Synopsis: A married silkworm smuggler, Herve Joncour, in 19th Century France who travels to Japan to collect his clandestine cargo. While there he spots a beautiful Japanese woman, the concubine of a local baron, with whom he becomes obsessed. Without speaking the same language, they communicate through letters until war intervenes. Their unrequited love persists however, and Herve's wife Helene begins to suspect.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): François Girard
Production: Picturehouse
  7 wins & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
107 min

Steaming water.

Strange trees.

Laughing children.

Her skin...

those eyes.

Why should I tell you about it?

Why now?

Maybe I just need

to tell someone...

and maybe it's you.

I guess it all began

when I came back home

on leave from the army...

when I first saw Helene.

When are you going?

I leave Thursday.

And when will you be back?

One day, I'll have

a whole garden of these-

hundreds, thousands.

To make her happy,

I would have knelt down

and started planting

a garden that very day.


But I had

a military career to pursue.

My father insisted.

Things are heating up in Austria.

I think it will come

to a head by summer.

The outcome is inevitable.

They won't know what to do when

they're faced with

our military forces.

They will crumble like

a stale linzer torte.

What do you think, son?

More fish, dear?

The Austrians are fools, hmm?

I remember,

when I was in the military,

I couldn't stop thinking about her.

We used to say that

if the Austrian's ever

decided to attack,

we'd finish our lunch...

Then, someone came along

to solve my problem.

Can I help you?

Please, sir!

I'm sorry, your honor.

You may leave us.

What can I do for you,


You know

what this is?

Woman's stuff.


It's money, a man's stuff.


And why do I need to hear this?

I'm going to repair the silk mill.

The mill?

Where will you find the money?

That's my problem.

Just make sure no one

gets in my way.

Baldabiou repaired

the old silk mill in six months,

be careful.

or so I was told,

as I was still in the army.


By the time I returned

the following year...

there were three more mills...

and more money than our town

had ever seen.

You know what that is?


Wrong. It's proof

that I was right.


And what do you

want me to do now?

Nothing. You'll be the mayor

of a very rich town.

Marry me, Helene.

Mr. Baldabiou.


I hear you would

like to speak with me.

Yes, but not here.

Do you play?

Uh, no.

Why me?

I need a young man,

a clever man.

Yes, but I'm

not looking for work.

It's not work I'm offering you.

I'm offering you a life.

A strange illness

has entered into the sheds.

Half the silkworms

are either sick or dead.

It's the same in Lyon,

The same everywhere,

as far as Turkey.

What is it?

Nobody knows,

but the clock is ticking.

We cannot solve the problem,

but we can get round it.

We have to. Otherwise,

this town will starve.

I need you to go

and get healthy eggs...

In Africa.


I wish I could,

but my-my leave is up

in two days.

Uh, I have to return

to the barracks.

Who says so?

My father.

Your father?

I'll take care of him.

And he did.

In nomine patris,

Et filii,

Et spiritus sancti.



Two weeks

later, I gave up my uniform...

and I started a new life.

I thought love

would always be that easy.

What are you writing?



I just spoke

with Baldabiou.

I leave a week from tomorrow.

How long?


Maybe months.

Make it weeks.

That was 1862,

the year of the Great Snow.

I set off to Egypt

to get the eggs.

It took me a month

to find them...

and a little less to come back.

I knew nothing about silk

or how it was made.

All I new was that

I had to keep those tiny eggs

away from heat,

keep them clean,

and bring them back

before they'd hatched.

That's all I knew.

But back at the village,

someone else was about to hatch-

Ludovic Berbek.

Beatrice was so proud

to show off her baby that day.

Give me a child.

How was Africa?

We never talked about it.

It was beautiful.

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François Girard

François Girard (born January 12, 1963) is a French-Canadian director and screenwriter. Born in Quebec, Girard's career began on the Montreal art video circuit. In 1990, he produced his first feature film, Cargo; he attained international recognition following his 1993 Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, a series of vignettes about the life of piano prodigy Glenn Gould. In 1998, he wrote and directed The Red Violin, which follows the ownership of a red violin over several centuries. The Red Violin won an Academy Award for Best Original Score, thirteen Genie Awards and nine Jutra Awards. He has also directed various works for the stage, including Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, Oedipus Rex and Novencento at the Edinburgh International Festival; Kafka's The Trial, adapted for the stage by Serge Lamothe at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa; the oratorio Lost Objects at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Siegfried in Toronto; and The Lindbergh Flight and The Seven Deadly Sins, first in Lyon and then in Edinburgh. Girard has also produced a residency show for Cirque du Soleil, Zed, in Tokyo and Zarkana, which opened at Radio City Music Hall in New York in the summer of 2011.In 2013 the Metropolitan Opera in New York opened a new production of Richard Wagner's Parsifal directed by Girard. The production received near universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike.His television credits include Le dortoir, Peter Gabriel's Secret World and The Sound of the Carceri, one of the six episodes of Yo Yo Ma Inspired by Bach. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Silk" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 20 Apr. 2021. <>.

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