The Bridge of San Luis Rey (2004) Movie Script

If there were any plan in the universe...
...any pattern to human life...
...surely it could be discovered
mysteriously latent... those lives so suddenly cut off.
Either we live by accident...
...and die by accident...
...or we live by plan...
...and die by plan.
The day of the funeral,
all Lima was in a state of a trance.
The bodies of the victims
had been approximately collected, but...
...only approximately separated.
It was a great service...
...and a resolute rendering of hearts
among soul-searchers.
There but for the grace of God.
Why did this happen to those five?
Why not me?
On Friday at noon,
the finest bridge in all Peru broke...
...and precipitated five travelers...
...into the gulf below.
We have all of us,
since we have heard of the accident...
...made the...
the sign of the cross...
...and a mental calculation... to how recently
we had crossed by it...
...and how soon we had intended
crossing by it again.
We live in a country, in a place...
...where catastrophes,
which are shockingly called acts of God...
...are more than usually frequent.
Tidal waves
have washed away entire cities.
Earthquakes arrive every week
in some parts...
...and diseases are forever flitting
in and out of the provinces.
Old age carries away
some of our most admirable citizens...
...and towers fall
on good men and women all the time.
But we have all of us been
deeply impressed...
...and especially touched... the rent
in the bridge of San Luis Rey.
The bridge seemed to be
among the things that would last forever.
It was unthinkable
that it should just... break.
We've all had hallucinations
of ourselves...
...falling into that gulf.
Within ten minutes... myself.
It would have been me.
So I resolved to inquire into the
secret lives of those five persons...
...falling through the air at that moment...
...and to surprise the reasons
of theirtaking off.
For six years,
I knocked on all the doors in Lima...
...asked hundreds of questions...
...cataloging thousands of little facts
and anecdotes and testimonies... accurately as I could.
The result, as we know,
was this torrid testament... heretical in title as in content.
Sheer treachery.
It's but a book of findings.
Nothing more sinister.
The mere facts of these five lonely lives
so tragically cut off.
So, we may never know
their central passions...
...and you, who claim to have inquired
after every detail of their existences...
...isn't it possible that even you have
missed the very spring within the well?
If you'll permit, what I wrote down were
the particulars of these precious portraits.
I began in the Franciscan reading room
at San Martin...
...with a book that is bound
between two great wooden covers.
It was there that I came upon
the only copy of the volumes of letters...
...from the Marquesa de Montemayor... her daughter, Doa Clara.
I will write often.
I will write every day, my love.
And when my little daughter
has a little...
It must take
six months at least, Marquesa... receive an answer
to one's letter from Spain.
Left alone in Lima...
...the Marquesa's life grew
more and more inward.
So necessary was it for her love...
...that she attract the admiration
of herdistant child...
...she existed entirely
in the endless dialogues...
...that evidence hereccentricities
in her many letters to Spain.
"Rest easy, my love.
I am sending His Most Catholic Majesty
the perfect gold chain.
He need never know
that in orderto obtain it...
...I had to walk into a picture.
Do you remember
that in the sacristy of San Martin...
...there is a portrait by Velzquez...
...of the viceroy who founded the monastery
and of his wife and brat...
...and that his wife
is wearing a gold chain?"
I have resolved
that only that chain will do. "
The most beautiful girl
in Spain, you see...
...ishes to present the finest golden chain
that could be found... the most gracious king in the world.
My mother,
the Marquesa de Montemayor...
...most insisted
that you should have it...
...on the occasion of
the christening of the infante.
It is the most perfect gold chain.
Isn't it just, Your Highness?
She stepped into
a Velzquez portrait to procure it.
I must meet this Marquesa.
Be sure she's invited to court.
We might pass an evening together
in a Titian.
We cannot possibly
entertain her at court.
You must rest easy, my love.
It is done.
History may well revere her
as one of the few great women of Peru.
Her indiscretions could get us both
into a great deal of trouble.
We have interceded three times
to ignore her from the Inquisition.
His Excellency has the gout again.
I say again
because the flattery of court insists...
...that there are times
when he's free of it.
He started out,
this being Saint Mark's Day... visit the university...
...where 22 new doctors
were being brought out.
He had hardly been carried
from his divan to his couch...
...whereupon he broke
the most delicious cigar.
And while we were listening
to his long doctrinal address...
...more or less in Latin...
...he summoned for you...
...more or less in Spanish.
All the while,
in the same humor, the gout.
She represents well
the reports of her honor...
...made to the Inquisition,
does she not?
My dear Marquesa, you have been
denounced three times by the Inquisition...
...and but for the influence
of your son-in-law in Spain...
...might have been burned at the stake.
Pass me the blessed See's
maps of the New World.
"Dedicated to the Oondesa D'Abuirre,
daughter of
the Marquesa de Montemayor...
...who is the admiration of her city...
...and a rising sun in the west. "
My dear Marquesa.
Having sustained the career
of this can'tographer... daughter has a reputation... one of the most outstanding women
of intelligence at the Spanish court.
So, how is it possible that her mother...
...the daughter
of a conniving cloth merchant...
...the wife of a ninny
of a ruined nobleman... is it possible that from the womb
of such witlessness... born such wisdom?
You have my permission
to travel to Europe...
...and attend to her at court in Spain.
The King has issued
your invitation personally.
Oh! Your Excellency!
And my next project is
with the scientist Azuarius.
His treatise on the law of hydraulics
was originally suppressed... the Inquisition
as being too exciting... it will take quite some funds... dampen the criticisms
of certain persons of the Ohurch.
My clever little Olara.
My allowance from you
is simply not sufficient.
Am I literally to sustain...
...all the arts and sciences of Spain?
Some of your schemes
seem so grandiose... to require all the wealth of Peru
to maintain them.
It is just too torturous of you
to reproach my expenses.
I knew nothing good could come
of your being called to Spain.
It's not my fault that nothing memorable
has been produced in this time.
The knowledge
that I may never be loved in return... just too much to bear.
We have all of us
fallen victim to the tyranny...
...of loving more
for the sake of ourselves.
May God grant you the gift of a daughter
who truly loves her mother...
...rather than dazzle her
with secret indifference.
God go with you.
The visit was anticipated with resolutions
well-nourished on self-reproach...
...the one to be patient
and the other undemonstrative.
Both failed.
It is almost impossible to imagine
the pains Doa Maria endured... order to seduce
her daughter's affections.
She would force herself out into society
in order to cull its ridicules...
...insinuate herself into the company
of the most celebrated conversationalists.
Too often, unfortunately,
among harborers of heretical opinion.
Some of us harbored fears
for her sanity.
False fears,
as it happened, Archbishop.
The devil's diagnosis.
Artistic more accurately describes
her distracted nature...
...though I know that the Archbishop
paid great personal attention... the perceptions of the Inquisition... I discovered
from the Marquesa's letters...
...even when visiting the Convent of
Santa Rosa de las Rosas on its behalf.
"That strange genius...
...the Abbess Madre Maria del Pilar,
has fallen in love with an idea...
...against the obstinacy of ourworld... her desire to attach a little dignity
to the lives of women. "
Evening prayers. Forgive me.
So... Archbishop.
To what, at such an hour as this,
do we owe the pleasure of your visit?
I have come, dear Mother,
in search of a companion.
I'm well aware of the low opinion...
...with which the Archbishop regards
this establishment...
No, no, no, no, no.
Not for myself.
No, no. My own tastes are
a little more sophisticated.
It appears that, in short,
the Inquisition has recommended...
...that that mad woman,
the Marquesa de Montemayor...
...might not be quite so mad, they say,
were she not always so alone.
I am therefore directed
to find her a suitable companion...
...and as no suitor in his right mind
would have a widow such as she...
-... I thought to approach you.
- Humph.
Although I would do almost anything to
obtain the good offices of my superiors... my search for funds
for this establishment.
Mother Maria, hear me out.
Here in your convent,
in your establishment... have so many bright young girls.
Good girls, every last one of them
a blessing from above.
Quite well-disciplined girls...
...who might benefit
from the worldly experience...
...of living with... and after all, she is
one of the wealthiest women in all Peru.
I thought she might borrow one.
I will think on it.
Think no more on it.
Oonsider it settled.
The Marquesa herself
will call upon you tomorrow...
...and I suggest
that in the interest of your work...
...should you desire your little
establishment to flourish
according to your ambitions...
...that you prepare one of your charges
to take up the post.
Thank you, Pepita.
I'm sure the Archbishop has no call
to command your curtsy.
Such courtesies only serve
to demean the won'th of women.
As ever, I count the cessation
of these meetings... one of the compensations of dying.
Good night, Abbess.
The Archbishop has found positions
for you both about the town...
...that you may better consider
your calling.
It's no fault of yours.
Rather, the nuisance that is nature...
...makes it impossibly distracting that
you remain resident here at the convent.
She's coming!
You may or may not know
that I'm something of a philologist.
I dabble in dialects...
...and I'm storing up notebooks
of quaint vowel and consonant changes...
...from Latin into Spanish
and from Spanish into Indian Spanish...
...against an amusing old age.
So when I heard
about your secret language...
Which one of you is Manuel
and which Esteban?
Well, let us start by extracting verbs.
How would you...
how would you say, say, "I saw"?
Do you have a preference
for Latin or Spanish?
Do you, either of you,
comprehend either language...
...either spoken or written?
From the years
when they first learned to speak...
Do you write?
...they had invented a secret language
This language was a symbol
of their profound identity with one another.
Write something here.
Entirely unsuited to clerical work.
They neither read nor write.
They do write, very well.
They've copied endless parts
of the motets of Morales and Vittoria...
...for the choirmasters.
Then let them become scribes.
But not apostles.
A virgirs virtue, then,
is the most palpable miracle of Santa Rosa.
Pepita! Accompany me.
You know that even this work
is as much an education for your future... instruction on begging
or how to plan contagious wards...
...or any spiritual direction.
Every task has
its own tedium and reward.
I know that you value the way
that we work here.
And someday, it's my wish
that you may walk this way...
...and succeed me here.
You know there's a place for you
among the sisters...
...but before you put away
the ways of the world... must know what they are.
You will leave tomorrow...
...and take up the position
at the Palacio de Montemayor.
It will be a burden, I know...
...but one that strengthens.
Ah, my child.
What is your name?
My eyes are tired.
Can you read, Pepita?
Yes, ma'am.
Read this, then.
Let me hear it.
My imperfect letters, you see.
"They have Moreto's Trampa Adelante
playing at La Comedia...
...where La Perichole gives a wonderful
performance as Doa Leonor.
...You should know that I have decided
to go to La Oomedia to find out for myself.
Pepita will accompany me. "
Very good. Carry on.
"Scold me all you like
for a provincial ninny...
...but you have
no such actresses in Spain.
And that curious man, Uncle Pio,
is by her side all the time.
Is he her father,
her lover, or her son?"
Am I not assured
of my daughter's admiration?
There's not another ship for a month.
She devoted herdays entirely
to this quest for her daughter's love...
...sending daily missives to Spain.
Be back, won't you,
before the next ship sails.
But she rarely received
a letter in return.
She felt less than a little loved.
One of life's lonely souls.
I make no mention of martyrdom...
...merely marking the everyday miracle...
...that is present in so many
unexpected acts of selflessness.
You see, I first found mention
of Uncle Pio, and later Don Jaime...
...mysteriously among
the Marquesa's letters.
Her characterization of Uncle Pio
did not contradict...
...the store of unsavory testimonies
that he had acquired elsewhere.
"Our aged harlequin Uncle Pio.
If only he would
write my letters for me...
...then generations would rise up
and call me witty.
Isn't it a pity he is so moth-eaten
with diseased bad company...
...that I shall have to discard him
like a soiled pack of cards...
...and leave him to his underworld?"
Pepita, see how like an ant he is.
Don Pio.
Seor Pio.
Send word to Uncle Pio to drop in
and see me at sunset.
My daughter must know of everything,
and know it first.
La Marquesa de Montemayor requests
you call upon her at the Palacio.
My dear Uncle Pio... are the most delightful man
in the whole world... daughter's husband excepted.
So, I must be the second
most delightful man in the world?
Utterly enchanting.
Exquisitely spoken.
Years of hearing nothing but the
conversations of Oaldern at the Oomedia.
I, uh, I hear the Archbishop
has just returned from a visit to Spain...
...with tomes of masses and motets
and many ballads.
- New pieces by Palestrina.
- Yes.
Motets by Morales.
And the latest Moreto.
We should put by a box for you
at the Comedia...
...where I have a mind
to make the latest Moreto...
...with the Perichole.
The Perichole is the only actress in Lima
who can interpret this beauty.
Yes. There is
a long and flowery part in it, I know.
The lover.
Doa Leonor.
That should test her talent.
I've had the piece presented
to the Viceroy.
You will have to press there
for patronage.
Your Excellency.
They say you could have been connected
to the court in Spain...
...procuring provisions for the army
and inciting insurrections on instruction...
...your discretion being so profound...
...that the French party used you.
Even when they knew
that the Spanish party used you, too.
They say you were a circus trainer
and an antique dealer...
...a trader in Italian silks...
...or a merchant in many a manner
of dissipations and pleasures...
...but that you have a reluctance
to own a single thing.
You've sold bales
of deep red porcelain from Persia...
...chests of Chinese artifacts,
even Ming vases to collectors of virtu...
...and although you started
a smart trade in pills.
You purchased from
the sovereign remedies of the Incas... soon as any endeavor threatens
to prosper enormous gains... abandon it.
Even when making investigations
for the Inquisition...
...inspiriting half hearted rebellions
on behalf of governments... that they can presently arrive
and whole heartedly crush them... anomaly the Viceroy
finds most amusing, sir.
Please keep up.
As La Perichole's
maid or errand boy...
...they say you were once
her singing master.
Some say her coiffeur.
Her masseur.
Others insist that you are her father.
His Excellency most needs
a little reassurance, however...
...that you are not,
absolutely not... her lover.
I am surrounded
by oceans of boredom!
A boredom, Uncle Pio,
so pervasive it is like a pain.
I wake up with it,
I spend the day with it,
It sits by my bedside
all night watching me sleep.
There are no aims in my existence.
Are there any aims in yours?
My life has three aims,
Your Excellency.
The first is a need for independence...
...out of a desire to be varied.
The second is to always be
near beautiful women.
I worship them all.
They torment me.
And are singularly comforted
here at court, I hear... the discretion
of your dogged devotions.
I can come and go in their rooms...
...and foolish friend that I am,
I never expect to be loved in return.
For that, I carry my money
to the obscurer parts of the city.
And thirdly...
...I need to be near those
who love the literature of Spain.
You cannot be careless
to the lack of contempt His Grace carries...
...for the verses of Cervantes
and Caldern.
There are affairs on which I would
judge it tactful to engage your services.
You see, and although
I make little use of my position...
...for the perpetual pursuit of power
or frivolous fantasy...
...and I delight little in dalliance,
there still is a little
Castilian salt in me...
...for the verses of Caldern and such...
...and for the fashionably rich
and reverential rendition of them... the performance of them
by La Perichole.
My discovery of La Perichole...
...combines all three of the
great aims of my life.
Perhaps you could
procure her presence...
...for a little private, uh...
une petite performance some evening?
After La Comedia?
Doa Leonor in Trampa Adelante?
In all Spanish literature,
the most legendary lover ever.
The interest of the Viceroy
is also assured.
And if he is pleased tonight...
...he may well entertain
patronizing a performance of Moreto.
"For the amusement
of the gracious La Perichole. "
"Her Ladyship is commanded... sup with His Excellency
after the Oaldern at midnight. "
Oh, my!
"Her Ladyship," no less.
My love...
What passion!
Do you really think so?
You know, there is such a paucity
of passionate womers roles... the classic Spanish theater.
All gentlemen heroes torn
between the conflicting claims...
...of honor and the Cross.
None of the rich studies
in... in wit and... and charm...
...passion and hysteria of the French...
...and the, uh...
...and the Venetian theaters.
He's a delightful man.
Don Andrs de Ribera.
You mean His Excellency?
Yes. At least a remnant of one...
...being broken a bit by the table.
On which no doubt he gained his gut.
He also collects coins,
with which he gains debts...
...and wines, which gave him the gout.
But books made him myopic.
And actresses...
Give him what?
A tendency to convulsions.
As a result of one
of those quarrels that arise... naturally in brothels,
his life became too complicated...
...and he removed to Peru...
...where he found me singing ballads
in cafs at the age of 12.
He took me in, wrote songs for me...
...and taught me how to listen
to the quality of my tone...
...and even bought me a new dress,
but never asked for anything in return... nothing in the world
would surprise me now.
You shall have your Moreto...
Doa Leonor...
...and my personal patronage with it.
The ghost of passion...
...which can make even a whole lifetime
devoted to irksome duty...
...pass like a gracious dream...
...was destined to desert them all,
it seemed.
It seemed to you, did it not,
brother Juniper...
...that it was high time for theology
to take its place among the exact sciences?
That what you had lacked hereto
was a laboratory, a sheer act of God?
And that the collapse
of the bridge of San Luis Rey...
...provided a perfect control?
Here at last you thought
you could surprise God's intentions?
Coincidence confounded reason
at every turn of this endeavor.
Fate unfolds as capricious the seemingly
most inconsequential of events.
Ah, La Comedia!
Thank you.
- A letter from Spain?
- No, ma'am.
An invitation,
I believe, to La Comedia.
Uncle Pio.
And yes, I am to go to the Comedia
to attend the Moreto.
Three parts each
for the principle players, immediately.
Put the Perichole's name
above the title.
In the name of passion...
...I dedicate this bull... the actress...
...La Perichole.
Never have I ever been
so... so humiliated!
May I proffer to His Excellency...
...La Perichole's
most distinguished good wishes...
...and commend him
for his patronage of our play...
...the marvel that is the Moreto.
You may return such wishes
as La Perichole extends...
...and add to them
my own humble indignation...
...that a matador
might commend a bull to her... the name of passion
while I...
I'm simply lost for words.
Pray, silence.
The siren on that matador's horns.
Come with me, sir.
His Excellency doesn't tolerate rivals.
You understand me?
The vulgar love affairs
of the theatrical warehouse...
...can never prepare a performer
for the playing of such a legendary lover.
The mastery of passionate entrancement
such as this scene requires...
...demands all the colors of love
one could experience.
Once experienced, the actress
can much more truthfully encompass...
...the required effects
into her performance...
...alluding to the new and rich wisdom
in her heart...
...recollecting some amorous moment
from memory.
Doa Maria.
The Marquesa de Montemayor.
Her daughter is a condesa,
and connected to court.
She's drunk
or demented or something.
How dare she mock me
in such a manner?
- How dare she?
- Now, now, my crescent moon.
Last call.
One minute to final curtain!
- Camilla!
- One minute call.
And where's the Viceroy?
Why, the royal box is distinguished
only by his absence.
Perhaps we should leave now.
Is it over?
Love is an inadequate word to describe
the tacit, almost ashamed oneness...
...of these brothers.
Side by side there existed
a need of one another... terrible that it produced miracles
as naturally as lightning.
Separation was a devastation as eerie
as the calm that follows a ferocious storm.
My most triumphant night.
Oh, if only you had been there.
I heard all about it,
your performance this evening...
...and there's a little task
I would like you to perform for me...
...well within the requisite range
of your charms.
Oh. His Excellency does not
find me attentive enough.
Oh, what would he fancy?
A little verse?
Perhaps a song.
Take off your shoes.
A dance!
Like a gypsy woman.
Oh, well, your poor throat.
It must be choked
with the weight of this necklace.
I do so love our little games.
And how can you breathe,
corseted up quite so tightly?
Oh! Is that for me? Oh.
Come on, open it.
Put it on.
Put it on.
Why... what little game is this?
This is no game, my dear.
There is nothing funny about baiting
a member of the aristocracy in public.
It is offensive... an offense,
and it must be publicly punished.
You will call upon the Marquesa
and apologize...
...and you will make the trip barefoot...
...wearing this humble black smock.
But I am the Perichole.
I am the Viceroy of Peru!
One of the first men of the world.
As for the Marquesa,
whom you so roundly humiliated
at La Comedia this evening...
...even if she is a half-wit,
she is also a member of the aristocracy.
As is her son-in-law...
...who is an increasingly important
personage at court in Spain.
Neither must be vexed.
Nor I!
What reason have I
for giving His Excellency...
And I hope, for your sake...
...there is no truth to the rumor
that you are deceiving me with a matador!
Or is it an actor?
You forgot your slippers!
This was the first time
that his will and imagination...
...had been overwhelmed.
Which of you waited for La Perichole
by the stage door tonight?
He had lost that privilege
of simple nature...
Follow me.
...the dissociation of love and pleasure.
Pleasure was being complicated... love.
Oh, Manuel.
Is it you? Yes.
You must do
another letter for me at once.
Write this.
I, La Perichole, am not accustomed
to wait at a rendezvous.
Have you finished that?
Have you gone completely mad?
Don't ever think of dedicating
another bull to me again!
You are only a cholo,
and there are better matadors than you...
...even in Lima.
I am half Castilian...
...and there are no better actresses
in the world.
You shall not have the opportunity...
Have you got that? keep me waiting again, cholo.
And I shall laugh the last.
For even an actress doesn't grow old
as fast as a bullfighter.
La Perichole desires an audience...
...with Doa Maria,
la Marquesa de Montemayor.
Wait here, please.
Tell the lady that I have a letter
from the Viceroy himself...
...presenting me to her.
Very well, ma'am.
The lady says...
I know what she says.
Thank you.
Bid her wait outside,
and I'll see what I can do.
Very well.
La Perichole's here to see you.
The actress from La Comedia.
The lady from last night
in the Moreto.
She's outside.
She's wearing the rags
of public humiliation.
She says, La Perichole,
that she has a letter of presentation...
...from the Viceroy himself.
Bring me a bowl of snow.
And a veil.
Your Grace is... is not offended
by her humble servant?
Offended at you?
My gifted child,
you are a great artist.
My handkerchief, Pepita.
Oh, you... you are so kind, seora...
I mean, Your Grace...
to overlook my childishness.
Permit me, please,
to kiss your hand.
Who am I, an unwise and unloved
old woman, to be offended at you?
I feel as though... as though
you were my own daughter.
My daughter's very beautiful.
Everyone thinks so.
Did you know my Doa Olara, seora?
I knew the Condesa well by sight.
Why do you remain so
on one knee, my child?
Thank you.
One day, we fell out.
I forget over what.
We both said hasty things
and went off to our rooms...
...then each turned back to be forgiven.
Finally, only a door separated us, and...
...and there we were,
pulling it opposite ways.
But at last...
...she took my face... this... her two white hands...
She had not a warm and
impulsive nature, I know that, but...
...she... oh, my child,
she has such a store of intelligence...
...and graciousness and...
...any misunderstandings between us
were plainly my fault.
Is it not wonderful that she was
so quick to forgive me?
Oh, truly wonderful.
The fault was mine.
And the... the look she gave.
Is it not some mistake...
...that made me the mother
of so beautiful a girl?
I'm difficult. I'm trying.
You and she are great women.
- Oh, Your... Your Grace.
- No. Don't stop me.
You are a rare lady,
and I am a foolish and stupid old woman.
Let me kiss your feet.
I am imposs...
- I am impossible!
- Your Grace.
I am impossible!
Such blind and excessive love...
...though it gave birth to letters
of great poetry...
...remains among the sharpest
expressions of self-interest.
Such anecdotes belie the notion
of a guided world...
...and encourage those
who derive some joy from the conviction...
...that much is wrong with our world.
Precisely why I persisted
with the project... explain why such stories
hold no difficulties for faith.
And this was not the first time...
...that brother Juniper had resorted
to experiment.
Often, on the long trips he had to make
between his far-flung parishes...
...he would fall to dreaming of ways
to justify the existence of God.
For instance, a complete record
of the prayers for rain and their results.
Splendid rituals, but not a cloud
in the horizon reported.
For further tabulated proof
of his convictions...
...when a pestilence visited
his dear village of Puerto...
...and carried off
a large number of peasants...
...he secretly drew up a diagram...
...of the characteristics
of 15 survivors.
Here is a fragment
of that ambitious chart.
So, brother Juniper,
when you add up the total for victims...
...and compare it
with the totals for survivors... discover that... that what...
...that the dead are five times more
or less won'th saving?
But the pestilence seemed
to have been directed...
...against all the really valuable people
in the village of Puerto...
...thus totally confounding your theory.
What do you extrapolate
from this finding?
Only that the discrepancy
between faith and the facts... greater than is generally assumed...
...though there are some who say
we shall never know...
...and that like flies to wanton boys,
so are we to the gods.
They kill us fortheir sport.
La Perichole wants Manuel.
There are some who say,
on the contrary...
She needs a letter.
...that the very sparrows
do not lose a feather...
...that has not been brushed away
by the finger of God.
Where is he?
"Manuel respectfully
informs the actress...
...regretfully, that he can write
no more letters for her. "
How dare he?
Get rid of them!
Those dumb, half-wit orphan freaks...
...with their insane sniveling!
How dare he deign
to disrespect me in this way?
It's disgusting!
Get them out of my house!
Out of this theater!
And they're never to darken
this door again! Out! Out!
Do you hear me?!
You, you. You.
Come with me!
Will these do?
We will be unloading until dawn.
Double quick, double time.
Come on, come on!
Quickly! Quickly!
Get all that aboard!
Come on!
Come on, come on!
Every hour on the hour...
...until the pain subsides.
Do your work well,
and the miracle of science...
...will work wonders on his leg.
Don't forget the prescriptive order
for each of the ointments in drafts.
In nomine Patris, et Filii...
Although always
they had been silent...
...all the world was remote
and strange and hostile...
...without one's brother.
La Perichole had cast a shadow
across his path, too.
The coincidences were so extraordinary
that one would suspect an intention.
Perhaps it was just an accident.
Perhaps it was the devil's own work.
Perhaps this too
was the devil's own work...
...where you, brother Juniper,
were his willing accomplice... mind, body, and spirit.
This is why we are here, is it not... protect the fundamental
theological tenets of faith?
Without question, this book of yours... undoubtedly
the work of the devil!
Evil! A feeble Franciscan composition...
...exalting the incidence
of coincidental facts over faith...
...belief in an act of God...
...subversive at best...
...superstitious at the very least.
It invites an Inquisition
at the highest level...
...every copy... every copy...
to be burned at dusk.
This task of memorization,
it's too much!
And I cannot depend
on the prompter's box!
Camilla, come to walk with me.
Are you not the most memorable
actress in all Lima...
...far above the attention-seeking
tantrums of a mediocre talent?
I've had enough of this life.
And... what of the Moreto
I brought back from Spain?
Here's the thing...
...La Perichole is wretchedly unhappy.
What now?
In the wake of all her humiliations...
...her humor has left her.
We will need to produce
a pair of parents...
...perhaps a cousin or two,
if they can be procured.
And pray, what possible business
is this of mine...
...or of yours, for that matter?
Have you not indiscretions
enough for your fees?
Well, you see, she is about to bear
the Viceroy a brat.
And he knows nothing of it.
This play is closed,
by order of the Viceroy!
I can find nothing nowadays
more nourishing to the soul...
...than the notion or anecdote...
...that the poor,
never having known happiness...
...are insensible to misfortune.
Look at their houses
and their clothes.
Only the widely cultivated could be
said to know that they are unhappy.
There's a fashionable
watering place in the hills.
It's not far from...
...from Santa Maria de Oluxambuqua.
It's reached by
the bridge of San Luis Rey.
I will give her...
...La Perichole...
...a little Vichy villa that vicinity...
...and she can sip the hateful waters
during herconfinement...
...until her health returns.
Let me!
Come, my dear.
My dear!
We won't be raising the curtain tonight.
Inform the company.
We can't compete
with the carnival...
...and neither can I countenance
that we play to yet another empty house.
Your indiscretion
is really trying my patience.
Perhaps I could spend my hour
in the nursery with Don Jaime.
You are mad, Uncle Pio...
...if you think you can make me
come back to the stage.
I look back on those days
with horror...
...the daily payment of insults
in that filthy place.
You're wasting your time.
Dear Camilla, just suffer me
for a few moments.
I would be no good to you now,
Uncle Pio.
You never even come
to see the theater...
...and they all notice it.
The audiences
are falling away now, too.
They only put on
the Old Masters twice a week.
We were foolish to try
and keep alive the Old Masters.
Wonderful Camilla...
...I was not just to you
when you were on the stage.
It was some foolish pride in me.
You have always been
a great artist.
If you come to see that you are
not happy among these people... might think about
going to Madrid.
You could have
such a triumph there.
No. I shall never see Spain.
All the world is alike...
...Madrid or Lima.
Oh, if we could only go to an island...
...where the people
would know you for yourself.
And love you.
You are 50 years old, and you
are still dreaming of such islands?
There is no such thing
as that kind of island...
...or that kind of love, Uncle Pio.
It's only in the theater
that you find such things.
I must go in.
Now he discovered that secret
from which one neverquite recovers...
...that even in the most perfect love... person loves
less profoundly than the other.
There may never be two people...
...that love one another equally well.
Some sorrowful secret escaped me
in the piecing together of their lives.
In compiling my book,
I was pursued by the fear that... omitting the slightest detail...
I might lose some guiding hint.
So you put down
every insignificant detail...
...on the notion perhaps
that, to the reader...
...these countless facts
would suddenly start to move... assemble
and betray their secret?
I did not intend to betray
the secrets of the dead...
...for those are surely forgiven...
...even if their lives were forsaken.
The Apostles, if you recall,
in the New Testament...
...rightly reserve such an accolade
for Ohrist our Lord.
He alone was forsaken...
...crucified on the Oross
for the forgiveness of sins.
Doa Maria knew that
she, too, sinned...
...and that though her love
for her daughter was vast enough... include all the colors of love... was not without
a shade of tyranny.
She had loved her daughter...
...not for her daughter's sake...
...but for her own.
She longed to free herself
from this ignoble bond...
...but the passion
was too fierce to cope with.
How could she rule her daughter...
...when her daughter saw to it
that 4,000 miles lay between them?
All she could ask of her God
or of immortality...
...was some sign
of herdaughter's devotion...
...a kind word,
an affectionate aside...
...a letter from Spain.
I will bring it in to her.
Is that a package from Spain?
Let me see.
Here, quick. Read it to me.
"My dear mother...
...the weather here
has been most exhausting...
...and the fact that the orchards
and the gardens are in bloom...
...only makes it the more trying. "
"I could endure flowers
if only they had no perfume. "
Pass on to the end. Is there
nothing of more consequence?
"If Vicente returns
before the post leaves...
...he will be delighted
to finish out the leaf...
...and supply you with those
tiresome details about myself...
...which you seem to enjoy so. "
"I shall not go to Grignan
in Provence as I expected this fall... my child will be born
in early October. "
What child?
How could she be so casual?
Santa Maria Rosa!
Take that knot out of your hair!
Go tell the maids they are all
to take the knots out of their hair.
And get me some red chalk!
Mother of God.
Quickly, take it off!
Every single one!
Will all be well...
...sweet, sweet Mother Maria
Santa Rosa of Cluxambuqua?
Will all be well?
And while I am making
my pilgrimage... must be sure not one foot
falls on any of the red-chalked steps.
At last, the supreme rite
of Peruvian households.
Looking foreword
to this happy event...
...she set out on her pilgrimage... the shrine
of Santa Maria de Cluxambuqua... pray for a safe delivery.
My friend.
God give me praise.
Let me help you.
At least eat a little.
If you won't let me help you...
...will you tell me which you are?
God has taken him
into His hands.
For the Captain Alvarado.
He is the diamond of sincerity.
I will deliver it directly.
Go with God, Don Pio.
Go with God.
Bring me to him.
We do what we can!
We push on, Esteban... best we can.
And it isn't for long... time keeps going by.
You'll be surprised
at how quickly time passes.
Wait! Wait!
His Excellency, Don Andrs,
needs to speak with you urgently.
What in the devil about?
The epidemic, you old fool!
What epidemic?
Hundreds have been
struck down with a pox...
...and the cup of the envious
fairly overflow...
...with the rumor that
the Perichole has it, too.
Every gift I ever gave to her...
...returned without comment.
I must go to her at once.
Oh, I've tried.
Has anyone seen her?
She will see no one at all
but her maid...
...and will neither confirm nor deny
the rumors that she has been marked.
His Excellency
has made repeated attempts... contact her, to no avail... a large sum of money...
...and a letter compounded... all that's possible
in bitterness and pride.
And now this angry little dispatch.
And like many beautiful women...
...who have been brought up amid
continual tributes to their beauty...
...she assumed, without cynicism...
...that it was the basis
of others' attachment to her.
And what?
That any future attentions...
...must spring from a pity
so full of condescension... to be sodden
with the satisfaction... such a complete
reversal of fortune? Please.
You patronize His Excellency
and the court.
Allow him his thesis.
I am curious as to how he
can conclude the matter.
There are not sufficient words
to explain...
...the events that might
or might not have been the same...
...without the fall of
the Bridge of San Luis Rey.
La Perichole had removed
with her child, Don Jaime... a farm house in a valley
between there and Cluxambuqua.
And thither the Marquesa was carried...
...high up into the Andean hills
on her pilgrimage...
...reciting all the glorious
and sorrowful mysteries...
...of her rosary along the route.
Pepita, devoutly devoted
to her prayerful purpose...
...followed behind on foot.
...Abbess. "
"Though I never see you,
I think of you all the time...
...and I remember what you told me
about my future with the sisters. "
"Sometimes I do not know
if you have forgotten...
...for I would like to leave
this world forever...
...and take my place
at the foot of the Cross of Christ...
...and follow His way. "
"Mother in God...
...I want only to do what you want...
...but I am so alone here. "
"I'm not talking to anyone... if you could let me
come back to the convent...
...just for a few days, maybe...
...and if you could find a minute
to write me a little letteror something...
...I could keep it...
...though I know how busy you are. "
Read me what you've written.
Is it a letter?
I must go downstairs
and get you some new charcoal.
It can wait.
I would so like to hear
how you write.
"Dear Abbess,
"Though I never see you,
I think of you all the time...
...and I remember what you told me
about my future with the sisters. "
"Sometimes I do not know
if you have forgotten...
...for I would like
to leave this world forever...
...and take my place at
the foot of the Cross of Christ...
...and follow His way. "
My dear Pepita...'s very beautiful.
Believe me, I know.
It isn't.
It isn't brave.
And at last she wrote
what she called herfirst letter...
...her first stumbling, misspelled letter... courage.
It is the famous letter LVI...
...known to the encyclopedists
as her I Corinthians...
...because of its immortal
paragraph about love.
"Of the thousands of persons
we meet in a lifetime, my child... "
...and so on.
This, the last of her letters... at the very least immortal...
...though I know now that her daughter
barely glanced at any of them.
In spite of their appeals
for her attention...
...every one was returned.
And that it is to Pepita...
...that we owe their preservation.
Let me live now.
Dear God...
...let me begin again.
Two days later,
they started back to Lima...
...and upon crossing
the bridge of San Luis Rey...
...the accident which we know
befell them.
I'm looking for some strong fellows
to go on my next trip with me.
Hard work, good wages.
A long way from Peru.
I said... you want
to go on my next trip with me?
That's settled, then.
You may not be used to the cold.
I have a mind to sail
between the islands of ice.
Imagine the prow
pushing through a sea of weeds...
...stirring up a cloud of fish... grasshoppers in June.
You see, son,
I had a daughter.
And many times
she waved me farewell...
...and welcome.
There was no way of knowing
if she was more intelligent...
...or more beautiful than
the thousands of other girls about.
But she was mine.
And God took her from me...
...just when I wasn't looking.
It sometimes seems to me now...
...that she is away on a long voyage...
...and that I shall see her
again somewhere.
So I wander about the hemispheres... pass the time
between now and old age.
He was the most awkward
speaker in the world...
...apart from the lore of the sea.
Though there are times when it requires
a high courage to speak the banal.
And so they started out for
the far-flung ports on the Atlantic coast... way of the Inca trail...
...having trekked the Andes for goods
to trade on their travels.
That's it.
She will not allow you in here.
I shall stay out here
most happily, then.
It is just her pride,
that I might pity her.
Tell her I respect
her discomfort at this time...
...and that I love her all the more
for her humility of spirit.
I might make myself useful
with the child...
...or take a hand with
the management of the yard here.
Go away!
Get away from me!
Get out of my house!
I never wanted to see you again!
I gave you orders! I told you
he was forbidden to come in!
Get out!
Leave me alone!
Dear God, when shall I
ever be free of you?
Just listen to me!
Just once, I beg of you.
What is it, then?
...let me take Don Jaime...
...for a year,
to live with me in Lima.
Let me be his teacher.
Here he is among servants.
He will never learn anything.
- Camilla, what will become of him?
- No.
I shall love him and cherish him
and take every care with him.
Did I not teach you well?
Did I ever harm you?
You are too cruel
to keep urging gratitude!
Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude!
Yes, I was very grateful! Good!
But now that I'm
no longer the same woman...
...there remains nothing left
to be grateful for.
If Jaime wishes
to go with you, very well.
You will find him
at the inn about noon.
Seor Pio.
When they reached
the Bridge of San Luis Rey...
...the Captain descended to the stream... order to supervise
the passage of some merchandise.
But Esteban crossed by the bridge...
...and filing behind Doa Maria... Marquesa de Montemayor...
...and her little companion Pepita...
...he passed in front of Uncle Pio.
I will let you down to rest
when we have crossed the bridge.
But it turned out...
...not to be necessary.
In love, it seems...
...their very mistakes
did not seem able to last long.
That was its grace.
And in compiling your book
about the people who fell...
...from the bridge of San Luis Rey,
what did you divine?
In my final calculations,
I concluded with a passage...
...that tried to describe why God
had settled upon that person...
...and upon that day...
...for His demonstration of wisdom.
I have read your conclusions.
You seem unable to determine
that there were any characteristics...
...common consistently
to all of the victims.
I suppose the art of biography
is more difficult...
...than is generally supposed.
And, interestingly,
those who knew most...
Captain Alvarado, for instance...
...ventured least.
Perhaps if I could have
interviewed La Perichole.
She at least was in some way
associated with all of the victims.
Mocked, she believed, from afar...
...she wandered the hills
in her memory...
...searching forthe souls
of her loved ones.
She was convinced
that for a second time...
...the skies had commented.
First there was the smallpox...
...and then the fall from the bridge.
These were not accidents.
It wasn't until she had endured
significant servitude...
...that she came to understand
some sense...
...of the loyalty
of true and devoted love.
- For six years, while I worked...
- Mother.
...and pieced together
the lives of those who had died...
...she shut herself out
from the world... the Convent of Santa Maria
Rosa de las Rosas.
Do I know you, my daughter?
I was the actress La Perichole.
Oh, I've wanted to know you
for a long while.
You too, I know,
lost in the fall of the bridge.
I lost two who had been children
in here at the orphanage...
...but you, I know you lost
a real child of your own.
Yes, Mother.
And a great friend.
Yes, Mother.
Come into the garden.
You can rest here.
All of us have failed.
The Abbess of the Convent
de Maria Rosa de las Rosas.
Sister Camilla, La Perichole,
will take the stand.
Is she La Perichole?
She is.
Were you the actress
Camilla Micaela Villegas...
...known as La Perichole?
Kindly identify yourself.
Remove your veil.
I said kindly remove your veil.
She has, Your Excellency,
a God-given fear...
...of appearing in public.
An actress, a God-given fear
of appearing in public?
Your Excellency, surely
we cannot accept evidence from...
...from an actress masquerading
in the habit of holy orders?
Your Excellency,
I can vouch absolutely for her...
Talent or reliability?
The more able the actress,
the less worthy the witness.
Your Excellency,
can you confirm that this is...
...forgive my calling on you,
but do you recognize La Perichole?
I cannot say that I recognize her.
What... sir?
I do not know this woman.
For all her passion...
...La Perichole had
no love in her eyes.
There are none so blind,
Your Excellency...
...who will not see.
Archbishop, pray continue
in your summing up.
And be brief...
...please, before we all of us
suffocate in this hellish heat.
You, Your Excellency, and I...
...can see clearly now how this
plan of brother Juniper's...
...was intended to sow the seeds
of a flower of perfect skepticism.
It is entirely evident...
...and as I have never been obligated
to go so long without smoking.
As a plan, it resembles the efforts
of those presumptuous souls...
...who wanted to walk
on the pavements of Heaven...
...and who built
the Tower of babel to get there.
For our Franciscan...
...our Doubting Thomas... was not enough.
He wanted tabulated proof...
...of the hand of God...
...historical proof...
...mathematical proof.
Doubt springs eternal...
...even in countries where the Inquisition
can read the very thoughts in our eyes.
Spare us your thesis on the merits
of the Inquisition, if you would.
You are here
to implement our statutes...
...not to praise them.
I shall spare you
brother Juniper's generalizations... to say that he thought he saw... the same accident
the wicked visited by destruction...
...and the good called early to Heaven.
He saw pride and wealth confounded
as an object lesson to the world...
...while at the same time
poverty and humility...
...were crowned for the edification
of the forlorn.
But brother Juniper
wasrt satisfied with his reasons.
The book, being done, must be judged
and pronounced heretical...
...and with that, undone.
I submit, Your Excellency... the Inquisition
that brother Juniper here...
...has been put to use
to do the devil's work...
...that this testament,
this tome of his... heretical, and should be
pronounced for the evil that it does... the work of the devil.
Therefore, any copies
still in existence...
...should be burned at dawn...
...along with their author.
Your submission is accepted.
Prepare the stake for
tomorrow morning at daybreak.
Is this God's design?
The pattern that escaped me
in the lives of those five who died...
...eludes me.
Even now.
Will you do me
a kindness, my daughter?
Will you let me
show you my work?
God forgive me,
for I did not know... to love.
I never knew any love,
save love as passion.
Forgive me.
My husband,
el Conde D'Abuirre... is he who has sent
and charged me to command to you...
...all that has been taken
and confiscated...
...from the Franciscans
in the name of the Inquisition.
He does not wish to remove
this wealth back to Spain...
...but would rather would prefer
that you should have it... enance your work here.
If you will excuse me...
...I will go into this room
of the very sick and dying...
...and say a few words for them
to think on when they cannot sleep.
Even now, almost no one remembers
Esteban and Pepita but myself.
Sister Camilla, La Perichole,
remembers her Uncle Pio and her son...
...and this woman, her mother.
Soon we shall all die...
...and all memory of those five
will have left the earth.
And yourselves
shall be loved for a while...
...and then forgotten.
But that love will have been enough.
All those impulses of love
return to the love that made them.
Even memory's not necessary
for love.
There's a land of the living
and a land of the dead...
...and the bridge is love...
...the only survivor.
The only meaning.