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Des de Moor
Lyrics


Cinema (Le Cinéma)
On the boulevard des hommes On the boulevard des hommes
An album by Monique, featuring this translation by Des. Read more.
Buy On the boulevard des hommes from Amazon

Monique
voice
Nigel Jones
piano
Julie Walkington
double bass


Monique, a French singer based in Britain, asked me to translate this miniature masterpiece of storytelling and character study by the great Claude Nougaro. The original told the story from the point of view of a man fantasising about a woman he hasn't got the courage to ask out, but Monique wanted to sing it from the point of view of the object of his fantasy, who, it turns out, is well aware of what's going on. There are therefore two English versions on this page. The first version is the one Monique actually recorded, and also contains a few other minor amendments -- she interpreted the central character as a bit more pathetic and less aggressive than I'd seen him. The second version is from the same viewpoint as the original, and is the version I would use if I sang the song. Sadly, Nougaro died a matter of weeks after he'd approved the translation.
On the black screen of your white nights you
Create yourself some cinema,
No budget and no camera.
Bardot can catch an early flight
Because you've cast me as your star.

Each time you try to say you love me, you take fright:
Turns out you cannot go that far
And so you're left with just the light
On the black screen of your white nights
Where you create your cinema.

Shot one: a closeup on my hips
Then drag the shot up to my breasts.
On widescreen they will look their best.
Cut to the smile on your lips
As you approach me half undressed.

A six-foot Hercules with arms like trunks of trees,
You tear the white screen into two.
I can't resist your pagan charms,
I am already in your arms,
A bed appears out of the blue.

On the black screen of your white nights
Where you create your cinema,
One time, two times, so many times
You run it round, that scene, again
When I collapse into your arms.

You film on weeks and weekends, never miss a night.
Sometimes you call by, ring your bell.
Do you kiss me and hold me tight
Like on the screen of your white nights?
No. You just say: "Are you keeping well?"

And take me to the cinema.


On the black screen of my white nights I
Create myself some cinema,
No budget and no camera.
Bardot can catch an early flight
Because I've cast you as my star.

When I try to say I love you, I take fright, it
Turns out I cannot go that far
And so I'm left projecting spite
On the black screen of sleepless nights
Where I create my cinema.

Shot one: a closeup on your wide hips
And then a tilt up to your breasts.
In widescreen they will look their best.
Cut to the smile that's on my lips
As I approach you half undressed.

A six-foot Hercules with arms like trunks of trees,
I tear the white screen into two.
You can't resist my manly charms,
You are already in my arms,
A bed appears out of the blue.

On the black screen of my white nights I
Project imagined manly charms.
Once, twice, ten, twenty times and then
Once more I run the scene again
When you collapse into my arms.

I shoot on weekdays, Sundays, in colour, black and white.
Sometimes you stop by, ring my bell
And do I kiss and hold you tight
Like on the screen of my white nights?
No. I ask you: "Are you keeping well?"

And take you to the cinema.


Sur l'écran noir de mes nuits blanches,
Moi je me fais du cinéma
Sans pognon et sans caméra,
Bardot peut partir en vacances:
Ma vedette, c'est toujours toi.

Pour te dire que je t'aime, rien à faire, je flanche:
J'ai du cœur mais pas d'estomac
C'est pourquoi je prends ma revanche
Sur l'écran noir de mes nuits blanches
Où je me fais du cinéma.

D'abord un gros plan sur tes hanches
Puis un travelling-panorama
Sur ta poitrine grand format,
Voilà comment mon film commence,
Souriant je m'avance vers toi.

Un mètre quatre-vingts, des biceps plein les manches,
Je crève l'écran de mes nuits blanches
Où je me fais du cinéma,
Te voilà déjà dans mes bras,
Le lit arrive en avalanche...

Sur l'écran noir de mes nuits blanches,
Où je me fais du cinéma,
Une fois, deux fois, dix fois, vingt fois
Je recommence la séquence
Où tu me tombes dans les bras...

Je tourne tous les soirs, y compris le dimanche,
Parfois on sonne; j'ouvre: c'est toi!
Vais-je te prendre par les hanches
Comme sur l'écran de mes nuits blanches ?
Non: je te dis "comment ça va ?"

Et je t'emmène au cinéma...

Translation: Deptford, London, 15 and 22 April 2003



 Words
Claude Nougaro


 Translation
Des de Moor


 Music
Michel Legrand


© Copyright 1962 Éditions WCMF/ Éditions du Chiffre Neuf. Translated by permission of the composer.

Originally recorded in 1962 by Claude Nougaro with Michel Legrand and his orchestra on Philips. English version recorded by Monique on On the boulevard des hommes: see opposite.

Buy original version on Claude Nougaro: Jazz et Java box set from Amazon

All rights reserved. No material on these pages can be reproduced in whole or in part in any form, except for short passages for the purpose of quotation or review, without prior written permission of the copyright owner.


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