All the Light We Cannot See (2023) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

[somber instrumental music plays]
[airplanes whir overhead]
[girl] Papa? Uncle Etienne?
If you can hear me, please come home.
The bombs are falling now.
I think the Americans
have come to free us at last.
Uncle Etienne,
it's not just that I'm alone here,
I'm also very worried about you.
You said you would be gone
for one hour, but it's been days.
If you're hiding from the German soldiers,
use the bombs to get back home.
[radio crackles]
And, Papa
you said you would be gone for six days
it's been more than a year.
But wherever in the world you are
if you can hear me
I love you.
[airplanes fly overhead]
[bomb whistles]
- [explosion]
- [glass shatters]
[ears ring]
And now, for those of you who listen
to my broadcast for pleasure,
I will continue with my reading
of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne.
It was given to me
by my father for my birthday
when we were in Paris and at peace.
"The great depths of the ocean
are unknown to us."
"Soundings cannot reach them."
"What passes in those remote depths,
what beings live
or can live 12 or 15 miles
beneath the surface of the waters,
we do not know."
[voice distorts during broadcast]
"Either, we do know all the varieties
of beings which people our planet,
or we do not."
"If we do not know them all,
if nature has still secrets
in the deeps for us,
nothing is more comfortable to reason
than to admit the existence of fishes,
or cetaceans of other kinds."
"If, on the contrary,
we do know all living kinds,
we must necessarily seek
for the animal in question
amongst those marine beings
already classed."
"And if we do not know them all,
if nature still has secrets,
we should consider
that any species of monster
is possibly out there in the darkness
and in the depths."
- [bombs explode in distance]
- [men shout indistinctly]
Take a last drink before we die?
It's brandy.
Older than both of us.
Older than we will ever be.
Neither one of us
will ever see Germany again.
Drink up.
We are about to die, Werner,
and you are listening
to the fucking radio.
- What are you listening to anyway?
- I'm
listening to a girl reading a book.
And when a bomb falls outside,
I hear it on the radio.
Which means
the girl I'm listening to is here.
She is here in Saint-Malo.
Before they put me in this uniform,
I used to listen
to a French radio station.
You did what?
I broke the Führer's rules.
There was this voice
I listened to since I was a boy.
He was a professor.
I learned French.
And I learned
lots of true things about the world.
Listening to foreign broadcasts
is punishable by death.
Yeah, so what?
Ten seconds, a hundred,
we're both dead anyway.
The radio station that taught me French
was on shortwave frequency 13.10.
Ever since we left Ukraine,
I've been tuning to that frequency.
[distant explosion]
And now
Now, when it's too late,
the frequency comes alive
and I hear a girl reading a book.
And I will never know who she is.
Goodbye, my friend.
- Goodbye.
- [bomb whistles]
[pilot] Confirmed strikes
on German bomb site.
Time to deliver the mail.
[girl on radio] That's the end
of tonight's broadcast.
I know that broadcasting could
get me killed, but I will not be silenced.
Papa, Uncle Etienne,
I pray that you are safe
and that tomorrow morning
we can break bread together
as we once did.
And to everyone else
I hope you will tune in again tomorrow.
[radio stops humming]
If there is a tomorrow.
[papers rustle]
[glass crunches]
[gentle instrumental music plays]
[soft music plays]
[French song plays on radio]
Tell me what the Americans are saying.
[waiter sighs]
Read it to me.
It says they will be back tomorrow
at midnight.
Everyone in the town must leave.
Bravo. Then this is it.
The beginning of the end.
They are telling us to leave,
but you have locked the gates of the city.
You bastards
have closed the gates so we cannot leave.
Don't blame me.
I'm not here to execute the war.
I'm a jeweler.
My job is to track down and identify
all the finest jewels in Europe
and deliver them to the Führer.
Since almost all of the other jewelers
in Germany were Jewish
and since the Reich,
in its endless wisdom, has decided
to gas, shoot, hang, and starve
all the Jews of Europe to death
I'm the only one
of my profession still at large.
[officer sniffs]
And in pursuit of my mission,
I am here in this ill-fated city
[officer exhales]
to find someone who I believe
has something that I want.
A girl.
A blind girl, who I know is in Saint-Malo.
[softly] Who I know is in Saint-Malo.
[normally] When I arrived here, I told you
I would give you the time it takes for me
to eat a dozen oysters
and drink a bottle of wine.
Now, the wine is gone, the oysters eaten.
You have ten more seconds to give me
the address of Marie-Laure LeBlanc.
The blind girl
that the whole town must know,
but who no one can recall!
I told you.
I have no idea who you are talking about.
[clicks tongue]
[tense music plays]
[grunts softly]
[softly] Eight.
- Six.
- Go to hell.
My friend, don't be ridiculous.
It is quite plain we are in hell already.
Three, two, one.
I will find her without your help.
[song continues playing]
[distant shouting]
[glass breaks]
[somber music plays]
Papa, where are you?
I'm listening.
[man] Okay. So, come down here.
- Where I proposed to her.
- Is that our house?
[man] No, our house is to
Over here a little bit more.
Let's not get distracted
by all the fancy places.
Let's concentrate on the task at hand.
At hand, you see? I made a joke.
Papa, in order to be called a joke
it must be funny.
Ah, you see, you were so busy making fun
of Papa you've fallen into the fountain.
Now, come here, let's
Let's start all over.
So, remember this is us.
This is here, this is home.
All right, now, go left,
first right, yeah, stop,
stop for the traffic.
Then cross, and then on and on and on
till you get to the park.
Which park?
The park where I proposed to Mama.
Tell me.
I've told you many times.
Well, tell me again.
You always stop after Mama says yes,
then you go quiet.
Marie, we're on a journey
and we've already left the park behind.
Now, let's see if you can do it
on your own.
You're all alone in Paris
with a very important message for Papa.
Go find me. What do you do?
First I go right, then on and on.
No, that's wrong.
I turn left and then I go on and on.
Stop for the crossing.
[softly] Stop for crossing.
That's it. And then what do you do?
You go on and on
And on and on and on and on and on
And on and on and on.
Is on and on done yet?
Yes, it is. So what do we do now?
You buy me a crêpe for my birthday?
Absolutely. Not just any crêpe,
a chocolate crêpe with whipped cream on it
and then we go to the
[Marie] To the museum.
And on and on and on and on
until I reach the museum.
[Papa] Bravo.
Once we get there,
for your birthday you get to explore
all the wonders that are housed there.
[Marie chuckles]
- Does that sound good?
- It does.
[speaks French]
[Marie] Wait,
you changed things since we last came.
How can you tell?
Always the first room we come to
smells of sand. Now it smells of
Feathers and beaks and claws.
It's full of birds.
Real birds?
No. Stuffed. Dead for many years.
But since I knew you were coming to visit,
I decided to bring them to life
with this.
[birds sing on recording]
[chuckles softly]
Papa, living things.
Almost. Their songs are alive.
Everything has a voice,
you just have to listen.
[birdsong continues]
And now, after a feast for your ears,
a treat for your hands.
You felt this one before just now,
do you remember what it is?
I thought this wasn't school.
[chuckles] Everything's school.
- Not for you.
- Especially for me.
You see, Marie,
the world's still the world
whether you can see or not.
Your fingers are your eyes.
You have ten fingers,
and most people only have two eyes,
so you're five times better off
because five times two is
- Yes!
- Are there diamonds?
There are.
It feels beautiful.
You're beautiful.
[softly] Happy birthday, Marie.
Is this the most valuable thing
in the whole museum?
[whispers] No.
There's one other stone that's more
valuable than all the rest put together.
It's called the Sea of Flames.
Will you fetch it?
It's not allowed.
Why is it not allowed?
Because it's in its own safe
in another part of the vault.
And anyway, it's already lunchtime,
which means,
you know what that means, don't you?
Eat cake.
Lots of cake.
And you.
Why am I not allowed to touch
the Sea of Flames?
Where do you want to eat, Marie?
Papa, why? I won't eat until you tell me.
[sighs] You're relentless, aren't you?
All right.
It's an absurd legend, Marie.
The legend says that the stone
they call the Sea of Flames is cursed.
There's more.
I hear it hiding in your voice.
Tell me. Please.
The legend's from a time when people
believed many things that weren't true.
It says that whoever
touches the stone is also cursed.
What is the curse?
The curse is that if you touch the stone
whoever you love
will suffer a terrible misfortune.
But if you possess the stone,
you yourself will never die.
So, as you can see, immediately,
from those two
physically impossible things,
the legend is simply nonsense.
Have you ever touched the Sea of Flames?
Come, Marie, let's eat.
[distant shouting]
[woman] Hey.
Why don't you open the gates
so we can leave?
There's no food.
You want us all to fry with you,
you Nazi bastards!
[dog barks]
[man] No bread here today.
No bread anywhere today. Marie
I didn't know when I'd see you again.
Monsieur Caron, I'm so hungry.
Do you have any bread left?
Keep your money.
I only have a stale scrap, but take it.
- Here.
- Thank you.
And I also have someone who heard
your message on the radio last night.
[knocks rhythmically]
Uncle Etienne.
You came.
[Etienne] I heard you pray
we would break bread together.
There's little bread, but I'm here.
- Very clever telling me where to meet you.
- Where have you been?
I've been working.
I've been doing important work
for the Americans and the British
who are coming to free us.
But I'm afraid I caught the attention
of the Germans,
and if I'd come home
that would have put you in grave danger.
[both chuckle softly]
You still broadcasting?
Of course, the copy of the book
that Papa gave me.
Good. The pages I told you to read?
Yes, Chapter 16.
I think you know by now
that you're not just reading Jules Verne.
You are sending messages in code
that will help to win the war.
Now, I want you to skip ahead
to Chapter 20,
read just page one, then Chapter 21,
read only page two.
Twenty then twenty-one, first and second.
You'd better get home quickly.
He's right. It's not safe out here.
There's a German officer in town
offering food and money
in return for information
about you, Marie.
- Me?
- Why does he want to know about her?
I don't know. No one does.
But so far, no one has spoken.
Right, when you get home,
lock all the doors, all right?
I will.
[Etienne] There will be
more bombing raids tonight.
What are you doing, soldier?
Looters will be shot.
Corporal Werner Pfennig, sir.
I'm with the Wehrmacht
radio surveillance unit.
My unit was deployed to Saint-Malo
to locate illegal radio broadcasts.
Last night my transceiver was damaged.
I need wire to continue my work, sir.
You're very weak.
Have you seen this?
Last night the Americans
dropped leaflets in French
telling everyone to leave Saint-Malo.
[Werner] I see.
Tell your unit that no one is leaving
or will be allowed to leave.
We stay in Saint-Malo to the last man.
My unit is all dead, sir.
I am the last man.
Where are you billeted?
The Hotel of Bees.
- Place de Concord.
- Mm-hmm.
Your work is important.
I will do what I can to help.
[woman] Remember, boys and girls,
Werner built
this radio contraption himself
out of things other people threw away.
So often, people discard things
of no use to them,
which are precious to others.
Just as Werner
and all of you are precious to me.
No one taught him what to do.
Werner is a mixture of genius
and persistence and bits from books.
If it works, it'll be a small miracle.
Is it ready, Werner?
I hope so, Frau Elena.
Then turn it on.
[static over radio]
[classical music plays over radio]
[rousing music swells]
[static over radio]
[man on radio] In fact the lambent light
emitted from burning a bit of coal
Girls are not allowed.
Hush. I'm your sister.
What have you found?
I have found the whole world, Jutta.
Vienna 65. Dresden 88. London 100.
But late at night, I get this from France.
Shortwave 13.10.
The most amazing professor.
He's saying the most amazing things.
[professor on radio] The human brain
is locked in total darkness.
It is forbidden.
If you listen you will learn.
Your brain floats in a clear liquid
inside the skull, never in the light.
And yet, in this darkness, the world
the brain constructs is full of light.
It brims with color and movement.
What may be
the most complex object in existence,
one wet kilogram
within which spins the universe.
So how, children, does the brain,
- which lives without a spark of light
- Psst.
build for us a world full of light?
It's very late, Marie.
He only broadcasts when it's late.
Who does?
The professor
who explains darkness and light.
That's fascinating, but it's late,
and you have school tomorrow.
- So, it's time to get a little rest.
- Okay.
- [chuckles]
- Good night, sweetheart.
He says the most important light
is the light you cannot see.
What does that mean?
Well, if you hadn't interrupted me,
I would have found out.
If he does explain it to you,
perhaps you can explain it to me
in the morning.
Ten more minutes.
[professor] ten trillionth
of all the light in the universe
is visible to our eyes.
And even in complete darkness
there is still light inside your mind.
[Marie] Professor,
there is still light inside my mind.
Ladies and gentlemen,
before I begin my broadcast today,
I have something to say.
Something from my own heart.
Many years ago,
a great professor used to offer
words of wisdom
to children on this very frequency.
He spoke to children all across Europe.
And when he spoke, he always played
a particular piece of music.
It was this.
[soft piano music plays]
In this time of stupid darkness,
in this time of ridiculous old men
invading cities,
stealing whole towns
like bullying children stealing toys,
I thought I would try to remember
some of the things the professor said,
and share them.
Because he spoke always about light.
I don't speak as well
as the professor once did, but I'll try.
He said the light
that comes when you burn coal
or charcoal or peat
He said
the light you get
from a piece of coal
is actually sunlight.
The point is light lasts forever.
For a billion years
inside a piece of coal.
But darkness, the professor said
[both] Darkness lasts
not even for one second
when you turn on the light.
That's all I wanted to say.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne.
[officer] Corporal Pfennig!
Get up here!
[radio broadcast fades out]
Why are you hiding down there?
It is as good a bomb shelter as any, sir.
Hmm. [sighs]
From now on
you will work up here. In the light.
Where we can see you.
Yes, sir.
It is now confirmed
that last night's bombing of Saint-Malo
was not random.
It was targeted.
They are hitting our positions
with great accuracy.
Someone is giving them information.
Have you detected any radio transmissions
from inside the city wall?
No, sir.
Even seemingly harmless messages
can contain coded information.
Yes, sir. I am also trained
in code breaking.
I was top of my class
at the National Political Institute
of Education in Berlin.
And the Institute in Berlin
is the best in Germany.
Yes. Sergeant Schmidt
was also at the Institute in Berlin.
Top of his class in 1942, right?
Schmidt has just arrived from Paris.
You said your unit is gone.
Schmidt will, from now on,
accompany you and help you in your work.
Possession of any
radio broadcast equipment
inside the city walls of Saint-Malo
is now punishable by death.
Yes, sir.
And from now, you won't be reliant
on stray pieces of wire.
Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.
Heil Hitler.
Heil Hitler.
Do you want a drink?
Do you want to win this war or not?
You heard the captain.
We must find the person
broadcasting our coordinates.
Hey, Pfennig, I am the ranking officer
and you are not allowed to drink on duty.
Do you hear me?
Tell me about your time at the Institute.
[tense music plays]
[music plays on gramophone]
"We can be friends."
"I hope we can soon be"
[door opens]
[officer] Hmm.
Preparing for happier days to come, yes?
My profession was once
to cut and arrange flowers.
I hope someday it will be again.
For now, it is about welcoming
all nationalities and, and cultures.
It's ten francs.
No, no, no.
That is not the purpose of my visit.
I'm no longer interested in sex.
I'm taking some very serious medication
for a very serious condition.
In truth, losing my libido
has been like
being unchained from a lunatic.
Please, sit.
You may have heard rumors around town
about a particular German officer
who is in Saint-Malo
to find a particular girl.
But now that the outcome
of the war is in grave doubt,
I'm having difficulties
getting people to give me information.
People really don't think
the outcome is in doubt.
The Americans will be dropping
more bombs within the hour.
[chuckles softly]
From the way people protect this girl,
I'm beginning to sense that her family
was somehow involved in the resistance.
Her father, an uncle called Etienne.
A spy of some kind
I wake, I work, I sleep.
People are now more afraid
of the resistance than they are of me.
So they tell me nothing.
That is why I decided
to make inquiries with someone
for whom straightforward
financial transactions
are not cluttered up
with moral considerations.
This girl is called Marie-Laure LeBlanc.
She's blind. I need her address.
I'm [laughs]
I'm not in the best condition
for this task.
I do not recommend
mixing Beaujolais with morphine.
But I am in a hurry.
- [radio hums]
- [sighs]
I have one more thing to say to my father.
Papa, I imagine you somewhere
with only my voice for company.
I cannot leave you alone.
I promised I would speak to you always.
And I will.
I'll talk to you,
give you a reason to hope.
[vehicle passes]
My turn. You get some sleep.
I I don't sleep much. I never have.
I can take your shift if you want.
I said it's my turn.
I don't give a fuck if you sleep or not.
Shit. No wonder you don't hear anything,
the power wire went loose. Jesus.
Yeah, well, you know what?
I did that to check you out.
To see if you knew anything at all
about radio transceivers.
What are you talking about?
I'm talking about I don't remember you
at the National Institute.
You told the officer you were
Class of '42.
I remember who came top of the class
in '42 and it wasn't fucking you.
So I didn't come top of my class.
I don't remember you at all.
How long did you last?
The National Institute is an elite school.
63% of the intake don't make it.
I've got an idea about you, Schmidt.
You are one of the 63.
I mean, all this chaos, paperwork burned,
a lot of rejects saying
all kinds of things officers want to hear.
Look at me, Mr. Sixty Three.
It was lie or get sent East.
I was frozen
beaten, run half to death
in that fucking school.
And I earned my commendation.
I still correspond with the commandant.
So one word from him
and to the East you will go.
Now, you and me
are going to have
a glass of Schnapps to toast the Führer.
And then we will
sit down together as equals.
I I don't drink.
Yes. Yes, you do.
To the Führer.
And the truth.
Thank you for listening.
That is the end of tonight's broadcast.
[dog barks in distance]
[Schmidt coughs and retches]
People drink that stuff
to celebrate? Jesus.
[Werner] How long did you
really last at the Institute?
Two weeks.
Two wild pig hunts.
I was the wild pig both times.
You said you know Commandant Bastian?
I remember his rules.
Whoever finishes the assault course last
gets a ten-second head start.
Ten seconds was not enough for me.
I got caught both times.
You either die like a lion
or you go over like a glass of spilt milk.
Isn't that what they taught us
at the Institute?
My father hasn't spoken to me
since I was dismissed.
[vehicle passes]
[men shout outside]
I'm a glass of spilt milk.
But I'm not an idiot.
I have a secret.
You have a secret.
When I turned on the radio,
someone was broadcasting.
On the transceiver
it said shortwave 13.10.
What is that?
It is a frequency that I have
listened to since I was a child.
There was a professor. He told us facts.
Facts when everyone else
was giving us opinions.
He used to say, "Open your eyes and see
what you can with them
before they close forever."
And I have tried to do that.
But most of what I've seen
I would sooner forget.
Since I became a radio operator,
I've found hundreds of frequencies
and located the transceivers.
I've seen the SS shoot
Shoot the enemies of the Reich
who were operating them.
As I was trained to do.
But when I'm alone
wherever I've been
I listen to shortwave 13.10.
There was always silence
until I reached Saint-Malo.
And I heard a girl reading a book.
What girl?
I don't know.
Maybe the professor's daughter.
Maybe someone else
who used to listen to him, just like me.
Someone from our generation who thought
if you open up the frequency
and talk reason and sense
and literature to people
the way the professor used to do,
then maybe the insanity of this
old man's war might come to an end.
Whoever she is, she's
She's okay.
13.10 is in good hands.
I have your secret.
But I can't trust you with mine.
I can't go East.
This is war.
One more body added to 50 million.
- I'm sorry, Werner
- Will you track down the girl?
I will do my duty.
Like they said
"You die like a lion
or you fall like a glass of spilt milk."
Please. Spare me.
I will spare shortwave 13.10.
[body thuds]
[officer] Hello, Marie.
I couldn't get your address.
Somebody told me
that you and your papa used to come here.
You look hungry.
But then again, I suppose everybody
is hungry in Saint-Malo right now.
I am I'm very sorry, I need to go.
My uncle's waiting
Please. Please!
Who are you?
Someone who means you no harm.
If you give me what I want.
What do you want?
- [distant explosion]
- [rumbling]
This war, this madness, all these lives,
they mean nothing to me.
I just want to live.
And I believe you can help me.
How can I help you?
Your father once worked
in the museum in Paris, yeah?
He had in his care many precious stones.
There was one stone in particular.
Vision is a wonderful thing.
I see you know
the particular stone I'm talking about.
It is called the Sea of Flames.
The legend says it can cure any illness.
And whoever possesses it
will live forever.
My father, he told me the legend.
But it's it's a fable.
It's only believed by fools.
this fool is taking a military-issue
Walther PPK from its holster.
I'm now pointing the gun at your head.
You and your father fled Paris
when the war broke out.
He took with him many jewels to keep them
out of the hands of the Nazis.
I'm not interested
in the diamonds and the sapphires.
[gun cocks]
I'm only interested in the Sea of Flames,
which I believe
he left in your possession.
I want you to tell me where it is.
You have ten seconds.
- I don't
- Ten.
Speak, Marie!
My father just told me about the stone.
- Six.
- Did you think it was going to be here?
- Five.
- I don't know where it is. I don't know!
[professor] The most important
light of all
- Three.
- I don't know where it is!
- Two.
- I don't know!
[professor] is the light we cannot see.
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