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Sin with a Stranger

1970       Marie-France Boyer

In Paris, on a Saturday afternoon, a young girl (MARIE-FRANCE BOYER) elbows her way through the crowd to the entrance of the station, buys a ticket and dashes toward the platform. On the platform, two men are chatting in a friendly manner. One is Francois (PIERRE VANECK) age 40, a man with the face of an intellectual. As is his custom on Saturdays, he is coming from the newspaper office where he handles the literary section. The young woman bumps into Francois. He turns around, wondering what possible danger she is fleeing, but all he sees are travelers leaving for the weekend.
When the train stops at Laye-La-Foret, he gets off. But to his great surprise, when he turns around, he sees the girl behind him getting off at the same station. As is his habit, he takes the deserted road along the woods. He hears her steps behind him. Suddenly, there is a scream and the sound of someone falling. He looks back and sees the young woman in a puddle. He helps

her up and asks her where she is going. Without answering his question, she moans about her soiled clothes. He offers to take her to his place to clean up. She seems delighted.
At his home, the girl washes her clothes in the bathroom. When she reappears, a towel tied around her waist, offering herself, he hands her a robe. Francois dislikes "easy" girls and the young woman, sensing his feeling, grows more modest and speaks of leaving. He asks her to stay for a drink and dinner. After dinner, as she steps in front of the fire he has lit, Francois can see her curves under the flimsy robe. Overcome, he goes toward her and takes her in his arms.
Suddenly Barbara tears herself away from him and asks him curtly if there are still trains to Paris. Irritated, he takes her to the station. When they arrive, however, he tries to keep her from going. Then, she sees something in the waiting room that frightens her again. She flees Francois, but, upon returning home, he finds her, frozen with fear, near the garden gate. Francois leads Barbara into the house, begging her to tell him her secret. "Don't call me Barbara," she says, "my name is Sylvie.
Then, Sylvie tells a strange story. While she was working as a model, she met a young man who forced her into prostitution. At first, because of her love, she consented, but later she ran away from him. He continued to pursue her and she thought she saw him in the waiting room of the station. The next day, Francois, enchanted by the girl and their relationship, leaves the house to make some purchases. Crossing the square, he recognizes the man with eyeglasses who was at the station the night before and whom Sylvie had pointed out as her lover
Alone in the house, Sylvie opens a telegram slipped under the door for Francois.
Francois finds Sylvie, pale with fright. To calm her, he promises that the next day he will take her South so that she will forget her past. In the afternoon, Paul, his friend visits Francois to bring him some manuscripts. The telephone interrups their chat. The call is from his estranged wife, Simone, who is amazed to hear that he has not received her telegram in which she had asked him to come to the hospital at Versailles. Their son, Patrice, has been in a motorcycle accident and is hospitalized there.
Angry, Francois looks for Sylvie to find out what has happened to the telegram. She confesses tearing it up because she didn't want him to leave her. Francois is furious at her lack of conscience. Resentful, she locks herself in the bathroom. There, from behind the door, she tells Francois the "truth" about her past. Her lover gambled at poker. She was accompanying him. One night, he cheated. One of the players jumped him, beat him up and threw him out of the gambling house. Sylvie helped her lover reach his car. Suddenly he saw his attacker arrive in a car and stop at his house. With a knife in his hand, Sylvie's lover threw himself on the man and killed him. Ever since, he had but one fear-that Sylvie would talk. He warned her that should she try to escape, he would catch her and kill her. This was the constant danger she lived with.
Moved by her story, Francois assures her that he will be back soon and make preparations for their trip South. In the meantime, at his house a drama takes place. Two cars pull up. Someone knocks at the door. Sylvie, panick-stricken, runs to the window and recognizes the man with the glasses. She takes down a rifle hanging on the wall, loads it clumsily and, trembling, rushes to the door, then the window. Outside, three men circle the house. She is trapped.
Suddenly, one of the men makes a sign. The old neighbor calls to them. There is a momentary lull. Sylvie sits down on the staircase, in front of the door, the weapon at her shoulder. When the door opens, she just hesitates pulling the trigger. It is Francois; he tenderly disarms her. She explains to him what has happened during his absence and implores him to take her away. "Tomorrow," he answers, "tomorrow." The following morning, Francois, at his publishing house, cancels his appointments for the week and plans to leave for eight days.
Francois leaves the office. A new life is opening up for him. He stops at the station newstand to buy a paper, gets back behind the wheel, opens the newspaper, hesitates a moment. Someone puts a hand on his shoulder. Back at home, he finds Sylvie ready to leave. She is joyous and more tender than ever. Francois looks like a man struck by lightning. She has no time to wonder about it for two men enter the house. They seize the young woman who begins to scream. The man with the glasses stands still at the threshhold. Sylvie, struggling and reviling Francois, is dragged outside.
The man at the door removes his glasses. He steps toward Francois. "We certainly had a hard time," he says, "people here talk very little. It was the messenger who saw you." He explains the thread which has led them to Sylvie, but Francois hardly listens. The wound, inside him, is deep. While the man, a police officer, leaves, Francois takes a last look at the newspaper article which reveals to him who Sylvie is.

Starring Marie-France Boyer, Pierre Veneck

Item Details:
Pressbook 12x14 single-sided folded

Sin with a Stranger

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