The Emperor's Wife (2003) Movie Script

[music playing]
[music playing]
To celebrate his sixth
wedding anniversary,
our illustrious
emperor has decided,
in his immeasurable mercy, togrant amnesty to all traitors
to the empire, on one condition.
Return to your family,demand all the rebel leaders
give up this futile rebellion.
[music playing]
His Imperial Highness, andher majesty, the Empress.
Honored friends, onthis, the sixth anniversary
of my blissful
union, I would like
you to raise your glasses to theonly source of peace and calm
in my life--
the Empress.
[music playing]
Make this as short andpainless as possible, will you,
Number one is the
daughter of the governor
of the eastern province.
I don't care who she is.
She's not right.
Number five, Your Highness.
Show me the next one.
Candidate number six,
from the warm province.
Central province.
Where's the last one?
Must be seven of them,
one for each province.
You know the laws.
Where is she?
Ah yes, the seventh candidate.
I'm afraid she--
She what?
She proved as elusive, asher rebellious countrymen.
Your Highness, my duty isto help you with the choice
you have to make now.
The law states that
the candidate must
be selected one year before.
All right, number seven then.
Your Highness,
that's impossible.
I mean, you can't.
You haven't even seen her.
And the law also clearlystates that from the moment
you've chosen your
new bride, you may
not see her until the wedding.
There'll be no wedding.
So number seven will do.
[music playing]
Your Highness.
It will not do for me
to check on my duties.
But we must spare the Empress.
I love her dearly.
Nevertheless, the
laws are the laws.
Now, I want you to
fetch the girl yourself.
You're only one I can trust.
But Your Highness,
I made it here.
The secret wing has notbeen used for many years.
And I still have to select
the appropriate staff.
Sorry, you still have a year.
My wife could conceive.
You know the fate in
store for the candidate
were that to happen.
The laws are very clearon that point, very clear.
Avoid any embarrassingsituation, not even from you.
Thank you, Chamberlain.
That'll be all.
Your Highness.
Your Highness.
[music playing]
I'm so happy with your choice.
I knew the Emperor
wouldn't come himself.
That would be
inappropriate, Madam.
We couldn't have
that, could we?
I suppose you think a
woman drinking alone
is inappropriate.
Not if her intention
is to get drunk.
Well, it is.
It definitely is.
Come inside.
You married?
To the Emperor, Madam.
I do not wish
to seem impatient.
But is your daughter here?
Oh, she's out there somewhere.
Looks like you'll be
staying the night.
You can sleep in her bed.
I beg your pardon?
Oh, don't worry.
She won't be.
What is wrong?
I am your Empress.
You can trust me.
Always remember
how much I love you.
Remind me.
I see you've been
doing your homework.
I must protect the
Emperor against anything
that could embarrass him.
Then you already know thatmy daughter has a friend.
Thembe is his name.
He's quite a hothead.
My husband was devastated,the daughter of the governor
in love with a rebel.
Where is she?
She went that way.
And do watch out for
your shiny shoes.
Who are you?
You must be Saba.
I knew your father.
You must be deeply hurt.
And you must be lost.
What are you staring at?
Are you one of
the Emperor's men?
Is the rebellion over?
Not entirely.
Listen, I am thechamberlain of the emperor.
I've come to fetch you, toprepare you for your wedding.
How does the emperor know me?
Why does he want
to do this for us?
You don't understand entirely.
The Emperor needs your help.
A wedding could tighten thebond with your province.
You could stop the war.
I can't see how ourwedding could stop the war.
We're not that important.
You're more important
than you know.
I would want to talk
with Thembe first.
I'm afraid that's impossible.
I don't know where he is.
Go away, and leave me alone.
Find Thembe if you want
to speak with me again.
You met my daughter, then.
There are complications,complications that
could cost us both our heads.
Now, tell me exactly how Thembeis supposed to contact Saba.
Oh, I don't know.
You are asking me to betraymy daughter's confidence.
You've already done that.
If you do not tell me
how to bring her here,
we will both be executed.
Surely, you would make thecorrect choice for her.
Well, I'm sure my husbandwould have agreed with you.
Quite, Madam.
Now, the method of contact?
He said that when
he returns, he would
shoot three times into the air.
Do you have a pistol?
I thought--
You asked me to find
out how to contact you.
And I did.
That should make yourealize you can trust me.
And what makes
you so trustworthy?
The laws.
They forbid me to lie.
Laws are for idiots.
Do you think everyone wholives in the mountains lives
by the rules?
They treat each other
with common decency.
In your palaces,
you have no decency.
And so you have to rely on laws.
Dr. Al Razi is not only
the doctor in the world.
Dr. Al Razi is the finestphysician in the entire empire.
Yes, but--
Please, not now.
Why does the emperor wantThembe and me to get married?
I still don't understand.
Not Saba, my sweet.
It's these silly laws.
The Emperor has
chosen you and Thembe
to symbolize the new peace.
I'm sure your dear father wouldhave understood, and approved.
Why would my fathersuddenly approve of something
which drove him to--
Your father was supremelyloyal to the Emperor.
Will I see Thembe at thepalace, before the wedding?
Yes, of course.
Promise me.
Promise that I will see him.
I promise.
Now, follow me.
Bye bye, my darling.
I'll be expecting a nice parcelfrom you, dear chamberlain.
[music playing]
Lights behind us.
What are you doing?
Don't be foolish.
Get down.
Give it to me.
It's my father's.
Last night, I
prayed to the stars
that Thembe would come for me.
He promised to bring me ared rose when he came back.
Prayers will keep
us from going insane.
So when did you stop praying?
When am I going to see Thembe?
What happens next is notpleasant, but necessary.
Just keep thinking
of your wedding.
It's all about your
wedding day, Saba.
Now, please.
Your Highness.
I'm sorry about this.
But my situation is--
I said I was still a virgin.
Didn't I?
I'm afraid the law
insists that the fact be
established beyond any doubt.
I promise, from now on,things will be different.
That's two promisesI'm going to hold you to.
Beyond this door,
and as of tomorrow,
the best tutors will
teach you everything you
need to know for your marriage.
Listen to them.
They have sacrificed a lot tobe here, and will in no way
bother you.
What do you mean by that?
They will not approach
Am I so unattractive?
By no means.
But here, I must say farewell.
I cannot accompany you anyfurther, for your own safety.
The laws state that any manpassing through this door
must be specifically selected.
I want a bath.
Now, I really do feel dirty.
No discomfort I
trust, Your Highness?
I will send the samples forexamination to Switzerland.
It will take a little time.
How long?
No more than a week.
A week?
My dear Professor
Leopold, I cannot
stress enough theimportance of these results.
We have less than a year left.
Your Highness.
Have you been in a fight?
Can I do anything
for you, Your Highness?
Yes, you can.
Tell me, what do the lawssay about an Empress?
The laws, Your Highness?
There are thousands of them.
Yes, but some are secret.
Are they not?
Ah, you're back.
How did it go?
She put up a fight, by
the looks of things.
Who did you fight with?
Yes, chamberlain,
who did you fight with?
I fought with a
wildcat, Your Highness.
Well, everybody needs
some kind of wildcat.
Now, listen carefully.
Appreciate it.
Music, music, is the one thingin life you can love wholly
and that asks nothing
of you in return.
Why should I love it?
What do you have say about that?
You must at least be politeenough to pretend you love it.
After the performance, you haveto make the right conversation.
But I never go to the opera.
And neither does Thembe.
You shall, I assure you.
How can you be so sure?
And don't you think
the conversation might
be more interesting
if I said that it's
a totally ridiculous noise?
Let me see her.
Come on.
Let me see her.
Your Highness.
The laws.
You know that you
cannot look at her
until the day of the wedding.
Yes, yes, article 21.
Of course, if you werereally intent on seeing her,
you can't go straight in.
Of course, you would
have to be a eunuch.
I apologize, sir.
But it is the law thatseparates us from wildcats.
Is she a wildcat?
I bet she is.
She is, isn't she?
She is, indeed, a wildcat.
So I am to love
someone I've never seen.
She has never
seen you, either.
Don't be absurd.
Of course she's seen me.
I am the emperor.
I'm on coins and postage
stamps everywhere.
She's even licked me.
I hadn't really thought
of it like that, sir.
Anyway, my wife has a wholeyear to give me a successor.
10 months, sir.
Why won't the woman conceive?
I shall talk to
her doctor again.
Doctors, doctors, doctorshave been inside her more times
than me.
Chamberlain, if necessary, Iwant you to make this wildcat
fall deeply in love with me.
Do you understand?
Yes, Your Highness.
Carry on.
[choral singing]
Here you are, Chamberlain.
I order you to execute
this traitor at once.
For six years, this quack hastold me that the chances of me
having a child are almost nil.
And now, I hear from ProfessorLeopold, the authority
on fertility, after
extensive examination
that everything is
perfectly all right.
I can have a child.
That is very good news.
But you can't just
execute the poor man.
Feed him to my dogs.
Is the Empress
capable of safeguarding
the imperial lineage or not?
With the right husband, yes.
You heard her.
Come in.
I think the
Chamberlain is hiding
something, maybe a lover.
What makes you
think he has a lover?
He has this guilty
look on his face.
And he's never there
when I need him.
Well, he's very busy.
The rebellion puts a great dealof stress on every one of us.
I'm telling you.
He has a lover.
The laws forbid it.
Anyway, he's never beenwith a woman in his life.
I shall prove it to you.
I promise, I'll find her.
Now, imagine that your honoredguest starts a conversation.
What do you say?
Oh, how fluently you
speak our language.
No, not like that.
You have to be much
more restrained.
Otherwise, the guest might thinkyou're trying to seduce him.
OK, then, what do youthink of, your accent reminds
me of a toilet being flushed?
Where is Thembe?
He doesn't care how I
dance, eat, speak, walk.
And why don't I get
to see the Emperor?
At least he could send hischamberlain around again.
I'm not playing your
insulting games anymore.
I shall see you tomorrow.
Perhaps a wedding with the 7thprovince isn't such a bad idea.
They kill their dogs.
Poison them.
Your Highness, I think
I've made a grave error.
The candidate, number seven, sheis not the right girl for you.
What do you mean?
I don't think weshould progress the girl.
Should we release her, likeyour little bird, chamberlain?
Yes, if you like, sir.
So, my wife is right.
She thinks you're in love.
It is not my place
to fall in love.
And, of course, itwould cost you your head.
Don't concern yourself withnumber seven's suitability.
Especially now, as mywife's consulted a doctor
who says she can bear a child.
We can't be sure of that.
Is not possible he
has made a mistake?
My wife's dogs
have been poisoned.
You say the doctor
is incompetent.
And to cap it all, you'resuggesting we flaunt the laws.
You suggested
releasing the candidate.
Impertinence has an ugly head.
Lower it.
My loyalty is always to you.
Today, we're going to workon your bowling skills.
And then I want you to
discover the secret--
charmed-- of Monte Verde.
Tell Monte Verde
I'm not in the mood.
I want to see the chamberlain.
And I'm not moving until I do.
She's a savage.
I am a teacher,
not a stable hand!
Maybe we should tell herthat if she doesn't cooperate,
we'll all be executed.
If we say anything, wewill certainly be executed.
We can't keep the truth
from her much longer.
Where is she?
She is hiding herself inher room, your excellence.
It is hopeless.
She wants to see that
Thembe first, or--
Or what?
Or you, excellence.
So she wants me to come in?
But you can't.
I mean, the laws.
I know the laws!
The Emperor is
infertile, isn't he?
Who said that?
Your predecessor makequite clear allusions to it
before killing himself.
Never lie, never embarrass.
Then all Empress's
will meet the same fate.
Well, they get seven
years of luxury first.
Can't have it all, can we?
In my room, now.
I'm so sorry, chamberlain.
And I'm sorry for your
friend the doctor too.
I'd like to have
given him a trial.
That's very kind of
you, Your Highness.
But he was a traitor.
Wasn't he?
And that brings me to you.
You vowed your allegianceto the Emperor.
And, yet, you have
taken a lover.
You are mistaken,
Your Highness.
Am I?
Or is it my husbandwho is having the affair?
Not at all, Your Highness.
I can assure you that.
Chamberlain, is
he having an affair?
Does the Emperor sleep with her?
Answer me.
I do not sleep with
anyone, other than you.
Then who is this?
It's true.
I must confess.
It is I. I'm seeing her.
I have fallen in love.
Then, prove it.
Introduce her to us.
She is not here.
So when can we see her?
Soon, Your Highness.
I want you to leave him alone.
Why do you have
secrets from me?
Please, leave him alone.
What is this?
I must speak with you, sir.
Not now, chamberlain.
I must insist, sir.
Do I have to lock you up?
As a matter of fact, thatwould suit me very well.
She wants me to introduce myso-called lover to her today.
Stay away from her.
She's in a foul mood.
She'd have you
executed for nothing.
Now, I'm busy.
Yes, that's exactly
what I'll do.
This is most
unusual, chamberlain.
I can assure you, it's
absolutely necessary.
May I inquire as to why?
The laws are clear.
[choral singing]
I'm sorry, excellence.
We have to be sure.
Thank you, sir.
Nothing will threaten herladyship's purity now.
Sit down, please.
I'll bring you some food.
Don't go to any trouble.
But you must.
You haven't eaten all day.
You don't understand.
I just feel a little dizzy.
It's OK.
I'll take care of her.
Put this on.
The night has come.
The night?
Thank you.
Listen, artillery,
a long way away.
So the rebellion isn't over yet.
Does Thembe know about this?
Not yet.
And what about yourpromise that I'd see him?
You don't feel well.
You wanted to
see him so badly.
Didn't you?
But you didn't think
what it would cost him.
Cost him?
He's been spayed.
Good morning.
Good morning.
I've just been told whatyou did to get in here.
If you were prepared
to do that, I have
to believe you mean me no harm.
Your Highness.
Your Highness.
You treat me like
royalty, don't you?
Last night, I dreamedthat Thembe had been shot.
Is Thembe dead?
I don't know.
Your Highness, we have
searched high and low,
and can find no sign of him.
I'm sure he's
still in the palace.
He's too loyal to flee.
I want him found immediately.
I'm not sure you
can cope with this.
I shall let you knowwhether I can cope or not.
Tell me everything.
Very well.
Your mother married you off to--
Go on.
To the man who has everything.
In fact, he possesses
this whole empire.
You mean?
Yes, you will be
the new Empress.
What do you mean
by new Empress?
And the old one?
According to the
secret laws of our land,
any Empress which fails toconceive of an heir within--
Secret laws, that's easy.
The Emperor gets
bored with his wife,
and makes up a law
to get rid of her.
It's not like that at all.
I guard laws against such abuse.
Just see it this way.
It's not what the
Emperor can do for you,
but what you can
do for the Empire.
Another of your laws?
When the first wife of thegrandfather of the Emperor
died, the laws
insisted that he marry
another woman within one year.
There was no time for him tocome to terms with his sorrow
and fall in love again.
A new Empress was chosen, agirl from the cold province.
After her selection, he was notallowed to see her or meet her,
but only permitted
to write a letter,
in the hope that eventuallythey would have more in common
than their names on an
imperial pronouncement.
And did it work?
My promise to you aboutyour Thembe is not yet a lie.
But at least while theprovinces are still rebellious,
could you not find it in
your heart to cooperate?
If not for the Emperor'ssake, and for your own, then
for mine?
You want a truce?
Is that it?
I've appointed
you a new teacher.
You may just learn
something from him.
You didn't find the longtrain journey to our country
tiring, Your Highness?
Now, I passed
the time reading.
You did not enjoy
the landscape.
I read as far
as the mountains,
where your beautiful distractedmy attention from the book.
If you love
literature, you may
be familiar with acompatriot of mine, Zola.
Alas, not enough to judge it.
I think he doesn't getthe attention he deserves.
You share his opinions?
I especially like
his choice of style.
Very diplomatic.
You are beginning to understand.
You will make a
beautiful Empress.
My Darling Saba--
no, my dear Saba.
It is no simple matter forme to declare my love for you
through a letter, comma, ina language and an alphabet
that I use every
day, but I have never
used to describe
what happened to me
the first time that I saw you.
Full stop.
But I haven't even seen her.
She doesn't know that.
Oh, good.
Now, I must leave
for the cold province.
It seems the rebellion
has come to a head.
[music playing]
As the day approaches
when nothing will stand
in the way of our
union, and we will
share all that I have to give.
I should like a glass
of giraffe's milk.
Giraffe's milk?
If I'm going to be the Empress,I can ask for anything,
can't I?
I'd like to hate him.
But he seems much gentlerand more human than--
I have such foolish thoughts.
If only he could hear me now.
But he can't.
Would you love me,
if I were your Empress?
Everyone would love you.
Now, if you'll excuse
me, I must feed my bird.
Your Highness.
I gave you an imperial order.
And you didn't obey.
The Emperor is not
here to help you now.
What's the punishment
for one who
doesn't obey the imperial low?
Pull out the tray.
Pull out the tray.
Are you in love with
a man in a cage?
Follow me.
I wish you could tell mewhat your intentions are,
Your Highness.
Well, what do
you think they are?
If I do not conceive,
quickly, very quickly,
the best I can hope
for is banishment.
Does the Emperor know
about his shortcoming?
No, I thought not.
Chamberlain, I need your help.
My help, Your Highness?
You are verybeautiful, Your Highness.
I am the Emperor's wife.
And I shall be executed.
Give me an heir,
and you will not.
Would you object if Iasked to turn off the light?
Giraffe's milk, remember?
I had to arrange it myself,since you seem to forget
all the promises you make me.
Most unusual.
Why do you hide from me?
What did I do wrong?
You've done nothing wrong.
But I must have.
You promised to help me.
I do everything I can to bethe perfect Empress in waiting.
And what do you do
for me in return?
Sit up here and rot.
The shelter is ready
for you, Your Highness.
Nonsense, I am staying.
The Emperor isn't here.
And I'm in charge.
Thembe-- you--
we thought you were dead.
You sell her to somebody else?
Your Highness.
There are complications.
The mother of the futureEmpress is dead, murdered.
That is most unfortunate.
Very inconvenient.
A man was arrested
leaving the premises,
a rebel, the youngest of them.
That mean anything to you?
It is not entirely
unfamiliar to me, sir.
He's given a full confession.
Did you know their engagement?
But you had already
made your choice.
He will be executed.
I have nothing else to say.
Why aren't you
wearing your mask?
There's been a gas attack.
Please identify yourself.
Remember, I can only
give you two hours.
You're aiming too high.
I shall be watching you two.
Hello, Saba.
Thank you.
You do keep your
promises after all.
But I wish you hadn't.
He said that I will
never see him again.
That is so, I'm afraid.
But, the thing is, whenhe said that I felt relief.
[music playing]
You manage to get some sleep?
You know, in my
whole life, I've
never had to decide anything.
I think I'm pregnant.
And I'm going to keep it.
We shall see.
I've been willing to doeverything you asked of me.
I shall do my very best
to be a good Empress,
and try to love someone
I have never even seen.
But this baby is mine.
The only thing that
is yours is your life.
If you choose to keep thischild, we will be executed.
What you are
asking is inhumane.
It is the law.
Just for once,
forget those damn laws.
I've already done that, once.
She was just as
listless as the others.
But the injection helped himfind his lust for life again.
The blood flows through
his common lobes,
and he keeps trying
to jump on the others.
He is fully charged.
What did you give him?
Oh, an extract
of your testicles.
Finally someone is using me.
I shall soon have run
out of raw materials.
They say the rebellion is over.
All the leaders
have been killed.
I can still remember.
I had just graduated, in
the depths of the night
they brought in the
corpse of a young woman,
beautiful creature.
She was still warm.
I listened to her heart,didn't hear a single sound,
couldn't find a pulse.
I shined a light in her eye,saw no reaction from the pupils.
Took my hammer to her joints,couldn't find a reflex.
Blackened the sole of herfoot with a candle, nothing.
I grabbed a nipple, turned it90 degrees to the left, bang!
She hit me on the head
with a metal basin.
They don't like that, do they?
Anyway, I always say, neverturn your back on a warm corpse.
What are you saying?
I spoke to some soldiers.
At the time of the
assault on the palace,
the rebels were nowhere near.
One of them was wearing purple.
I didn't know any of therebels from the warm province.
There aren't.
The Empress is from thewarm province, is she not?
Anyway, that's not
why I came down here.
I want you to
perform an abortion.
An abortion?
You are a constant sourceof surprises, excellence.
Shut up.
And follow me.
Excellence, I'm
beginning to become
concerned about the legality--
Shut up, or I'll do to
you what you did to me.
Don't come near me.
Please, Saba.
You will be executed,
and so will I.
If you hold her down, I'llsend her off to dreamland.
So, this is where
your law brings you.
That will be all, doctor.
Do you still want a trialbefore I have you executed?
That is what the law
requires, Your Highness.
May I ask how you
found the entrance?
A little bird told me.
Your insults to me
are unforgivable.
I only obey the law.
Hypocrite, you have
not obeyed the laws.
You bend them to suityourself, just like my husband.
When a guest enters the
room with the Empress,
those present will greether with a simple reverence.
I am the Empress.
She is the Empress?
I had imagined her verydifferent, more civilized.
She is still a child.
I must admit it.
It took a little longer
than I had planned.
But did you really
think you could hide
her from me for the whole year?
I think you knew what
was happening all along.
And I think you plannedthe attack on the palace.
That's high treason,
Your Highness.
It's eat or be eaten,
my dear chamberlain.
You go on.
I can't.
Listen to me.
I have never said
this to anyone.
But what?
My life has always been
dependent on the law.
Without it, I'm nothing.
I must serve it to the end.
The law has made you mad.
No, it is the law
that keeps me sane.
I will never forgetyou, my dear chamberlain.
Your Highness.
After you.
Amnesty for all, to
honor the happy couple!
I can't grant you amnesty.
You betrayed me in the
most embarrassing way,
and brought great sorrow
to the Empress in high.
But where would
we be without you?
Look, an imperial adoption.
It's a boy.
Just a temporarymeasure until the empress
provides me with a real heir.
Where is she?
After giving up the baby, shereturned to the cold province.
I'm sorry, old friend.
This is most unfortunate.
Dismissed for life?
You've saved the emperor
by betraying him.
But you could use this.
I extracted the seed fromyour unwanted testes.
It's perfectly healthy.
I thought maybe you mightwant to start a family,
now that you're a free man.
Come and visit me.
Thank you.
[music playing]