From the Life of the Marionettes (1980) Script

From the Life of the Marionettes Prologue

l'm tired.

Now you will sleep.


No.


Come.


Twenty hours after the murder, Mogens Jensen... professor of psychiatry, speaks to the head of the inquiry. l think it was around five. l had just got up to get the morning paper.

Then the phone rang. l remember being angry... for having forgotten to switch the phone off.

Because patients tend to call me at all hours of the day and night.

First l ignored it, then l answered it. l didn't want my wife to wake up.

Peter Egermann was on the phone. He was very calm... he sounded in complete control. He asked me... to go to a certain address.

He told me to enter the house, cross the courtyard... and look for a metal door to the left of the stairs.

He said he'd found a key and that he would open the door for me. lt took me 20 minutes to get there. lt was around 5:30. l opened that door and went down to the basement.

All the rooms were brightly lit, a tape recorder was blasting.

The girl was lying face down on the table.

She was covered with a brocaded cloth.

Her legs were spread wide apart.

Her face was covered in blood, swollen, discoloured.

You'll find all the other details in the autopsy report.

Egermann said he had killed the girl, and then had anal sex with her.

To be honest... l am deeply shocked. l've known Egermann for 20 years.

He is an amiable, talented, conscientious man... whom everyone likes, as far as l know.

He's happily married to a hardworking career woman.

He has a large circle of friends... and leads a comfortable, rather modest life.

A charming mother... -Cordelia Egermann, the actress.

His father died a while ago. His family is wealthy.

His brother is a consul; his sister is married to a businessman.

No hereditary depression in his family? -Not that l know of.

Peter and Katarina never consulted with you? lt was never serious. Nothing Valium couldn't cure.

Fourteen days before the catastrophe...

Peter Egermann went to see Prof. Mogens Jensen at his office.

There've been many long nights and too much drinking recently.

Besides, l am very aware of the fact that time is passing.

So...

But l'll stop being evasive. l'll tell you what's troubling me. l guess everyone is troubled by something, don't you think?

But my anxiety is really quite particular.

That's why l've come to you.

You think l'm long-winded, that l talk too much. You're right.

Perhaps l just hesitate to tell you what's troubling me.

As long as l don't express my anxiety in words, it remains a dream.

Once l've said the words, my anxiety becomes manifest, a fact.

My desire to kill appalls me.

My desire to kill another human being appalls me. lt appalls me.

l want to kill my wife. l want to kill her.

l've been carrying that idea around with me for two years.

Katarina has been unfaithful, and so have l. But no matter.

We're great in bed. Actually, our sex life is fantastic.

We make love - how should l put it? Without emotions. l mean, without having to think about our feelings for each other.

l'm not used to describing the complicated state of the soul.

Perhaps l don't need to say that. l have the feeling you understand.

We love our pleasure. Or perhaps the pleasure the other person feels.

Sex was always best after we had been unfaithful to each other.

But the word "unfaithful" is the wrong word. lt has a negative moral connotation. And we never... l guess it's called "mutual sexual freedom".

Yes, l'm going on and on. Now you see how helpless l am.

Shrinks are interested in dreams.

Mine are banal, meaningless, dull.

l want you to tell me my hormones are responsible for my urge to kill her.

Maybe l just want you to hypnotize me.

That could be one solution.

You're not saying anything. -Why did you come to see me?

You don't believe in your own agony.

You don't believe in the existence of the soul.

So why did you come? -Are you angry?

Of course l'm angry. Because you have so little respect for your fear.

Maybe you should prescribe something for me.

Just take a long walk. That's the best thing for depression.

Then drink some coffee, a few cognacs, and you'll feel good as new.

Thank you, Mogens. You've been a great help.

Good-bye.

l don't want to.

Sit down.

l think l've made quite an effort.

How often do we say that we hate someone.

Or that we wish our counterpart were dead. Or we hit each other.

Humiliate, challenge, threaten the other.

We spit each other in the face, grip each other's arms, wrestle, yell.

Finally some blood is shed. One of us triumphs, the other is destroyed... and stands by the bathroom door asking for forgiveness.

That's not dangerous? -Not dangerous at all.

Everything's like a game... with often repeated answers, pauses, tantrums. The exits are rehearsed.

Of course it's fatal we don't have an audience... but we usually manage to overcome that inconvenience.

That's all... -That's all nothing.

Just part and parcel of our life together. l think...

No, that's not true either.

Not true?

Doesn't one crazy theory claim some fools love fighting... and humiliating each other?

Don't they say it's some rarefied form of contact? l get punched in the face. Hurrah, we finally had physical contact.

Divorce and all that.

How are you going to kill her? lt's all quiet in the apartment.

And intense sunlight floods in.

We've been left to our own devices for several days. Perhaps longer.

We haven't quarreled. All is... quiet. Maybe it's early morning. The street is empty.

A feeling of peacefulness overcomes me.

Everything seems very far away. l mean, work, everyday life, voices and appointments.

There's no agitation or fear.

l can see her moving around in the bathroom... saturated in the intense, almost unreal sunlight.

She's combing her hair. l've always loved to watch my wife.

Even when we hated each other. Or when she was revoltingly drunk... sick or just angry. l've always loved the way she moves.

Her scent, her presence.

She has turned toward the mirror. She watches me in the mirror.

She is lost in her own thoughts, but she breathes heavily. l'm standing behind her, at an angle... and l'm holding the razor in my right hand.

She watches me the whole time. And now she really sees me.

An imperceptible smile hovers around her lips.

l can feel her slight agitation, a slight pulse at her throat.

Did you know that a human body contains a large amount of blood? lf you cut the jugular vein, you and the walls would be covered in blood.

Blood reeks and is sticky.

She wouldn't die right away. lt'd take a few minutes for her to faint.

Both of you would probably have a lot of time to think.

Perhaps you'd regret it.

Things would turn out differently. You wouldn't have your experience... other than seeing Katarina on the bathroom mat with a severed throat.

You're being ironic, aren't you? -No. l can get you admitted to my clinic.

They'll pump you full of drugs till you don't care... if you're Peter Egermann or the emperor of China.

Don't worry. We're great at obliterating people's identities.

No more self, no more fear. Fantastic, isn't it? l've read the newest techniques of psychiatry are tough. l told you that l'm taking this matter seriously. l'm keeping you from your work. -Yes, a bit. l'm expecting someone. l won't waste any more of your time. -l'd have time for you on Thursday.

After four. -You're very kind.

Aren't l? -Should l tell Katarina...

Goodbye, Peter Egermann. Take care of yourself.

Bye, Mogens.

And take good care of yourself.

What do you mean by that? -Your guest is waiting.

Do you know the way out?

Of course.


Mrs Egermann? ls Mrs Egermann in?

Yes, it's very urgent.

Professor Jensen.

Yes, that'd be better. l'll hold.

Katarina?

Peter was just here.

No, he just left.

Could you come here? l'll leave the door open, OK?

Yes.

Sorry that l'm late. l had to park farther down the street so that...

Then l ran the last little bit. lt's really cold out.

How are you? Let me look at you.

You look very well. Have you got anything drinkable around here?

How's the fashion show going? -lt'll be great. You coming?

Fanny's going. l can't. l've got to stay home and work on a speech.

You're going to Tunisia? -On Friday.

For how long? -Six weeks.

Alone? -Of course.

This wine is wonderful.

What about your wife?

We go on vacation separately. -So you've told me.

Why don't you join me? -To Tunisia?

Why not? -What about Peter?

He'd probably consider it a practical idea.

Why hasn't a clever man like you realized that l love Peter?

Haven't you ever... -Often.

Much too often. But that's different. -l don't understand.

You don't need to understand. -But now l'm curious. l find you attractive. l think it'd be a lot of fun to have an affair with you.

But a trip's a different thing.

And now? l didn't come here to sleep with you, but to talk about Peter.

Besides, l have my period. -Those are two poor excuses.

At any rate, we can't stay here. -We can't stay here.

So what do you suggest? ln there. -lt's not the first time, is it? l'm sworn to professional secrecy. -Where's the bathroom?

Here you go.


l'm sorry, but l can't go through with it.

We'd probably have a lot of fun, but l can't.

Because of Peter? -Yes, because of Peter.

How touching.

Why the irony? -l wasn't being ironic. l swear.

Peter wanted to talk to me. He claims he's obsessed by a certain idea.

Obsessed by an idea? -A recurring thought. ls it serious?

People inflate their anxieties. They're afraid, and the fear... is worse than their obsessions. -What kind of obsessions?

Death wishes, suicide, murder, violent acts, violence. l'm not sure. He's coming back on Thursday. l'll find out more then.

Could he... -l don't think it's that serious.

And what can l do?

Maybe you should go away for a while. -At the busiest time of the year?

And why should l? lf Peter's really sick, he needs me.

There's a small but definite possibility that you could get hurt.

What do you mean? Would Peter... -Yes.

Did he say that... -He made allusions to that effect.

That seems totally ridiculous.

So you won't take a trip? -lmpossible. Please understand.

How about taking in a house guest? -Peter wouldn't tolerate that.

You have two nephews, don't you? -A 6 and an 8-year-old? lmpossible.

What if Peter took a trip? -He's busy.

They're negotiating some complicated deals.

He can take sick leave for a few months.

That's totally unrealistic.

Well, then l'm stumped.

l wonder if you're not more worried... than you say you are.

Rationally speaking, the risks are pretty minimal.

Then let's remain rational. l don't know, Katarina. My damn intuition won't let go of this. ls your intuition always right? l think so. l also have an intuition.

And what's it telling you?

That consciously or unconsciously... you are trying to figure out Peter's and my relationship.

For what reason? -l don't know.

Maybe it's just the kind of person you are.

Now l'm flabbergasted. -l've always been afraid of you.

Surely not only afraid? -Peter's a part of me.

Don't you understand that? l carry him inside of me, no matter where l go.

He's inside of me. l've never felt like that with anyone else. lf we had kids, it'd be different. He's my child, l'm his.

No, that's not true.

We both don't want to be clever or mature.

That's why we fight and hit each other and cry.

We don't want to grow up.

But we share the same blood circulation.

Our nerves have grown together in some strange, uncanny way.

Can you understand that?

Whenever Peter's not feeling well, the same happens to me. l want to run home to Peter and hold him and say, "Now...

From now on, l'll understand everything you say or think... everything you feel." l want to hold him fast until he finds me.

Why the hell don't we see each other, although we live together... and know each other well.

A week after the murder... the head of the police inquiry has a talk with Peter's mother.

l feel so helpless.

What do you want to know? l'd be grateful for anything you can tell me.

Peter was the child l'd always wanted.

We were so happy.

He had a wonderful childhood. Maybe it was too sheltered, l don't know.

He was a fearful child. He was afraid of the dark.

He always wanted the light in the hall to be left on.

He was afraid of all sorts of things: dogs, horses, large birds.

His siblings were much more robust. He was more like me. l was also a sensitive child. And somewhat sickly. l had asthma and would get sudden allergy attacks. l remember he used to bite his fingernails. lt looked awful.

He was very close to his sister who was three years younger.

They'd play with dolls and put on puppet shows.

He was a quick learner at school. He always got the highest grades.

He was much more talented than his siblings.

When he was twenty, he met a very nice girl.

They got engaged and planned to get married after finishing college.

And then he met Katarina and fell madly in love with her.

Katarina had a lot of control over him. She had the say.

What Peter's parents said or thought... wasn't important anymore.

Maybe that's the way it's supposed to be.

l don't know anything. l don't understand anything.

And how could l understand?

l was an actress before l married. l gave it up to look after my children.

My husband didn't want me to continue working. And l've never regretted it. l've had a good and happy life.

Peter came to see me a few days ago. lt was a brief visit. He had a list of things that needed to be repaired.

We went through the list together. He was to speak with the architect. lt's an old, dilapidated house... with a somewhat unkept garden. ln one wing, the roof is so badly insulated that snow seeps through it.

We talked about all these things. We were both in a bit of a rush. l was expecting guests for dinner, and Peter was going to a conference. l didn't notice anything unusual. Peter just said he was a bit tired.

That he'd had a cold. Katarina was to be in Paris... till the middle of the week.

We laughed about all those repairs and the architect's report. lt was really quite funny. Peter said that l live in a real rat trap.

But l love my old house. l'll never move out of it.

Five days before the catastrophe...

Katarina and Peter spend a sleepless night.

Go ahead and turn on the light if you want to read. lt won't bother me. l think l'll just get up for a while.

Shall l make you some hot milk? -No, thank you.

Shall we turn up the heat? -Not for me.

How's your cold?

l don't have a sore throat anymore. -Oh, good.


l can't sleep either.

Probably because of the change in weather or the full moon.

Or that horrible meal Oscar insisted on making for us.

What are you drinking? -Cognac. l'll have something to drink, too. -Your awful liqueur is to your left.

Are you nuts? A liqueur at three in the morning? l'll have some whisky.

That'll relax me. And it's healthy. -Don't drink so much. l'll drink as much as l want, my darling. l never go overboard.

You were pretty insufferable last night.

Don't l know it.

You'd had too much to drink. That's why. l was like that on purpose. -That's the way it is. On purpose. l enjoy embarrassing Martin. -You succeeded wonderfully.

He always tries to fondle me in secret.

So l get tipsy and fondle him. Openly.

That's a subtle way of getting back at someone, little Peter.

You start talking nonsense loudly... -That's your opinion.

Everyone else thinks l'm terribly nice.

Screw all those dinner parties. -We've got five next week.

So you actually enjoy them? -So do you.

Not anymore.

We're having dinner at your mom's tomorrow.

That's important. -Not to me. lt's a business dinner. -l don't have time.

Katarina, you promised.

Your business friends consider it an honour... to eat that grub your awful old mother prepares.

And in that rat trap to boot. lt's incredible.

Mama is a monument. -She's a rotten old monument... to your father's ancient imperium of oppression.

Now Katarina's going to bed. l have to get up at a quarter to seven. l'll lie down in the study.

Don't you have tennis tomorrow? -Harry's arm hurts.

He smokes too much. -His smoking's beside the point.

Smoking 70 cigarettes a day affects the circulation and muscle tissue.

Yeah, right. -lt goes without saying. lt goes without saying that it goes without saying.

So you don't want me to wake you before l go?

When are you going? -Shortly before eight.

Then wake me shortly before eight. -Good night, darling.

Good night, dear.

Peter?

Yes?

Can't you tell me why you're so unhappy? l'm neither unhappy nor happy. What a crappy word by the way.

Are you having problems? -On the contrary.

Business is booming. lf that's what you mean.

No, that's not what l meant.

There's no way out.

lf you understand what l mean.

No. -No...

You have to give me an example. -Surfeit.

Surfeit? l don't even know what that is.

A typical component of "surfeit"... is that you feel unbearably surfeited... when asked to elucidate the reason for that state of surfeit.

Now l'll tell you what l actually didn't intend to tell you.

No, it's nothing special.

Just a feeling. -OK... lt happened early yesterday morning. l was in the bathroom, drying myself with a freshly washed, rough towel... that smelled good.

Suddenly l had an insight, or whatever it's called. l saw all these familiar things around me and knew... that they soon wouldn't belong to me anymore.

That everything would be taken away from me.

None of the things around me would belong to me anymore.

That feeling was gone after a minute or so, but last night it came back. l'm tired, Katarina.

Do you think you can go to sleep now? -l took a Nembutal.

Come. Let's go to bed.

What time is it? -Almost four.

Now l can hear the transport trucks on the highway.

We have two alternatives. Either we carry the investment costs... raising the license fee in accordance with the usual interest rate... while taking the amortization into account.

Or if the other party carries the investment costs... the first alternative seems preferable.

New paragraph. We agreed on an amortization period of 7 years. lt's a long time, but in return all repairs would be free of charge... dash, that way we could gradually exchange all used parts over time... dash... which would be advantageous to us in the long run.

New paragraph.

So, new paragraph.

While choosing between a fixed license fee per machine per year... or one based on production volume with a guaranteed minimum fee... we agreed on the first alternative.

They obviously think we'd audit their books... and find out their actual production figures...

No, write when auditing their books... we'd obtain certain information... which we would use when setting up offices in the countries in question.

The problem is that a completely new point was then raised. l protested by saying that that point had been raised much too late.

But in fact, they're right. lt'll be difficult to dismiss their demand.

New paragraph. They said that, as they had decided on Alternative 1 ... the license fee would pay off the equipment in 7 years.

The first extension of the agreement covers a period of 7 1/2 years... a further prolongation would extend it to 10 years.

As the equipment, which remains our property... is amortized at the end of the first prolongation period... they are of the opinion the license fee should be reduced after 7 years.

New paragraph. They are of course right in the long run.

Which means that we have to tell them how much the equipment costs. ln our calculations of the two alternatives, we assumed correctly... they would choose Alternative 1 . So we overstated the costs.

Which means that... if we are to deduct those costs from the license fees after 7 years... our income would be less than we had calculated.

All board members get a copy, the archive... you and l, and the main file. That'll be all, Mrs Anders.

Would you like some coffee? -No, thank you.

Can l get off at five tomorrow? -Of course.

Are you all right? l'm fine, thank you.

Your mother called. l told her you were in a meeting.

Excellent. -She wanted to remind of your date.


Four days before the catastrophe, Katarina prepares her fashion show.

This is the way l want it. So change it, Tim.

No problem. Have you called Milan? l called Ariadna today. Have you talked to Paul?

Yes, ten minutes ago. He's at airport customs.

No one's seen our machine. -Don't send them any money. ls it time to go? Did you have to wait long? lt's total chaos in here.

25 % of the collection didn't arrive. lmagine that.

You're leaving? -We've got a lunch date.

We're running late. l'll be back as soon as possible. Take care, darling. Let's go.

l need a drink. -We're late as it is. l need a drink. -You'll get one when we get there. l need a strong drink to be able to stomach your mother.

Let's go to a bar. lt'll just take two minutes.

Can l get a refill, Jack? l bet you're terribly irritated. l'm terribly irritated. -lt suits you. Your eyes are darker. l like you when... -l'm tired.

You accepted this luncheon date. -But l asked you first.

No, after you'd already accepted it. -You know how important it is.

You can get as angry as you like, but l need another drink. Jack...

Then l'll tell Mama you had no time.

An excellent idea.

Can l get you anything else? -No, thank you.

You didn't go to Peter's mother's luncheon?

How's it going up there? -We're taking a break till four. l hope you don't mind. -l don't mind.

Have you had anything to eat? -l don't think so. l have a wonderful idea. Come to my place for a few hours.

You can take a nice long bath, and l'll make us a salad. l'm fine where l am. -Come on, Katarina.

You need to get out for a bit. l feel so bad. -Because of Peter?

That's so stupid, isn't it? -Come on, Katarina.

Martin was truly a decent person. We were very attached to each other.

But as you know, fidelity doesn't exist.

Not true fidelity.

When you're gay, you can't be faithful. lt's because of the sad fact that we can't have any children.

We can't even adopt any. -Peter and l are also childless. l've always loved children. l think l would have been a good mother.

Don't you agree? -Yes.

Martin fell madly in love with a schoolboy.

His parents were at the end of their tether. lt was almost scandalous.

Well, naturally l felt rather abandoned and mourned my loss.

But l got this apartment as a consolation prize.

Martin would come here often.

He'd sit in the very armchair in which you're sitting.

Sometimes he'd cry. lt was hard. Those were hard times.

That boy turned out to be a real devil.

But it's a lovely apartment. lt really is. lt's very lovely.

lt's nice to be with you. -How long have we known each other?

For 15 years, Tim. -Oh, my God.

And we've been working together for 12 years.

Are you unhappy? -Do l look unhappy?

You're always so friendly and hardworking... and self-possessed. l suddenly had the feeling that you were terribly unhappy. l'm sorry, Katarina. l didn't mean to embarrass you.

Maybe l want to cry. -You have to cry if you feel like it. l don't mind at all. On the contrary. l'd consider it a gesture of trust.

Most gay men like women.

Not because we're particularly feminine ourselves. No.

But because we're more in touch with our feelings. l didn't come up with that. Martin said that. But it could be true. lt's immeasurable grief. Can you understand that? l've ever...

Maybe it isn't grief at all but some sort of madness.

People like me have never given the soul much thought.

Then the soul starts acting up, and you're helpless. You know? l understand.

Perhaps a few tears are shed at first. A strange kind of crying... which then turns into a terrible howl of grief and hopelessness.

Then it turns into a blind roar.

A roar, a roar.

Everybody breaks down once in a while. l've had a couple of nervous breakdowns myself. l'm not sure if l'm sorry that l broke down. l don't think so.

Love was usually at the root of it. l'm pathologically addicted to intimacy. And does intimacy exist?

When l say intimacy, l mean intimacy. lt's always the same sad story. The body itself becomes an obstacle.

Then the soul.

Soon you're in a muddle of hopes, fantasies and compromises.

My God, l'm so theoretical.

l've got a present for you. -A present?

Wait. You'll get it in a minute.

Here you go. -But my dear Katarina...

Actually l brought it for Peter, but he was bad, so now he won't get it. lt's lovely. -l bought it in Milan. l think it'll look good on you. l've noticed you wear that color.

You see?

Does it make me look older? -You don't want to get old?

The wrinkles aren't that bad. lt's the ugliness that distresses me.

The dry skin that's so rough, even though l put cream on it every night.

And this deep furrow around the mouth.

One day l woke up and looked in the mirror.

And there it was. Quite suddenly. l had the feeling l'd had a heart attack.

My neck is still fine. No major catastrophes around the eyes.

But my hands are a disaster. l've asked three doctors... what to do. They could remove these spots, but not the veins and wrinkles.

l look at my mouth and my hands... and l don't believe my eyes. l'm still a child. Or perhaps l'm not a child anymore after all. l don't understand all this business about time.

Some experts say it doesn't exist. And they're right.

When l close my eyes, l feel like a ten-year-old.

Even physically. Then l open my eyes again... and look in the mirror... and there l see this old fogey.

A childlike old fogey. lsn't that weird?

A childlike old fogey. That's all.

No, there's something else.

What is it, Tim?

You turn into this. -l don't understand.

You just turn into this.

That whole business about intimacy is just a dream.

Brutality and obscenity.

Sometimes l go to certain places to pick up these awful men.

You wouldn't believe your eyes.

Pleasure and sexuality and horror and obscenity.

All rolled into one. That's the kind of sex life your old fogey has.

You can't exactly call that tender intimacy.

One day someone will kill me. But that too is a titillating thought.

Certain powers drive me that l can't control.

Doctors, lovers... pills, drugs... alcohol, work.

Nothing helps.

They're secret powers. Do they have a name? l don't know.

Maybe it's the aging process itself. The putrefaction. l don't know. l have no control over those powers.

l get closer to the mirror and look into my face... that has become so familiar.

And l come to the conclusion that this blend of flesh and blood... and nerves and pieces of bone contains two totally incompatible... l don't know what to call it.

Two incompatible people.

The dream of intimacy, of tenderness, common interests... of the ability to forget yourself and of all that is alive.

And on the other hand, the violence, the obscenity, the horror and death.

Sometimes l think they all stem from one and the same origin.

l don't know.

And how could l know anyway?

Perhaps my dreams were just a bit too beautiful.

And as a punishment...

Life punishes you when you least expect it.

When you get your orgasm, your nose is so deep in shit... that you almost suffocate.

Look at me.

Do me a favour and hold my hand.

Lay it lightly against your cheek.

Can you feel my hand?

Can you feel that it's me?

That it's me?

Three days after the murder, the head of inquiry speaks to Tim.

Please state your full name.

Tim. T-l-M.

That's your stage name. Your initials, or whatever.

We'd like to know your full name. -My name is Tim.

Everyone in Europe calls me Tim. -According to my files, your name... is Tomas lsidor Mandelbaum. -lf you know my name, why ask? lt's a routine question. We have to ask so that there's no mix-up.

That's impossible.

This is an informal conversation. -Then turn off the tape recorder.

Does it bother you? -Obviously. Or l wouldn't have asked.

Now it's turned off. -Thank you very much.

Would you like some coffee? Wine or a cigarette?

No, thank you. -Maybe some mineral water? Tea?

We don't have too much to offer you.

No, thank you.

Then let's get started, Mr Tim. -Fine.

This won't hurt. l promise you. -l don't believe that either.

l asked to speak with you, because you're a friend of the family. l've worked closely with Katarina for 10 years. No, 12 years.

We've been friends for 10 years. lnitially we were employees.

You know Peter Egermann? -Of course.

What was their marriage like? -Good.

Peter's mother was of a different opinion.

Now you have two conflicting opinions.

Did you have an affair with Peter?

No.

You seem hesitant. -We never had an affair.

We never touched each other. Perhaps we embraced the way good friends... embrace. -Please excuse my bluntness. l'm used to that.

Did you know the murdered girl? -Yes.

How well?

We were good friends. -Why were you friends with a whore?

What kind of question is that, lnspector? lt's either malicious, underhanded or naive.

So l'm answering your question by saying l don't like it. l didn't mean to insult you. l'll try to believe that.

Do you live alone?

Yes, l do. l live alone.

Your girlfriend introduced you to other men?

On occasion. -You introduced Peter to Ms Krafft... or "Ka", as she was called? -Yes.

How did it happen? -lt happened one Sunday last fall.

At the train station. -You were taking a trip?

There are foreign men at the station who go there to earn a bit of money.

Suddenly l ran into Peter Egermann. He'd bought some foreign papers... at the international newsstand. We had a cup... of coffee together. For some reason... l told him why l was at the station.

Peter was interested somehow. Suddenly he told me... that he'd never gone to a prostitute before. l recommended Katarina Krafft, gave him her address... and promised to talk to her about it. That's the whole story.

That's the reality. But actually it's not even half of it. l was furious at Katarina Egermann.

Fact is, l've always been furious with her, even though l liked her. l liked the idea that Peter was cheating on her with a prostitute.

But that's only part of the truth.

Weak people choose strange paths. You should know that, lnspector. lt torments me that l was the one who introduced the killer to the victim.

Please excuse my dramatic turns of phrase. l just have a bad conscience. l blame my homosexuality.

That too is just part of the truth.

This is starting to become interesting, don't you think?

The truth is of course that l wanted Peter all to myself.

But that wasn't clear to me.

We were to have a mutual secret.

l slowly wanted to take him away from his wife and make him mine. l saw that terrible coldness in his marriage... and was somewhat obsessed with the idea that he would turn to me.

That he would discover me at long last.

That he would realize that l secretly loved him.

Emotionally, Peter was a dying man.

The way one can die of hunger, thirst or loss of blood.

l knew that l could save him.

And l wished l was the one he was seeking.

Seeking to be close to me.

l don't think l'm wrong.

People like me have a feeling for such things.

Perhaps everything l've told you isn't the truth either.

There are certain clever people who say we're blind.

That our movements are preordained. That we've been pledged... or violated since birth.

But that doesn't make the slightest difference.

Don't you agree?

Peter Egermann wrote a letter to Professor Jensen. lt was never sent.

Dear Mogens... what l'm going to describe isn't a dream in the usual sense.

Although l experienced this under the influence of pills and alcohol.

This experience seemed more real and horrible... than the banal reality of everyday life. But that's all trivial.

You can throw this letter away. l'm not writing to amuse you, but because l must write. l dreamed that l was sleeping.

l dreamed that l was dreaming.

lt was very sensual. l mean, in another respect. Not only erotic.

But somehow there was a direct link between my lower body... and the intense and sweet-smelling moisture of a woman.

Sweat... saliva... the fresh scent of thick hair.

l moved over a glittering, spacious surface with my eyes closed.

And all was very quiet.

My contentment was complete. l felt a strange urge to tell a funny story.

But l couldn't speak.

But that didn't distress me.

The feeling of hovering was closely connected to my muteness... and my brain was intensely focused on my hands... or rather my fingertips.

There was a little eye on every finger... that perceived this glittering whiteness with twinkling delight.

lt felt good like this.

lt could remain this way.

l thought...

or rather l didn't think at all. lt flowed like a ribbon across my lips:

"lf you are death, then l welcome you, dear death.

lf you are life... then l welcome you, dear life."

l am in a closed room without windows or doors... but also without a roof or walls.

Perhaps l'm locked in a sphere or an ellipse. l'm not sure. lt didn't occur to me to examine the contours of the room. l dreamt that l woke from a deep slumber. l was lying on the floor, which was as soft as a thick carpet. lt was nice and warm, and l was content.

Katarina lay beside me. She was still immobile, fast asleep. l knew right away that it was all a dream. l told myself in a low voice that l shouldn't be afraid... that it was dangerous to become afraid... to start panicking, to try to find a way out... to cry or shout or pound the walls. l decided to remain calm.

Katarina started waking up slowly. l tried to talk to her...

but l couldn't reach her. lt seemed as though she didn't know l was there.

She was soft and indifferent in a sexually arousing way. l wanted to make love to her... but she eluded me. l never managed to penetrate her.

She watched me, her lids half-closed, and smiled. l fell blind rage. l withdrew to stop myself from killing her.

The feelings of rage and horror almost suffocated me. l told myself to remain calm... unafraid... self-possessed, not unpredictable.

Everything went awry.


There was even a moment of tenderness... of complete silence. lt is difficult to describe that particular moment.

The very air l was in was transformed. lt became milder and easier to breathe.

The grey light vanished... and was replaced by the soft, subdued light of dawn... much like gentle hands that caressed our sore bodies.

We entered into a sudden spirituality without reservations.

Then disaster struck.

The most unimaginable, irrevocable thing had happened.

Katarina was suddenly dead. l knew l'd killed her in some cruel... gruesome way. l woke up again and found myself sitting on my bed.

The heavy traffic on the highway down below had started up.

Everything was as usual.

Katarina slept beside me. Her breathing was calm.

Can you help me?

Can l be helped?

Can l continue living longer?

Am l really alive?

Or was my dream in effect the only brief moment of life l had?

Of experienced and vanquished reality?

Two days before the catastrophe, Peter threatens to kill himself.

Sorry to bother you so early, but could l speak to Prof. Jensen?

No, thank you. My apologies.

Thank you for coming. l didn't know what to do. Can you talk to him?

He's outside on the roof. -Yes.

lt's respectable to want to jump, but inhumane to torment his fellow men.

Soon someone will see you and alert the police.

Are you cold?

Can't l at least get your fur coat? -That would be very nice of you.

Katarina, where's his fur coat? -l'll get it for you.

Peter. -Leave me alone.

Martha sends her regards. -Poor Martha. We disturbed her.

Not at all. She had an early operation at the children's clinic. lsn't she priggish?

Come, sit with me. -l'm fine on the floor.

We had a drink with Johann and Marianne.

Then we all went out to that new ltalian restaurant near the theatre.

We ran into Melkers and his lady friend.

They insisted that we go back to their house.

Can l have a cigarette?

Thank you. -What's that on your neck?

Her necklace broke. -l see. l got caught in it, and then it broke.

Make sure it doesn't get infected. -Oh...

Katarina says she wants to leave me. l say, Great. What a godsend.

Then she says she can't live without me. l say l can live better without her. She says l'm impotent.

Our fight started at the restaurant. -l say l'm only impotent with her.

At first he was funny, but then he started mimicking me. lt was awkward, and l started to cry. -She knows exactly when to cry.

Now l'll tell you why we quarreled. -Now for the aria.

Shut up, Peter. You've had your performance.

Peter wanted to fuck when we came home. l was tired and hoped it wouldn't take too long.

But Peter wanted a long, drawn-out fuck.

And l thought l could still manage that. l always have.

Then he wanted to screw me from behind but couldn't get his cock in.

He was probably too drunk.

Then l started...

Then l started to laugh.

Then he lost it and started shouting at me.

But l couldn't stop laughing. l couldn't control myself.

Then l said l could go down on him. He likes that.

He grabbed my necklace and twisted it. l almost suffocated. l know how to satisfy you. l know how to give Katarina an orgasm.

Want to know how? -Over the past 10 years... l've probably had 832 orgasms with you. l faked it 513 times and later went into the bathroom to masturbate.

True, l had a lousy little twitch on occasion. l'm terribly grateful that Peter Egermann taught me... how to feel like a woman.

Poor Peter, l feel so damn sorry for you. l really feel sorry for you. -Now comes the story of her loyalty.

Let's amuse him with another story. -At least your big mouth still works.

He's afraid of silence.

Silence harbours the truth. Her truth, that is. l don't have a truth.

Fact is, Katarina has a life-long contract with the objective truth.

Partly because she's a woman. As a woman, she's entitled to such views.

And partly because she is Katarina, especially chosen and created by God. l think l should lie down for a while.

When is Bauer expecting us? -At ten.

You can sleep for at least an hour. Take a hot shower later.

Do you need any help? -How very kind of you. l can manage by myself. Thank you for coming, dear Arthur.

You're a real friend. When l see you and Katarina together... l suddenly realize what an extraordinary couple you'd be.

As Christ said on the cross, "Mother, look at your son.

Son, look at your mother."

l was a hysterical silly goose.

What are you thinking?

That you're playing that old record: lt was my fault. Forgive me, darling.

Then you end up smelling like a rose. lf l think l was hysterical, shouldn't l say so?

No.

Then what should l do? -Nothing.

Whatever you say, Peter. l don't mind your lying here, but keep your trap shut.

Peter. -Cut it out. That's pointless.

Couldn't we talk to each other? -No.

Couldn't we at least give it a try?

We've already tried 100,000 times.

The next time we fight we'll use whatever we said as a weapon.

Do you remember how hard we tried at first?

We had capital.

Call it love capital, if you will.

We threw it all away needlessly. Do you know why?

We accepted the rules but had no knack for the game.

And then we were betrayed.

Do you know what scares me the most?

That l can't go to work, read my paper, eat regular meals.

Not being able to sleep, being constipated, the car breaking down... getting sick, having a toothache.

The slightest hitch could ruin my carefully devised security system. lf that were true, you wouldn't drink so much. l drink to have the courage to switch off my system.

For what purpose?

To blow myself up.

And what remains?

Mincemeat of sorts. Of blood and nerves.

And that's supposed to be better?

At least l'd be more like the reality that encases me.


Three weeks after the catastrophe, Katarina visits Peter's mother. l'm all alone in this big house... and don't feel like seeing a single person. l don't even want to go out. -Why not leave for a few months?

Yes, my sister asked me to visit her in Paris.

You really should take a trip.

What if Peter asks for me? -Have you seen him?

No. l can't go there.

Not yet.

l went to see him yesterday. -Yes?

He doesn't seem to be all there.

Do you think he's in distress? -No, he's getting injections. l wish an injection could catapult me out of this hell.

This truly is hell. l walk around all day by myself. l put on my coat to take a walk in the park... but l can't go out the door. l don't know what to do.

Maybe l should go to the doctor, but the old Jacobi is so senile. l could ask Prof. Jensen to get in touch with you.

That might be a good idea. -l'll call him tomorrow. l'm so lonely, Katarina. l can come to see you every day.

You've got enough worries as it is. -Everyone does.

You think it's all my fault. You've always been very critical... of Peter's and my relationship. -You were critical of our marriage. l'm his mother, Katarina. l'm closer to him than any other person. l gave birth to him and raised him. He's a part of my life.

You don't have any children. You don't understand a mother's feelings.

The responsibility... the guilt... the shame. -You're right. l don't understand. l'm sorry. l didn't mean to hurt you. -You didn't hurt me. l feel sorry for you. -l don't believe that. l've been here for half an hour. All you've talked about is your feelings.

Your problems, your guilt, your shame.

Forgive me, Katarina. l thought you'd come here so that we could talk. l thought we could talk... about our feelings.

l don't know what l thought we'd do. -l also thought of you.

Every hour of the day l thought of you. l am also lonely.

Yes.

Full of astonishment l look back on our lives... on our former reality and think it was all a dream. lt was a game. Lord knows what the hell we were doing.

This is true reality, and it's unbearable. l talk, answer, think, put on my clothes... sleep and eat. lt's a daily compulsion. A strange, hard surface.

But under that surface, l'm crying.

l'm crying for myself... because l can no longer be the way l was.

What was, can never be again. lt's been destroyed. lt's gone... like a dream.

l cry for Peter.

l've never been able to put myself in other people's shoes.

But suddenly l think l know what Peter is feeling and thinking. l realize that he's unprotected, frightened and lonely.

So very lonely.

He has turned away, won't return, no matter how much we call out to him.

But the worst part of it is... the horrible part, one l can barely talk about... is that poor woman. l tell myself she was only frightened for a moment... that she didn't realize what was happening to her.

That doesn't help.

Doesn't help.


50 minutes before the catastrophe...

Peter goes to see the prostitute Katarina Krafft.


Good evening. -Evening.

We're closing up for the night.

Pack up. We're closing.

We're closing up.

Bye.

She's willing to stay till six. -Thanks.

Actually it's against the rules. Because of the fire insurance.

But you have be gone by six. The police always pay us an early visit.

The cops from the night shift drop by for a quickie and a coffee.

Later in the police report they call it a "routine visit".

Come in. lt'll just take a minute.

Do you want some wine?


l prefer you with your make-up on. -Fine. lf it's not too much trouble. -Oh, no.

But please no false eyelashes.

Of course. -lt's pretty stuffy in here, huh? lt's not that bad.

They forgot to put in ventilation vents when they renovated the rooms.

So we have to leave the basement door open.

We get some pretty strange guests. Won't you take your coat off?

Sorry, l forgot my paper. l've got to take it home. l bought it this morning, and now it's already so late.

Don't forget. By six.

Did you like my act?

Not particularly.

Have you been working here long? -For three years.

When l came, this place was still brand-new.

How's the money? -l can't complain.

Got any more wine?

The bottles are in the bookcase beside the fridge.

You're strange.

There's something weird about you.

Do you have anything up your sleeve? -l don't think so.

One of the girls wanted to stay just in case.

Maybe it was stupid of me to send her away.

Don't worry.

Something doesn't feel right.

Something's not right.

Are you scared?

A good judge of human nature. -So now you're being ironic? l'm always ironic. lt's a disability of sorts.

Oh, man. l can't take this.

Listen, it's pretty uncomfortable in here.

Don't you think? We could go to one of the other rooms.

Come on, let's go.

Sylvia's son is so sweet

Go on.

ls this your room? -l receive my customers in here. lt's terribly hot. Can't we open a window?

There are no windows. l can't stand it in here. -We can go up on stage.

There's more room up there. And it's also quite comfy.

Come on, let's go.


What's your name? -Ka.

But my real name's Katarina.

You have the same name as my wife. -Now that's pretty weird.

Were you about to say something?

You misunderstood me just now. l thought your act was primitive and rather boring.

On the other hand, l find you enchanting.

Enchanting.

Sit down over there. l want to look at you.

Like this? lt'd be better if you got up.

ls this any better?

Look at me.

Well?

Don't other men ask you to do worse things?

This is worse.

There is no way out.


Are you leaving?

There is no way out. -You're talking nonsense.

Come on...


l told you that we have to keep all the doors locked.

You have to stay.

Shall l make some coffee?

lt's too bright in here. Can't we turn off the light?

We complained about it, but no one listens to us around here.

What kind of smell is that? -Smell?

Yes, l smell something. -lt always reeks of dust, sweat... perfume, cigarette smoke.

When the toilet is clogged, it reeks of shit. What do you smell?

No idea. Maybe l'm imagining it. -My sense of smell is shot. l don't smell anything anymore.

When l was a kid, my mother'd take me to see her parents in Denmark. l remember how the seasons smelled. -The seasons?

Yes. Winter... winter smelled like snow, coal stoves and wet gloves.

And summer smelled like seaweed and anthills.

Spring smelled like melting ice and snow in deep ditches... budding Easter catkins and rain.

But the autumn was the most beautiful of all...

l wasn't asleep.

Why don't you take off that stupid coat of yours? lt's pretty warm in here, isn't it?

Yes.


l'm tired.

Four weeks later, the psychiatrist Prof. Mogens Jensen... dictates a preliminary evaluation late in the night.

Regarding our patient, the dominant mother... and frequent absences of the father gave rise to latent homosexuality.

Peter Egermann was not aware of this... but it had a disruptive effect on his marriage... and on his relationships with other women.


- toward his dominant mother found no true outlet... in his social surroundings... since any emotional outburst would have been considered... almost obscene.

Consequently, he distanced himself from his feelings early in life. lnstead of being himself, he adopted attitudes.

He played the role as dictated by his education and his milieu.

Excuse me, professor. l didn't know you were still here. l just need a few more minutes. Good night.

A highly developed sense of duty... self-discipline practised since childhood... and considerable social success prevented the patient... from giving his feelings free rein.

He was obviously very attached to his wife who, like his mother... is a possessive and strong-willed person.

The inexplicable fear and the fear of this fear... were practised in a closed social ritualistic pattern... in which the consumption of drugs and alcohol... is an acceptable, yes, even recommended outlet.

Maybe nothing would have happened if he'd stayed in his milieu.

The catastrophe occurs the moment he has contact with the prostitute.

All becomes possible.

Anything could have triggered it. A word, a gesture, a tone of voice.

He had an emotional blackout, during which he killed the girl.

And in a presumably ecstatic moment...

Egermann consummates the sexual act with the dead girl.

The emotional avalanche has now been set free.

You only possess or have control over the person you have killed.

The patient broke all social and emotional taboos... and is now a potential suicide case himself.

He is subject to the same rule that l just enumerated:

Only he who kills himself has total control over himself.

Right after he gets up... after breakfast and making his bed - he gets up before the others - he starts up his chess program.

He chooses a difficult level on the computer and plays for several days.

He is very polite to the staff, but at the same time very reserved.

He grooms his body meticulously and cleans his room at least once a day.

He treats his bedspread with special care. lt takes him 15 minutes to get it as flat and smooth as he wants it.

He doesn't read any books or newspapers.

He never listens to the radio or watches TV.

He has anxiety attacks... but refuses all help. He rejects our attempts to help him.

At night, he takes a tattered old teddy bear to bed with him.

Probably a childhood memento.