Fanny and Alexander (1982) Script







How are things?

Would you like to play cards before dinner?

This is the 43rd Christmas we're celebrating together.

My dear Ester, is it possible?

Yes, the 43rd.

Well, well, who'd have thought it?

Yes, it's odd.

Dear Ester.

Good evening, Mrs. Ekdahl.

Good evening, girls.

Alida, you may join the other girls. Thank you, Mrs. Ekdahl.

Why are you so sullen? I'm not sullen.

I can see you are.

You're always sullen on Christmas Eve.

I don't know what you mean. You heard me. You're sullen.

Old hag.

Worthy Joseph, do not fear Thy angel is thee ever near I come in haste to bring thee word From thy creator and thy God Mary and the child now wake And quickly into safety take Herod with his murdering hand Threatens every man-child in this land

All this I have noted well And shall do as you foretell Praised be God upon his throne Who thus protects my only son

Thus, good people, ends our play It all ends well this holy day The son of God, saved from the sword Is our savior, Christ the Lord We know that in his mercy mild He guards every woman, man and child A time of joyous Christmas cheer We wish to all, both far and near Let no one into darkness fall A Merry Christmas one and all

Traditionally the Ekdahls give a party for the theater staff down on the stage.

The guests are what you'd call a rather mixed lot.

Quite different from what we're used to here in the theater restaurant.

Nevertheless, I don't want to see any supercilious glances, snootiness, or raised eyebrows.

I want to see generosity, warmth and kindness. Is that clear?

Yes, sir. That's the spirit!

Alma and Petra, take the Christmas basket.

I'll take the punch bowl.

Are we ready? Yes, sir.

Forward march!

Come along, Carlchen.

We mustn't be late to your mother's like last year.

Come along.

Hurry up.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Oscar.

Help yourselves, everybody!

Step forward, step forward. Don't be shy.

My dear friends.

For 22 years... in the capacity of theater manager, I've stood here and made a speech...

without really having any talent...

for that sort of thing.

Especially if you think of my father, who was brilliant at speeches.

My only talent, if you can call it that in my case... is that I love this little world... inside the thick walls of this playhouse.

And I'm fond of the people who work in this little world.

Outside is the big world, and sometimes the little world succeeds... in reflecting the big one...

so that we understand it better.

Or perhaps we give the people who come here a chance to forget for a while... for a few short moments...

for a few short moments... the harsh world outside.

Our theater is...

a little room... of orderliness, routine, care...

and love.

I don't know why I feel...

so comically solemn... this evening.

When you've given Ismael his dinner, turn off the lights in the shop and lock up.

I have the key.

Good night, Aron.

Good night, Uncle Isak.


Merry Christmas.

I can't think where they all are.

They should have been here a long time ago.

I expect Oscar is making a long, dull speech.

I think I hear them down in the street.

Ester, bring me my fur.

There comes my family.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Grandma.

Merry Christmas, Aunt.

Mama, you look so beautiful.

What is it, darling?

Aunt Emma, how nice to see you.

Aunt Emma, how nice. Welcome.

What time is it?

The only question is: Where are Carl and Lydia?

Perhaps they got the wrong time.

Christmas dinner is always at 4:30.

Alexander, run down and ring Uncle Carl's doorbell.

Carlchen, please hurry. Shut up!

We're so late. Shut up!

We arrive late every year.

I'm doing this for your sake. No more, mein Carlchen.

Mama. Well, Carl.

Merry Christmas, Aunt.

Well, at last we can have dinner.

Now for the first Sing hop faderallan lallan lay And those who don't the first one take will also number two forsake Now for the first

Sing hop faderallan lallan lay Now it's Yule again, now it's Yule again and Yule will last until it's Easter That's not true of course No, that's not true of course For in between comes Lent and fasting

What would Maj say to a little visit in her room this evening?

The master must be joking.

Are you all right, sir?

I'm fine.

I must help the girls with the tree.

Have you noticed that my old man has begun to court Maj?

Aren't you angry? Angry?

I think it's sweet.

Children, come.

Uncle Carl is going to treat you to one helluva fireworks show.

Stay here.


Number one.

Now comes number two.

Now comes number three.

Bring the candle.

"And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea... unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem... because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary his wife, who was great with child."

Give up? No!

I'm sorry. It's a terrible mess in here.

Come see us later and you'll get a Christmas present.

Thank you, Mrs. Ekdahl.

Now then, children, into bed.

Hurry up, Alexander.

To bed now, children.

Now say your prayers.

Thank you God for this day. Please make me good.

May your angel stay by me through the night.

God bless Papa and Mama, Grandpapa and Grandmama, myself and my brothers and sisters and cousins, uncles and aunts, Vega, Ester, Maj, Siri, Berta, Alida, Lisen and Uncle Isak and everybody else.


Good night, Alexander. Good night, sweetheart.

Good night. Sleep well.

Putte kisses like a real man.

Look at my Christmas present.

Look what Mrs. Ekdahl gave me.

Aren't I beautiful? Don't I look lovely?

I look like a real lady.

Don't you think?

Tonight you can't sleep in Maj's bed because Maj will have a visitor.

And I can't just have any number of men in my bed.

But you're Maj's sweetheart. You know that.

Well, my dear ones, it's time to say good night.

We're getting up early.

Carlchen! Wake up.

We're going home.

Good night, Mama. Carl's a bit tired. I'll give him a hand.

Come along now. We're going home.

Good night.

Good night, Mama.

I stayed behind. So I noticed.

There she lies, the beautiful girl, poor Arabella.

Little does she know what awaits her.

She's alone in the whole house.

Her mother is dead, and her father is carousing with loose companions.

Who comes there as the clock strikes 12:00 in the castle tower?

"Fear seizes me.

What is that terrifying white figure floating on the moonbeams and drawing near my bed?

It is my dead mother. My mother's ghost."

No more noise in here now!

Go to sleep, children. Good night.

I thought I smelled kerosene in the nursery.

Kerosene? Yes, kerosene.

There's no kerosene lamp in the nursery.

Well, it smells like it anyway.

Here we go, Isak. I've made some nice strong coffee.

Much better than Vega's awful dishwater.

Give this a try.

What can the time be? Ten past 3:00.

We can sit for two hours, and then I must change for early service.

How good it is to have you here!

You're my best friend.

Whatever would I do without you?

Last year I enjoyed Christmas.

This year all I wanted to do was cry.

I suppose I'm getting old.

Do you think I've aged?

You've grown older, yes.

I thought so.

Yes, I just wanted to cry.

Though I love having the grandchildren, of course.

I didn't think Oscar looked well.

He wears himself out with that theater.

And the idea of him playing the ghost.

He should take it easy.

Besides, he's an awfully bad actor.

I wonder if Emilie realizes that he's weak and needs rest.

I think I'll have a word with her.

He's capable, of course. Capable and conscientious.

Can you believe the theater even makes a small profit?

Isn't that splendid?

A few years ago I contributed a minimum of 50,000 kronor per year.

I didn't care, but Oscar felt so awkward asking me for money.

Not like Carl.

He asked me for a new loan, but I refused.

If he comes to you for money, you must say no too.

Promise me that. Yes, yes.

I don't understand it.

Time and again I clear everything up for him.

After a year, he's in dire straits again.

He says he doesn't go to moneylenders.

Do you know? No.

And that poor German woman he's married to.

How could he have fallen for her?

It must be something erotic.

What do you think?

Erotic? Yes, perhaps.

You're not listening. Yes, I am.

Never mind. The main thing is that you keep me company.

Carl and Gustav Adolf are oversexed.

They take after their father. He was oversexed.

At times I thought it was too much of a good thing, but I never refused.

Gustav Adolf is incorrigible.

I've spoken with Alma, and she wisely says she doesn't mind his philandering, because he's the kindest husband in the world.

It's fortunate that Alma is so understanding.

Perhaps I ought to warn that nursemaid Maj, or whatever her name is.

I must say she's very pretty, and good with the children.

Beautiful coloring and a nice figure.

Pity she limps, the poor thing.

Are you sad because you've grown old?

I'm certainly not. Everything's getting worse.

Worse people, worse machines, worse wars... and worse weather.

I'm glad I'll soon be dead.

You're an incorrigible old misanthrope and always have been.

I don't agree with you. I thought as much.

That doesn't stop me from crying.

Would you mind if I cry a while?

No, upon my soul, I can't. The tears won't come.

I'll have to have some more cognac.

What are you laughing at?

Do you remember when we sat there on the sofa kissing madly?

You had unbuttoned my blouse, and something else too.

Then suddenly the curtain was drawn aside, and there stood my dear husband.

It was just like a play by Feydeau.

I screamed and you made for the door.

He rushed off to get his pistol, with me hanging on his leg.

You became friends for life.

Your husband was a greathearted man.

Now I'm weeping.

The happy, splendid life is over, and the horrible, dirty life engulfs us.

That's the way it is.

This won't do.

I must wash up and redo my makeup, do my hair and put on my corset and silk dress.

A weepy, lovesick woman turns into a self-possessed grandmother.

We all play our parts.

Some play them negligently, others with great care.

I'm one of the latter.

Good night, my lovely Helen.

You were a sweet lover.

Like strawberries.

You wanted me to help you with your morning toilet, Mrs. Ekdahl.

The time is ten to 5:00.

A café on Castle Street.

Your own cakes and pastries, tarts and confections.

What do you say to that, little Maj?

You'd be in charge of it.

Just yesterday I said to Alma, "Look at Maj. She's a princess."

What breasts you have, my girl.

Let me see properly.

You drive me crazy.

Don't be afraid, child.

I'm a wonderful lover. All the women say so.

Once you get me on my back, you'll forget about the café.

I swear.

Give me something to write on.

Come. Come over here.

Here's a pen.

Now I'll write:

"Maja Kling...

is the proprietress of my café."

Signed, Gustav Adolf Ekdahl.

Christmas night, 1907.

There! That's a contract.

Stick it under a lawyer's nose if I forget my promise.

Be careful not to put me in the family way.

Well, what do you say? Aren't I nice?

Ever felt such a wooden leg?

Damnation! The rocket went off too soon.

Oh, well, it happens. Wasn't it wonderful?

You're a real billy goat, sir.

And you're my little lamb.

I must lie on my back. I'm all in a sweat.

I ate and drank too much. You're not ill?

Not me! I feel like a bakery ablaze.

Or should I say café?

III? When I'm with such a tasty little morsel?

Sit on top of me.

Oh, you're impossible, sir!

Ride a rocking horse to Banbury Cross To see a fine lady on a white steed What a glorious time we're having!

My goodness, how your heart's pounding. I've got a splendid heart.

Now you'll have to give me a new bed.

You'll have a café, an apartment, beautiful furniture, and a big bed.

And pretty clothes. No one will be prettier.

You will be Gustav Adolf's mistress, and I'll come see you every Wednesday and Saturday at 3:00.

How silly you are.

What? I said you're silly.

Silly, am I? You're a real numbskull.

I'm not a numbskull!

You are, for imagining I'd want anything from you.

Don't you want anything?

Don't you see I was joking?


In what way?

Don't be angry.

I'm not, but I don't like being treated like an idiot.

Stop laughing. I think you're so funny.

I can feel a cold coming on.

My throat hurts when I swallow.

My teeth are tingling.

It's freezing in here. Why isn't there any heat?

We don't have any credit with the wood merchant.

We owe 150 kronor. Das weißt Du doch.

You haven't learned a damn bit of Swedish in 23 years.

Speak Swedish!

I do my best.

Last Tuesday I asked Mama for ten thousand to sort out my affairs.

She took out a paper that said I owed her 37,000.

It's incredible.

You'll have to go to the Jew. I've already been.

I'm paying one hell of an exorbitant interest rate, and if I don't pay on time, he'll show the IOU to Mama.

I have some jewelry.


That would be nice. Professor Ekdahl running to the pawnbroker.

Aren't you coming to bed?

Come, Carlchen. Come and sit by me.

You smell bad.

Have you given up washing, or are you starting to rot?

No. I don't smell bad at all.

You have olfactory hallucinations.

It's bleeding.

Shall I bandage it up? No.

Won't you try and get some sleep? Yes.

I feel sorry for you, mein Carlchen.

How is it one becomes second-rate?

Can you tell me that?

How does the dust fall?

When has one lost?

First I'm a prince, heir to the kingdom.

Suddenly, before I know it...

I'm deposed.

Death taps me on the shoulder.

The room is cold...

and we can't pay for kindling.

I'm stupid and unkind.

And I'm most unkind...

to the only person who cares for me.

You can never forgive me.

I'm a shit and a cad.

If you'd like, I'll make you a hot toddy.

Don't be so damned servile!

Wipe your mouth. Your lips are always wet. It's disgusting!

I don't mean to be unkind.

I know that, mein Liebling.

Oh, life!

Insomnia, poverty and humiliation.

Stretch out your hand and you grope in the emptiness.

Why am I such a bloody coward?

Good night.

Good morning, Papa. Good morning, Petra.

Don't I get a kiss?

Good morning, Gustav Adolf. Good morning, Alma.

Go and fry three eggs and some ham for Papa, and make two cheese sandwiches.

What will you drink? Beer.

Petra, you know where the beer crate is.

No, wait, I think there's some stout in the cupboard.

Would you rather have stout? Yes.

Don't stand there staring. We have to be at Grandma's in an hour.

How do you feel? Cognac.

I've put out your clothes. Thank you.

And there's hot water if you want a bath.

That would be nice.

Hurry up now.

You're a damned handsome woman.

And you're a big shit.

Come to bed. I just did my hair.

We'll have a quick one standing up.

Petra's coming with breakfast. We'll lock the door.

Come on then, but make it quick.

I don't think I can. You can't?

No. There must be something wrong.

You're not sick, are you? I'm fit as a fiddle.

Lie down on the bed. Yes, I guess I could do that.

Shall I bring in the breakfast tray? Yes, please.

To think that I haven't killed you.

Now what do you say?

Well, my friends, it's time.

Sleeping within my orchard my custom always of the afternoon upon my secure hour thy uncle stole with juice of cursed hebenon in a vial and in the porches of my ears did pour the leperous distilment, whose effect holds such an enmity with blood of man that swift as quicksilver it courses through the natural gates and alleys of the body and with a sudden vigor it doth possess and curd, like eager droppings into milk, the thin and wholesome blood:

So did it mine and a most instant tetter bark'd about most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust all my smooth body.

Oh, horrible, most horrible!

If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.

Let not the royal bed of Denmark be a couch for luxury and damned incest.

I've forgotten what I am to do.

You get up and exit upstage center.

Where am I? Here... at the theater.

Let's go home and rest.

What's happened?

You're tired, that's all.

Shall I call for the ambulance?

What am I doing here?

You were acting.

I was acting?

Why was I acting?

Come along, Oscar. Let's go home.

Am I going to die now?

Please help me.

I'll get a carriage.

He needs his overcoat.

Alexander, come along.

Come on.


I said stop! Hey, you!

Take the cart behind you!



We know nothing yet.

Yes, let's hope so. Thank you for calling.

How is our dear Oscar? We can only hope.

How is he? It's a matter of hours.

Is he in pain? He sleeps most of the time.

Go see Ester and Vega for hot chocolate and sandwiches.

Just imagine, children.

This letter will go all the way to a mission in China.

Mr. Albrektsson told me his poodle had four puppies.

A friend of mine has lived there for 50 years.

He wondered if you'd like a puppy.

Mama won't let us have dogs or cats.

We could keep it here. Really?

Yes. Splendid.

Otherwise it'll be sold.

When I was in China, working in the fields with my friend, we had a dog and three cats.

Want to play again? You take red, then.

Mr. Albrektsson makes lots of money on his dogs, but he wants to give this puppy away.

He's wealthy in his own right.

It's his wife's money, dear Ester.

Would you two like a molasses sandwich?

Yes, please, Miss Vega.

There, the letter's finished.

Come, Fanny, and I'll let you lick the envelope.

Would you like to borrow the flute? No, thank you.

You want to lick the stamp? No, thank you.

You lick the stamp, then.

Thank you, sweetheart.

Leave me alone.

Come in.

Your mama asked me to come get you.

Let's put down the sandwiches.

Come, Alexander. Don't be afraid.

Come here, Alexander.

Come on.

I'll wait outside.

Come here, Fanny.

Tell Alexander there's nothing to be afraid of.

I'll tell him.

I could play the ghost now...

really well.


Nothing... separates me from all of you.

Not now... and not later.

I know that.

I see it...

quite clearly.

I'll be closer to you now...

than when I lived.

Now I'd like to look at Alexander.

Father says there's nothing to be afraid of.

Don't be childish now.

Try to be a good boy.

Fanny, wake up. You hear that?

Cock, piss, shit, fart, piss, hell, shit, cock, fart, shit, piss, fart, cock, cunt, damn, hell, crap, ass, piss, cock, butt, pussy.

Siri, tell the children they may leave the table.

Yes, ma'am.

Did you hear something?

Alexander, wake up!

There's something out there.

Good day, Alexander.

Please give my regards to your mother.


What's wrong?

Someone wishes to talk to you.

The hot chocolate will have to wait.

What have I done? You know quite well.

Good day, Alexander. Good day.

We met once before.

Under sadder circumstances, when I officiated at your father's funeral.

Since then, your mother has turned to me with her worries, as is only natural.

I am a close friend of your grandmother.

I'm the spiritual guide of the parish.

The bishop has been very good to me during this difficult time.

We've also spoken of you, my son.

I've told the bishop how proud I am of my well-behaved children.

You and your sister are doing well at school, I'm told.

Diligent and attentive, and earning good grades.

Isn't that so, Alexander?

Don't be afraid. I'm your friend and wish you well.

You believe me, don't you?

But diligence and good grades are not everything in this world.

Blow your nose, Alexander.

That's filthy! Didn't Maj give you a clean handkerchief?


Goddamn it all!

As I said, diligence and good grades aren't everything in this world.

Listen to the bishop, Alexander.

I'm sure he is.

Isn't that so, Alexander?

You're anxious to know what I'm going to say.

You're a big boy now.

So I'll talk to you man to man.

Can you tell me -

Can you explain to me what a lie is and what the truth is?

You think that was a stupid question, and it probably was.

I was just kidding with you.

Of course you know what a lie is and what the truth is, don't you?


Splendid, my boy.

You also know why one lies.

Why does one lie?

Why does one lie?

Can you explain to me why one lies?

Because you don't want to tell the truth.

A very sly answer, my young friend.

But you won't get off so easily.

I asked you...

why does one not tell the truth?

I don't know.

We have plenty of time, Alexander, and I'm so interested in your answer that I'm prepared to wait indefinitely.

You may not believe that, but it's true.

One lies to gain an advantage.

Good answer, my boy.

Good and concise.

Forgive me if I ask another question, a bit more personal this time.

Can you explain to your mother and me why you lied at school?


Your teacher has written to me, saying that you've been spreading the most incredible lies.

Like what?

Sold to a circus!

Do you deny that you told your classmates that I sold you to a traveling circus, and that at the end of the semester they're coming to get you?

You are to train as an acrobat and circus rider, together with a gypsy your age named Tamara.

Go to your mother and ask her forgiveness for all the sorrow and worry you've caused her.

Go to your mother and ask her to forgive you.

You hear what I say, don't you?

I ask Mother's forgiveness for lying, and I promise never to do it again.

Good, Alexander.

The matter is resolved and need never be mentioned again.

Imagination is a splendid thing, a mighty force, a gift from God.

It's held in trust for us by the great artists, writers and musicians.

I'll get Fanny.

Come, Alexander.

I have something important to tell you.

Edvard has asked if I will marry him.

I've accepted with gratitude and joy.

I've been alone for a long time, and my children need a firm hand.

A father.

Of course, a great deal will be -

May God in his mercy take care of our little family.

Let us kneel down and unite in a heartfelt prayer.

May God our father in His mercy take care of our little family and bless us and keep us from evil all the days of our life.

God give me strength to be a guardian and a worthy example to these little fatherless ones.

Give me strength as well to be a support to this Ionely young woman.

In the 15th century, when this house was built, they didn't bother much about comfort.

My predecessors kept it all as it was, and I follow the tradition.

These old rooms have an imperishable beauty.

We should be grateful that we may live in an atmosphere of purity and austerity.

Ah, here come my mother and sister.

You're already here.

Welcome, Mrs. Ekdahl.

Thank you.

This is my sister Henrietta.

Welcome to the bishop's palace. Thank you.

Come and say hello, children.

This is Mrs. Tander, our capable cook, who's been with our family for 30 years.

This is my future wife, Mrs. Emilie Ekdahl.

Good day, Mrs. Ekdahl. Welcome.

These are our capable helpers: Karna, Selma and little Justina.

Now we'll go see my aunt, who, alas, is sick and bedridden.

How are you today, Aunt Elsa?

We have a visitor.

Don't be afraid, children. Come and say hello.

My future wife, Mrs. Emilie Ekdahl, the famous actress.

Hello, Miss Bergius.

The children have fallen asleep.

It's late and we must go home.

Not yet. What is it, Edvard?

I have a wish.

A single wish, but an important one.

You may change your mind if you find it impossible.

Tell me your wish.

I want you to come to my house without possessions.

What do you mean?

I want you to leave your home... your clothes, jewels, furniture... your valuables... your friends, habits and thoughts.

I want you to leave your former life entirely.

Am I to come naked?

I'm serious, my dear.

I want you to come to your new life as if newly born.

And the children? The children also.

Their toys, dolls, books - Nothing.

I must talk to them. It's your decision.

I can decide for myself, but not for the children.

I must ask them.

They must sacrifice something for their mother's happiness.

You're angry.

Kiss me.

I'm not angry, not in the least.

I'll win them over.

Think it over, Emilie.

I've already thought it over.

For me it's not hard to grant your wish.

I've never cared for anything very seriously.

I've sometimes wondered if there wasn't something very wrong with my feelings.

I couldn't understand why nothing really hurt... why I never felt really happy.

I know now that the crucial moment has come.

I know that we'll hurt each other, but I'm not afraid.

I also know that we will make each other happy.

And I sometimes weep from fear, because time is so short, the days pass so quickly, and nothing lasts forever.

Kiss me, now, and hold me in your arms, as only you can.

I, Olof Henrik Edvard Vergerus...

take thee, Elisabet Emilie Josefin Ekdahl...

to be my wedded wife...

to love you for better and for worse...

and as a symbol of this love I give you this ring.

I, Elisabet Emilie Josefin Ekdahl...

take thee, Olof Henrik Edvard Vergerus,

to be my wedded husband...

to love you for better and for worse...

and as a symbol of this love I take this ring.

In the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.


For as much as you have consented in holy wedlock...

I wonder if this is a good thing.

You saw how happy she was.

I'm thinking of the children. They'll get used to it, dear Mama.

He's a devil of a lady killer, the bishop is.

You don't know that for sure, Carl.

I don't know why I just want to cry.

They should have taken a honeymoon.

I invited them to our house in Provence, but Emilie refused.

That's not so strange.

She has great respect for her new husband.

He's a handsome man, whatever you say.

I expect he has false teeth. Petra, don't be silly.

His mother was nice.

They say the sister's a bitch.

I've a feeling we'll have Emilie back... quite soon.

The children don't appear to have an appetite.

Everything's new and strange to them. You must understand, Henrietta.

Perhaps they're turning up their noses at the food.

Let's be happy on our first evening together.

I have no desire to spoil it, but in the future -

Yes, I might as well mention it now.

In the future no one may leave the table without having eaten up -

Dearest Henrietta, I'll tell my children what to do.

There's a basic rule in this house which no one must break, not even you, dear Emilie, and that is respect for the temporal gifts.

I think you've misunderstood an essential point, dearest Henrietta.

But I suggest we postpone this discussion to a more suitable time.

Forgive me, dear Emilie. I am forgetting myself.

I'm sure you're a more capable housewife than I.

I'll ask your advice in all things.

Edvard has admonished me a hundred times.

It's not easy to realize one has become superfluous!

That will do, Henrietta.

Perhaps I may be allowed to share that we are early risers in this house, both weekdays and Sundays.

At 6:00 we gather for morning prayers in Edvard's study.

I'd also like to mention that we make our own beds and tidy our rooms.

In this house, punctuality, cleanliness and order are the rule.

Don't be alarmed, children.

My daughter makes it sound worse than it actually is.

We'll start out very gently.

I'm not sure I understand.

If you mean to apply a new method of upbringing -

Not at all, dear Emilie.

I'm convinced that the children will soon realize how fun it is to perform one's duties conscientiously.

It's all to be like a game.

My children don't care for that sort of game, and neither do I.

Time will tell, dear Emilie.

They're coming now. Into bed, both of you!

Now we'll say our prayers.

Thank you, God, for this day. Please make me good.

May your angel stay by me through the night.

God bless Papa and Mama and Grandpapa and Grand -

And Uncle Edvard.

And Uncle Edvard, myself and my brothers and sisters and cousins, uncles and aunts, Vega, Ester, Maj, Siri, Berta, Alida, Lisen, and Uncle Isak and everybody else. Amen.

Good night, Alexander.

Justina, I'd like to speak to you about tomorrow.

What's that book you're reading, Alexander?

What's that book you're reading, Alexander?

Good night, my boy.

Good night, my child. God bless you.

Good night, Uncle Edvard.

My dearest wish is for us to live at peace with one another.

Love cannot be commanded, but we can show respect and consideration.

You go ahead, my dear. I'll come later.

Whose doll house is this?

Fifteen years ago, two little girls lived in this room.

They drowned in the river with their mother.

Perhaps the house is haunted. There are no such things as ghosts.

Did they live in this room? I think this was the nursery.

Good night. Sleep well.

I think we've got a terrible stepfather.

And the sister is crazy.

And that tub of lard that has to be fed.

I don't want to live here.

You have to give me time.

Much has to be changed.

Some things will go quickly, others will take time.

The main thing is not to lose heart.

Why did you marry the bishop?

Because I love him.

Now let us sleep. Things will seem better when we're not so tired.

Don't play Hamlet, my son.

I'm not Queen Gertrude, your kind stepfather isn't the King of Denmark, and this is not Elsinore Castle, even if it does look rather gloomy.

Hell and damnation.

Come, Fanny. I'll show you something.

The windows are barred.

They can't be opened.



Yes, Oscar, that's how it is.

One is old and a child at the same time.

What became of those long years in between that seemed so important at the time?

May I take your hand?

I remember your hand as a child.

It was small and firm and dry.

And your wrist was so awfully slender.

I enjoyed being a mother.

I enjoyed being an actress, too, but I preferred being a mother.

I liked having a big belly, and I didn't give two shakes about the theater then.

It's all acting anyway.

Some roles are nice, others not so nice.

I played a mother.

I played Juliet and Margareta.

Then suddenly I played a widow or a grandmother.

One role follows the other.

The thing is not to shrink from them.

But what became of it all?

Can you tell me that, my boy?

You're a good boy to listen to your old mother's soliloquies, as Isak calls them.

Yes, you're a good boy, Oscar...

and I grieved terribly when you past away.

That was a strange role to play.

My feelings came from deep in my body.

Even though I could control them...

they shattered reality, if you know what I mean.

Reality has remained broken ever since... and, oddly enough, it feels more real that way.

So I don't bother to mend it.

I just don't care anymore if nothing makes sense.

Oscar, my dear boy?

Yes, Mama. Are you sad?

I'm worried.

About the children?


Supper time.

Then you are to go straight to bed.

The tray can be left until tomorrow.

Mrs. Tander sent some cookies for you.

I'll be upset if Miss Vergerus finds out I gave these to you.

Hasn't Mother returned?

No, your mother has not returned.

She said she'd be back this evening.

Oh, dear, I don't know what to say.

Why do you keep sighing like that?

I haven't been in this house long, thank goodness... but Mrs. Tander, who's been here since the first wife, could tell you a thing or two.

Would you like a cookie?

Yes, thank you. What does Mrs. Tander say?

That it was the same in the first wife's day.

Only worse.

Poor children. You mean us?

No, I don't mean you.

I mean the poor little ones who found their grave in the dark river outside.

Their mother tried to save them, but she was pulled down by the current.

They found them later by the bridge.

They clung tightly to each other as if they were one big body.

The arms had to be sawn off to get the bodies into separate coffins.

Mrs. Tander says that since then, it has never been quiet in this house.

There are no ghosts.

I don't mean to frighten you...

but this house does funny things to you.

Look at my hand.

Skin's been completely ripped off, stripped down to the flesh.

I was taking his grace his coffee.

When I grabbed the doorknob, the skin stuck and ripped off.

Someone laughed behind me.

I heard it clearly and turned around.

But there was no one there.

I feel sorry for anyone who -

I shouldn't chatter on like this.

I'll keep quiet.

I'll close the door now.

Don't worry.

Your mother will probably be back tomorrow, and His Grace will personally release you from captivity.

I've seen them. Who?

The woman and the children.

Is that the truth?

Are you telling the truth, Alexander?

Word of honor as a Swedish citizen.

Where did you see them?

I had been in the library with that man who married my mother.

He'd been lecturing me.

I don't remember why.

I was passing through the dining room... and it was unusually bright.

Then I saw a little girl in the doorway.

She ran past me without a sound.

Then I saw the older girl, with the dark hair and big eyes.

She stopped and looked at me and motioned to me to turn around.

And there in the bright sunlight... stood the woman in her black dress.

She said in a faint, almost inaudible voice... not to be afraid, that she had something to tell me.

What did she say?

I don't want to frighten anyone, but these were her very words:

"I want you to know our secret.

Your stepfather, my husband, locked me and my children in the bedchamber.

For five days and nights he kept us without food and water.

In our misery we decided to escape.

We tied sheets together and tried to climb down to the finger of land sticking out into the deep, swirling water.

My daughters went first, but they fell headfirst into the water and were dragged under.

I tried to save them but was sucked down into a black whirlpool that grabbed my clothes.

Underwater I grasped my children's hands and drew them to me."

Why, it's Maj! How nice.

Come in, dear child.

I hope I'm not disturbing you.

Not at all. Give me a kiss.

That's nice.

Very pretty. Did you make it yourself?


A pretty pattern.

So you didn't go on the excursion?

No, I wouldn't fit in the boat with my big belly.


Is something wrong? I'm silly to worry.

Let's sit here.

You're worried about the children?

Alexander and I agreed to write.

I've written seven letters.

And you've received no reply?

One postcard three weeks ago.

"Dear Maj. We are well.

Uncle Edvard took us to..."

The botanical gardens.

"We learned about rare flowers."

"Thank you for your letters. I'll write when I get some time.

Love from Alexander.

Fanny sends her love."

We mustn't underestimate Emilie.

She's perfectly capable of looking after her children.

We're worrying for no reason.

I came to the family before Fanny was born.

They're my children too.

You're going already?

I wanted to speak with you, since I knew you were alone.

Stay a moment.

Thank you for your kindness, but I promised to have dinner ready when they came home.

I haven't put the steak in the oven yet.

Dear child, are things that bad?


Is it the café? That too.

Has Gustav Adolf been pestering you?

I don't want to hurt him. He's so kind.

What worries me most is the children.

I'm sorry to be crying. I'm behaving badly.

Forgive me.

Mrs. Tander wants to know if Your Grace will have supper alone.

Tell her I don't want any supper.

A glass of milk and a sandwich in my room will be sufficient.

Thank you, sir. I'll tell her.

Was there something else?

I don't know.

I don't know how to say it. It's so unpleasant. It might seem -


Sir, I can't stand here in the doorway.

Come in, then, and close the door.

You said I was to keep an eye on the children, listen to their conversation and tell you of anything unusual.


Alexander made up a terrible story.


It was about -

Oh, it's so awful I don't know how to get it out.

He says you locked your first wife up, and she was drowned with her children when they tried to escape.

That's all, sir. You can go.

Who's there?

It's just me.

Get up. Your stepfather wants to talk to you.

Get dressed. Your stepfather wants to talk to you.

Hurry up!

Alexander, my boy.

In the presence of your sister and Justina you have accused me of having murdered my wife and children.


Justina, please repeat what you told me.

Alexander said he had seen your first wife and children.

She spoke to him and said that the bishop had locked them all up without food and water.

On the fifth day they tried to escape but drowned in the attempt.

Do you recognize the story? No.

So Justina has given false testimony? She could have dreamt it.

Justina, are you prepared to confirm your statement under oath?

Yes, Your Grace.

Good, Justina.

Fanny, did you hear Alexander's story?


So you maintain that Justina was either lying or dreaming?


Please come here, Alexander.

Are you prepared to swear to it?

Of course.

It's a mortal sin to swear falsely.

It's called perjury and is severely punished.


Lay your hand on the Bible and say after me:

"I, Alexander Ekdahl...

swear by Holy Writ and by the living God...

that all I have said, say and will say...

is the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

Alexander, my boy.

You remember that the two of us had an important conversation about a year ago.

It concerned certain moral questions.

It wasn't really a conversation.

What do you mean?

The bishop spoke and Alexander said nothing.

And felt ashamed, perhaps, on account of your lies.

I've grown wiser since then.

You mean you lie better.

More or less.

I don't know what you imagine.

Do you think you can besmirch another person's honor with impunity?

I think the bishop hates Alexander. That's what I think.

Oh, so that's what you think.

I'll tell you something that may come as a surprise.

I don't hate you.

I love you.

But the love I feel for you and your mother and sister is not blind and sloppy.

It is strong and harsh.

Do you hear what I say? No.

You're hardening your heart.

Moreover, you misjudge the situation.

I am much stronger than you are. I don't doubt it.

I mean stronger spiritually.

Because I have truth and justice on my side.

I know you'll confess in a little while.

Your confession and punishment will be a relief to you.

You're a wise little man, Alexander.

You realize that the game is up... but you are proud and stubborn... and of course you are ashamed.

I've forgotten what I'm to confess.

Have you now.

What does the bishop want Alexander to confess?

You know I have means at my disposal.

I didn't, but I do now.

In my childhood, parents were not so softhearted.

They had the cane. I have one too.

It's an ordinary carpet beater, but it can dance a fine step!

If that didn't work, we had other effective means, namely castor oil.

There you see the bottle and a glass.

A few mouthfuls of this and you're more docile.

If that didn't help, there was a dark and cold cubbyhole where you sat for a few hours until the rats started sniffing at your face.

Why must I be punished?

That is obvious, my boy.

You have a weakness in your character.

You can't distinguish lies from truth.

So far they are just child's lies, however dreadful they may be.

But soon you will be a grown man, Alexander, and life punishes liars ruthlessly and indiscriminately.

The punishment is to teach you a love of truth.

I confess I made it up about locking your wife and children in.

Do you also confess to perjury? I suppose so.

Now you've won a great victory.

A victory over yourself.

Which punishment do you choose?

Cane, castor oil or the dark cubbyhole?

How many strokes of the cane? Ten.

Then I choose the cane.

Take two cushions and put them on the table.

Pull your pants down.

Bend over.

Stand up.

You have something to say to me. No.

You must ask my forgiveness.

I won't.

Then I must cane you until you think better of it.

Can't you spare us both that unpleasant experience?

I'll never apologize.

You won't apologize?


Bend over.

No more, please!

Will you ask forgiveness now?


Button your pants and blow your nose. Lend him a handkerchief, Justina.

What do you have to say now?

Alexander asks the bishop for forgiveness.

Speak up. I want everyone to hear your regret.

Alexander asks the bishop for forgiveness.

For the lies and the perjury.

You do understand that I punished you out of love?


Kiss my hand, Alexander.

May I go to bed now? Yes, you may.

But so that you may contemplate the day's events in peace and quiet... you're to sleep in the attic.

Justina will provide a mattress and a blanket.

At 6:00 in the morning you will be let out. Understood?

Yes, Your Grace!

I must go. A carriage is waiting at the gate.

I'm afraid something might have happened while I've been here.

I'm in constant fear that Alexander will say something to displease him.

Alexander is so foolhardy. I've tried to warn him, but he can't see that his stepfather is a dangerous opponent who's just waiting for the right opportunity to crush him.

You must leave him, Emilie.

I'm pregnant.

Nevertheless, you must -

Forgive me for interrupting.

I've asked him for a divorce.

He refuses.

I tell him that I'll leave just the same.

Then he explains in detail what will happen.

In a court of law, I'll lose on grounds of "desertion," as it's called.

The children will be taken from me, to be brought up by him.

I've written in secret to a friend of mine who's a lawyer.

He's confirmed what Edvard says.

I am shut in and can no longer breathe.

I'm dying, Helena!

I hate that man so violently that I could -

Don't mention that I've been here.

To anybody.

Give me the key! Edvard has forbidden it.

Give me the key now!

Edvard has forbidden it!

You're hurting me!

Emilie, you can't!

Take your damn paint box!

Listen to me.

I told you, there's none left.

We're to go up to see Grandmama.

I'm just shouting!

Punch will do just as well!

The old girl's not here.

She's probably in the dining room.

Good evening, Mama. We came to see how you are.

I'm splendid.

I hope you aren't Ionely.

Lonely? I love being alone.

Vega was bitten by a wasp.

A wasp stings, my dear.

It has a stinger just like your old man.

Don't pinch me.

And Petra fell in the lake and got soaked.

Where shall I serve supper?

I don't want any.

How's the wasp sting? Not worth talking about.

And Mama is busy with the old man's photographs.

How many thousands have you sorted by now?

Here's one of you and your brothers.

You couldn't have been more than five years old.

You can already tell which brother - Who is this beautiful woman?

Did it rain on you the whole time?

No, not at all, dearest Mama.

Not a cloud over the outer islands, but we saw the rain over the mainland, and heard the thunder It's rained all day here.

This woman with the low neckline was one of Papa's lady friends.

You're mistaken. We were at school together.

She married a count, had 12 children and became as big as a house.

I always admired your skillful way of handling Papa's little adventures.

We must be going.

Mr. Öhman and his lovely wife are going to stop by.

I'm going into town tomorrow. Anything I can do for you?

Thank you, Gusten. I don't need anything.

But I'd like to talk to you about Maj.

What the hell is it now? She's got it good.

Now I'm damned angry - if you'll excuse me, Mama.

Calm down, Gusten!

He loses his temper at the mention of Maj's name.

I just want to say -

You have to realize Maj is not your private plaything.

Thanks to Alma's broad-mindedness, she's a member of our family, and she's expecting my grandchild.

In your dictatorial way, you've decided her future.

I don't give a damn -

I don't like it when you swear in your mother's presence.

You hear me, Gusten?

I like the girl. I wish her well.

I want to ensure her future.

I don't want her to be dependent on the family's benevolence if I die.

She's accepted my suggestions.

She doesn't need any protectors, especially against me.

Stop your twaddle!

Don't make me out as a dictator! Maj has decided it all herself!

I like her.

I'm kind to her. Alma's kind to her.

Now I'm hurt, let me tell you. Damned hurt!

There's no reason to side with Maj against me!

I'm fond of her. Alma's fond of her.

She is loved in the same way as Jenny, Petra and Putte.

Well, not exactly in the same way, but almost.

She's good to me.

She doesn't think I'm fat and old and disgusting.

Nobody thinks that, by the -

I've a soft spot for the ladies. What's to be done about it?

That's nothing to giggle at.

Maj is to go her own way through life, and I'm going to give her solid ground to stand on.

That's enough said about that.

The opera singer said he would stop by with his wife and children. Come now.

Good-bye, Mama. Give me a kiss.

I don't want you and Alma to sit gossiping about Maj's future.

I'll see to that!

Or rather, she will.

Good night, Mama. Come, Alma.

I'll be back in a couple of hours. Like hell you will! Come on!

Calm down or you'll have a stroke.

I am calm. You're the one who's shouting.

I want an end to all that gossip between you and Mama!

Good day, Mr. Jacobi.

Good day, Miss Vergerus.

What is it?

Is His Grace -

He is not to be disturbed.

May I speak to his wife?

She is indisposed, resting in her room -

And not to be disturbed.

My mother is out and I am busy.

His Grace might be annoyed if -

What is this concerning?

Some months ago, His Grace proposed a business deal.

Really? I don't recall.

Of course not, Miss Vergerus.

His Grace is careful to spare his family such trivial worries.

What worries of his could concern you?

Please don't force me to be vulgar.

To be candid, Mr. Jacobi, I find you unpleasant.

I've neither the time nor the inclination to speak with you.

Good-bye, Mr. Jacobi. A pecuniary predicament.

I beg your pardon?

Your brother, His Grace, was in a pecuniary predicament.

May I sit down? Not there! There.

In a peculiar way - I don't know why -

I appreciate your straightforwardness.

And I do not appreciate your fawning.

What business do you have with my brother?

None at all, as far as I know.

I'm tired of your riddles.

Tell me what's on your mind and go.

I must speak to His Grace first. It's a matter of money.

A lot of money.

Does my brother owe you money?

On the contrary. It's like this:

In November His Grace wanted to borrow money.

Regrettably, Jews have certain principles, like never lending money to the clergy.

He suggested I should buy that chest for a reasonable sum.

I declined.

So you declined.

Foolishly so, since I've now changed my mind.

I'd like to buy that chest, and at almost any price.


I will get my brother.

I told you not to disturb me.

Mr. Jacobi wants to buy the chest.

That man hangs on like vermin!

Stay where you are. I'll come get you in a few minutes.

Take your shoes off.

Forgive an old man's unfortunate weakness, Your Grace.

You wish to buy the chest? Yes.

For how much?

Here is the sum.

It seems you've changed your mind.

I may have an interested buyer.

I'm being cheated, of course. You're free to say no.

Do you have you the money with you? The money?

The money! Of course, Your Grace.

I have large bills right here.

Let me see.

Yes, here they are.

Give me the money. Of course.

If I may have Your Grace's name on the contract?

Forgive me if I retire.

I shall miss you, Miss Vergerus.

Do not take anything that is not your due.

Suspicions recoil on those who harbor them.

Your Grace will want to ensure that I'm not taking more than my due.

That's quite all right.

I just wanted to return the signed contract.

Please have a seat.

What would you say about that painting?

A beautiful and valuable work.

Would it interest you?

My resources are regrettably a bit strained at present.

How is your wife? It's kind of you to inquire.

She is indisposed. This sudden heat disagrees with her.

May I pay my respects? Unfortunately not.

I understand.

Here is a letter for her from old Mrs. Ekdahl.

I shall give it to her. You're too kind.

Filthy Jewish swine! You damned, filthy Jewish swine!

You thought you could cheat me.

You'll regret this, you repulsive, hooknosed bastard!

Calm down!

That swine is trying to steal my children!

He can't. I have the key to the nursery.

Don't touch them!

Come here.

First and foremost, let's have something to eat.

This is my nephew, Aron.

Let's go to the table.

I'd like to sleep.

Our guests are tired.

Have you tidied the room and made the beds?

I've done all you asked, Uncle.

This is Aron's puppet theater.

If you ask him nicely, he may give a performance.

Behind this door lives my nephew Ismael. He's sick.

The door must always be kept shut. Remember that, both of you.

Sometimes he sings, even at night.

It's nothing to worry about. You'll get used to it.

This will be your home for the time being.

I hope you'll like it.

Go to bed now.

Good night, Fanny.

Good night, Alexander.

Lock the door at night and don't open it for anyone.

Don't forget to say your prayers. Don't go.

You want me to stay? Then I'll sit here.

I'll go and see to Ismael.

My name is Aron. Ismael is my brother.

Our parents died when we were small.

I have to pee.

Damn, there's no chamber pot.

It won't be easy to find the toilet in the dark.

I hope there aren't any ghosts.

Damn, I think I've lost my way.

Now I'm lost for sure.

It's not my fault it's all gone wrong.

I can't leave you. I just can't.

I would be better if you'd take off for heaven.

You can't help us anyway.

I lived my whole life with you children and Emilie.

Death makes no difference.

What is it, Alexander?

Why can't you go to God and tell him to kill the bishop?

Or doesn't God give a damn about you, or any of us?

Have you even seen God on the other side?

Not a bastard has a thought in his head.

Idiots, the whole bunch of 'em.

You must be gentle with people.

Aren't you coming to bed?

The clock has struck 4:00.

I can't sleep.

Neither can I.

Elsa's very sick. We ought to send for the doctor.

He's coming in the morning.

What are you drinking? Hot broth.

It helps against insomnia. May I?

Be my guest.

Can't you forgive me?

I'm staying with you, aren't I?

I don't understand this sudden yielding.

Drink while it's hot.

You insist that the children return? Yes.

In that case, it's hopeless.

I don't care if it's hopeless. I care only for what is right.

Isn't that Elsa calling?

Stay here. I'll see to her.

Can I help you, Aunt?

It's so dark.

What time is it?

Almost half past 4:00.

It's been a long night.

Try to get some sleep.

My legs hurt.

They're swollen and aching.

You once said you were always changing masks... until finally you didn't know who you were.

I have only one mask.

But it's branded into my flesh.

If I tried to tear it off -

I always thought people liked me.

I saw myself as wise, broad-minded and fair.

I had no idea... that anyone could hate me.

I don't hate you.

No, but your son does.

I'm afraid of him.

Who's behind the door?

It is God behind the door.

Can't you come out? - No living being may see God's face.

What do you want? - To prove that I exist.

This is the end of me.

Shall I show myself?

Now you will see me.

Here I come, Alexander.

Admit you were scared. I wasn't a damned bit scared.

"This is the end of me."

Ouch! That hurts.

Don't cry.

I didn't mean to scare you. At least not that much.

I've been working all night on this puppet.

A rich circus owner in England is mad about our puppets.

I heard you tiptoeing around.

Hear that? My brother Ismael is awake.

He's singing.

Poor Ismael.

Human beings are more than he can bear.

Sometimes he gets furious. Then he's dangerous.

You said you'd been up all night, but I saw you asleep.

There are many strange things that can't be explained.

You realize that when you dabble in magic.

Have you seen our mummy? No.


Look carefully, Alexander.

Can you see it breathing?

It's been dead 4,000 years, but it breathes.

I'll make the room dark.

What do you see? It's shining.


No one knows why it's luminous.

No one can explain why.

The unknown makes people angry.

It's better to blame it on mirrors, machines and projections.

Then people laugh, and that's healthier from all viewpoints, especially financially.

Watch carefully now.

Uncle Isak says we're surrounded by different realities, one on top of the other.

There are swarms of ghosts, spirits, phantoms, souls, poltergeists, angels and demons.

He says the smallest pebble has a life of its own.

More coffee? Yes, please.

Everything is alive, and everything is God or God's thought.

Not only good things, but the cruelest too.

What do you think?

If there is a God, then he's a shit, and I'd like to kick him in the butt.

Your theory is very interesting and appears to be justified.

Shall we take Ismael his breakfast?

I've brought your breakfast.

Your sister gave me sleeping pills for my insomnia.

I had put three in the broth.

I didn't mean for you to drink it.

When you went to see Elsa, I put in three more.

You will sleep soundly.

When you wake up, I will be gone.

I'm going back to my children... to my home...

and my family.

I'll change and you'll come back.

I'll never come back!

I'll poison your life!

I'll follow you from town to town!

I'll ruin your children's future!

Poor Edvard, you don't know what you're saying!

I am awake!

I'm horribly awake.

Help me into bed at least.

I can't see anymore... and I feel dizzy.

Are you there? I can't see.

Ismael, I've brought your breakfast.

Good morning, Ismael.

This is Alexander Ekdahl, a friend.

Leave us alone, Aron.

Don't worry. I won't eat him... even if he does look appetizing.

You can come back in half an hour.

Go now, Aron. Uncle Isak -

Uncle Isak is an old goat and needn't know of Alexander's visit.

Go now.

No, thank you.

My name is Ismael, but you already know that.

"And he will be a wild man.

His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him."

I'm considered dangerous. That's why I'm locked up.

Dangerous in what way?

Write your name here.

The pencil's pretty dull, but it should still serve.

There, Alexander Ekdahl.

Now read what you've written.

It says "Ismael Retzinsky."

Perhaps we're the same person, with no boundaries.

Perhaps we flow through each other, stream through each other boundlessly and magnificently.

You bear such terrible thoughts... it's almost painful to be near you.

Yet it's also enticing.

Do you know why? I don't think I want to know.

You've heard of making an image of someone you dislike and sticking pins in it?

It's a rather clumsy method when you think of the swift paths an evil thought can travel.

You're a strange little person.

You won't speak of that which is constantly in your thoughts.

You're thinking of a man's death.

Wait a moment.

I know who you're thinking of:

a tall man with fair, graying hair.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

He has clear blue eyes and a boyish face.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

He's asleep and dreams he's kneeling at the altar.

Above the altar hangs the crucified prophet.

In his dream he gets up and cries out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

There is no answer, not even a laugh.

Don't talk like that.

It is not I talking.

It is yourself.

You are not to hesitate.

He's sound asleep, plagued by nightmares.

Give me your hands.

It isn't really necessary, but it's safer.

The doors will be thrown open.

A scream will echo through the house.

- I don't want to. - It's too late.

You have only one way to go, and I am with you.

I obliterate myself.

I merge into you, my child.

Don't be afraid. I am with you.

I'm your guardian angel.

It is 5:00 in the morning, and the sun has just risen.

The doors are thrown open.

No, wait.

First a horrible scream echoes through the house.

A shapeless burning figure moves across the floor, screaming.

I don't want to.

Let me go! Let me go!

The police are here and insist on speaking to you.

Your husband, His Grace the bishop, lost his life this morning under terrible circumstances.

May I, madam?

We think we've been able to determine the course of events.

Miss Elsa Bergius, who was gravely ill, lay in bed.

On her bedside table stood a lamp.

By some unfortunate accident, the lamp fell on the bed igniting her nightgown, hair and bed linens.

Blazing like a torch, she ran through the house and by chance made it into the bishop's bedchamber.

According to His Grace's sister, Miss Henrietta Vergerus, he was in a heavy sleep from a soporific you had given him earlier that night.

Miss Bergius flung herself on him, igniting his bedclothes and nightshirt.

His Grace woke up and succeeded in freeing himself from the dying woman who was still ablaze.

But he could not extinguish the flames that were now engulfing him.

Old Mrs. Vergerus found her son with his body burnt and face charred.

He showed faint signs of life and said he was in unbearable agony.

Although I can't overlook the fact that the sleeping aid you gave him possibly made the disaster worse, I also cannot attach any serious importance to it.

Therefore, I must characterize the event as an ill-fated coincidence of extremely unfortunate circumstances.

My dear, dear friends.

I am more moved than I can say.

My wisdom is simple.

There are those who despise it, but I don't give a damn -

Forgive me, Mama. I noticed you raised your right eyebrow.

You think your son is talking too much. Don't worry. I will be brief.

Therefore... and consequently...

we Ekdahls have not come into the world to see through it.

Never think that.

We are not equipped for such excursions.

We might just as well ignore the big things.

We must live in the little world.

We will be content with that and cultivate it and make the best of it.

Suddenly death strikes.

Suddenly the abyss opens.

Suddenly the storm howls, and disaster is upon us.

All that we know.

But let us not think of all that unpleasantness.

We Ekdahls love our subterfuges.

Rob a man of his subterfuges and he goes mad and begins lashing out.

Damn it all, people must be intelligible!

Otherwise we don't dare to love them or speak ill of them.

We must be able to grasp the world and reality so we can complain of their monotony with a clear conscience.

Don't be sad, dear splendid artists.

Actors and actresses, we need you all the same.

It is you who must give us our supernatural shivers, or better yet, our innermost diversions.

The world is a den of thieves and night is falling.

Evil breaks its chains and runs through the world like a mad dog.

The poison affects us all, us Ekdahls and everyone else.

No one escapes, not even Helena Viktoria or little Aurora.

So it shall be.

Therefore let us be happy while we are happy.

Let us be kind, generous, affectionate and good.

It is necessary, and not at all shameful... to take pleasure in the little world.

Good food... gentle smiles... fruit trees in bloom, waltzes.

My dearest friends, I'm done talking, and you can take it as you like:

The sentimental ramblings of an uneducated restaurateur or the pitiful babbling of an old man.

I don't care.

I hold a little empress in my arms.

It's tangible yet immeasurable.

One day she will prove everything I just said wrong.

One day she will not only rule the little world, but everything.


There, there, my child.

Be a good girl now, so that Mama can go to bed.

I think you've finished eating, in any case.

I'll take her. Thank you, Rosa.

How do you like it here? Everyone's so kind.

Especially Mr. Ekdahl.

He must be a real friend of humanity.

That he certainly is.

He's particularly kind to young girls, so you watch out, Rosa.

Oh, my!

Good night, madam. Good night, Rosa.

Come along, you're tired.

I'm wide awake. We're going to have champagne.

Oh, no, we're not. We're going to bed.

We're going to have champagne.

If you're a good boy, I'll bring you a beer and sandwich in bed.

I'm sure Emilie will want a glass of champagne.

We'll raise a toast to our daughters.

Go to bed now, Gusten.

I'm so damned happy!

That's nice, Gusten, but you'll have a headache tomorrow.

Imagine: We're together again.

I'm going to the country tomorrow to speak with the workmen.

Do you need anything taken care of?

I'll be there until Thursday. I'll come on Tuesday.

Don't you think I have the best wife in the world?

Much better than you deserve.

And the world's prettiest little mistress.

A real darling.

Are you going in the morning? Not until 2:00.

When I see you, I want to weep with joy.

To think you're back with us again!

Good night, Gusten. Good night.

Be a good boy now, and remember that Alma needs her sleep.

I know what Alma needs.

Aunt Emilie.

What do you two want at this hour? We want to move to Stockholm.

Marianne Egerman is opening a boutique and wants us to help.

And we'd like to. We'd very much like to.

But we have a big problem.

Papa insists on that café for Maj.

He's so kind.

Maj's had enough of his tutelage. He's so kind.

She wants to live her own life and decide for herself and her baby.

I don't know what to do.

We've spoken to Mama.

She was awfully upset at first and said we couldn't do that to Papa.

Then she calmed down and said that life must take its course... and that one shouldn't force one's children.

Though she felt sorry for Papa's sake.

It's awful.

You must think of yourself.

After all, Papa's an old man. Isn't that true, Aunt Emilie?

Go to bed now. I'll have a word with Grandmama.

Emilie, how nice to see you! Welcome!

I need to speak with you.

Would you like a cognac? No, thank you.

Is it anything serious?

Oh, yes. Maj and Petra want to move to Stockholm.

What do you think?

You can't escape me.

One other thing.

You're right.

On his deathbed, Oscar asked you to take charge of the theater.

I was there. I remember it well.

Gustav Adolf will be awfully hurt.

Why all this concern for Gustav Adolf?

He has a good head for business, but he doesn't know a thing about theater.

It's your theater, my dear Emilie.

It's about time we explain to our backwoods Napoleon that he's facing his Waterloo.

I'd like you to read a new play by August Strindberg.

That nasty misogynist!

No, thank you.

It's called A Dream Play.

I thought we'd both perform in it.

Not on your life. I haven't appeared on stage in -

All the more reason. I won't disturb you any longer.

You never disturb me.

What are you laughing at?

Now we're the ones in charge, aren't we?

Do you think so?

Good night, dearest. Good night, my dear.

"Everything can happen. Everything is possible and probable.

Time and space do not exist.

On a flimsy framework of reality, the imagination spins, weaving new patterns."