Scenes from a Marriage (1973) s01e05 Episode Script

The Illiterates

1 SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE Johan and Marianne have been happily married for ten years.
They had a good life surrounded by family and friends.
One day, like a bolt from the blue, Johan tells his wife he has fallen in love with Paula, that he plans to go abroad with her for eight months, and that their marriage is over.
Since then, a year has passed and Marianne has recovered a little.
One day, Johan calls her.
She asks him over for dinner.
They both act a bit reserved when they meet.
After a while, Johan begins to tell Marianne about a job he's been offered in the States, an offer he feels honored to receive.
It's also an excellent opportunity to get rid of Paula, who is too histrionic and demanding.
Marianne tries to tell Johan about her baby steps towards a new outlook on life, a more honest approach.
Both of them are apprehensive and vulnerable.
They decide to go to bed together.
However, they fail to achieve any real intimacy, and Johan leaves.
Once more, Marianne is left all alone.
THE ILLITERATES Come on in.
Sorry I'm late.
Dad called right when I was leaving, and he went on and on even though I told him I was busy.
So how are you doing? - I have a cold.
- You look pretty sick.
It started with a sore throat I thought would pass and progressed into a sneezy chest cold that keeps me coughing all night long.
I'm running a temperature too.
I wanted to postpone this meeting, but since you're going abroad, I guess we'd better file these papers before you leave, right? Poor Johan.
I hope Paula takes good care of you.
She's come down with a stomach flu.
It's all terribly romantic.
You'll pull through.
- You're certainly in a good mood.
- Maybe I am.
- Any special reason? - I'm always excited before a trip.
And it's spring, and I bought a new skirt.
What do you think? Isn't it nice? Though the light in here doesn't do the color justice.
- What do you think? - It's nice.
I'm glad we could meet here at your office.
Saves us some time.
It's not exactly cozy.
But it's fine for divorce matters.
Look at this.
Here's the agreement, word for word as we decided.
- Then I don't need to read it.
- Never sign what you haven't read.
- Don't look so grumpy.
- I'm not grumpy.
You're as grumpy as can be.
Here's a list of our common property and its distribution.
It's just a list.
It doesn't require a signature.
You get Granny's clock? That must be a mistake.
Your grandmother gave it to me.
We've already discussed this.
I don't recall discussing Granny's clock.
If you're so attached to it, keep it, but it happens to be mine.
You're always right, aren't you? Take the clock.
I'm not going to squabble over trifles.
Make sure I haven't fleeced you out of anything else.
Your sarcasm is wasted on me.
I have such a miserable cold.
How about a glass of fine old brandy? Sounds good.
Egerman gave me a bottle.
Some grateful Parisian colleagues gave him a whole case.
Cheers.
Not bad, huh? I like it.
I don't care for brandy as a rule, but this is very nice.
I feel better already.
- It's hard.
- What's hard? - Getting divorced.
- It's just paperwork.
I still think it's hard.
We've been living apart for ages, we rarely see each other, we've both agreed to it, but I still feel guilty.
It's strange.
It's strange.
So it is.
On my way over, I was in a good mood.
I was determined not to cry or be affected by it all.
You said you felt guilty.
Let's go sit over on the couch instead.
And put the lights out.
The glare is ghastly.
How can you work in such a bleak room? The couch isn't comfortable either.
It's fine if you put your feet up.
- More brandy? - Yes, please.
- Comfy? - Yes.
Is this building empty tonight? - There's a night watchman.
- How nice.
What's nice about it? I don't know.
It's just nice, that's all.
Nothing's nice when you're sick.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
It's not like it's terminal.
This gets better and better.
You really are in a good mood.
Yes, I am.
To be honest, I'm in love.
With that David person? - No, that's over.
- Really? Don't worry about that.
Give me a kiss.
I've got a cold.
I never catch your germs, so give me a kiss.
I want you to.
Was it what you expected? Much better.
Now put your hand on my breast.
- Are you seducing me? - That's right.
Right here on the carpet, right now.
Doesn't that sound like fun? You look suspicious.
Afraid of the night watchman? After all, we're still married.
Come lie on top of me.
People should make love on the floor more often.
- Lock the door.
- No one will walk in on us.
You never know.
I'm kind of a prude.
Lock the door.
- Just in case the watchman comes.
- Right.
Hurry up.
- He might be eavesdropping.
- No, it's time for his rounds.
Is it wise to take your slacks off with a cold like that? - You can keep me warm.
- So you don't freeze your thing off.
Poor baby, you're so miserable.
Kiss me.
I enjoy being kissed by you.
Close your eyes or I'll feel self-conscious.
Now put your hands on my hips.
Good.
That's nice.
What if the watchman walked in now? He could join us.
We're liberated.
Let's stay here all night and just drink and make love.
We'll file our divorce papers tomorrow.
- A penny for your thoughts.
- My thoughts? Wouldn't you like to know.
- Are you hungry? - Always.
What about some steak tartare and beer? You shouldn't be taking me out.
I'm in Uppsala with my students.
Poor Paula.
In that case, I'd love to have dinner with you.
Where's the bathroom? Down the hall and to the left.
Let's sign these papers and go out and celebrate.
Pay tribute to a long and happy marriage.
I think I'll take them home and study them in peace and quiet.
Why the about-face now after all our talks? You told me yourself I should read them.
Then by all means, let's read through the whole thing.
Make sure I haven't cheated you.
Why are you so upset? I'm not.
Let's start reading.
You look pissed off to me.
I am, but I'll control myself.
Like I always do when subjected to your whims.
Let's get off this tedious subject.
It's late, and tomorrow's a working day.
- Don't you want to have dinner? - No, thank you.
I'm grateful for the favors already bestowed upon me.
- Talk about whims.
- Now look here, Johan! It's pointless even trying to discuss this now.
Let's stuff these into an envelope.
Then you can take them home, and you and Paula can pore over the wording to make sure I haven't screwed you over.
- What's going on? - Nothing.
- We were good friends a minute ago.
- Right.
By the way, don't forget Eva's birthday.
Do I usually forget the children's birthdays? No, because I always remind you.
Could you pay for her trip to France? I can't afford it.
- How much is it? - Two thousand kronor.
Are you out of your mind? Out of the question! Ask your mother to foot the bill.
I've borrowed too much from her as it is.
Well, I can't afford it.
I just paid Karin's orthodontist.
- Doesn't she have free dental care? - She refuses to go to that clinic.
Eva will have to cancel her trip.
I don't have any money.
It won't do her harm to learn she can't have everything.
She's too goddamn spoiled.
And she has no manners.
Last week she visited my mother and her behavior was appalling.
Your mother told you that? Well, Eva's at a difficult age.
You'll have to discipline them.
Don't let the girls rule the roost.
What kind of talk is that? They trust me.
We talk about everything, and for that I'm grateful.
I could care less about petty details like manners.
Tell her I can't afford the trip.
Tell her yourself.
Why? You have custody.
All I do is fork out huge sums in child support, which I'm taxed on, leaving me high and dry.
Why do I have to take on more idiotic expenses? There's nothing to that effect in these papers, is there? It's not the kids' fault we're worse off because you ran off with another woman.
I never expected that remark from you.
Sorry.
It was a stupid thing to say.
I guess I'll have to speak to our daughter.
The problem is, we don't communicate.
When she comes to visit, she just reads comic books or sprawls in the best easy chair and watches TV.
She talks in monosyllables as if she was a moron.
Paula can't get a word out of her.
The only thing that elicits a response is money or a ticket to the movies.
But she'll chat for hours on the phone with her friends.
I don't feel much paternal affection.
You sound ridiculous when you talk about the children that way.
Ridiculous and childish.
Well, I'm not amused.
I accidentally brought them into the world, and I've paid a small fortune to raise them.
I've reached my limit.
I refuse to play at being father.
I reserve the right to dislike them as much as they dislike me.
Why are you silent? Are you mad? - I was just thinking.
- Thinking? You used to be different.
Your attitude towards the girls, I mean.
Do you remember? You were so pleased when my stomach grew big, and so eager for Eva to have a baby brother or sister.
Do you remember how involved you were? How you helped me care for them? We did everything together.
The nanny Mother hired finally gave notice out of sheer desperation.
You spent all your time with the girls.
You read to them and played with them.
You were so gentle and patient.
Much more patient than I was.
Do you remember how worried you were over every little illness? You dealt with them better than I did.
And they loved you.
You remember our Saturday nights together? What happened? Where did we go wrong? When did the children grow indifferent towards you? When did you grow indifferent towards them? Where did all that love go? And all that joy.
No use crying over spilt milk.
Children grow up, relationships are broken off, love runs out.
And so does affection, friendship and closeness.
That's the way it is.
You and I were born with silver spoons in our mouths.
We've squandered our resources, leaving us poor, bitter and angry.
However trite, it's the truth.
We're emotional illiterates.
We've been taught about anatomy and farming methods in Africa.
We've learned mathematical formulas by heart.
But we haven't been taught a thing about our souls.
We're tremendously ignorant about what makes people tick.
That signals the end of my lecture.
I had nothing more to say anyway.
How about some more brandy? Then we can decide about dinner.
I don't agree with you, but no matter.
By the way, that job in the US went down the tubes.
- Not that it matters.
- That's a shame! Well, I was pretty disappointed.
There was the usual wheeling and dealing.
First things were postponed, then there was no money, and then they sent someone else.
That's life.
Cheers! When was this? Back in May.
I had to request a new leave of absence.
Then Öberg suggested I apply directly to the chancellor, and they informed me Åkerman was going instead.
Granted, he's done more research lately, but there's something fishy nonetheless.
Poor Johan.
I'm sorry.
I don't understand their mind-set.
A few weeks ago we were supposed to go to a conference in Oslo, and suddenly the department tells us we're not allowed to go, that there isn't any money, and that we need to get to work.
That's no way to talk to us, damn it! It's not like we're kids playing hooky.
That's the way they treat you nowadays.
Like you're worth nothing.
People like me have become inconvenient.
Our politics are all wrong too.
Not progressive.
Not to the left of left.
I'm overage, out of the race I could die laughing.
I'll be 45 this summer.
I can expect to live another 30 years.
Viewed objectively, I'm dead weight.
I'll spend the next 20 years being a damn nuisance.
I'm an expensive, unproductive unit that ought to be eliminated.
And I'm supposed to be in my prime, brimming with experience.
But it's, "Throw the loser out.
Let him rot!" I'm so goddamn tired.
If I had the courage, I'd pack it all in and move to the country.
Or apply for a position as a teacher in a small town.
Sometimes I wish I could Well, that's my story.
Paula has a very ambivalent attitude toward the situation.
Sometimes she says she loves me come what may, and at other times she calls me a useless parasite.
Sometimes she just packs her bags.
I don't know which alternative would be the most satisfying.
By the way I think she's cheating on me.
Not that I care.
My jealousy has passed.
Actually, everything has passed.
I hardly know who I am.
Someone spat on me and now I'm drowning in the spittle.
Am I boring you? - It's funny.
- What's funny? I wanted to have sex with you today to see if I felt anything.
All I felt was lukewarm affection.
You know what? I think I'm breaking free at last.
It's taken a long time and it's been very painful, but I'm free of you now to start living my own life, and that feels absolutely wonderful.
Allow me to congratulate you.
I don't know why I told you.
It's callous of me to say it when you're having such a rough time.
But oddly enough, I don't care.
I've taken your feelings into account far too often.
Being considerate killed our love.
If I hadn't let myself get sidetracked by guilt, I'd have known everything we did was wrong.
Remember after Karin was born? When sex became impossible? How we put the blame on my two pregnancies.
We concocted so many reasons why making love gave us no pleasure.
Warning lights were flashing all around us, but we ignored them.
These postmortems are so pointless.
Your idiotic sarcasm drives me crazy! What gives you the right to tell me what to think and feel? Lord, how I hate you.
I used to think that quite often.
"Lord, how I hate her.
" Especially when we made love and I felt your indifference.
And when I saw you naked at the bidet afterwards, washing out the nasty stuff I'd deposited inside you.
I'd think, "I hate her body, the way she moves.
" I should have beaten you.
I wanted to smash that hard white resistance that emanated from you.
But we chatted away and talked about how well we got along.
Tell me, why do I enjoy sex now? I do everything he asks.
Just you wait.
When you're married to him, everything will repeat itself.
Just you wait and see.
Your behavior's deeply rooted.
Then you'll look for a new lover to free you from your loathing.
You're wrong.
There is such a thing as simple affection.
To say nothing of sensuousness.
And physical desire.
In your case, that's all blocked.
Do you really think I wasn't miserable too? I'd think, "Is this how it's supposed to be?" We'd console ourselves with the thought that sex wasn't everything, that in other respects we were happy.
Talk about deluding ourselves.
You're forgetting certain unpleasant details.
Be so kind as to refresh my memory.
You know what you did? You cashed in on your sex organs.
They were a bargaining chip.
A night of sex for a night of peace.
Good behavior earned me a lay.
Bad behavior or criticism made you withdraw.
It was grotesque the way you carried on.
You were worse than any whore! - You would never face the truth! - What goddamned truth? Some sort of female truth, or your truth? You're completely out of your mind! Am I supposed to be a doormat? Am I a substitute for your mother? All that carping about how I neglected our home! - That's not true! - Yes, it is.
That's all I ever heard! You piled the guilt on, you and your parents! I felt inadequate at work and at home, and I was a washout in bed too.
I was hedged in by all the griping and endless demands! Goddamn you! Was it so strange that I used sex for leverage? I was outnumbered, having to fight you, both sets of parents and society! When I think about what I endured, I could scream! I tell you this: never again! You sit there whining about conspiracies.
Well, it serves you right! I hope you'll have it rammed down your throat that you're a useless parasite.
You're being utterly grotesque! So what? That's what I've become! The difference between your grotesqueness and mine is that I won't give in! I intend to face reality the way it is.
If there's one thing I truly appreciate, it's being alive.
I enjoy overcoming difficulties.
I don't ask for any favors Great! Then we don't have to feel sorry for each other.
We can chuck our guilt out the window.
We're almost human.
It's a pity we ever met in the first place and decided to live together.
What a glorious fiasco.
The sooner we sign the papers, the better.
We'll divide our worldly goods and go our separate ways, thank you.
Do you think I don't know what you're thinking? You don't want a divorce! That's preposterous! Is it? Then prove it by signing the papers right now! All right, I will.
Johan, be honest now.
Look at me! You've changed your mind.
You don't want a divorce, do you? You were going to tell me today, right? Would that be such a crime? You want to hear me admit that I give up? Well, I do! I'm sick of Paula! I want to come home! Don't look at me like that.
I'm a failure.
I'm going downhill.
I'm scared and I have no home.
This isn't the right time to ask you to resume our marriage.
If you think pity will help You asked me, and I'm giving you a straight answer.
I was tied to you more profoundly than I realized.
I needed our home and family and a regular life to lead.
- I'm tired of being alone.
- Alone? Loneliness with Paula is worse than being all alone.
I can't stand either.
I can't talk about this.
Now you know everything.
I wonder how it would turn out.
I know it would be better than ever.
We would be more earnest.
Don't you think so? Don't you think so, Marianne? After a week or so, we'd slip back into our old patterns.
The same old complaints, the same old aggression.
All our good intentions would be forgotten.
We wouldn't have learned a thing.
Everything would be the same or worse.
It would be a mistake.
How can you be so sure? How many times do I have to repeat that all I feel for you is simple pity? I don't want you to beg me.
I'm not certain I could cope.
Nothing could be worse than that.
Couldn't we give it a try? Have you forgotten how I begged you to come back? Have you forgotten how I groveled and wept and pleaded? I even turned to religion for a while and prayed to get you back.
Have you forgotten the occasions we met, and all your half-truths and evasions that merely showed your complete indifference to me? I didn't know any better back then.
You can't reproach me for that now.
Reproach? Now, there's a fantastic word.
You know what I think? I think you are foolishly naïve.
Do you think I've made it this far, started a new life, for which I'm thankful every day, only to ditch it and save you from your pitiful self? If I didn't think you were so deplorable, I'd laugh at you.
When I think of how you've treated me, I feel sick with fury! Go on, glare as much as you like.
I'm immune to it.
If you only knew how many times I've dreamed that I've killed you, stabbed you, murdered you, beaten you to death.
If you only knew what a goddamn relief it is to finally say this to your face.
You know, you're beautiful when you get angry.
That's nice to know.
You, on the other hand, look silly.
And you have lipstick on your cheek.
If I understand you correctly, you'd prefer to see the divorce through.
That's exactly how I'd like to sum up what I've already said.
- Some more brandy? - Yes, please.
Heavens, we've almost polished off the entire bottle! No wonder I feel so emancipated and cocky.
- How do you feel? - Fine, thanks.
Feels like my cold is gone.
I haven't coughed in a while.
- Let's be sensible.
- So you weren't being sensible? No, it wasn't sensible, but it was wise and reasonable, which you should comprehend.
I'm trying my best to comprehend.
If I may say something sensible and reasonable, you should be glad I've finally been able to break free, that I want to live my own life.
You should follow my example.
Free yourself from the past, and then make a fresh start on different terms.
This moment is your opportunity.
I'd like you to answer a question.
Now you sound all pathetic again.
What's the point? Why make a fresh start? I have no such desire.
What do you mean? I've told you this several times now, but you just won't listen.
I don't want to start over.
I have no curiosity about what lies ahead.
That's your depression talking.
You're looking for sympathy.
You hit the nail on the head.
When I think of who I used to be, that person is like a stranger.
When we made love earlier, it was like sleeping with a stranger.
Isn't that funny? To be honest, it was rather exciting.
Perhaps one day we'll be very good friends, and in time we'll learn to know each other as we really are, without those horrible - Horrible what? - Those horrible masks.
Masks? If only we could meet as the people we were meant to be, and not as people trying to play the parts others have assigned us.
That's impossible.
We start putting on those masks as infants.
No one ever really finds themselves.
That's not true.
I live a much more honest life now than I ever did.
And happier? All that talk about happiness is nonsense.
Happiness for me is enjoying a good meal.
I'm not like you.
Can't you see this situation frightens me? I feel so tempted to just tear up the divorce papers.
Time and again I think, "Why should I be entitled to a life on my own? Do I actually believe I have a mission apart from you and the children?" I feel so tempted to make a fresh start with you.
I'm so much stronger and more independent now.
I could really be supportive now when you're having a rough time.
I feel such tenderness for you.
I must be out of my mind! I know we have to get a divorce.
I know it's the right thing.
It's terrible.
I understand I think.
Listen, let's not talk about this anymore.
How about that supper? I think I'm too drunk.
Can't we sit here a while longer? If you don't make me sentimental.
We'll sit over here on the couch.
And I won't cry.
Don't say things that will make me cry.
Sit down.
How about going home? - You mean my place? - Of course I mean your place.
- We can't.
- Why not? Because there's a man there waiting for me.
And he'll be pretty upset that I've been out late, that I reek of brandy, and that the papers aren't signed.
Is he the jealous type? Not really.
But he knows about my masochistic tendencies.
Guess what he said as I was leaving.
"You and your husband will have sex, and you'll come home with a guilty conscience.
And the papers won't be signed, and you'll break up with me.
" Are you going to tell him we made love? No, I don't think I will.
I'm tired.
It's late, and we've been drinking.
I think we should take a brisk walk and go home to our respective mates.
You're amazing.
No, I'm just a health nut.
- Come on, dear.
- What about the papers? The papers.
When I came here, I was determined to go through with the divorce.
- I'm not so sure anymore.
- That's generous of you.
- Not in the way you think.
- How, then? - I've been considering getting married.
- Really? I'm not sure, but I think so.
My boyfriend suits me in every way, and the girls like him.
We get along well, and he's been through a divorce too.
When he suggested we get married, I felt tempted.
Tear up those papers, Johan.
Do whatever you like.
They're not really important.
It's all the same to me if I bear your name or someone else's.
What a sermon.
- Shall we go? - Damn it, I'll gladly sign the papers.
- Do as you please.
I don't care.
- Don't go.
It's late.
Could I call a cab? Dial zero for an outside line.
Please send a cab to Malmrosgatan 45.
Thank you.
Want a lift? You really shouldn't drive.
I'll stay here a while longer.
Please don't brood.
- It's none of your business.
- Come on.
- I want you to stay.
- I don't want to.
You're tired and drunk.
Let me go! I don't want you to go.
- Don't be ridiculous.
- Don't be ridiculous yourself.
We never behaved like this in our marriage.
Let's not start now.
Give me the key.
I don't give a damn what you say! Now I can see your well-ordered brain whirling away.
"What do I do now? Has he gone crazy? Is he going to hit me?" If you really want to know, I think you're a riot.
If I'm such a riot, why aren't you laughing? You look scared to me.
Let me cancel my cab What for? They only wait around for ten minutes or so.
Just take it easy.
This will take quite a while.
Fine.
- So what do you want to say? - Nothing.
I just want to look at you.
Go ahead.
I might have expected this from someone like you.
I constantly warn women in the process of a divorce against being alone with their aggrieved husbands.
I never thought it would happen to me.
Shut your mouth.
I'm not afraid.
I couldn't care less what you do.
- Shut up! - You're crazy! Give me the key.
I'll go wash off this blood.
I'm not letting you out.
You asshole! You bitch! I'll show you! I could kill you! I could kill you! Marianne, are you Hey, are you all right? I guess I've only got myself to blame.
How about that key? - You want me to help you? - No, please don't.
This was the fifth episode of Scenes From A Marriage, called "The Illiterates.
" And while you look at this footage of FÃ¥rÃ, here are the credits.
The actors were Liv Ullman and Erland Josephson.
Sven Nyqvist and his assistant Lars Karlsson manned the cameras.
Wardrobe, Inger Pehrsson.
Props, Gunilla Hagberg.
Makeup supervisor, Cecilia Drott.
Audio and mix, Owe Svensson and his assistant Arne Carlsson.
Editing, Siv Lundgren.
Script supervisor, Ulla Stattin.
Other contributors were Anders Bergkvist, Stefan Gustafsson, Lars Hagberg, Adolf KarlstrÃm, Kent NystrÃm, Bo-Erik Olsson and Siri Werkelin.
Lars-Owe Carlberg was the production supervisor, and the lab was Film Teknik.
Nils Melander designed the lighting effects on Eastman Color film.
The series was produced on Fårà by Cinematograph.
The year is 1973.