Sunshine (1999) Script

IVAN: This boy, my great-grandfather, Emmanuel Sonnenschein, was only 12 years old when he left his village in the Austro-Hungarian empire.

He had to find work to support his mother and a brother because his father, the village tavern keeper, died during an explosion in his distillery.



Sammy! Emmanuel?


IVAN: The tavern keeper was much loved in his village.

His tonic, distilled from local herbs, helped many of his neighbors back to health.

The secret recipe for the tonic, written in a black, clothbound book, was found amidst the rubble.





The black notebook hidden in the lining of his coat was my great-grandfather's inheritance.

Emmanuel found a job in a Budapest distillery where he worked endless hours.

By the age of 25, he had built his own house and distillery.

He brewed the herbal tonic, following his father's recipe.

He called it Taste of Sunshine, using our family name.

"Sonnenschein" means sunshine.

Emmanuel soon married Rose Deutsch.

They had two sons, my great uncle, Gustave, and Ignatz, my grandfather.

Taste of Sunshine was an instant success.

When Emmanuel's younger brother died, Emmanuel and Rose adopted the brother's orphaned daughter, Valerie, my grandmother.

Good night, darling.

Sweet dreams.

You'll wake up in the morning happy, healthy and smiling.

God bless. Good night.



(BOTH PLAYING PIANO) One, two, three.

(POUNDS KEYS) Gustave!

MOTHER: One, two, three.



NARRATOR: My grandmother Valerie was raised as if she were Ignatz and Gustave's sister.

Valerie developed a passion for the world's newest miracle, photography.

Ignatz decided to study law, Gustave, medicine.

None of Emmanuel's children had any interest in taking up the family business.

My great-grandfather didn't mind.

He was proud of his children and their ambitions.

Here, everybody. (CLICKS SHUTTER)


Try moving away from the tree.

Wait. Up. Go, go, move back a little bit.

(STAMMERING) Move back.

A little bit further.

Now... Now to your right. Just a little bit.

Yes. Stop.

Don't move.


My little sister, I love you very much.

I love you very much as well.

I love you differently from the way I love Gustave and Father and Mother.

I love you differently too.

Your little sister misses you terribly when you're away at school.


So I'm glad you're home.

I shall have to get back to Vienna soon.

Take me with you. I will.

MAN: You didn't plant them?

They just blossomed by themselves?

Yes, they did. This morning.

Mr. Sonnenschein, this is a miracle!

Really a miracle.


Could someone please move that chair?





Where are they?

Probably off somewhere kissing.


What are you saying?

I suggest looking in the museum gardens.

They tend to go in there.


Sorry we're late. Sorry.

(GROANS) There's too much salt in this soup.

Then the cook must be in love.

You must have made the soup then.

What do you mean by that, Gustave?

You and Ignatz kissing in the museum garden yesterday, and Tuesday... Have you gone mad?


Please don't cry, Rose. I beg you.

Come with me...



I forbid you.

Almighty God is great in nature and the laws of nature, and those laws forbid marriage between brother and sister.

But we're not brother and sister. We are cousins.

I had a cousin that I loved.

Sarah Bettelheim.

Our grandfather forbade us to marry.

He said there was a curse on the marriage between people of the same blood.

I love Valerie. I want to marry her.

"Want" is not a word for us, Ignatz.

God wants. We wish for.

We must obey what God wants of us.

I did.

God wants us to live without power and lust, two things that bring us to destroy other people and then to destroy us.

And in return, he gives us knowledge, the ability to read and interpret...

And he gives us family love.

I love you. I'll always love you because you're my sister.

I'll never abandon you as your brother.

Don't love me out of duty.

Ignatz, your mother raised me out of duty.

Yes, but you'll get married, and you'll have children.

We'll always be friends. Don't give me up so quickly.

You give into them like a good little boy.

I must leave.

I'll write to you.

No, don't write to me unless you intend to tell me you love me and not your sister.

"But, darling, I'm in a dreadful state.

"I can't stop hearing what you said to me.

"When you went back to Vienna, I cried and vomited all afternoon.

"I can't help feeling that you've had enough of me, "that you find me ugly and stupid and...

"I have to see you. I have to speak to you.

"I have to know if you've really stopped loving me...

"Or if you're just obeying our parents.

"Why would you want to love me as a sister?

"I would move mountains for you.

"I'm in love with you."

IVAN: In Vienna, Ignatz reread Valerie's letter a dozen times, but kept his promise to his father and never replied to his cousin.

Ignatz threw himself into his studies, but lay awake each night dreaming only of Valerie.

Mr. Sonnenschein, a Miss Sonnenschein is here to see you.



You may leave your umbrella here.


When I'm lying in your arms, I feel like I've come home.

Like I've finally come home.

I have to pee.


So do I.


IVAN: When he finished his studies, Ignatz returned to Budapest and his family.

For Emmanuel, my grandfather Ignatz was the greatest achievement of his life.


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dr. Ignatz Sonnenschein, Doctor of Law in the Austro-Hungarian empire and kingdom of Hungary, who has graciously come home to live with us.

Hurry up, son. Your mother's waiting. (APPLAUDING)




We ask almighty God to bestow his blessing on you, my son.

We also remember with gratitude my dear father who perished in a tragic fire, but left us with knowledge that has enabled the Sonnenschein family to progress from village tavern keepers to city lawyers.

We are grateful to almighty God for having spared us my father's recipe book for his herbal tonic.

And now, dear Mrs. Sonnenschein, you first.

Last night I dreamt we lost the recipe.

IGNATZ: What happened, father? My goodness.

I stood on a boat, drifting.

You were all with me.

The boat began rocking from side to side and I sat in the middle, just steadying the boat.

An enormous wave washed over us and the family's recipe book was lost.

VALERIE: It was only a dream, Papa. Mmm-hmm.


Please, God, may we always go on singing.



I invoke the right for the first night.


Don't be frightened.

We're already doomed to hell. We might as well enjoy it.

NARRATOR: Success came quickly to my grandfather.

He became a judge, fulfilling a childhood dream.

(POUNDING GAVEL) In the name of the Emperor, I hereby call this trial to order.


EMMANUEL: When you sit in judgment of people, never forget who you are.

And to help you remember, this was your grandfather's watch.

It's the watch of a village tavern keeper.

Now it's yours.




And this is for your desk.

"Take nothing on trust.

"See everything for yourself.

"This is your father's advice."




I was wondering how it would be making love with a district court judge.

You're judging a judge? Your verdict, please.

(LAUGHING) The judge is a hard man.

His sentences are often stiff, but always passionate.

The verdict is a life sentence.

Come in, Sonnenschein. Come in.

Sit down.

Cigar? No, thank you.

You don't smoke? Yes, I do smoke.

Then have a cigar. Go on, please.

Everyone speaks highly of you.

They say you're incorruptible and quite learned.

We're considering you for the central court.

I'm honored, sir, but perhaps I'm a bit young.

No, not at all.

I must speak frankly with you.

I hope what I say will not offend you.

It's not possible for the central court to have a presiding judge with a name like Sonnenschein.

We'd like to promote you. We trust you.

We need you...

But you will have to change your name to something more Hungarian.

I see.

Naturally, this is just friendly advice, man-to-man.

Nothing like an official request.

Yes, of course, sir.

At the end of the day, the decision has to be yours.

Thank you, sir. I'm honored.


IGNATZ: What do you think of first when you hear the name Sonnenschein?

VALERIE: My lover.

Suppose it's not me? Then me.

What if it's someone not related to us at all?

Someone Jewish. IGNATZ: Not necessarily.

Well, definitely not Hungarian.

The Chief Justice told me that I'd have to change my name to something more Hungarian if I want to be a central court judge.

What are you going to do?


Don't cry, please. I beg you.

Does this mean you intend to abandon the faith?

No, father. Of course not.

I would never. I swear to you.

Neither would I.

You want to change your name as well?

Yes, Papa, I do.

And you? A lot of other young doctors have done it.

Not just Jews either. Slovaks, Serbs.


Well, names are not given to us by God.

May I have a second serving of carp, Mrs. Sonnenschein.

Beautifully prepared.

What about Solyom?

Solti? Somlo?

IGNATZ: I have it. Sors.

It means the same thing in Latin and in Hungarian.

"Prophesy, fate, destiny, task."

Dr. Gustave Sors.

Couldn't we pick a more common name?

Sors is perfect.

The minister of the interior has approved your application.

The name Dr. Ignatz Sonnenschein is changed to Dr. Ignatz Sors.

Please sign the declaration.

Dr. Gustave Sonnenschein, your name is now Dr. Gustave Sors.

Valerie Sors.


Oh, I'm sorry. Just cross it out and sign again.


Good afternoon, governor.


We're going to have a baby.

But you're my sister.

I'm hardly your sister. I'm your cousin.

(SIGHS) My mother will murder me.

Me too.

I love you very much.


Sorry I'm late. You're always late.

(RINGING BELL) My dear Mother and Father, I have an announcement to make.

I'm asking for Valerie's hand in marriage.

According to the law, we are not doing anything illegal.

We have been in love with each other as man and woman for years now.

Our feelings haven't lessened and... (GROANING)

She's only fainted, Father. She'll be fine.

You think your fiance could give me a hand?


A glass of Sunshine Tonic, please.




I don't know what to do.

I told you not to take her in, but you insisted!

"My brother's only child is an orphan. This is our responsibility."

Your responsibility is to your real family.

So now I'm insisting, get her out of the house.

Be quiet. Why should I be quiet in my own house?

Come to your senses and forbid them to do it.

It's no use forbidding them.

Our children aren't interested in warnings from a grandfather, nor even in God's curse.

She'll be interested in my curse.

I curse her. May her womb dry up.

May she never have children!

No! What do you want from me?

I want the mother of my children to understand my children.

Well, then, she is not your child! Stop it!

If you can't keep your mouth shut, I'll shut it!

Maybe you can talk to your Sarah Bettelheim like that, but not to me! Not to me!

I'm your wife!







RABBI: Amen.





Winds of spring now swell the seas.

Flower, my sweet, flower.



I'll never forgive you, you know. What for?

Marrying him instead of me.



NARRATOR: My great-grandfather Emmanuel remembered an afternoon when he, too, had hoped for great happiness, when he had asked his father for permission to marry his cousin, Sarah Bettelheim.

But permission was refused, and Emmanuel hadn't allowed any real measure of happiness into his life since then.

Whenever joy approached, Emmanuel would immediately ask himself, "What will come of this? What terrible price will I have to pay?"

VALERIE: Here, everybody.


Honorable Minister, may I introduce Dr. Ignatz Sors.

Ah, yes, your new favorite.

A most promising young judge.

My pleasure, Minister.

I trust you've seen this morning's newspaper?

Two members of the Prime Minister's office have been accused of selling information to property speculators.

I can assure you it's a filthy political move, fabricated entirely by the opposition.

Well, from what I've read, there are three points in the case which I find intriguing.

Do you think the gentlemen are guilty?

I beg your pardon, but if surprise evidence was to turn up in the courtroom, then nothing can be done except...

Except what? Severe sentences for all of them.

What would you advise?

Well, the case could be sent back to the prosecution for further investigation to ensure that no detail is overlooked.

This could be quite a time-consuming process.

You're a bright young man, Sors. I envy you.

One other small matter. Five judges are about to retire.

We'll need replacements quickly.

I would like your recommendations.

Young men who think like you.

You think you're clever, don't you?

Yes, I think so.

You are acting like a coward.

You are helping them to cover up the case.

I think the opposition is trying to bring down someone high up.

As far as I'm concerned, they can bring down the entire government!

Why can't you see that corruption's at the very core of the monarchy?

No, at the core there is a liberal, fair-minded ruler who's able to keep peace among many different kinds of people.

The Emperor has a lifetime of wisdom behind him.

And a lifetime of oppression as well!

Well, maybe sometimes that's part of his wisdom.

Oh, tell that to his victims.

My God, Ignatz, you are selling your soul.

Who are you trying to please?

"To please"?

Let's start with you and your simple Hungarian heart.

Then I have to please our family and the memory of our rabbi grandfather and his blessed Torah.

There's the Emperor, liberal spirit, Roman law.

I have to please the government and its opposition.

What about my own sense of justice?

I have to please our brother, who wants to turn the world upside down, and our father, who wants to keep the world exactly as it is!

These are the people I'm trying to please!



Would you like some air, my dear?





The 19th century is over! Long live the 20th century!


Happy 20th century, Mama.

This is your father talking. (LAUGHS)

Can you hear me? Long live the 20th century.


I predict this will be a century of love, justice and tolerance.

As long as we have our health, we can work the rest out.

Happy 20th century.

I wish you happiness always...

And may the child be strong and healthy.

Thank you, Mama.

(MERRY MUSIC PLAYING) Let's have a twirl in the snow.




IVAN: Two days later, Valerie gave birth to her first son, Istvan.


It's a boy. It's a healthy boy.


EMMANUEL: It's all right, Rose.

Everything's all right.

The curse, Emmanuel.

The baby's perfect.


My dear Count, please allow me to introduce Judge Sors.

I've mentioned him many times. Oh, yes.

The man who warms the cockles of your heart. (CHUCKLES)

My pleasure, sir. Forgach. Ignatz Sors.

Are you a hunting man?

I, um... I... I'm afraid not. No.

You'll catch on quickly.







Come in. Delighted to see you.

Please, do sit. Thank you.

Let me just get straight to the point.

Would you like to stand for parliament?


What are you suggesting, Excellency?

We find an appropriate district and put your name on the party's ticket.

I... I don't think I could.

Why not? You're young, ambitious. Your hands are clean.

The people think you're clever.

You're living proof that the monarchy is enlightened and supportive of middle-class values.

Frankly, it's a challenge that's tailor-made for you.

IVAN: My grandfather was fiercely tempted by this invitation to join the ruling class.

You must feel so honored that refined, influential gentlemen appreciate you.

Excuse me, Mother, but thanks to the influence of these "refined gentlemen," there has never been such rampant corruption, such miserable living conditions for working people than there is at this very moment.

You're exaggerating, Gustave.

Exaggerate? You come with me to my clinic, Mother.

You see tubercular, gout-ridden, undernourished workers and their emaciated, half-starved children.

Come with me on house calls to dank, musty rooms where people sleep three to a bed.

Old people sleeping on kitchen floors.

Ask bakers why people steal crumbs from the floors of their wagons.

Why people line up, line up to buy stale bread!

You're describing conditions in the poorest slums.

You can't expect the government to change things overnight.

Why not?

I would be ashamed if my husband were to stand for office in such a corrupt government.

I mean, wouldn't you all be ashamed of him?

I mean, honestly. Wouldn't you be ashamed of yourself?

All I said is that I've been asked to stand for election.

Nothing more. They're getting desperate.

The monarchy's become so weak, they'll grab anyone that makes them look respectable.

We are proud you've had this offer, son.

It proves that your education has been of value, that you do your work well, that you're respected.

But our people must never climb too high, even when they're invited to.

The man who comes from somewhere else is always suspect.

At some point, we must stop and accept this.



If ever we expect to find happiness in this life, we need to know who we are.

Or change it.


IVAN: My uncle, Istvan, was barely a toddler when his brother Adam, my father, was born.




My family is against my being a candidate.

And why is that?

They're not happy for me to be involved in politics in any way.

But who should involve themselves in politics, if people like you and I don't?

I prefer to remain an independent judge.

Independent? Independent from what, from the world?

All right, let it be. I won't try to argue with you.

Just have a look at this list, please.

The chief of police just sent it over, names of members of socialist organizations.

Excellency, I'm obliged to point out that my brother's name is on this list.

Yes, it is.

Would you explain to me why rich, educated Jews are behind every attempt to overthrow this government?

Jews become doctors, lawyers, teachers.

What more do they want?

I'm sorry I'm late.

What's wrong?

There's information that you're part of a conspiracy intent on overthrowing the monarchy.

What conspiracy? What information?

Oh, God. IGNATZ: Well?

Well, what? I've no part in any conspiracy.

Don't lie to me, Gustave.

Keep your voice down. Mama and Papa will hear you.

Well, maybe they should be invited in.

Their house might be searched.

Their precious son, the doctor, might be arrested.

The only thing that's keeping you and your friends out of prison is liberal tolerance.

"Liberal tolerance"?

Is that some sort of joke?

You mean tolerance for misery and hunger, for watching hundreds of thousands of workers sink into poverty.

Is this the kind of speech you make at rallies?

And where on earth do you get the nerve to go against the very empire that allows a Jew like you to become a doctor!

Or a Jew like you. Exactly!

Without the Emperor, you'd still be selling herbal tonic door to door like our grandfather.

You only believe in this fairytale Emperor out of pure greed.

I believe in a strong judicial system.

And the right to assimilate into the country I love!

(WHISPERS) Assimilate?

You'll never be accepted here.

You'll always be treated with suspicion.

Only the workers' movement will accept you.

Yes, the workers' movement.

You share a common enemy, exploitation.

And you dream of a common goal, revolution.

Look, Valerie, a new Jewish prophet who wants to destroy everything!

No, I want freedom.

And for freedom, one must fight.

Let the blood flow?

Yes, please, let it flow!

That is my wish! Do you know what I wish?

I wish that God would rip that tongue out of your mouth so you would stop spewing your sick, vile...

Ignatz! No.

Perfect. You put a curse on me.

You're better off silenced by my curse than you are by a prison sentence.

Stop it, both of you! You're like two rabbis fighting over the Torah.

Your husband's in love with success.

Yes, and I lust after power.

You're a loyal subject.

That's what makes you happy. You love the Emperor.

Exactly. You're on his side, aren't you?

The two of you, you're together.

What do you mean, "On his side"?

IGNATZ: Oh, please. You don't think I've seen the two of you looking at each other.

You think I'm blind as well as stupid?

Are you completely insane?

Oh, stop it, both of you!

Do you want to know what I want?

I don't want to be accepted by people in power or by people who feel oppressed.

You want to know what I do want?

I want to be proud of my own language.

I want to look out of the window and see a country that I know and love.

I want to grow like a wildflower, where it belongs.

Can either of you understand that?

NARRATOR: Gustave fell gravely ill and lay close to death for several days.

Ignatz was shaken, believing his curse had caused his brother's illness.

As soon as you're up and about, you can go and fight in a war.

"Assassination in Sarajevo.

"Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the throne is killed."

What's happening?

Emperor Franz Joseph has declared war.

IVAN: It was this shot that determined the fate of 20th-century Europe and every twist and turn in this, my family's, story.

My grandfather became chief judge of the southern front.

Gustave became a high-ranking medical officer.


The empire seemed eager to wage war against Serbia to punish the Serbs for what they had done in Sarajevo.

Ignatz was called to Vienna to appear before the Emperor.

For my grandfather, meeting His Imperial Highness felt like the most important moment in his life.


Come forward, Major, please.

Your name... What is your name?

Sonnenschein... Sors.

Major Ignatz Sors reporting, Your Majesty.

Please, sit down, Sors.

I have been told a great deal about you.

There's no need for me to tell you how to render just verdicts.

Essentially, I wanted to meet you face-to-face.

When you're handing out a judgment, I'd ask you to remember that the soldiers standing in front of you represent many different nationalities...

Chief military judge of the entire southern front...

Firmness, but, please, respect the differences...

And exercise tolerance.

NARRATOR: The Emperor promised the war would be over by the time autumn leaves fell.

He was wrong. The war went on for years and years.

Ignatz was stationed as the judge on the Balkan front where he handed down strict sentences.

Serving the Emperor well was his highest priority.

Far from home, he did not see Valerie or his sons for four years.


(WHISPERS) The Emperor is dead.



IVAN: That very night Ignatz received a telegram from Valerie.

Emmanuel Sonnenschein was also dead.



Ignatz took the coincidence of his father's death and the Emperor's death to be a strange and significant omen.




ALL: Amen.


Major, sorry to bother you.

Is the Major Jewish? What is it, please?

I'm town clerk, and I'm well-acquainted with the officers being court-martialed.

Lieutenant Branko Susinsky is Jewish.

I... I thought the Major would like to know this.

I am an officer of the Emperor first and foremost, sir.

Good night, sir.




Major, sir? Major?

I beg to report, sir, that we have surrendered. What?

It's over, sir.

Why are you grinning, man?

We've lost the war.

We've lost, sir, but we're still alive.


NARRATOR: Everyone was overjoyed that the war was over and yet Ignatz felt that a great time had passed because the liberal empire that had given him so much had collapsed.

VALERIE: Your babies have grown into young men.

IGNATZ: A very fat Adam.

These are very good. Very good.


This is difficult for me to say, but I'm going to divorce you.

I promise to raise our sons to love and respect you as I do, but I'm forced to accept you as a man far different from the man I'd hoped you'd become.

You are now a man without feeling.

"Without feeling"?


I cannot allow myself to show my feelings.

This is my job.

I have to control myself.

Gustave is so completely different.

IGNATZ: Gustave?

Gustave is your lover, isn't he?

Admit it. (LAUGHS) You're mad.

How long have you been lying to me?

I've never lied to you.

Then when did you stop loving me?

I haven't stopped. I'm your sister.

I'll always be your sister.

You're not my sister. You are my wife.

Some son of a bitch has seduced you, so you've decided that from now on I'm your brother.

No, I'm not your brother. I'm your husband.

Well, neither my husband nor my brother can give me what I need.

I'll suffocate without love in my life.

For you, it's enough to love the Emperor.

All you need is the illusion that he loves you in return.

Ignatz! I've made my... I've made myself clear.

You never believed that I was in love with you? You never were.

Yes! Yes! No. No, I loved you.

I seduced you, and you let me because you knew I was safe.

Because you knew I'd always stand by you because I'm your sister!

I love you, Valerie. Stop it!

Valerie, I love you. I do.

I love you, Valerie.

Stop it!


I love you.


I love you. (GRUNTING)



But I love you.

Put the teddy bear down.


I'll do it.

Are you really leaving?



I think it's best if I go today, before we break our entire inheritance.

I love you.

And I love you.

NARRATOR: The monarchy crumbled.

In Hungary, as in many European countries, revolution erupted.

In 1919, the Communists took power.

It occurred to Ignatz that the empire and his marriage to Valerie fell apart in much the same way.

Ungrateful bastards. Everything you have, you owe to the empire.

They push us down!

IVAN: Gustave, now known as Comrade Sors, became a high-ranking official in Hungary's new government.

What is going on out there?

We have the power, but we need new laws. You can help create them.

You can play an important role in shaping this country's future.

(SIGHS) Why is this still here?

Leave it.

I took an oath to practice tolerance, but I won't tolerate retribution.

Well, I'm sorry, but people must have their revenge.

Our people must be shown they can conquer anything if they have the will.

I can't conquer. I can only convince.

Fine, then let me try and convince you.

You sentence people in the name of the monarchy, so you're guilty.

First it was my name on the list. Now it's yours.

If you don't support us, you'll have to account for yourself.

Convinced? I'd like you to leave my room now, please.

You and your slut sister can rot in hell.



Thank you, Mother.

(GUNS COCKING) Judge Sors?

Up the stairs there.

Come with me.

I arrest you in the name of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

This house will be searched.

Your braces and your shoelaces, please.

You are under house arrest until further notice.

IVAN: Valerie heard the news and returned home immediately.

Mother. Adam. Istvan.

ROSE: What do you want here? Good morning, Mama.

IVAN: She was allowed to visit Ignatz in his room once each day.

"Dr. Gustave Sors, government commissar, "has organized health services for the children of the proletariat.

"Dr. Sors distributes bread and jam to working-class children."

I'm delighted.

Would you like some bread and jam?

If you see me as a proletarian child, why not?

I'll bring it right away. "The people ask, the people receive."

Freedom's that simple.

The people don't want freedom. They want security.

I'm impressed that you know the people so well.



IVAN: A few months later, with support from foreign armies, a military regime overthrew the Communists.

Revolutionary leaders escaped abroad.

Gustave fled to France.

Ignatz refused to preside over retribution trials against the Communists.

He was forced into retirement.

His health deteriorated rapidly.

There's no salt in this soup. It's not drinkable.

Give me the salt. No, the doctor has forbidden it.


Give me the salt, damn you.

You whore.

Kato, give me the salt. KATO: I can't.

Istvan, get it for me.

No, Papa, it's bad for your blood pressure.

Just give me the salt. Fuck this family!

I've wasted my life for you. I can't even have decent soup!

Why am I alive?

Here, my love. Please, just take a little.

Do you want to kill him?

Do I want to...

Aren't you ashamed of yourself, in front of your children?

It's you who wants to kill him, so you can get back to your lover!


Stop calling me, "Mama"! Shit.

I've had enough of you ruining my family.

You seduced my son and got tired of him!

Mama, stop, please!

No, you listen to me!

It's your duty to listen when I speak.

I'm going to throw you out of this house.

But, first, I insist you return the recipe book you took from my husband!

Give it to my son this instant because it's his!

What are you talking about?

ROSE: You know exactly what I'm talking about.

My son's inheritance!

(SOFTLY) My whole life is shit.

Fine! There's no more factory, but I'll find the recipe book for you, Mama, if I have to tear the house apart!

Help me. Come on.

We're looking for a black, clothbound notebook. Isn't that right, Mama?

ROSE: You know better than anyone, don't you?




I'm so sorry.



NARRATOR: My grandfather, Ignatz Sors, died within the year.


NARRATOR: His grief-stricken mother, Rose, died soon after.

Valerie was now the head of the family.

(BELL TOLLING) BOY: Sors, come with us.


Is that the Jew boy who's always smiling? Yes, it's him.

On your knees.

On your knees, Jew. (BOYS CHUCKLING)

Wipe that smile off your face.

I thought the synagogue stink left town with the Communists.

(BOYS CHUCKLING) (SNIFFING) I still smell it.


This Jew stinks.

What sort of smell is that? It's cow shit.

It's Jew stink.

Apologize for polluting our air, rabbi.


(SOFTLY) I apologize.

See this saber?

If I ever see you again, I'll circumcise your big head.


You'll have that miserable bastard on his knees begging for mercy.

I promise you. You just have to learn how to fence.

When I let go, grab this in the air.


Pay attention. Again.

Mr. Anselmi, I'd like to introduce my younger brother.

He would like to train with us.

Catch this, please, junior, when I drop it.

Oh, bene, molto bene. Again.

Oh, big brother has prepared you well.

Go find junior a clean outfit.

IVAN: Fencing became my father's passion.

Years passed, and my father Adam became one of the country's most brilliant swordsmen.


(SHUTTER CLICKS) My grandmother, Valerie, became a successful photographer.

Bravo, Sors!


My uncle Istvan lost the thick reddish hair he'd inherited from his mother.

Quatre partout. Etes-vous prets? En garde. Allez.

IVAN: Adam and Istvan were the top fencers in the Civic Club, as skilled as any swordsmen of the far more distinguished Army Officers' Club.

Mr. President, did you see it?




Attaque pas de droit. Pare. Riposte. A droite touche.



I'm sorry, Mr. President, but I was hit.

Les actions sont simultanees. Pas de touche. En garde.

Etes-vous prets?


JUDGE: Halte.

L'attaque sous la preparation de gauche. A droite touche.

Vainqueur a gauche. (CHEERING)

Mr. President, I didn't win this match.

ADAM: Please, Captain, don't be upset.

You fought extremely well.

Good show. Well fought.

Bene, molto bene. Grandioso.

Everyone could see that you were the winner.

Oh, you can be a great fencer, Junior, a national champion.

But if you stay in the Civic Club, you'll be a nice, proper, young fencer, but you will always be second.

But my friends are members here, my brother.

I spoke with the General yesterday.

You will be welcome in the Officers' Club.


I don't believe it.

He asked me if it's true that you are a Jew.

What did you tell him?

I told him, "I don't know things like this. I'm Italian."

And what did he say?

No Jews can be in the Officers' Club.

You have to convert.

"Convert?" Si, si, Junior.

Jesus himself converted.

Look, when all is said and done, what do you want to do?


At what level? The highest.

That's the Officers' Club. Do you want to convert?

I want to be Hungarian.

Do you think the gentlemen of the Officers' Club are Hungarian?

They're Germans, Serbs and Slovaks.

I promise you, Hungarian's not what you have to be.

ADAM: What do I have to be, mother? Christian.

It's insane somebody can dictate your religion just because he wants you on his fencing team.

Your father and I were taught by your grandfather to be proud of being Hungarian Jews.

So for me to convert... I could never.

Although I stopped praying when I was a child.

GROUP: Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God.

GROUP: I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God.

Eternally begotten of the Father.

GROUP: Eternally begotten of the Father.

God from God, light from light, true God from true God.

PRIEST: Begotten not made...

Excuse me. May I introduce myself?

Adam Sors. This is my brother, Istvan.

Hannah Wippler.

May we escort you home?

That's very kind of you, but my fiance's waiting for me.

Oh, well, some other time perhaps?


Who is she?

She's a conversion candidate, one of our group.

Your brother's interested.

Yeah, so it seems.

She won't have an easy task landing the champion.

I agree.

Another heart to win, Junior?








GROUP: Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come...



May I have a word with you?

Yes, of course.

Well, it's quite personal. I'd like to speak with you in private.


So, how does it feel to be Catholic?

Oh, I'm enjoying it.

My fiance wanted me to convert. He's from an old family and it's important to them to have a Catholic daughter-in-law.


I love you.

(GASPS) Um, thank you.

But, I've told you, I have a fiance.

But that changes nothing.

I am in love with you, and I know that you find me appealing.

I see it in your eyes.

What exactly do you see in my eyes?

Your love for me.

You can't deny it.

I'm afraid you've misunderstood my eyes.

I haven't misunderstood any part of you.

I've never loved anyone as much as I love you.

That's why I would like you to be my wife.

Sooner or later, I think you'll say yes.

(LAUGHING) You do?

You think so?

I know so.

You see, when I want to win, I win.

Win what? Who are you planning to defeat?

Your fiance.

You're mad.

I love him. I became a Catholic for him.

Well, then, consider that you've done it for me.

I really must be going.

May I take your order, Mr. Sors?

No, I won't be staying.

Please, stay for coffee. Talk with me.

No, thank you. Please.

Two coffees with whipped cream.

You are really much too aggressive.

No, I'm really much too in love.

If you'd ever really been in love, you'd understand.

I'm here to see Baron Felix Margittay.

Adam Sors. Margittay.

Yes, sir, I know.

Gentlemen, I'd like you to meet Mr. Sors.

He'll be training with us.

Adam Sors.

MARGITTAY: Do we assume that Captain Rossa doesn't wish to meet Mr. Sors?

Not at the moment, thank you.

MARGITTAY: Gentlemen, I'll be back. Keep working.

Ilona, please look after Mr. Sors.

You'll find the General's instructions in my desk drawer.

Tomorrow, 4:00. Bring your gear.

Don't worry about a thing. Just fight well.

Name? Adam Sors.


Roman Catholic.


I'm not a soldier.

That's unusual.



Sir, it's well past midnight.

That noise is not allowed.


Why do people call you "Junior?"

My brother started taking me to the Civic Club to train when I was quite young.

He called me Junior, so...

So then, Junior, here it is.

You're now a member of the Officers' Club.

You are not important. It's the hits you score and the team's victory.

Take this to heart, and you'll have our full support.

You made the right choice.

Assimilation is the only possible way.

So... That's all, Junior. Dismissed.

Wait. Stop. Show me your wrist.

Have you ever been left handed?

When I was little, yes, but my father said it wasn't normal.

Have you ever tried fighting with the left hand?

Just for fun, not seriously.

Show me. Sans masque.

En garde. Allez.

Stop. So there's our answer. Brilliant.

We build up your left foot and your left shoulder.

You're going to confuse everybody.

Being unpredictable... That's what fencing's all about.


(SOFTLY) Take it...


Your brother has quite a following. (SHUTTER CLICKS)

Sors a gauche, Rossa a droite.


Tempo. Crosscut to his chest at the end and only at the end.

Where are you going? This is not your side.

I have to go from the left. Otherwise, it won't work.

For me? Are you sure? Thank you.

ADAM: You're here. Now I shall win for you.

JUDGE: Messieurs, en garde. Allez.

NARRATOR: To win the National Fencing Championship, my father would have to defeat a formidable opponent, Captain Rossa.

JUDGE: Halte! Sir, I took the hit.


JUDGE: En garde.


Does he want to win the championship or a trophy for good manners?

He needs to prove something.

Halte! Bravo!

(APPLAUSE) Bravo! Bravo!

Bravo! Bravo!

JUDGE: Halte! Sir, I took the hit.

Stop that nonsense! Damn it, man, fight!

JUDGE: En garde. Allez.

(SOFTLY) Perfect timing. He's a born fencer.


Attaque a gauche. A droite touche.

JUDGE 2: Vainqueur Sors.

(APPLAUSE) First-rate, Baron. Congratulations.




Well done, Junior.

I'm very pleased.

For after dinner.

Thank you, sir.

Next time, no tears. Rather too Jewish.


Would you hug each other, please?



My Jewish musketeer.

Happy? I am.

Are you? Yes, Adam, I am.

Congratulations. Thank you.

Congratulations. Congratulations.

IVAN: The following year, Istvan and Greta were married as well.

And, for the second year in a row, my father won the National Fencing Championship.

(CRYING) Hannah and Greta gave birth to sons within two weeks of each other.

Hannah named her son Ivan.








So, big brother has brought you back to Anselmi to learn fencing, Junior?

It's the truth, sir.

(CHUCKLING) Oh, I will teach you. Stand up.

En garde. Maestro.

Oh, not the right body type. No future.

Tell big brother to bring a better little brother.


May I steal a word with the good counselor, please?

Forgive me, maestro.

Junior, I can offer you 150,000 if you come back and fence for us At the Civic club.

It's hardly a matter of money.

Two hundred thousand. Please, Mr. Brenner, you must realize that every single man on the national team comes from the Officers' Club.

Two hundred and fifty thousand is our limit.

We have several bankers in on this. It's a perfect tradeoff.

You get money and full support, and we get a national champion.

The way I see, a silver medal at the very worse.

Mr. Brenner, forgive me, but I... Half a million.

No. My answer is no. You need a team for this sport.

That's a group of men with a common goal.

And you have something more in common with them than you have with us?

Yes, we're a team.

And if we manage to buy a few of your teammates?

You propose to buy Royal Army officers?

Baron Margittay? These men are gentlemen.

Forgive me, Mr. Brenner, please.


These people are disgusting.

Shall we dance?

I've promised Istvan the first dance. Sorry.

But the next dance is definitely ours, darling.

So you'll have to be content with me.

They think they can buy anybody.


The little man over there, Mr. Brenner, and his Jewish friends.

They think money's the answer to everything.

Mr. Brenner specifically, or Mr. Brenner and his Jewish friends?

They're all the same. It's a waste of time paying attention to these people or even bothering to be polite to them.

Poor Junior. I love you very much, you know.

I love you as well.

We're lucky in this family. Everybody loves everybody else.

No, Adam, I'm in love with you.

I wake up every morning thinking about you.

I hope you're not angry that I've told you.

No, I'm flattered.

I don't exactly know what to do now that you've told me.

Nothing. Just let me love you.

In your opinion, who is the best coach in this country?

The best man to prepare the team for the Olympic Games?

Baron Margittay. Exactly what I want to hear.

Next question, who on the team can win for us?

That's a difficult question, sir.

But you have an answer.

I'm not sure I do. I'm sure you do. Go on, please.

I would prefer not to answer, sir.

Damn it, man, speak up.

The team will only be strong if Tersikovsky stops drinking, if Saray makes fencing practice more important than hunting and fishing.

And if Rossa gives up his various plots and intrigues.

I see. Please write down the ideal team.

The members of the Olympic team are...

Captain Lugosy, Captain Saray,

Captain Rossa, Captain Tersikovsky, Mr. Sors.

This summer we have only one objective, to win the Olympic Games.

It is your duty as officers of this magnificent country's army to inspire a strong national spirit and to prove to the world that our nation lives now and lives forever.

Thank you.

You'd do well not to try to influence the team selection, Sors.

Otherwise, somebody might cut you down to size.


Why are you always smiling?

Am I smiling?

One day I'll wipe that smile off your face.





What's going on?

What's going on?

What the hell is going on? Somebody answer me!

What are you doing man? Team practice is still going on.

Practice is over. The gentlemen have left.

You can't see me? I'm invisible?

Beg pardon, sir, but this is a military club and the military gentlemen decide how long team practice will go on.

The officers told me to shut the lights at 10:00.

Turn them back on.

No, sir, I will not.

Do you know who I am? I don't care who you are.

I am a national saber champion and a member of the Olympic team!

Since you don't care about these things, I'm gonna make you care.

(CARETAKER GASPS) Turn them back on!

You bloody Communist, trying to sabotage our training!

Sir, please...

Get out!

Get out. Go!



Is something wrong? No, nothing.

I've been waiting for you to wish you luck in Berlin.

What happened? You're so upset.

The caretaker was being difficult. I lost my temper.

You must have had your reasons.

I'm ashamed of myself.

Am I always smiling?

Not often enough at me.

I nearly killed him. But you didn't.

No, I didn't.

Perhaps you'll kill me one day when you've had enough of me.

(LAUGHS) (LAUGHS) Perhaps I will.

How will you kill me? Strangle me?

Good idea. Try it. Hold my neck, tight.

What are you doing? I can't bear not being with you.

You're my brother's wife Greta!

I'm not anybody's wife. I am myself.

Istvan is my brother. I love him.

What makes you think that I would steal his wife?

You can't steal what's already yours.

Why don't you let yourself be loved?

You're the great love of my life, Adam, not Istvan.


No, Greta.




RADIO ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Hungary's Adam Sors, number 144, and Italy's Stefano Sarto, number 72.

This match decides the Olympic gold medal.

JUDGE: Halte.


JUDGE: Touche, touche.

A gauche touche. Messieurs, en garde.

Etes-vous prets? (SIGHS)

Etes-vous prets? Allez.




ANNOUNCER: Adam Sors' saber has broken, ladies and gentlemen just when Sors looked about to improve his chance of leveling the score.

Venez, s'il vous plait.

Choisissez un sabre.

No, no.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses...

Rimessa, Sors. Undermine his tempo.

You are better than he is.

JUDGE: Monsieur.

Messieurs, en garde.

Etes-vous prets?

Allez. Rimessa.

(CHEERING) JUDGE: Touche, touche.

A droite touche.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: Touche, Adam Sors has made a fantastic hit!

Maybe our luck will change now!

There's only one more hit required to even the score!

Halte. Attaque par de gauche. Remise. A droite touche.


JUDGE: Messieurs, en garde.

JUDGE: Etes-vous prets? Allez.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: They stand fixed, still as statues.

The score is now four-four. It needs only one more hit to decide the match and which country will take home the Olympic gold medal.


JUDGE: Attaque sous la preparation de droite.

Pare, pare. Riposte. Touche.

A droite touche. Vainqueur a gauche... Monsieur Sors.


JUDGE: Hongrie.

(CHEERING) Monsieur Sors.


Yes! Yes! Yes!




Come on, let's go! Sors!



Well done, Junior! Thank you! Thank you!

Well done. Thank you, sir.

Thank you. Thank you, sir.

Congratulations, Junior.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: The Olympic gold is ours!

Adam Sors, the national treasure.

Our wonderful national treasure.

Your father would have been so proud.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: Adam Sors, we owe you our everlasting gratitude!

Well, dear boy...

You're disgustingly sweaty.

I've just telephoned the Prime Minister. He's ecstatic.

He'll make mention of your victory during tomorrow's cabinet meeting.

You're a national hero, Junior. Happy?



MOLNAR: Mr. Sors?

Your swordsmanship is also a work of art.

Thank you.

I'm Laszlo Molnar, president of the Pen and Saber Club of Boston, Massachusetts.

Ah, yes. I left Hungary after the war.

Would you have any interest in living in America?

We could arrange American citizenship for you.

I'm honored, but I would never leave Hungary.

And why is that?

Well, my family is there. My club is there.

I fence for the national team.

Are you an army officer? No.

Then why do you fence with the officers of a dictatorship?

What do you mean? You travel the world, making a good impression for a dictatorship that hangs innocent people.

In a way, you commit the same crimes they do whenever you bring glory to their bloody regime.

Are you saying that I fence for a regime and not for my country?

Excuse me, sir. You don't live in Hungary. I do.

Things have become quite civilized in the past few years.

"Quite civilized?"

Mr. Sors, listen to yourself.

Hungary courts disaster by blindly following Germany.

Take this warning as a gift from me in return for your splendid Olympic victory.

Leave the country before it's too late.



ADAM OVER MICROPHONE: Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, and citizens of our beloved country, this victory reflects pride in a country we dearly love.


Every member of this team was guided by a deep patriotic feeling.

We fought for the glory of our magnificent motherland, to show the world that our nation lives and will live... Forever!


Try to take some rest, Junior.

You'll need to rebuild your strength for what's ahead.

GRETA: Adam.

Open it when you're alone, please.

Oh, congratulations, my darling hero husband.

Are you happy? Happy? Am I happy?

Are you happy? Hmm?

I am very, very happy. (CHUCKLING) Good.


Ivan, my hero. (CHUCKLING)

GRETA: "I prayed for you while I pressed this flower.

"It worked. You won. See? You do need me.

"If I'm in your life, you'll always win."

When I listen to Adam's speeches about a patriotic spirit guiding his saber, I often... Are you being sarcastic?


It's just that sometimes what you say is a bit much.

Is it a crime to love your country?

Then why are you talking about moving to America?

It's only talk.

All I've said is that the Americans have invited me, that's all.

Just be proud of me.

We're all proud of you, Junior.

Aren't you proud of your brother-in-law, Greta?

Couldn't be prouder. HANNAH: You, Mother?

Of course I am, darling.

You, Istvan, are you proud of your brother?

Astonishingly proud.

So am I, "Astonishingly proud."

See, we're all proud of you.



Coming in?

Where's my brother? At the summerhouse.

We're alone. I wanted us to celebrate your victory alone.

You don't want to hear me, do you? It won't happen.

I won't betray my wife or my brother.

We've already betrayed them with every thought that we've had.

Whenever your brother touches me, I think of you.

Do you have a mistress? (SCOFFS) Are you mad?

Don't lie to me! How dare you call me a liar!

You're ready to lie to your husband, so you expect me to lie to my wife, my brother?

You want to ruin my family? You'll be lying to me soon enough.

What's all this honorable behavior?

This so called honesty of yours, it's only coming out of fear.

I'm not afraid. Yes, you are.

I'm not afraid of anything. Oh, yes, you are.

You're a hypocrite.

I'm ready to run away with you, Adam, anywhere you say.

I thought you were a free spirit. I was wrong.

You wouldn't know how to love me. You only love yourself.

Don't walk away from me. Come here.

Why do you love me, Greta?

Because when you found out you were really left-handed, you let yourself be left-handed.

That was a miracle.

Fine. So I'll wait for the next miracle.

You don't expect a miracle from Istvan?



Poor Istvan. Don't feel sorry for Istvan.

Istvan's a deeply satisfied man.

He'll never change anything about his life ever.

Oh, stop it, Greta.

It's how I feel, Adam.

You want me to go home now and say to Istvan, "How was your day, darling?"

And then slip into bed next to him and then carry on having an affair with you in secret?

Well, I won't do that. I really can't. Nor could I.

Fine. Now run along home and tell Hannah a horrible thing's happened...

So both of you can hate me.

I'm not gonna tell Hannah anything.

I certainly don't hate you.

So what do you want?

Me to leave my husband, you to stay with your wife?

Neither of us leaves anyone?

Yeah. I suppose.

(SOFTLY) Go to hell.

"My family and I leave for Algiers tonight.

"The Algerian fencing team has been courting me for some time, "and I've decided to accept their offer.

"My very best to you, as ever, Margittay."

He wrote to me as well.

You can imagine how astonished I was.

He's a traitor, sir.

It's not that simple.

The Baron's wife is Jewish, so his children are considered Jews.

He's a traitor, sir.

Anti-Semitism is the creed of resentful and unsuccessful people.

It's a shared madness, which the Baron couldn't accept.

But we have.

The worst thing about anti-Semitism is that it's a philosophy of Philistines.

It's in bad taste.

I don't know how much longer I can go along with it.

ANNOUNCER ON RADIO: Clause four of the law passed in parliament this afternoon limits Jewish involvement in public and economic circles.

Insofar as the new law is concerned, a person is deemed Jewish if he is himself or has at least one parent, or has at least two grandparents who are, at the effective date of the legislation, members of a Jewish congregation.

Or who have been, before the effective date of the present law, members of any Jewish religious community.

As well as and in addition to the herein described, all progeny born after the effective date will be treated as Jews.

For now, the new law will not apply to those who were decorated with a silver or gold medal for gallantry in the war of 1914 to 1918.

Your poor father would have been exempt.

Or those whose fathers were decorated with the gold medal for gallantry or at least twice with the silver medal.

As well as any person who participated... Then we're exempt as well. the national movement against the 1918 and 1919 revolutions.

If he risked his life or suffered loss of liberty as a result of such activities.

As well as spouses and children of these people.

Mother's exempt.

(WHISPERING) Monsters. ANNOUNCER: Further, those who are active or retired priests or ministers of the Christian faith and those who have under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee earned the title of champion at the Olympic Games...

That's us. We're exempt. We're totally exempt. All of us.

Not me. Yes, you are.

You're my wife, wife of an Olympic champion.

All Jewish judges and members of the royal prosecutors office...

We're exempt.

...will be removed from their posts.

No license to practice a trade or craft shall be issued... Kato, dear?

Bring us more tea, please. Jewish persons. Right away.

ANNOUNCER: In professional law or medical associations or organizations of journalists, engineers, theater and film artists, Jews may only be accepted in numbers not to exceed 6% of total membership.

A Jew cannot be the managing editor, publisher or member of an editorial staff capable of exerting influence on the editorial direction of any periodical or journal.

A Jew cannot be the director, artistic director or literary manager.

Or an employee, however designated, who is capable of determining intellectual or artistic direction of a theater.

I've asked to see you, Sors, because I've been given the task of drawing your attention to an indisputable fact.

This is the Officers' Club.

If you want to continue fencing, I suggest you return to your old club.

The Jewish laws don't apply to me, Rossa.

I'm exempt for three separate reasons.

I know all this. I'm Roman Catholic.

My father won a medal for gallantry in the Great War.

I'm an Olympic champion.

I was also awarded the Signum Laudis.

That's four reasons. Well done.

You'll probably be promoted to General.

I'm only interested in fencing, nothing more.

Go ahead, fence.

There is no law stopping you, but you won't fence with us.

You do know, of course, that you would never have become the Olympic champion were it not for the fact that two of the judges were Jews.

These people are either criminal or insane or both.

I beg you, please, let's move away from here.

If you want to, we can all go. Your whole family.

Hannah, Istvan, your mother.

We owe it to our children to get out while we still can.

I beg you, please. We can get through this if you just keep on loving me.

Hannah can't go and leave her parents behind.

When will Hannah get out of my bed?

It's you who are in her bed. You wanted this too.

I certainly did not. You started this. You wanted it.

What frightens you more, Adam, me or this country?

You don't stop, do you?

If I'm going to choose, I'm gonna stay with Hannah, who's only exempt because she's my wife.

You're going to have to give this up, Greta. I won't give you up because I can't give you up because that's what love does to people.

Evidently not to you. I don't care about your family.

You want me to kill my family? Yes, yes, kill them.

I wish Istvan were dead.

Jesus, you're monstrous.

I can't see any other way out.


I never want to see you again.


Happy New Year.

ALL: Happy New Year.

Happy New Year. Happy New Year.

Happy New Year. Happy New Year.

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year. Happy New Year, Mother.

Happy New Year, Greta.

ADAM: Ivan, happy New Year.

Happy New Year, Father.

Happy New Year.

Please, God, may we always go on singing.

Your grandfather, Emmanuel Sonnenschein, used to say, "Be glad that you were born here.

"This is the promised land."

These things are only temporary.

Don't you agree with me, son? Yes, Father, I agree.

For God's sake, Adam, open your eyes. Don't delude yourself.

You're afraid to see what they are, and you're afraid they'll see what you are.

Don't be ludicrous. I'm not afraid of anything.

I'm just not going to stand here Adam, we must leave here.

Hannah, talk to him.

We can go to America, Australia.

We have to get our visas before it's too late.

For the sake of our children, please.

How could we make a living away from here?

We'll sell the Taste of Sunshine.

You know how to make it, Mother. You can teach us how to make it.

We'll make it, and we'll sell it. No, I can't.

Your grandfather tried to teach me, but I never really paid attention.

I was only interested in photography.

Where do you think the recipe is hidden? Here somewhere.

He always worried it would get lost or stolen.

Let's try to find it.

Now? It's New Year's Eve. Yes, now!

We can't just stand here and do nothing!

Calm down, Greta. You're hysterical.

Oh, don't say that.

Goddamn your helplessness.

Goddamn your Jewish cowardliness!

Greta! Greta!

I want to stay alive. I want my son to stay alive.

If you all want to die trying to fit in with these people, then do it!

Stay here and die, but not me and not my son!

Greta, you must never say anything that sounds like a curse, not in this family.



IVAN: For days on end, they tried to get visas, but quotas had been filled, borders closed.

"Dr. Adam Sors, graduate of law, resident of Greater Budapest, "born in 1902, mother's maiden name Valerie Sors...


"Is hereby commanded to appear with three days' food rations

"and suitable clothing for winter weather conditions."

Mrs. Sors, I'll try to arrange for him to stay in the regimental barracks in Budapest.

I'll do everything I can. Thank you.

Please. No.

Sors, something I once said to you that assimilation was the right choice.

I'd like to ask your forgiveness for having said that.

I was profoundly wrong, and I apologize.

Do you still want to be married to me?

ADAM: Yes.


IVAN: The German army occupied Hungary.

My mother and grandmother were moved into the Budapest ghetto.

Twenty people were assigned to each tiny apartment.

Mrs. Sors, when they start to move, get up to the attic.

(WHISPERS) He says we should go to the roof.

POLICEMAN: Start coming up here in groups of ten!

IVAN: A few weeks later, ghetto Jews were herded together and marched to an unknown destination.

My mother, Hannah, was among them.

No one knows where or how she was killed.

My grandmother, Valerie, managed to escape to a safe hiding place in a friend's attic.

The General couldn't help us, and my father and I were sent to a labor camp close to the Russian front.


With the white armband, over here!

What's this? Christmas tree decorations?

I am Dr. Adam Sors, officer of the Hungarian army.

What's this white exemption rag doing on your arm?

Where'd you buy it, Jew? How much?

I am the national fencing champion.

What are you?

I am an Olympic gold medalist.


Look at me. Stand up.

Stand up.

I'm gonna teach you what you are.

You're garbage. You're a stinking Jew. Strip, Jew.

All your clothes. All your clothes off!


I'm asking you again, Jew. What are you?

Adam Sors, Doctor of Law, officer of the Hungarian army.


What are you, Jew? Adam Sors, Hungary's fencing champion, Olympic gold medalist.


Something must be wrong with my ears.

What do you think you are, Jew?

Adam Sors, Hungary's fencing champion, Olympic gold medalist.

Adam Sors, Hungary's fencing champion, Olympic gold medalist.


Adam Sors, Hungary's fencing champion, Olympic gold medalist.

Adam Sors, Hungary's fencing champion, Olympic gold medalist.

Adam Sors, Hungary's fencing champion, Olympic gold medalist.

OFFICER: Hang him on the tree.


And now, what are you, Jew?

(WHISPERING) Adam Sors, Hungary's Olympic gold medalist.



IVAN: Neighbors suspected that Jews were hiding in Greta's apartment and called the police.

Hungarian Nazis broke down the door and dragged my uncle, Istvan, Greta and their son to the banks of the Danube, where, like thousands of other Budapest Jews, they were shot and their bodies thrown into the icy river.

Five days after they died, the Russians liberated Budapest from the Nazi rule.

And World War II was over.



IVAN: After my family was taken away, Kato packed up our belongings and hid them somewhere in her village.

It's me.


Your brother.

IVAN: The Communist Party called Gustave home from exile in France.

In spite of his age, he returned to politics with great enthusiasm.




Your father?



VALERIE: (SOBBING) They killed Adam too.

What happened?

He said he was a Hungarian officer.

He wouldn't admit that he was a Jew.

That's why they killed him?

How many were there?

Three military police.

How many were you?

I don't remember. Maybe...

Maybe 2,000.

And there were only three of them?

There were 10 more guards in the camp.

How could 13 guards hold back 2,000 people?

They had guns.

Why didn't you run at them, grab their guns?

One or two people might be shot, but you could have had them.

You could have escaped.

And go where? Anywhere.

There was no place to go.

People would have hidden you.

In France, they hid us.

People either hated us or they were scared of us.

If we... If we were going to survive, we had to stay together as a group.

And you just stood there and watched them kill your father?

No, I...

They didn't know that I was his son. They...

They had to hold me down... So what did you do?



(SOBBING) I just stood there.

That's all I could do! I could do nothing!

He should join the police, help them round up the fascist bastards.

I can have a word with the Comrade General.

He should study. He hasn't finished school.

It says here, that your father was a lawyer.

Did you know he has exactly the same name as the greatest Hungarian fencer ever?

That was my father.

Adam Sors was your father? Yes.

I used to fence a bit, but I never had natural talent.

Your father was unbeatable. He was a magician.

Where were you during the war?

I was with my father.

You've come to the right place.

(WHISPERS) Sit down.


We're going to get every one of those fascist bastards.

There can be no forgiveness for what happened here.

It cannot be fobbed off on the Germans.

It was organized by Hungarian authorities.

It was carried out by Hungarian civil servants. village mayors, local police, railway officials.

Nice, ordinary, Hungarian people did the dirty work.

Who came up with the Jewish laws in the first place?


Most people just turned the other way.

You think about your father.

It's your job to find his murderers.

IVAN: Look under the couch, Rosner.

Can you tell us how this stuff got here?

I have no idea. I've never seen any of it before.

Ah, you were blind, but now you can see.

I'm sorry. Those things are private.

"Your kisses taste of acacia honey." That's private!

You wrote this? Yes, I'm a poet.

You're just a poet? I suppose you just stood and watched and wrote poems while your friends did the killing!

Dr. Adam Sors was the world's greatest fencer, a national treasure.

That he was swept away by the storm was not only a loss to our country, but the entire world.

What the hell does he mean "Swept away by the storm?" Sors was murdered.

Dr. Adam Sors Fencing Center.


Happy now?

How do you like playing cops and robbers?

I like it, thank you, Comrade General.

Come and join the Communist Party.

We need young people we can trust like you.

You agree, Comrade Sors?

Bring your application to me directly.

MAN ON TV: Now, you can see fully how these partisans have finally been captured.

They terrorized the people who had already suffered appallingly under a 25-year Bolshevik rule.

Our army is fighting a crusade against the red devil, and it is victorious.

Our prison camps are a haven for the starving Russian soldiers.

At least here they have bread to eat.

Witness the horrendous crimes of the red terror now fleeing the villages, the dying babies.

Well? We were smack in the middle of it.

There was no way to say no.

We just watched. It was horrible.

You managed to watch all right, didn't you?

You just stood there, and you did nothing. You just watched.

You just fucking filmed it, yes?


You went to the Russian front seventeen times.

How come? Weren't you scared?

I've never been to the Russian front.

Don't lie to me. It's on film.

The real footage was all classified, top secret.

I got orders to shoot films that looked like it came from the Russian front.

We built the Russian village stage set, scenery.

Everything was shot 20 kilometers out of Budapest.

So whose idea was this?




You think you're an artist? You're the worst kind.

You don't even think what you did was a crime.

I've never hurt anybody.

After the war, I shot the Communist Party's first film.

I've never held a gun in my life.

You've never held a gun?

Go on, pick it up.

It's a lot less heavy than your camera, here's your chance to shoot me.

Finish off what your fucking fascist friends started!

Come on! Pick up the fucking gun!

Pick it up!

You shit!


Take this pencil.

Write down the names of every single person you ever worked with.


KNORR: They all signed?

Even that film director friend of yours?

He gave us 25 new names.

People will do anything to survive.

On their first day in Hungary, the gestapo received 10,000 letters from people denouncing each other.

They have nothing to be proud of.

Number seven, Fekete-Nagy.

He's written some beautiful poetry.

He got some bad advice from his friends.

Cross him off. But he wrote pro-Nazi articles.

He publicly denounced several writers.

No, he's a great poet. Great.

We won't let him publish for a while. Cross him off.



Laszlo Pan. Cross him off.

But there are 22 letters against him.

He turned down anyone who came to him for help.

He advised people who were being investigated to commit suicide...

He was scared stiff. He was a country boy in a big city.

He's happy to have an asshole that works.

What about his racist speeches? Tricked into it.

Look, we don't want to hurt genuine talent.

It's enough to scare them.

In the end, they'll work with us.

It's the dilettantes we want to grab by the balls.

Most of the real fascist writers...

Are unreadable.

What about the fascists who have come over to our side? Do we just let them go?

Every new regime demands betrayal.

Until it consolidates its power, it uses traitors and then gets rid of them.

What is the matter?

I'm just thinking about my father.

Don't be impatient.




AUDIENCE: (CHANTING) Stalin! Stalin!


My dear comrades, I have been given the honor of speaking on behalf of those of us who have been decorated on this special day.

Comrade Stalin's birthday.

We express our profound gratitude to Comrade Stalin for eliminating fascism from the face of the Earth.

And freeing our land from the Nazi's rule of evil.

IVAN: Comrade Stalin...

Comrade Stalin has shown us the way.

It is our duty to carry on his struggle, to find all fascist cowards wherever they're hiding and destroy them.

I offer...

I offer our eternal gratitude to Comrade Stalin who leads us into the world of tomorrow where all men will be equal, where exploitation and humiliation will be unknown in the world of Communism!

Turn the light.


Congratulation, Comrade Major.


Congratulations. Thank you, Rosner.

Come over here, Ivan.

I want to introduce you to a couple of foot soldiers.

This is Comrade Major Sors.

Take a good look at him, comrades.

One day soon, you're all gonna be terrified of him.

Right, Ivan? (MAN LAUGHING)

Any children yet?

Anybody who can make such stirring speeches should definitely procreate, huh?


Why do you look so unhappy? Everyone here adores you.

I'm not unhappy.

Look in there. It looks like a sad man to me.

Something's the matter. Nothing's the matter.

Fine, but I won't waste my time flattering you like everybody else.

Even the Comrade General said you'll be a minister soon.

So... Right.

Sorry if I'm annoying you. You're not.

But I would love to talk with you sometime.

I have time.

When? Now.

Oh, I can't now. I'm just leaving. My children are alone.

I could walk you home.

So the sad man wants to escape and needs someone to show him the back stairs?



I have to go.

Don't you like to be kissed?


I can't do this. I have a family. What am I...

I'm sorry.

Good morning, Comrade.

I saw you and Carole Kovacs slip out of the opera together last night.

I should warn you, she's definitely spoken for.

Fatherly advice.

She told me she had a husband and two children.

Her husband's in the foreign ministry?

Her husband blew up gestapo headquarters in Paris.

He's one of the heroes of the French Resistance.

You don't want to make an enemy of him.

Her husband belongs to the Comrade General's circle.

Life is full of surprises, isn't it?

Back to work.

I saw your light was on.

I request permission to enter, Comrade Major.

Granted, Comrade Major.


I just came to say good night.

Good night.





Am I the first?


What have you been doing since you started shaving?

I was in a camp.

I think you might be the first man I could really fall in love with.

What about your husband?

Mmm... I admire him.

During the war, in the Resistance, he made me feel safe.

He's a very brave man. But you don't love him?

I do, but...

I think I married him because I knew he would protect me.

They were terrible times.

He doesn't protect you now?

(LAUGHS) I don't know.

We were in Paris during the war. It was different.

We all had the same aim.

Since we've been back, I don't know.

Everything's changed here.

Was it better in Paris?


VALERIE: It belonged to your great-great-grandfather.

Our grandfather, Aaron Sonnenschein. (WATCH CHIMING)

Perhaps you'll give it to your own child someday.


So beautiful.

GUSTAVE: This fish is beautifully prepared, Kato.

The thing I most missed in my exile was your cooking.

Gustave, are you flirting with Kato?

Look who's jealous. Why did you marry Ignatz instead of me?

Because you were far too crazy, my dear.

The way your breasts bounced.

(LAUGHING) Yes, well, they don't bounce any longer, I'm afraid.

Your grandmother was a beauty.

She still is.

(LAUGHING) Are you worried I might seduce your grandmother?


Nothing would surprise me in this family.


(SIGHS) Wasn't it wonderful growing up in this house, Gustave?

The most wonderful thing was waiting...

To be touched by you, day after day, year in, year out.

No one can take that memory away from me.

And now, the only thing missing...

Is a Taste of Sunshine.

Was it really that good?

ALL: Gorgeous!

(ALL LAUGHING) Did it make you drunk?

VALERIE: Oh, a little drunk.

A little drunk and a lot happier.

VALERIE: I found an empty bottle the other day.

As soon as we find the recipe, Kato and I will brew up a fresh batch.

Look, there's a drop in there.


Mmm. Mmm.

I got it. My God!

What a wonderful taste in such a tiny drop.

VALERIE: Oh, let me see.

Oh! It's delicious!

Like some?



You know, I had a dream last night.

I dreamt that the courtyard was filled with flowers, and you know what that dream means.

VALERIE: It means that someone in this house is in love.


Oh, you must learn how to play the piano.

How am I going to do that? When?

Well, your uncle and I can teach you after work.

Gustave on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

And I on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

No lessons on Sundays?

What am I going to do with so much free time? (VALERIE LAUGHS)

But you cannot live without being able to play music.






(ANIMAL SQUEALING) Die, you son of a bitch.






I don't care about my work or my husband. Nothing but you.

Leave him. We'll live together.

You're not serious. I'm very serious. We can get our own place.

You don't know my husband. He would find us and shoot us.

We're grown up, and we love each other.

And I love my children.

He would never let me take them with me.


And I could never leave them.

It's easy for you. You're just you.

For all I know, you could change your mind and leave me after a couple of months.

How do you know? How do you know?

How do you know what we have together isn't just...

No, I want you. I know this.

I don't believe you yet.

I'll tell everybody. I'll tell your husband.

Promise you'll never speak a word about me to anyone, not even Knorr.

Why do you bring him up?

Because I know he's a good friend of yours.

But good friends with others too.

Promise me.

I will.

What's wrong? Nothing.

You look strange. I'm scared.

Of what? I'm scared we're being watched.

Who's watching?

Everybody. I don't know you.

This is worse than the Resistance.

Sit down, Comrade. Sit down.


We've uncovered a monstrous conspiracy, bankrolled by overseas money.

Guess where from. IVAN: United States?

Wrong. From Israel.

The conspiracy is completely Zionist.

Three central committee members, two generals, a police major general, a group of doctors, university professors.

All Jews who should be thanking the Soviet Union and the Red Army for their fucking lives!

These Jewish gentlemen think they can hoodwink poor, unsophisticated workers like us because they've read their precious Talmud.

They're also planning to take over the workers' movement.

Not a one of them has ever so much as held a hammer.

Look at these hands! These are worker's hands!

These people are only with us out of revenge against the fascists, not because they believe in the workers' movement.

So, okay.

They say there are anti-Semites in this country.

And whose fault is that?

Who's got all the best jobs? Jews. Here we go again.

I believe more Jews came back from the camps than whatever sent off to them.

Your assignment is to drag these bastards in and indict every one of them.

This won't be so easy, Sors.

You've got a close, personal connection in this.


Andor Knorr, your beloved boss.

He's one of the heads of the whole thing. That's impossible.

We have film of Knorr speaking with Israeli agents!

Read this.


You yourself could be highly a suspect because of being so close to Knorr.

Keep Jews off your team.



Tell me what they're accusing me of.

A Zionist conspiracy.

Intention to overthrow the socialist state.

(SOFTLY) Are they crazy?

I have been ordered to interrogate you.

Let's get started.

Thank you.

When did you first enlist in the Zionist conspiracy against the state?

Never. I've never enlisted in any conspiracy against the state.

We have filmed proof of your meeting with Zionist agents in the museum garden on the fifth of this month.

Made by your film director friend? Who played my part?

IVAN: This is not a joke.

What connections do you have with Zionist agents?

None. I told you.

I've never met with Zionist agents.

I don't even know any Zionist agents.

Not even before the war? No.

What about at your orphanage?

Have you ever heard the word "Zionism"?

Of course I have. Where?

At the orphanage, I had a friend.

He and some of his friends wanted to emigrate to Palestine.

I joined the Young Socialists instead.


Why didn't you go to Israel with the Zionists if your best friend was with them?

Because they were religious, and I was not.

If there hadn't been the Young Socialists, I'd probably be living on a kibbutz in Israel now.

Well, don't you see?

I didn't have to be ashamed of my origins!

And I didn't have to be proud of them either!

What happened to you during the war?

I was caught and put into Auschwitz.

Any Zionists there?


Enough of this nonsense. No, it's not nonsense.

You better understand, this is not a game.

I'm asking you questions on orders from people way up there.

As an officer of this department, you are a suspect.

You're under arrest. Now, if you don't answer my questions thoroughly, things are gonna get tougher.

And you know what I'm saying here.

There's a lot of evidence here that singles you out as one of the leaders of this conspiracy.

So if you don't give me a confession, you aren't going to leave here.

Don't hold your breath.

Why are Jews involved in everything?

Wasn't Auschwitz enough for you?

Even you will never be free of Auschwitz.

Auschwitz was our baptism.

But there is something you must know, though.

Surviving Auschwitz doesn't make a man better or greater.

It's just burnt into your brain! It can never be erased!

That's the problem.




What was the purpose of this miserable life?

Life itself, that we are here.

A long time ago we were happy.


There are only two of us left.

Only two Sonnenscheins.

Everything's become so difficult again, Nana.

What the fuck do you mean he's denying it?

Have the son of a bitch slapped around!

The man's gone through a lot of suffering, Comrade General.

He survived Auschwitz.

Strange how the suffering of Jews seems to touch you.

Don't you know that other people suffered?

Ordinary people were shipped off to the front to fight...

Or else they stayed at home and fought on their own doorsteps.

Don't these kind of people matter to you too?

With all due respect, Comrade General, after surviving Auschwitz, I don't think a beating is going to break him.

It's not the quality of the man that counts here, Sors.

It's the quality of the beating.

I'm not sure that Knorr's guilt can ever be proven without a confession.

Then get one out of him!

He calls himself a Communist and sticks to it.

Are you a policeman or a fucking boy scout?

If he keeps saying he's a Communist, make him understand that his confession's important to the party.

Our number one priority is to let the world know that the workers' movement is not under Zionism's thumb, and that Marx and Engels are not Jewish prophets.

By the way, you don't know how lucky you are that your uncle died.

"Reunion of veterans at the Gellert Hotel."

These people lived in the west, and they must have been brainwashed.

We'll have these traitors in our net in two weeks.

Another question...

Who does your grandmother take pictures for?

My grandmother takes pictures for herself. She's just a photographer.

"A photographer"?

You're surrounded by questionable people, aren't you?

Do you have a girlfriend?

If you do, have her investigated.

Let's try to avoid any more nasty surprises.


I have to ask you something. Go on.

The Knorr case... I don't wanna talk of it.

I don't wanna hear of it. It's important to me.

I don't want to know anything about it.

Why did you ask me here?

Don't get me mixed up in any of this. Please, don't.

Who benefits from turning me into the enemy?

Or is it we've just gone back to anti-Semitism as a solution?

No new ideas?

In October, 1944, you were recaptured by the fascists, sentenced to death and shot.

Your body fell into the Danube under the Margaret bridge.

So how come you're still alive?

Touch it if you don't believe your eyes.

They've turned you against me.

We're children of an unfortunate race.

Who is the traitor, you or me?

How dare you bring me this hopeless pile of shit of a confession!

Is this a joke?

Comrade General, I'm obliged to report that the evidence turned out to be unfounded.

I am convinced that Andor Knorr is innocent of the charges of Zionism and of conspiracy to overthrow the People's Republic.

I believe that we have been set up.

Watch out, Sors, or you'll be next.

Captain Rosner!

Comrade General?

You're taking over the Knorr case.

I want you to interrogate Sors about his relationship to Knorr right away!

As a suspect?

As a witness to begin with.

You're lucky I was involved so directly in your spectacular rise.



Leave the police before it's too late.

That's why you called me?

I love you, Carole. I'm begging you to come away with me.

Where? Into the bushes to fuck with my skirt over my head?

I was wrong about you. I was wrong to love you.

I thought you were different.

I need someone safe, someone calm and strong, not neurotic like you.

Do you think you're in danger because of me?

So... It's over?


So how do you want to end it?

It's not that complicated.

Stand up, walk out the door and close it behind you.

You're a cold bitch.

You only love a man if he feeds your ambition.

That's the truth.

You want truth? Fine.

I'm pregnant, and I don't know who the father is.

Your husband?

Either him or you.

What are you going to do?

I'm taking care of it.

There's a man under the window.

I think I've seen him before.

Go to hell.

I left your grandfather once.

I fell in love with another man.

Your grandfather and I hadn't been getting along.

He wasn't the sort of person I hoped he'd be.

The other man was well...

Passionate, a wonderful lover.

That is important, darling.

He gave me an old medallion engraved with the words "I love you."

But when your grandfather got in trouble with the Communists, I came back to him.

You must try to find joy in your life.

Do you realize how delicious this coffee is with warm milk?

IVAN: In the spring, Joseph Stalin died...

And a struggle for power began within the Communist Party.

Soviet Communists exposed Stalin's horrendous crimes.

And Stalin's victims, men like Andor Knorr were now acclaimed as heroes.

The Comrade General was arrested, but nothing really changed.

One gang replaced another, and the Communist dictatorship continued.

Because I'd worked directly under Andor Knorr, I was asked to identify his body.

I learned that Knorr had been beaten so badly, he had died from internal bleeding.

I'm sorry to bother you. My name is Sommer.

Andor's widow is my sister.

Andor talked about you fondly, and about your father, of course, the Olympic champion.

Would you mind saying a few words at the funeral?

As you know, he was an atheist. I can't ask a rabbi.

Honor guard, prepare to fire the salute.


Fire! Fire!

Shoulder arms.

Honor guard, left turn.

Quick march. Left.

Excuse me. OFFICER: Left. Left.

Left. Left. Left.

Andor Knorr... One of your murderers has come to your grave to say goodbye to you.

I was your first interrogator, someone who you trained to defend the cause without mercy.

We believed that we were going to make the world a better place for people, but, instead, we made it so much worse.

As servants of power-hungry criminals, we, too, became criminals.

Our politicians lied to the people by saying they were doing good.

And then the people lied to the politicians by saying that they believed them.

I'm not just saying goodbye to you.

I'm also saying goodbye to myself.

I stood by and watched my father be tortured and executed, and I did nothing.

And then I watched them do the same thing to you, and I did nothing.

I make a promise, here at your graveside, to do everything in my power to punish those who have turned ideals into crimes.

Just after the war, I found a framed quotation on my father's desk.

It said, "We are afraid to see clearly, "and of being seen clearly."

At the time, I couldn't understand what it meant, but now I understand perfectly because this is precisely what happened to us.

Andor Knorr...

My friend...


Why are you crying? Are you in mourning?

ROSNER: I'm warning you.

You said things in your speech we tolerate from no-one, not even if times have changed.

Fuck you.

Do you know who you're talking to? Who's that?

Another incident like this, and you'll be off the force.

Just say the word. I'm happy to quit.

Do you know the difference between a worker and a Jew?

If a worker doesn't like something, he leaves without saying goodbye.

A Jew says goodbye, but he stays.

Rosner, go fuck yourself.

IVAN: I quit the police force right away.

I knew I had to work against the regime, that exposing their crimes would help me to cope with my crippling guilt.



ALL: Never again Communism!

IVAN: Confusion grew to chaos.

People took up arms against the Soviet army.

And once again, revolution erupted.

There were ten days of initial euphoria, during which time freedom seemed attainable.

But then Russian tanks appeared in Budapest.

People took to the streets and fought against the Soviet intruders.

MAN: Shall we be slaves or men set free?

That is the question. Answer me.

By all the gods of Hungary, we hereby swear...

That we, the yoke of slavery, no more shall wear!


Friends, Communism is crumbling.

They may roll their tanks over us and their kind of terror, but Communist dictatorship has been defeated!

We are together today.

The judge and the accused, together.

This revolution is not about politics. It's about morality!

Let us show them our strength!

The whole world is watching us!

We must have no fear! Come on! Show them!

Come on. Come on!

IVAN: Ultimately, the Resistance was futile. The revolution failed.



Nice to have you back.

IVAN: A film of my speech was used as evidence against me in court.

I was sentenced to five years in prison.

If you feel you've done the right thing, you can endure anything.

Are you sure of that, Nana?

I have seen the collapse of government after government, and they all think they can last a thousand years.

Each new one always declares the last one criminal and corrupt and always promises a future of justice and freedom.

No political discussion allowed. Your time is up.

My darling, you are not in prison.

They are in prison.

GUARD: Stand up, please.

IVAN: I was released three years later.

My watch is missing.

What are you looking for?

My pocket watch is not in here.

If you put it in the bag, it's in there.

No, it isn't. There's no watch in here. Look, it's gone.

Then it was never in there.

What do you mean, it was never in there?

I put it in there. It was in there.

Are you saying we stole your watch?

No, I'm saying the watch I inherited from my great-grandfather is gone.

I put it in this sack. It's not in there now.

Would you please go into the back and see if it's fallen out of the sack?


Nothing there.

I'm not leaving till I get my watch back.

Guard. Get out!




Looking for somebody?

My name is Sors.

I'm looking for my grandmother.

You must be the one they locked up.

Granny Sors?

Your grandson is here.

See, Granny, I told you they'd let him out sooner or later.

Come into my room. This is my grandson.

Ledniczky. Ivan Sors.

Mama. Hello.

Ilona Ledniczky. Hello.

Who are all these people, Nana?

Oh, I'm not allowed to have such a big apartment on my own.

But it's all right. They're good people.

And Kato? Kato's fine.

She's moved back home to her village.

She couldn't stand sharing the house.

Poor thing's much older than I am.

Is there room for me?

Maybe we can get the maid's room back, but there are five of them.


I lost the pocket watch, Nana.

Never mind, dear. Much more important things have disappeared.

Love, people. What's a pocket watch?

I thought that great-grandfather came and took it back from me.

Well, maybe it is good to believe in something.

I've never been much of a believer.

If there's no God, and there never was a God, then why do we miss him so much?

Why did we become Communists, Nana?

It was our fate.

The Jewish laws, the camps...

After all, it was the Communists who liberated us.

I could never have been a Communist like you or Gustave, but, even as a child, I felt disgust when I saw how poor people fought for crumbs on the floor of the bread wagon.

Politics has made a mess of our lives.

Still, life was beautiful.

I've enjoyed waking every morning.

I've always tried to photograph what's beautiful in life, but it hasn't always been easy.

What are you looking at, Nana?

The light. It keeps changing.

What do you want to do with your life?

I don't know.

I have to report to the police once a week.

Mmm. Difficult.

We should try and find the recipe.

It's still hidden in this house somewhere.

Search through everything thoroughly.

Searching's the only job I've ever done.

Are you sure this recipe book exists?

Or have you only heard about it?

I saw it as a girl.


Ilona dear, would you mind letting my grandson look through the bookcase?

We're searching for something. Come right in, Granny.

Start at the bottom?

(GASPS) No, no.

Look here. Behind.


ILONA: Granny? Can't breathe.

Granny. Open the window.


I'm here.

What's your name, dear?

Can you say your name, please?

Valerie Sonnenschein.

Nana... Your name is Sors.

Valerie Sors.

Mrs. Ignatz Sors.

Valerie Sonnenschein.


(SOFTLY) Hello.

How are you? I'm fine. Thank you.

And the children? Very well.

Nothing's changed? No, not really.

I'm sorry I couldn't say anything else at your trial, but my children and family...

Oh, that's all right.

Wouldn't mind talking to you if you wouldn't find it too unpleasant.

No, of course not.

I need your phone number. Excuse me.

WOMAN: She didn't suffer.

Her walking stick's in the corner.

Comrade Major, how are you doing?

Glad that you're finally out of prison.

Beautiful cane. Hurt your leg? No.



I have no face.


EMMANUEL: My dear son, Ignatz.

You've now left the safety of the house in which you were born in order to achieve your life's goal, to become a judge...

To create laws, as Moses did.

To render justice, like King David.

To exercise power, from which the almighty has barred us, or, perhaps, protected us for thousands and thousands of years.

You are entering a new world where you will certainly be successful because you have knowledge.

Study has always been our religious duty as Jews.

Our exclusion from society has given us an ability to adapt to others and to sense connections between things which seem diverse.

But if you feel you have power, you are mistaken.

If you feel you have the right to put yourself ahead of others because you think you know more than they do, you are wrong.

Never allow yourself to be driven into the sin of conceit.

Conceit is the greatest of sins, the source of all other sins.

Never give up your religion, not for God.

God is present in all religions, but if your life becomes a struggle for acceptance, you'll always be unhappy.

Religion may not be perfect, but it is a well-built boat that can stay balanced and carry you to the other shore.

Our life is nothing but a boat adrift on water, balanced by permanent uncertainty.

About the people whom you will judge, know this, all they do is struggle to find a kind of security.

They're just people, like us.

Therefore, you mustn't judge them on the basis of appearance or hearsay.

Trust no one. Examine all things yourself.

Do not join with power. Despise all rank.

Do not be ostentatious with what is yours.

Owning possessions and property ultimately comes to nothing.

Possessions and property can be consumed by fire, swept away by flood, taken away by politics.

Do not undertake what you do not know.

This causes anxiety which makes you ill.

Exercise discipline.


I think of you, with all my love.

Your father, Emmanuel Sonnenschein.



I'd like to apply for a change of name.

You want to change your name? Yes.

From Sors? Yes.

To what? Sonnenschein.

Spell that, please.


And what's your reason?

Why do you want to change your name?

Family reasons?

Problems at work?

Legal problems?

IVAN: For the first time in my life, I walked down the street without feeling like I was in hiding.

My great-grandfather, Emmanuel, must have been the last Sonnenschein to feel like this.

I knew the only way to find a meaning in my life...

My only chance in life, would be to account for it.

My grandmother's words returned to me, try to photograph what's beautiful in life.

By the time I finished this story, the third tragic misadventure of the 20th century was over.

After the monarchy and fascist rule, the Communist regime also went up in smoke.

I remembered the recipe book that we had lost...

And suddenly realized that the family secret was not to be found on its pages.

It was preserved by my grandmother, the only one in our family who had the gift of breathing freely.


* Please, God

* May we always

* Go on singing

* Please, God

* May we always

* Go on singing


* Please, God

* May we always

* Go on singing

* Please, God

* May we always

* Go on singing


* Please, God

* May we always

* Go on singing

* Please, God

* May we always

* Go on singing