The Rite (1969) Movie Script

Let them wait.
Show them in, please.
How do you do?
Please, come in.
This weather's very trying.
Record temperatures, I hear.
Thirty-four degrees, most unhealthy.
And yesterday's thunderstorm
didn't help much.
The show was interrupted twice
when the lights went.
Odd when it happens in a big city.
It's more common in the country.
- A kind of panic.
- Please, sit down.
A drink, anyone?
Brandy, whiskey, a glass of sherry?
That's all I can offer you on a Sunday.
Ice water or a Coca-Cola for my wife.
She's not well.
The heat is excruciating.
I'll have a sherry myself.
- I heard that your father...
- Yes, last Friday. It was very sudden.
- How enviable!
- Enviable?
I suppose so, Mr. Ritter...
Forgive me, Mr. Fisher.
- I think I'll have a sherry after all.
- Splendid! And you, Mr. Fisher?
- I'll have some of Thea's Coca-Cola.
- You can have your very own bottle.
- The government is paying.
- My humble thanks.
- Kind of you to give up a Sunday.
- Equally kind of you to receive us.
- You're giving up your Sunday.
- It's nothing.
Every day is a workday for me.
I'm a workaholic.
My doctor has warned me.
When you're past 50, and all that.
If I had a loving wife waiting at home,
with my dinner and slippers...
But we're not here to talk about me,
agreeable though it is.
Where to next?
I see you've just come from Poland.
A few weeks in Holland,
then we go on to the Far East.
- For how long?
- Six months.
Doesn't it get boring?
You get used to it.
Forgive me for asking,
but, as far as I can tell,
you're all Swiss citizens.
For the last five years
we've lived in Ascona, in between tours.
We've been trying to find out
your income over the past three years.
But the Swiss tax authorities are,
how shall I put it,
extremely reticent.
A colleague of mine called the places
where you've been performing.
He estimates your annual income
to be close to $2 million.
On the surface, your income isn't
connected with the case as such.
But I'd like to have
as much background as possible.
And then there's the speeding offense.
The Dutch police caught up with you
between Arnhem and Nijmegen.
You stated that you were late
for a "charity event" in Lige.
You were driving at 160 km per hour.
We told them we were terribly late.
True, it's in the report.
My wife had been ill, hence the delay.
It says Mrs. Winkelmann was drunk
and that she abused the officers.
Furthermore, that she undressed
and, I quote, "made lewd movements."
- We sent them a doctor's certificate.
- True.
Mrs. Winkelmann suffers
from a kind of epilepsy,
which can lead to certain
mental side-effects.
- I had a feeling of suffocation.
- I see.
The Dutch police were utterly shaken,
that's for sure!
- Did you get to your charity event?
- It wasn't a charity event.
A friend has a chteau near Lige,
and we were performing for a group
of politicians and industrialists.
The "charity thing" just escaped me,
The report does lament
this little oversight.
And we did hand over
three-quarters of our fee to charity.
Really? I haven't been notified.
I'll certainly make a note of that.
Oh, well, these are mere details.
- My driving license is clean.
- You jumped the lights in 1956.
- Unfortunately I'd forgotten that.
- Yes, that is unfortunate.
Is that so?
I'll be right there.
- Excuse me.
- Certainly.
- Rude bastard! He'll be hard on us.
- Don't get hysterical, Sebastian.
- I can't stand situations like this!
- Let Hans...
Right, let me do the talking.
We'll stick together.
- Are there microphones here?
- We have nothing to hide.
We've done nothing illegal.
This is just a talk.
- I'm suffocating!
- Calm down, both of you.
Not a living soul in the whole street.
Lightning over there,
behind the gas holder.
Do you see the huge beetle
on that windowsill there?
Second window from the left.
It's huge.
It saw you and flew away.
Shall we kill the doctor?
We just walk away afterwards.
There's no one here.
Hans will take care of us.
- He's so caring, so wise, so dignified.
- You just go on and on.
I've had this indefinable angst all day.
I just want to cry and get drunk.
- You were drunk yesterday as well.
- Are you saying I'm drunk now?
Don't bloody accuse me all the time!
Stop it!
Hans didn't mean it that way.
Must you be so noisy with the paper?
It makes me jump.
- Go to your own room then.
- Are you kicking me out?
If I'm annoying you, you can go.
Have I said anything else?
- I hate you.
- Thanks. Same to you.
- The judge expects you at 10:00.
- I'll be there.
- You haven't brushed your teeth.
- Neither have you.
- None of your business.
- Your breath smells in the morning.
I'd love to sleep on my own,
but you can't sleep if I'm not with you.
- Portner is dead.
- What?
It's in the paper.
"Ivan Portner, 50 years old,
died in Stuttgart,
following a long illness."
The poor devil had lung and throat cancer.
He had two operations.
- I saw him in February.
- You never told me.
He looked like hell,
but he was still working.
End of February, it was.
He looked near death then.
- You never said. Was Marina there?
- No, I didn't see her.
- You saw her.
- I said I didn't.
- I bet the two of you cheated on him.
- I told you. I didn't see Marina.
You saw Marina in Switzerland
in between the tours.
I don't believe you're jealous.
It's just a bad mood.
I know you saw Marina.
My contract expires in six months.
Our company can be dissolved.
You, me and Mr. Winkelmann.
You'll have to do without
Sebastian Fisher.
- That's Hans.
- Or the waiter coming for his tray.
- I'm sure it's Hans.
- So?
- Guilty conscience?
- I don't know.
I dreamt last night...
I was walking in the street,
knowing it was Monday.
It struck me that school began
on this Monday, and that I wasn't there.
- It frightened me enormously.
- Oh, dear...!
- Am I boring you?
- Not at all...
I was really frightened.
Then I thought,
I can leave school whenever I want.
I went home.
Mother opened the door and said:
"Aren't you in school?"
I said: "No, I've left school.
I'm never going back."
My mother was strangely red in the face.
She had a cold and kept blowing her nose.
I thought it suspicious
and kept my distance.
She said: "How will you manage
if you don't go to school?"
I told her I make three-quarters
of a million a year, so I'd manage.
I dreamt I was going for a ride
in an old cart.
I could choose between
a younger and an older horse.
I took the younger one,
as the older wasn't as strong.
After a while, the horse
sat in the cart, and I was pulling.
And the horse went on about love
and art and freedom.
So it's time to slaughter the horse!
The horse had an ulcer and a cold!
It's hard to sense the humor
in a situation and not be able to laugh.
By the way, do you remember that poem...
- "I'm half man, half bird."
- I'm not interested in poetry.
No, only in magazines.
I don't remember it.
- What?
- The poem! You're not listening.
The bird poem.
Half bird, half man
Bird's heart, man's lungs
Bird's head, man's eyes
The body bursting
with a longing never sated
The body bound by heavy limbs
eyes turning to the sky
And so on
Sebastian, bird!
The glowing woman's flower
open, moist, generous, fearless.
Mother Earth's own sister, slurp, slurp.
You always have to avenge yourself
just because you can't satisfy me.
- At least Hans can do that.
- And I can't?
No, you can't. There's no way you can.
I'm too frail.
I can't perform, what shall I call it...
...the grotesque.
I'll tell you what a psychiatrist
once told me.
He said: "You're not solid matter,
you're a movement.
You flow into others. They flow into you.
Nothing's constant.
When you realize this,
your neurosis will go."
And then he said,
"The islands in the river
are a sign of approaching death.
They grow and solidify,
rising out of the flowing darkness.
One day the stream will choke on islands."
You should have four different men.
One to keep you, one to fuck you,
one to amuse you
and one to take care of your psyche.
- I'm so very poorly off!
- I'll get up now.
And I'll go to my room.
Sebastian, Sebastian...
- I'll miss you.
- You've been so mean to me today.
I'll miss you, and I forgive you.
Not just for today, but for all days.
- Don't go.
- It's late.
What about Marina?
- I'm getting a cold.
- You never listen to me.
I remember something an old director
once said of actors.
"I never cease to marvel...
Suddenly lilies will shoot up
out of the asses of carcasses."
O Lord have mercy on me.
Oui, ma petite.
I have mercy on Thursdays.
Take me unto you.
Deliver my soul
lest it perish in the void.
I have a cold, a sore throat.
My body aches, and my eyes.
And, pardon me, a hellish diarrhea.
I feel utterly indisposed.
I've hardly slept all night.
I considered canceling this meeting.
I've got a performance tonight.
That comes first.
- You have to be nice.
- We'll start with some forms.
Sounds menacing.
- Your name in full?
- Albert Emanuel Sebastian.
- Family name?
- I thought you knew that.
- German or English spelling?
- Fisher. It was originally German.
My father, who emigrated in 1931,
changed it to the English spelling.
Jewish grandparents.
My mother came from
an old family of Dutch artists.
- Vaalendorff, heard the name?
- Not really.
- No? There's a Vaalendorff's Circus.
- Sorry.
No? It's run by two uncles of mine.
My father was a musician,
he could've been great,
but sadly, he was a drunk.
In the end, he became ill, hallucinating.
But that's irrelevant.
Are you married?
I've been divorced for many years.
My ex-wife is a professor of archaeology.
She lives in Cairo.
You're separated, not divorced.
That's different.
Well, excuse me.
Why ask when you already know?
Mere formalities, Mr. Fisher.
I won't keep you long.
That's very kind of you.
Time to talk about the scar on my cheek?
Irrelevant. You were convicted
of unpremeditated manslaughter.
- A knife fight.
- It was self-defense.
- He was a close friend, wasn't he?
- He was my partner for four years.
He went wild when he was drunk.
Winkelmann's wife was his then.
An unhappy marriage.
We were all engaged by
the same company for several years.
Hans was married, two daughters.
We shared a house outside London.
Your partner's death split the group?
My wife, the professor, left.
Hans and Thea began working together.
I was in prison,
and Hans' wife went mad with jealousy.
I could stick my tongue out
through my cheek.
Why stab your friend four times?
The first blow killed him.
- Has it got anything to do with this?
- I'm curious.
I really don't know.
It felt good, I suppose.
I was holding him.
He was coughing.
We were both covered in blood.
I could feel his stubble
against my naked shoulder.
We were talking and laughing,
not realizing how serious it was.
- Have you suffered?
- Suffered, in what way?
Have I missed him, you mean?
That goes without saying. I loved him.
- Felt remorse?
- No, why should I?
- You wear a wedding ring.
- That's my business!
Of course it is.
- Could I have a drink?
- Sorry, I have nothing to offer.
- How many children do you have?
- I don't know.
You don't?
I honestly don't know.
I've never cared to count them.
I support some four or five of them.
My lawyer has all the facts.
With the professor I had two,
and a miscarriage.
Perhaps we should talk about
the main issue.
Is the act, or whatever it is,
your invention?
Christ, you're ridiculous
with your bloody self-esteem.
Your lower-class curiosity
and tactlessness.
Your lack of cultivation and sympathy.
I've noticed you're not very clean,
Mr. Abrahamson.
You neglect your personal hygiene.
Underneath your aftershave
is a sour smell of filthy corpulence.
You put on a clean shirt every day,
but I see a tidemark above the collar.
Your nails aren't very clean.
I despise you.
And I find your officiousness
unbelievably ridiculous.
Not bad to hobnob with
three world-famous artists.
Your picture in the paper next to us.
It feels good to pester us
with humiliating questions
under the pretense
of decency and discretion.
Pulling down our trousers
and giving us a spanking.
I'll demand a judge who's on my level.
You're unable to either understand
or judge our work. You're dull!
I've said what was on my mind.
Lock me up now, for contempt or whatever.
It grieves me you find me so repulsive.
I admit I sweat profusely.
I've seen many specialists about it,
it's my metabolism.
I can understand if it bothers you,
the smell, that is.
But I will not accept that I'm dirty.
No one washes as often as I do.
And it's not a tidemark on my neck.
It's an old sunburn, a pigmentation,
that looks a bit odd.
You say I'm lower-class.
I don't know about that.
It's a flexible concept.
My parents were well-off.
My father was a lawyer.
My mother a teacher.
We were five sisters and brothers.
I dare say we were well brought up.
I've tried not to hurt or embarrass you.
Possibly I've been too discreet.
I immediately sensed your animosity.
And as I pointed out,
it grieves me and makes me feel insecure.
All this has been upsetting for both
of us, so I suggest we say good-bye.
I wish you a speedy recovery and
look forward to tonight's performance.
I won't take your outburst to heart.
It's forgotten, and if you wish, forgiven.
I can quite understand
your strong emotions.
Good-bye, Mr. Fisher.
Will you find your own way out?
Straight down the corridor,
the elevators are on your right.
From there on it's easy. Good-bye.
Not only are you nasty and repulsive,
you're a crap actor to boot.
Your acting in the past few minutes
is among the worst I've ever seen.
You're ruthless, amoral and rotten.
People like you don't deserve to live!
I'm embarrassed,
on behalf of you and myself.
I'm incapable of feeling aggression.
I'm only seized with
a feeling of impotence.
- I beg you, go!
- Very well.
That's as it should be. Mother of God!
I have seen it, and there's no return!
I have no family. Nothing to live for.
Don't worry. I won't touch you.
That would be too vile.
Just sit down.
While you cool off... Shit, it's hot!
I'll tell you about an act
that Hans and I do.
A man enters a police station
to report something peculiar.
What is it he wants to report?
He's been gripped by a huge appetite.
He's eaten his wife, a shop assistant,
his two children and his grandmother.
A bearded man enters the shop,
God himself.
He cuts out a fillet from God's shank
and eats it.
He then has an irresistible urge to shit
and after that goes to the police.
Calm down, I'm near the end.
He lifts his cranium,
which he's sawed off,
and shows the astounded inspector
an empty inside.
His head was empty.
At the bottom was a string
for the eyelids, but that was it.
Are you calm now?
Then I'll go, before we draw any closer.
One more question: Your religion?
I have no religion.
I don't belong to any faith.
I don't need a god,
salvation or eternal life.
I'm my own god.
I supply my own angels and demons.
I reside on a stony beach
which sinks into a sheltering ocean.
A dog is barking. A child is crying.
The day closes and turns to night.
You can't intimidate me!
No human being
will ever frighten me again.
I have a prayer that I say to myself
in the absolute silence.
May there be a wind to stir the sea
and the sultry dusk.
May a bird fly in from the sea,
and scatter the silence with its call.
Father, I don't want to confess,
but I need someone to talk to.
I'm listening.
I think I'm going to die.
Strangely enough, I'm scared.
On my way home yesterday,
I had to sit down on a bench.
I felt as if I was already dead.
My body had a stench
I've never noticed before.
There's the abnormal heat, of course,
and my weak heart.
And then my old father's death.
Try as one may, everything changes.
What am I saying?
I'm talking through my hat.
Men can pardon one another, can't they?
There is an earthly grace.
But outside the fragile circle
of human warmth, cruelty reigns.
Forever in all eternity.
God. Insight.
I know you're not laughing at me.
You're probably familiar with
the phenomenon from your practice.
You'll know that nonbelievers often pray.
I pray. It gives me relief in my pain.
Night has fallen.
It's dark...
and I'm afraid.
My mother has left and shut the door.
No one will hear me if I call out.
I daren't walk on the floor
because of the animals.
I have to stay in my bed.
If I start to cry from anxiety...
I'll be even more afraid.
Dear Mr. Winkelmann, I'm so sorry.
How long have you been waiting?
Two hours, that's awful!
I heard you didn't get my message.
I asked my secretary to contact you.
- You weren't in your room.
- Maybe not just then.
Nevertheless, it's most regrettable.
As you may know,
I had a talk with Mr. Fisher.
I can't say we got along very well.
I've searched my conscience
to ascertain whether I offended him.
He is very sensitive and quite poorly.
He's had a series of infections.
It makes him irritable.
Yes, I understand.
- He takes the matter all too seriously.
- And you?
I've long ago stopped fretting
over professional matters.
I do my best. That's all.
It's only natural your judicial system
finds it necessary to investigate.
The penalty is lenient,
if we're found guilty.
The fine has been deposited
in a bank nominated by you.
I'm delighted to hear that.
We have the same attitude.
Our laws may be antiquated,
- but they must be applied.
- Of course.
Other authorities make them
and repeal them.
The fine is modest.
And our action has given you
great publicity.
On principle,
we don't rely on box-office takings.
I see.
Do you negotiate and set up the contracts?
Oh, no, our agent does that.
He negotiates with agents abroad,
who then negotiate with our employers.
It's a complex business.
I outline for our agent
the principles behind our performances.
After consulting my partners, naturally.
Who among you is the creative force?
That's hard to say.
We're so mixed up with one another.
We share thoughts and feelings,
know one another's reactions.
If you perform day in day out,
in such an utterly demanding environment,
you merge into an integrated unit.
That doesn't prevent us from having
different views on this and that.
So it's impossible to say
who thought of the act?
- Absolutely.
- The props?
- I don't remember.
- The gestures?
Each of us is responsible
for our own gestures.
A cigarette?
- Quarter past 4:00.
- Forgive me. I didn't mean to be rude.
I left my wife at the hotel.
She might be getting worried.
- Do you want to call her?
- Oh, no.
Are you afraid of leaving her alone
with Mr. Fisher?
My wife needs me to be there.
This business has upset her.
I'll be seeing her alone.
I'm sure I'll be able to reassure her.
- Don't you think so, Mr. Fisher?
- Winkelmann.
Yes, sorry.
- I wanted to talk to you about that.
- One moment, please.
- How long have you been married?
- Five years.
- Any children?
- A boy.
- Where is he?
- He's in a home. He's an idiot.
- You were married previously?
- Yes.
- Where is your former wife?
- I don't know.
You pay alimony for your child?
My lawyers take care of that.
- So you never see your child?
- No.
Why not?
- Is that relevant here?
- No, I'm just curious.
- Does it bother you?
- Yes.
No... It's because of the trip.
- You take a vacation every year.
- I'm too tired then.
Does your present wife
not want you to see him?
What was it you wanted to ask earlier?
- I wanted to ask you a favor.
- Oh?
I'd be immensely grateful if you'd
call off your interview with my wife.
- Or if I could be present.
- I see.
My wife is, shall we say,
an unusual woman.
Neurotic, many might say.
I'd say she's unusually sensitive,
mentally and physically.
Sometimes she has very peculiar
outbursts and ideas.
With me she's calm and perfectly normal,
apart from her stammering,
which derives from a childhood trauma.
she has an unreasonable need to please.
You can make her say or do anything,
far beyond the bounds
of reason or dignity.
Your meeting would be meaningless.
My dear Mr. Winkelmann,
I'd gladly grant your request,
but I have my orders.
You can accompany her here
and sit next door,
but I do need to see her alone.
I can see the difficulty
in canceling the interview.
Could you just make it a formality?
Say I let her in,
you exchange a few empty phrases
and then I pick her up.
I value you highly
and want to spare your wife,
but I have to follow my instructions.
You can't imagine her fear. It's bestial.
- I can get a doctor.
- It'll make things worse.
For years I've tried to make Thea
realize she's not mentally ill.
You must understand my position.
By the way,
why does Sebastian Fisher
still wear his wedding ring?
It was his father's.
He had an unusual bond with his father.
About my wife...
- Is she having an affair with Fisher?
- Sorry?
- Do they live together?
- What do you mean?
- Are they in love?
- I don't understand.
- Do they sleep together?
- They're like sister and brother.
They're very close.
- And you tolerate it?
- I know all about humiliation.
I don't know why.
Is there something in me
that invites humiliation?
Really big artists are invulnerable,
in their core, that is.
I'm not one of them.
My biggest fear is to be left alone.
- Really?
- You're surprised?
I look so robust.
Well-adjusted, fairly intelligent,
hugely talented, and so on.
I love Sebastian Fisher and my wife.
Love... Oh, I don't know.
I need them.
But I'm not so sure they need me.
So I try to make myself indispensable.
You won't call off the interview?
I thought that matter was settled.
I beg you, on my knees.
I know it's melodramatic, but I mean it.
Could I pay you?
- How much?
- Just name a reasonable sum.
- 50... 100,000.
- 100,000.
- Will a check do?
- That'll do fine.
Thank you for your kindness.
You've been very understanding.
Here. I spelled your name with two S's,
I hope that's correct.
That's correct.
- Now I'm really curious.
- Why?
I'll disregard the enormity of
your attempt to bribe a civil servant.
That's your responsibility.
You must have strong reasons
for wanting to stop the meeting.
We're done.
I may see you tomorrow
if you accompany your wife here.
I'm grateful for your magnanimity.
I wonder if something dangerous
lies hidden in your act.
- I don't think so.
- Good-bye, Mr. Winkelmann.
- Is the front door open at this hour?
- I'll notify a porter.
How are you, dear?
- What's wrong?
- I'm so bloody scared of that judge.
Just hand over the statement
I've written for you.
If he starts questioning you,
you just start stammering.
If you panic, I'll be sitting next door.
Calm yourself.
I've done everything I can.
The day after tomorrow it'll all be over.
We'll go to the country.
I know an inn with fantastic food.
If it's not too hot, we'll go for a walk
in the woods, sleep under a tree.
We can't leave Sebastian alone.
So we bring Sebastian with us.
He's going to leave
when the contract expires.
- He won't leave.
- This time he will.
- I'll have a talk with him.
- He's going crazy.
- I don't think so.
- I'm afraid of him.
- Stay away from him.
- He can't be without me.
Every night he wants me to be with him,
he feels such angst.
It looks terrible, and I can't say no.
Take off your makeup now.
- Are you angry with me?
- No, why?
You sound so harsh.
- I'm just a bit tired.
- You always are.
- Do I make you tired?
- No, why?
- You do love me, don't you?
- Of course.
- If I didn't have you, I'd kill myself.
- You'd have someone else.
- You sound so bitter.
- No, I'm just tired.
Not long ago, you said it was
your life's mission to look after me.
That's right.
You're my security.
Isn't it better
if it's one great insecurity
with artificial islands of security?
That's much closer to reality
than your idea of a big security
with little bursts of insecurity.
- Why do you say that?
- Because I'm tired.
- You're tired of me.
- I didn't say that, but all right...
I am tired of you.
And I'm tired of Sebastian.
I'm tired of you and Sebastian.
I'm tired of touring with two lunatics.
I'm tired of our so-called artistry.
I've lost belief in our purpose.
We're pointless, disgusting, ridiculous.
- We've lost our relevance.
- I don't know what "revalense" means.
- We're not needed. We're obsolete.
- You are tired of me.
Yes, my tedium is limitless.
I don't even feel sorry for you.
You're lazy. You don't rehearse.
Three hours yesterday!
The day before you were ill.
You were drunk. You saw a friend...
- I didn't see anyone!
- ...or whatever the hell it was!
We were on the road.
You and Sebastian had a fight.
You're lazy, sloppy and insufferable.
Not worth a tenth of what you earn!
Do what you want when the contract
expires. Go to hell, if you want!
I don't know what I'm saying.
I never speak about myself.
Still, I love you... I do.
You understand?
Despite everything, I love you.
I feel sorry for you.
Nearly all my thoughts
are centered around you.
I'd do anything to spare you
discomfort or trouble.
Seeing your and Sebastian's passion
worries me.
I see you tear each other to pieces.
But I should know better.
You can say anything,
commit any barbarity.
Nothing works on you. You're monstrous.
I know it, I recognize it.
I can never be like you,
I don't want to be.
I've had enough.
Try to listen to me now!
We have reached the extreme limit.
It's humiliating, degrading.
Enough is enough.
Do you understand what I'm saying?
- I'm tired of you.
- Poor Hans.
No, no, no. You haven't understood a word.
Poor Hans. Poor guilty conscience.
The world is falling to pieces,
burning and bleeding.
Poor Hans, poor little conscience.
It's to be this and not that.
That, and not this.
- I believe in my senses.
- Me too. Your senses won't desert us.
- No, they won't desert me.
- Poor thing, you're tired. I'll hurry up.
- Do you know where Sebastian is?
- He's left.
- To the hotel?
- I don't think so.
- Do you think I've grown ugly?
- No, no, no.
- You're still my husband.
- We'll get a divorce.
- I'll go with you to your farm.
- No.
You must be so tired of me and Sebastian.
We behave like lunatics!
- What are you laughing at?
- Sebastian.
- With him you laugh at me.
- Of course!
Christ, I'm tired.
Release me from this prison.
- Oh, Lord, set me free.
- You want to die?
No... not exactly die.
I'd like to sleep.
Do you know, that every morning
You wake up at 5:00, angst sitting
on your chest like black birds.
You want to sleep. Until 10:00, 11:00?
- I want to be free.
- Wipe your nose.
Oh, sorry.
I'm almost ready!
Please pass the dressing gown.
Ugh, it's all damp.
The dressing rooms they provide...
It shouldn't be tolerated!
You should complain to the manager!
I'm sorry.
No, go on.
No, it's hard.
We don't understand each other.
We can never talk.
The words are never right.
The absolute incomprehensibility...
- Shall I call a cab?
- You'd better...!
I'm not quite sober,
and you've had a drink too!
I'll take a shower.
- Oh, Hans.
- What is it?
- I'm so bloody anxious.
- Don't be. I'm here.
- You won't be in the room.
- I'll be next door.
- That judge is horrible.
- He's all right.
He's only doing his job.
- You know better than that.
- I suppose I do.
Good evening, Mrs. Winkelmann.
- Welcome.
- Good evening.
Let's sit down and talk.
Trust me. It won't be painful.
I didn't think it would be.
What a remarkably beautiful dress.
I'm glad you like it.
- Do you mind if I take some notes?
- Of course not.
We usually use tape recorders nowadays.
But machines of that kind
have a restrictive influence on trust.
You're probably right in that.
Today was the hottest day of the summer.
Thirty-five degrees in the shade.
It's very trying.
- I like the heat.
- Do you?
Well, people are different.
- No performances on Mondays?
- No, we have Mondays off.
- That's nice.
- It is nice.
How many performances per night?
Four performances at present.
- That must be tiring.
- You get used to it.
- Where will you go on your holiday?
- Hans and Sebastian say Africa.
- And you yourself?
- I'll go with them, I suppose.
You're seldom in Ascona.
Not much of a homelife.
We usually spend a few weeks there
in between tours.
- Does Mr. Fisher stay with you then?
- Yes.
- Such a trinity must be wonderful.
- It is.
- To be loved like that...
- Yes, that too.
- No conflicts?
- At first there were some difficulties.
Your husband said this meeting
worried you.
- Hans thinks I'm so sensitive.
- A drink?
- That would be nice.
- Brandy? I don't have much choice.
I'll have anything.
One for your husband as well?
He's outside getting bored.
He deserves a drink.
- Shall I send him your regards?
- Yes, please do.
Right away.
Your husband sends his regards.
He was worried for you,
but I reassured him.
You're so extremely beautiful,
Mrs. Winkelmann.
The way the light falls over your face...
Forgive me.
- I have written a statement.
- A statement?
- I've written it for your sake.
- My dear Mrs. Winkelmann...
Please read it now, here.
Please read it out loud.
- Why out loud?
- So I can explain certain points.
"My name is not Thea von Ritt-Winkelmann,
despite my passport.
Neither is this my true hair color
and I hardly know my real age.
My mouth has changed position
as I have changed all my front teeth.
I have been subject
to severe physical pain.
The worst was an itching
that plagued me for two whole years.
It went away as suddenly as it appeared.
Another difficulty is
my too-highly developed senses.
I experience pain
from sudden noises, strong light
and unpleasant smells.
A completely normal pressure from a dress
can drive me insane with pain."
- It's very long-winded.
- Not at all.
"I began my artistic career
with singing lessons.
I had an engagement at a theater
where I met a man
who trained me in the music hall.
We toured for many years.
That's how I met Hans Winkelmann.
I pretend I'm a saint or a martyr,
thus the name Thea.
I can sit for hours at the table
in the hall
looking at my palms.
Once, a red spot appeared... my left hand.
But no blood.
I play at going into ecstasy
and talking to the holy Virgin.
Belief and unbelief.
Defiance and doubt.
It's all a game.
But inside, I remain the same.
Sometimes utterly tragic,
sometimes exhilarated."
- That's not at all what I mean.
- What do you mean?
- Is there nothing to do with the case?
- I knew you'd be bored.
It's all very beautiful.
I dare say you're talented.
But let's get to the point.
I thought you talked to Hans
and Sebastian about the act!
This has nothing to do with it.
Give it back!
- You didn't stammer.
- Sometimes I don't.
- Why?
- I don't know.
- Are you acting?
- Sorry?
Acting, pretending, taking me in.
- Why should I?
- Your stutter comes and goes.
Your husband mentioned a childhood trauma.
What's true?
You don't use your real name or age,
or your own face.
Why all this acting?
And this confession, this statement,
or whatever you want to call it...
Do you want it read out in court?
All this theater.
Your husband's apprehension
about our meeting.
Let's be plain and frank, Mrs. Winkelmann.
Artists have their ways
of attracting curiosity.
You've put up a rosy smoke screen.
Your beauty and grace.
But I'm discerning your true character
behind your insincerity.
Only simple and clear facts apply here.
What's your name?
Claudia Monteverdi.
Your age?
I don't know.
You must know your age.
You must know your age!
- I don't want you to call me Claudia.
- I'll call you what the hell I want!
Please kiss me!
Your age! Bloody circus whore!
Don't get hysterical! Stop this drama!
Please, stop it now.
It's your own doing, you made me furious.
Hans Winkelmann!
She suddenly had a fit.
- We were just talking.
- I heard you shout at her.
She could be faking it!
Is it really so impossible
that she's faking it?
Call a taxi. We're going to the hospital.
- I'll drive you.
- No, thanks.
I forbid you to go by taxi!
I'll get a police escort.
I'll come with you to clear this up.
There'll be two doctors, and police.
The deceit must end, Mr. Winkelmann.
I've tried to be nice, but to no avail.
Unfortunately for me, and for you.
A police car for transport.
This is Dr. Abrahamson, Judge Abrahamson.
We'll be down in a couple of minutes.
We don't need help,
two police constables will suffice.
We're going to General Hospital.
All will be cleared up. Shall we go?
Take her bag, will you?
- You're late.
- We didn't say a time.
We said 3:00. It's half past 4:00.
I've waited for an hour and a half.
You could at least apologize.
- Forgive me.
- Very well.
- What do you want?
- To discuss business.
A lot has happened since this morning.
Judging by your tone, it's not good.
That depends on how you take it.
Our agent says that our Far East tour
has been canceled due to the war.
Also, that our US tour is in danger
because of this indecency fuss.
That means six months' holiday
or unemployment.
- We'll lose a lot of money.
- Certainly.
- About half a million each.
- A bit less, the agent gets nothing.
Then we only have those weeks in Italy.
How annoying, to say the least!
That's what I wanted to discuss.
You must realize that I can't go on
lending you money forever.
Here's an account of your finances
from our lawyer.
On the right is your income,
and on the left your expenditure.
On the reverse is the total.
Balance in our favor: 296,000 francs.
My part of the house in Ascona
must be worth something.
I bought you out, when you had
that tax bill in Scandinavia.
So we'll have to write a new contract,
dear Winkelmann.
Tell Bauer I'll do another season,
but I need an advance.
The bill, please!
Will you take care of this?
We'll sell the apartment.
Forgive me, I have to go.
There are a couple of other matters.
Sounds ominous.
A letter from our agent.
It's getting harder to book us,
with our fees.
He suggests two alternatives:
Either we work separately,
or we lower our demands by two-thirds.
- He suggests the former.
- I see.
That suits me.
I was planning to quit in a year or two.
The question is what you and Thea
should do.
Thea and you should talk to him
about the future.
- Thea and me?
- Yes.
You'd make an interesting combination.
You'd have to work hard on some new acts.
Thea could always be a stripper.
I know a good teacher, Sara Fraenkel.
I don't care. Do what you like.
And another thing,
your checking account
is overdrawn by 12,000 kronor.
The bank called our lawyer,
but since he won't speak to you,
or you to him, he asked me to tell you.
- Anything else?
- Yes.
We have to decide
who should pay Thea's hotel bills.
You, me or she herself.
- She says she pays them.
- That's not true.
She's always asking me for money.
Trifling sums, agreed,
but I'd like to establish
who handles her finances.
- Well, you're her husband.
- Exactly.
So we're agreed that in the future
I pay her bills and handle her finances.
Could you tell her that?
She gets angry with me if I bring it up.
She thinks that she handles
her finances herself.
- I'll talk to her.
- Very kind of you.
The garage called. Your car is ready.
Thanks, I'll pick it up immediately.
They said the registration
is two years out of date.
- It could mean
- Is there anything else?
Let me look at my list.
What have we got here?
No, nothing else.
How are you feeling?
- Like shit.
- Are you fighting?
Can you call it fighting?
We perform some kind of play
where we're both actors and audience.
Long performances.
She says I don't satisfy her.
- You!
- She says you did. What did you do?
Love and tenderness makes her nervous.
Put your left hand deep inside her.
Push hard with your right on her clitoris.
She'll have several orgasms.
Then you can fuck her any way you like.
How the hell did you figure that out?
Lack of imagination, desperation...
- Don't tell her we talked about it.
- Of course not.
Don't start practicing it right away.
Pretend you discovered it bit by bit.
- Don't you worry.
- Hell, I never know with you.
- How do you put up with her?
- No problem.
She's quite funny.
I love her in the spirit of
the Epistle to the Corinthians.
"Love always trusts, always hopes...
always perseveres," and so on. Is that it?
- But you're still tired of her?
- Yes, but she doesn't mind.
- We're in decline.
- I know.
- You'll soon have her back.
- Thanks.
- You're not quite sane.
- Actually, I think I am.
Can I pay?
Tell me one thing. Do you detest me?
No, far from it.
- But I used to like you better.
- Before I took Thea from you?
Before you started drinking
and got sloppy, I even admired you.
I thought you were a warm person,
full of life.
And you had something, Thea did too.
- What did I have?
- A light.
You smile.
There's no other word for it, a light.
It's the light that Thea and I
are busy extinguishing.
I'm expecting a call from the agent.
Can I ask him to call you
and set up a meeting?
- Will you be present?
- By all means, if I can be of any help.
Wednesday night, August 9th.
This morning, Messrs Winkelmann
and Fisher requested a meeting.
Mr. Fisher did the talking.
He was quite different from last time.
His arrogance and aggressiveness was gone.
He appeared balanced, amiable,
somewhat remorseful and very frank.
He suggested that he and his friends
visit after Wednesday's performance.
They would be dressed
for the forbidden act.
They'd give a private performance
and explain the piece in detail.
I agreed to their modest request
that no other audience be present.
Come in!
- Welcome!
- Sorry we're late.
The downpour made the streets impassable.
Not to worry. I had lots of work to do.
- We'll set the scene.
- Sadly there'll be no lighting effects.
I told the night watchman
not to disturb us.
Imagine his face
if he were to enter in the middle of it!
- How are you?
- Fine. Thanks for the lovely flowers.
I was so relieved when the doctor said
it wasn't serious.
You're quite recovered?
Just a bit tired from the medication.
- I hope this won't be too hard?
- No, not for me.
I just beat the drum
and talk some nonsense.
Excuse me.
Only one question:
Why this particular act?
We read something in a book, I think.
I don't quite remember.
Or maybe it was something
Hans heard as a child.
We wanted to recreate it.
Our imaginations were stimulated...
- So it's not that simple?
- No, it's not that simple.
Call it an intercession.
Artists are such sensitive creatures.
The urge to perform a ritual.
It may be meaningless,
but now and then we're all seized
by the desire to kneel or pray.
A ritual game. An incantation.
A formula. A kind of conversation.
I'm not versed in spiritual afflictions,
but our desire must have a Latin name.
Dr. Abrahamson,
you yourself have experienced weakness.
A sensual longing for surrender.
Perhaps as a child...
- Why the knife?
- Don't you know?
I haven't seen the act,
only had it described to me.
- I can put it away.
- No, just tell me what it's for.
This sack is filled with wine.
At a given moment, I raise the sack...
and stab it from underneath!
The wine gushes down into the vessel.
- I see.
- Lights out.
Complete silence,
then the drumbeat in the dark.
No, I need the light to take notes.
We don't need complete darkness.
Sebastian, we're ready.
The murmur dies away.
It's very quiet.
Even more quiet.
Still more quiet.
The drumming begins. Thea, please...
No, first let me.
I have something to tell you.
My father wanted me to be a lawyer,
like him and his father before him.
I had no choice in the matter.
This case was imposed on me.
It was assigned to me by lot.
I'm only doing my duty.
I've been very cautious.
I can't help it
if it's driven you to despair.
I abused you and
have asked your forgiveness.
Maybe you hate me.
I have an undefined feeling of fear.
Maybe it wasn't curiosity,
but I wanted to see the act
at close range.
Maybe from an obscure desire to take part.
Maybe it was just the secret need to...
I don't know.
I have superiors and subordinates.
I take and give orders.
You may be free, but I don't envy you.
It's a ghastly freedom.
Isn't it?
I don't understand you.
I don't understand what drives you,
or your relationship.
I don't understand
my own relationship to you.
Maybe you're laughing at me.
Or not laughing.
No, I suppose you're serious.
Aren't we digressing?
- It appears so.
- I agree.
I have always been afraid.
My first memories are of fear.
How could I in a moment give you a key,
so that you can understand
the horrors that
What am I saying? I must calm down.
I'm prey to phobias.
It's 2:00 in the morning. We're all tired.
Why are you smiling, Mr. Fisher?
I'm not smiling.
It was a mistake to do this
here in the interview room.
It has to take place in court,
in the presence of witnesses.
No more fear.
From now on, you command.
I'm an obedient spectator.
Dear artists,
you never had a more
rewarding and involved audience.
I'll take my chair and sit over here.
I hope it's convenient.
Has the performance started?
Or is it the orchestra tuning up?
Very impressive, in that case.
Joking apart...
I have a first and last name.
I was born, raised and educated.
I have lived a number of days,
slept a number of nights.
I've been happy and laughed.
I've been sad and cried.
Disappointment, tenderness...
It's all here.
You hit it on the head, Mr. Fisher.
I admire your physical daring.
Your hand touched my skin,
which is smarting.
But it also touched my memories,
my dignity as a human being.
You have hit me and humiliated yourself.
Maybe not.
Maybe you feel satisfaction and pleasure.
Look, how my hands are shaking.
And I want to cry.
I suppose it's a form of forlornness,
if you understand me.
To lean against someone,
find warmth and security
in someone's arms.
What drama!
I'll happily admit there's a measure
of cruelty also in my profession.
To reprimand,
humiliate, judge and investigate.
Cruelty's lust...
How else would it be possible?
I'm asking you, you artists.
You must know.
You know.
Sebastian Fisher.
Claudia Monteverdi.
Hans Winkelmann.
Start your performance.
I'll give a running commentary
of what we do.
Thea, in the high chair, beats the drum.
It's dark, before sunrise.
Dawn breaks.
We can't bring that about here.
You'll have to imagine it.
I see, dawn is breaking.
I hold the vessel facing the rising sun.
Sebastian Fisher is standing behind me.
Just before dawn
the wind rises across the sea.
When the light is strong enough,
at a certain moment,
Thea puts a god's mask before her face.
I understand.
I understand.
Sebastian Fisher
extends his arms backwards...
takes hold of Thea's forearms...
and slowly lifts her upwards.
At the same time I raise the vessel
above my head.
The lighting is on the mask
reflected in the blood.
I understand.
I then drink from the vessel.
Swallowing the reflection.
After that, Thea slowly sinks down
behind Sebastian's back.
That is the act, in short.
I understand.
Dr. Abrahamson is dead.
A doctor was summoned.
He established that Dr. Abrahamson
had died from a heart attack.
The three artists
were subsequently convicted
for the pantomimic act
that they called THE RITE.
They paid their fines,
gave some interviews
and towards the end of the summer
they went on vacation.
They never returned
to the country in question.