Coup de torchon

Synopsis: 1938, in a French african colony. Lucien Cordier is the cop of this village, populated with blacks and a few whites (usually racialist and lustful). He is a washout, everyone (including his wife Huguette) humiliates him. He never arrests anyone and looks at elsewhere when a dirty trick occurs. But one day, he turns into a machiavellian exterminating angel.
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Director(s): Bertrand Tavernier
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
128 min



July 1938

I thought it was judgment day!

Get out of bed, lug.

Vanderbruck's coming.

I feel I didn't get

my night's worth.

- Just what do you want?

- They say a husband's got certain... rights.

Worry about Vanderbruck.

Mr. Vanderbruck!

Always first, eh?

The roof still needs fixing.

Go fetch the carpenter.

But it's not the police's job.

These privies belong

to the Forestry Co.

They're your private property,

in a manner of speaking.

The whole town enjoys them.

The whole town, except me.

It's the first thing

that greets me every morning.

- Can't you move them?

- I can't.

- Why not?

- Because they're there.

Well, that's a fact.

No... not here.

- Not there either...

- Not here nor there.

Well, where then?


You think you and me are gonna...

After what you've just done?

What have I done?

You said:
Vanderbruck's a

public menace.

His latrines are a health hazard,

the law should take action and

since I'm the law, those rotten sh*t holes

will be gone in a week.

- That's what I said.


You chickened out.

He pissed all over you!

Listen, to ass lickers like you

I will serve the soup,

but don't expect...

I'm not sure I agree with you.

Maybe you're right,

but maybe you're wrong.

Anyway, even if I'm what you say,

I'm not the only one. So there!


Your kid brother's up.

I'm coming, Nono dear.

Funny, him calling

his sister Mama.

- What's my Nono want?

- There's a beast under my bed!

That's no reason to call me Mama.

And it doesn't flatter you,


being called Nono's mother:

Gives folks a wrong

idea of your age.

Whatta ya know... no more duck.

He had a bad scare.

The poor thing.

I noticed.

You know what the beast was?

Yeah, a poisonous moth.

Hey, that's my shirt he's got on,

and it's in shreds.

In shreds?

And his eye's scratched too.

Must have been that poisonous moth, huh?

- Don't kill me, Lucien.

- Kill you?

I'm speaking French, no? 'Kill me',

Understand that?

What's he trying to say?

It's about your job, putting folks

in the cooler, you know.

If it wasn't you,

I'd bet my right arm

some lady ripped my shirt, no?

There you go killing me.

That looks great.

It could use some rum.

Rum! Rum! Quick!

Bottle of rum.

Rice pudding wants rum, always!

Aren't you late for work?

I'm looking for my hat.

It's on your head, jerk!

Mama, come and try

the pudding with rum.

It's yummy, but don't say Mama.

- We'll have some.

- I hope so.

Is it true you had a girl last night?

- There's salt in the coffee!

- Cut the crap!

I tell you there's salt

in the coffee!

What a surprise.

I'm glad to see you.

Well, we're not. Being

with trash like you looks bad.

The brothel's feasting

the new colonel...

Got any prisoners

who can wait tables?

You know I never arrest anyone

unless I have to.

I have enough troubles

of my own.

What good is an empty prison?

- He's dumber than we thought.

- That's true.

Morning, Mr Cordier.

Coffee's ready.

And that's not a prisoner?

That one's mine!

- You didn't mention him.

- Because he's mine.

We'll borrow him 'til tomorrow, old chap.

- But he's old and stone deaf.

- Can he make coffee?

He poisoned his wife.

But can he make coffee?

Not very well, no.

It's not bad at all.

Superb! Bring him over tomorrow.

- What's your name?

- Fte-Nat.

So you were born

on Bastille Day, like me.

You've got a good life here in

Bourkassa. Better than in France.

You may be right there.

I can't complain.

I've got free housing,

the wireless, bath, electricity.

At times, not always, I think

I've found paradise on earth.

But you're still a zero!

- Sh*t, he fell.

- He went plop!

That's not very nice.

It was an accident.

You didn't break anything.

We were kidding.

Yeah, just kidding.

Then that's different.

Ooh, he slipped.

Say, "Fte-Nat" isn't

a saint's name, is it?

No, it's the 14th of July!

- I don't get it.

- You're a jerk too.

- But it's true.

- "National holiday"!

Oh, "Fte-Nationale"!

Your hand's shaking, Fte-Nat.

We're both shaking.

Y'know, I couldn't sleep

last night.

I lay in bed, eyes wide open,

tossing and turning

'til I thought I'd go crazy.

Then, suddenly, I got fed up

and said to myself:

"You're going to go bananas."

So I thought and thought...

'til my head ached

from thinking so hard...

and I came to the conclusion

that I just didn't know

what the f*** to do.

You forgot my birthday!

Let me go.

You're hurting me!

Let me go!

- You don't love me.

- No, I don't love you.

- Hear that?

- I don't hear a thing.

It's that brute Marcaillou,

beating his wife again.

Some day he'll kill her.

I must have water in my ears.

Now I can hear.

He's giving the poor kid

a bad time.

- You won't stop him?

- Sure, I'm going.

How much?

- Can't find it.

- Next time.

I hate debts. Here.

- Thank you. Seems to be over.

- Yes, it would seem so.

Rosette. Where'd the dirty pig go?

He's split, uhm?

That way.

I'm too late.

I came running when I heard.

Look, he broke my bag, the pig.

What a filthy mess.

There, there, my Rosette,

my Rosalie.

Put your hand

between my legs...

In the street?

At least they know someone loves me.

It's all over now,

my Rosette.

He hurt me.

It's all over now.

Think about me.

Get down!

Missed! It's your fault.

What are you hunting?

Nothing, jerk.

We're shooting stiffs.

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Jean Aurenche

Jean Aurenche (1903–1992) was a French screenwriter. During his career, he wrote 80 films for directors such as René Clément, Bertrand Tavernier, Marcel Carné, Jean Delannoy and Claude Autant-Lara. He is often associated with the screenwriter Pierre Bost, with whom he had a fertile partnership from 1940 to 1975. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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