
I'm attending a duel.
Ponceludon...
and Colonel de Chevernoy.
If you come to any harm, I will die.
Flee.
Go to my house at St. Bauzile.
I'll join you.
Do it for your peasants, if not for me.
You must live for them.
Have my bags packed.
Victor will drive you.
Come back only for the king.
Madame...
If I die, send my hat and spurs to my mother.
Give the rest to the poor...
except my new suit, an insult to their plight.
- I'm to drive you to St. Bauzile. - I know, I know.
Don't worry. Go home.
Will the barb-tongued lover die, a bullet in the head?
Where's the moral in that?
Maybe I was wrong to seek fruit from a rotten tree.
The lover has no regrets.
I am thankful to have met you.
You expended some credit on my behalf...
and my memory has no bitterness.
No apology has been tendered.
We shall now draw lots.
Mr. de Chevernoy shoots first.
We embraced without love and will part...
without regret.
But I venture to believe...
our passion leaves room for friendship.
Ponceludon has killed de Chevernoy.
Is he with you?
He left with Miss de Bellegarde.
He'll pay for it!
Who comes?
Visitors, Madame.
Baroness Boisjoli, Baron Malenval and de Milletail.
Already?
They want to see me suffer.
Tell them I'm indisposed.
Indisposed?
- Could it be smallpox? - No, Madame.
The honor of a lady jilted by an oaf.
An oaf dear to the king.
Soon we'll pay court to him.
The countess will be avenged.
At home, when a mad dog is loose, we sound the alarm.
You've done it! You broke the record!
It will start leaking. Come up!
I love you, Grégoire!
His Majesty cannot meet in private with a man...
who killed one of his officers.
Not immediately, anyway.
A gentleman defends his honor.
You did your duty.
You're too good.
Versailles won't help you.
Your land needs you-- us.
Give up? After stooping so low?
We'll work the land and make it healthy.
I'll see the king.
It's only a matter of time.
You're not one of them.
I'm still welcome at court. You think not?
''Lovers of the fall, come to the mystery ball.
Welcome to the clever-witted.
Dullards will not be admitted.''
We're invited.
And if a countess invites you to bed?
Tomorrow you're my partner!
It's the red beak.
The red beak.
May I borrow him?
Do you wear my colors...
in memory of my pleasure?
Trip him now!
Who is this nimble dancer?
I dub you...
''Marquis des Antipodes.''
An honor justly earned!
Like the Antipodeans...
he dances upside down.
Marquis des Antipodes. How clever!
Worthy of Voltaire!
- We'll find out who you are. - The costume renter knows.
Don't bother.
Children will die tomorrow...
because you ridicule me today.
You envy Voltaire's wit.
He would have wept.
He was ridiculously compassionate.
Whose turn is next?
Who gets lashed with wit so sharp his whole family reels?
You?
You, perhaps?
Unless you get the chance to lash your neighbor first.
Monsieur!
Take off your mask!
We all want to know who coined ''Marquis des Antipodes.''
I'm going back to my swamps...
where I belong.
I'll build my canals and dikes.
I'll dig mud with my bare hands.
Wit was the very air we breathed!
Now the bloated rhetoric of Danton...
rules in place of wit.
You'll like it here.
On a clear day...
you can see France.
Mathilde and Grégoire stayed behind.
She's helping him drain the Landes. Or is it the Dombes?
I can't remember.
May the turmoil spare them.
What skills do you have?
I can teach children French...
science, physics, physiology--
My hat! I've lost my hat!
Better your hat than your head.
Ah, humor!
It's wonderful.
I used to keep a list of witty remarks.
I filed them by category: Repartees, Quips, Paradoxes--
RPM
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