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The Age of Innocence de Scorsese : Ellen – Archer

The Age Of Innocence Martin Scorsese Daniel Day Lewis Michelle Pfeiffer

Voilà la plus belle scène entre la Comtesse Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer) et Newland Archer (Daniel Day Lewis) dans le film The Age of Innocence de Martin Scorsese (en anglais) :

In the hallway at Ellen’s house that evening. The maid opens the door and takes Archer’s coat. She hangs it and picks up a large bouquet of crimson roses, with purple pansies at their base and starts to carry them toward the drawing room.

ELLEN: Nastasia, take those to that nice family down the street. And come right back. The Struthers are sending a carriage for me at seven. (She holds her hand out to Archer). Who’s ridiculous enough to send me a bouquet? I’m not going to a ball. And I’m not engaged. I’m sure Granny must have told you everything about me.

ARCHER: She did say you were used to all kinds of splendors we can’t give you here.

ELLEN: Well, I’ll tell you. In almost everything she says there’s something true, and something untrue. Why? What has she been telling you?

ARCHER: I think she believes you might go back to your husband. I think she believes you might at least consider it.

ELLEN: A lot of things have been believed of me. But if she thinks I would consider it that also means she would consider it for me. As Granny is weighing your idea of advancing the marriage.

ARCHER (under pressure): May and I had a frank talk in Florida, probably our first. She wants a long engagement to give me time…

ELLEN: Time to give her up for another woman?

ARCHER: If I want to.

ELLEN: That’s very noble.

ARCHER: Yes. But it’s ridiculous.

ELLEN: Why? Because there is no other woman?

ARCHER: No. Because I don’t mean to marry anyone else.

ELLEN: This other woman… Does she love you, too?

ARCHER: There is no other woman. I mean, the person May was thinking of… was never… (slowly) She guessed the truth. There is another woman. But not the one she thinks.

(He sits down beside her and takes her hands, unclasping them. She gets up and moves away from him)

ELLEN: Don’t make love to me. Too many people have done that.

ARCHER: I’ve never made love to you. But you are the woman I would have married if it had been possible for either of us.

ELLEN: Possible? You can say that when you’re the one who’s made it impossible.

ARCHER: I’ve made it…

ELLEN: Isn’t it you who made me give up divorcing? Didn’t you talk to me, here in this room, about sacrifice and sparing scandal because my family was going to be your family? And I did what you asked me. For May’s sake. And for yours.

ARCHER: But there were things in your husband’s letter…

ELLEN: I had nothing to fear from that letter. Absolutely nothing. You were just afraid of scandal for yourself, and for May.

(Ellen starts crying)

ARCHER: Ellen. No. Nothing’s done that can’t be undone. I’m still free. You can be, too.

(He’s holding her. He kisses her and she kisses him back passionately. She breaks away and they stare at each other. Then she shakes her head)

ARCHER: No! Everything is different. Do you see me marrying May now?

ELLEN: Would you ask her that question? Would you?

ARCHER: I have to ask her. It’s too late to do anything else.

ELLEN: You say that because it’s easy, not because it’s true.

ARCHER: This has changed everything.

ELLEN: No. The good things can’t change. All that you’ve done for me, Newland, that I never knew. Going to the Van der Luydens because people refused to meet me. Announcing your engagement at the ball so there would be two families standing behind me instead of one. I never understood how dreadful people thought I was.

(She sees him looking at her questioningly)

Granny blurted it out one day. I was stupid, I never thought. New York seemed so kind and glad to see me. But there was no one as kind as you. They never knew what it meant to be tempted. But you did. You understood. You hated happiness brought by disloyalty and cruelty and indifference. I’d never known that before, and it’s better than anything I’ve known.

(She speaks in a very low voice. Suddenly he kneels. The tip of her satin shoe shows under her dress. He kisses it. She bends over him)

ELLEN: Newland. You couldn’t be happy if it meant being cruel. If we act any other way I’ll be making you act against what I love in you most. And I can’t go back to that way of thinking. Don’t you see? I can’t love you unless I give you up.

(Archer springs to his feet)

ARCHER: And Beaufort, with his orchids? Can you love him? (furious) May is ready to give me up!

ELLEN (quietly): Three days after you pleaded with her to advance your engagement she will give you up?

ARCHER: She refused! That gives me the right…

ELLEN: The right? The same kind of ugly right as my husband claims in his letters?

ARCHER: No, of course not! But if we do this now… Afterwards, it will only be worse for everyone if we…

ELLEN (almost screaming): No, no, no!

(They look at each other for a moment more. Then Ellen picks up a bell and rings for the maid. The maid enters carrying Ellen’s cloak and hat, and a telegram)

ELLEN: I won’t be going out tonight after all.

ARCHER (sarcastic): Please don’t sacrifice. I have no right to keep you from your friends.

MAID (in Italian): This was delivered.

(Ellen takes the envelope, reads it and hands it to Archer. Archer reads the telegram and crumples it up in disappointment)

« Granny’s telegram was successful. Papa and Mama agreed to marriage after Easter. Only a month! I will telegraph Newland. I’m too happy for words and love you dearly. Your grateful cousin May. »

Martin Scorsese, The Age of Innocence (Le Temps de l’Innocence). A lire : la version française dans notre liste complète de textes et de scènes de théâtre (pour une audition ou pour l’amour du travail).

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