The Staggering Girl (2019) Script

[Laboured breathing]

[Piano note echoes]

[Haunting piano music]

[Music stops, traffic]

[Door opens]

[Man] Daniel was there. Alone.

[Footsteps approach]

Oh, I also saw Eduardo and Liam.

They adopted a little girl, Clara.

They send their love.

Are you still there?


How goes the writing?

Francesca, I miss you. Can you please come home?

[She sniffs]

[Woman, muffled] He pulls me down the velvet steps.

He's handsome.

He makes me laugh.

When the opera returns, I hear the aria as he kisses my neck... my fingers.

The rush of exhilaration.

My husband is sitting in the seat, probably wondering where I went.

I put his hands on my dress, my body.

I didn't know who he was, but...

I had never in all my life felt so deeply alive.


[Unsettling instrumental music]

[Music continues]

[Music stops, traffic]

[Water flows]

[Distant music]

[Music continues, murmured conversation]

Vera! Francesca.

Hey. Ciao.


Patrizio. Look who's here.


[In Italian] How are you?

[In Italian] Good.


[In Italian] I was in a panic. It was absolutely crazy.

Everything we owned... disappeared in the space of an hour.

How? Never would I have imagined it.

What shocked me most was how fast they did it.

Patrizio was working, his sister and her girlfriend came for dinner.

I went to get some groceries.

I got back, took the elevator and opened the door - everything had completely disappeared.

The couch, our paintings, the table from Trieste.

Nothing but white walls and the wood floor.

I dropped my bags and called the police.

"Police, come quick! We've been robbed!"

And do you know what they said?

You'd gone to the wrong floor.

How did you figure that out so fast?

I'd thought I'd lost my mind.

So all is well.

[Vera clears throat]

How's the memoir going?

[Footsteps approach]

How's the memoir going?

It's going slowly.

It'll be a masterpiece.


Angelo! [In English] How are you?

Would you introduce me? This our dear friend, Francesca Moretti.

How do you do? Francesca Moretti?

[In Italian] I'll be right back.

[In English] I have something I'd like to show you.

Of course. Will you follow me?

I think I do have one... in my office.

[Door opens]

Sofia Moretti.


Now, Frannie.

I have an idea. Okay?

I think your father, I think he'd go absolutely wild if you wore this. Come here.

Why don't you put it on? Come here.

Put it on. Um...

And I'll go with you and we'll surprise him.

Yeah? Come.

And he'll go bananas for it.

Do you remember this one?

There were many paintings.

[Faint, unsettling instrumental music]

[Faint, discordant strings]

[Sharp exhalation]

[Ambient instrumental music]

[Laboured breathing]

Ciao. Francesca.

So good to see you. You too.

Here, let me help you. Thank you.

How is she today?

She's better in the morning.

This way, Signora.

Yes, I know.

Why does everything feel so wrong?

[She sighs]

[She exclaims]

[Woman] He kisses my neck... fingers.

It was like I was dreaming out loud.

And wide awake.

I've come out of a chrysalis.

He changed me.

And though I know it's wrong,

I so wish that I could see him again.


[Young Sofia] And he stared at his own reflection, so much so... that eventually he fell in the water and drowned.

So do not be vain, Francesca.

Or if you must be vain, at least don't also be fat.

So you act out, but to your disappointment, I'm not disappointed.

[Man] Always thinking this has to do with you.

[Young Sofia] But it does!

Or you wouldn't have done it.

[Man] You live like it's all some kind of game.

Is it not enough that I have apologised?

You dress our daughter in her clothes? You are sick.

[He sighs] [Woman] Matteo!

Why waste a beautiful dress?

[Door opens]

You should be asleep.

[In German] I can't sleep.

[In English] How do I look?

[In German] Same as always.

[Sofia chuckles] [In English] I have failed.

Because I never taught you to be a good liar.

Mommy, can I put you to bed?

Can I put... No, you may not put me to bed!

I'm working!

You know I know why you came.

And I tell you right now, you won't succeed.

It's not safe for you to be here alone.

The house is too big.

Because, you mean...

I'm too old... and I can't see? Well, I...

But I have survived, you know? Those are real concerns...

You know? ..And I'm worried.

[In German] Bruno's here!

[In English] I can't be here all the time.

[In German] Yes. It's time!

[In English] Okay? I'm not leaving.

I am not leaving.

Ah! Oh!


[Water flows]

[Haunting orchestral music]

[Lively conversation]

[Faint music - "Ritornerai" by Bruno Lauzi]

[Music fades]

How are your students?

[Francesca scoffs]

They look at their phones while I talk.

You must grab their attention, otherwise, the failure is on you.

I saw Vera yesterday.

Vera? Who's Vera?

Vera, she came over every day. Mom...

Your mind is going.

Don't tell me my mind's going because I don't remember Vera.

I never remember your friends' names in the first place.

Thanks, Mom.

They were always changing. One day it was this one, and the other day, the other one...

And then, the boys began.

I do remember Tony!

Do you remember him?

This you call passion?

[She sighs] Tony.

[Sparse, plucked strings]


[They chuckle]

He will try as if his life depends on it, okay?

But you withhold two times.

Mother! [Francesca laughs]

And then, later...'re reading, and without warning, you suddenly give yourself.

He'll never know what to think ever again.

Well...uh... we may have already...

What?! No!

That's fantastic!

Tony's very persuasive, isn't he?

It was my idea.

[They laugh]

[Door rattles]




[In German] I've thought of something. I have an idea.

[In English] Please don't lock the door. I'm terribly sorry.

I'm sorry, I will see you soon.


[In German] I have an idea.


[Distant bells toll]

Miss Moretti.

Always the swan in the park.

It would circle the pond.

Her eyesight... completely dim, she asked me to describe the bird.


I'm afraid I'm not much help.

The colour of the feathers, the quality of the light.

I'm afraid I wasn't much help. I didn't know what to tell her.

And then, to see her struggle, trying to make sense of it, it was too much.

But she's not gonna stop.

I suppose this is the journey we're all on from the literal to the abstract.

And I'm told that the paintings that don't look anything like the swan are sold at higher value.

So... why should we worry if she doesn't know what she's creating?

She's not Beethoven.

She can't hear with her eyes.

Once, the world was deliberate.

Now it's randomness and no-one seems to mind.

[Young Sofia] No!

This is because I'm losing my sight!

[Man] It's because you are absent.

It is not obsession, it is a choice.

[Young Sofia] What have I missed?

You just don't want to grow old with a blind woman!

[He exhales deeply]

We're so grateful to you.

For everything you've done for her.

I hope she made that clear.

She wouldn't see me.

[Faint, unsettling instrumental music]


[Sobbing continues]


There will still be painting in New York.

And there will be me.

And I'll take you to concerts.

And to the ballet. But this is my home.

I'm not ready.

[In German] Don't you understand? This is my home.

I don't want to leave.

[In German] Yes, yes. Yes, I understand.

Let me tell you about a woman.


[In English] This woman...

..she... dresses the way you used to.

And she met a man at the opera who was not her husband.

He was a stranger.

Was he handsome?

He was handsome.

He makes me laugh.

[She giggles] But... she didn't trust him.

She's very smart, this woman.

He awakened something in her.

It was like I was dreaming out loud.

And they... rushed to a secret area of the theatre.

The body came... to life. Happiness growing from... somewhere long forgotten.

They made love.

After it was over...


I felt guilt.

But when I tried to feel regret, I could only feel happiness, as the moment played again and again in my mind.

Like a song.

And I understood her.

Wonderful moments like this... passing by, they announce themselves, "Here I am, "take me before it's too late." And I do nothing.

Maybe it's because I tell myself that it's wrong.

But once we've felt it, it doesn't go away.

Once we know it, it can't be erased.

Mommy, there's so much in life that I can't express.

[In German] Why not, Mommy? Why not?

[In English] Show her. Shall I?

Do you see it? What is it?

[Music swells]

[She laughs]

[Music stops]

[Music resumes]

[Music stops]

[Music resumes]

[Music fades]