Life and Nothing But (1989)
[Irène de Courtil bursts in on Major Dellaplane unannounced]
Major Dellaplane: Can't you knock?
Irène de Courtil: I did. On ten doors, monsieur. Major Dellaplane Knock on eleven. Knock till somebody answers.
[Major Dellaplane advises Alice Vallier to stop looking for her missing fiancé]
Major Dellaplane: You should forget about him too. What do you think you're going to find, a handsome young man in uniform? Even if he's alive, if by some miracle you find him, you may wish you never had. Because he'll be missing half his body or half his face.
Alice: How can you say that?
Major Dellaplane: I say it because it's better for both of you.
Mercadot: Humanity's entered its final stage, the dance of life and death, the great apotheosis. We plug up the holes and screw to prepare for the next war.
[Irene de Courtil is complaining that Major Dellaplane is not doing enough to locate her missing husband]
Irène de Courtil: So you've decided to be an obstacle.
Major Dellaplane: No, madame. I don't have time to explain, but no, I'm not an obstacle. Except that there are 350,000 missing soldiers--349,771, to be exact. So tell the patriarch of Shukert and De Courtil that a 350-thousandth of my "staggering incompetence" is devoted to his personal case. A 350-thousandth of my time, but that's all.
[Mercadot explains how the war's end has affected demand for statues]
Mercadot: The Golden Age, my friend. Nothing like it since the Greeks, since the cathedrals. Even shitty artists have their hands full. A monument per village. Three hundred sculptors for 35,000 towns. Everybody wants his doughboy, his widow, his pyramid, his marble, bas-reliefs, inscriptions. It's a factory. Better than the Renaissance. It's the resurrection.
Major Dellaplane: Thanks to our dead.
Mercadot: Thanks to our dead. Thanks to them.
Major Dellaplane: All antelopes are beautiful. You know why? Because they're scared. Their eyes are black and they're scared. They're right to be. The world is full of jaws.
Alice: Will you go to Mass?
Irène de Courtil: Why?
Alice: Just because.
Irène de Courtil: I don't think so, no.
Alice: You're against it? You're against God?
Irène de Courtil: I should be. All humans should be.
Alice: You're right. Especially women. Only we don't dare.
[Irene de Courtil reacts to an explosion]
Irène de Courtil: It's as if the war was still on.
Major Dellaplane: You saw the war from afar. War is worse, so much worse. Acres and acres covered with rotting cadavers, no trees, fly-covered heads sticking out of waterholes... It stinks. Swarming with rats...
Irène de Courtil: Shut up!
Major Dellaplane: We do nothing but shut up! Who'd listen to us anyway? Who'd print it? The newspapers want only lies and official idiocy. "The war's devastating allure only appears to be destructive." I read that. Signed: General Cherfils. One million five hundred thousand deaths only appear to be dead. Bastards! Bastards!
Irène de Courtil: You dared tell her?
Major Dellaplane: Yes.
Irène de Courtil: Why such brutality?
Major Dellaplane: To help her.
Irène de Courtil: By torturing her?
Major Dellaplane: By stunning her. You have to strike once, so hard it's like a nightmare. Later you wake up and life seems gentler.
Irène de Courtil: Do you want me? As I really am?
Major Dellaplane: But listen! Really! You say such things. You hardly know me.
Irène de Courtil: I don't mean a business partnership.