DIGITALLY RESTORED IN 2015
THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY
TO KÄBI MY WIFE
I was first up on the jetty!
That was refreshing.
If Papa and Martin put out the nets, Minus and I will get the milk.
No, David and Minus can put out the nets so I can take my wife for a walk.
Can't Karin and I put out the nets, while Minus and Martin get the milk?
I won't do either. I'll decide for myself what I want to do.
I haven't seen you all day, Minus. Let's go.
Why should women always decide?
I say we do as Karin says. That way we won't lose our dignity.
Think of the time we'd have saved if Papa had decided that right off.
Should we get dressed before we put out the nets?
What do you think?
Isn't it rather chilly? You think?
My bathrobe is thinner than yours.
If you're cold... Me cold? Not a bit. Are you?
You're the one who said it was chilly. There is a bit of a breeze, though.
We'll harden ourselves. Virility overrules health, right?
If Hemingway could do it, so can we. Forward march.
Think there'll be a thunderstorm?
No, not tonight.
I don't know. Look at those clouds.
Are you afraid of thunder?
You have no idea how terrified I am of it.
When it would roll through the Alps, God help us.
Did you like it there otherwise? I was homesick.
But I wasn't coming home until I'd finished the novel.
And now it's finished?
Yes, pretty much.
How's your ulcer? So-so.
Can you prescribe something? It hurts due to the climate change.
We'll go to the pharmacy tomorrow. I have errands to run anyway.
Did you get my last letter? I sent it on Monday.
I was in Basel visiting the Waldsteins. They send their regards.
Then you didn't get it.
I flew here on Wednesday. Then you didn't get it.
Was it important? It was about Karin.
I felt I had to write, even if it disturbed your writing.
A cuckoo. Didn't you hear it? No.
Surely you hear it now. Where?
When did you wash your ears out last?
Stop it. Yours are too sensitive.
It's strange, but since my illness, my hearing has become so acute.
Maybe it's the electric-shock therapy.
How did Papa look to you yesterday when he arrived from Switzerland?
How do you mean? I thought he looked gray.
Tired from the journey, I suppose. Probably.
But he doesn't seem happy.
Is Marianne coming here? Martin said they broke up.
Poor Papa. Alone again.
I never liked Marianne.
She put on such airs, and poor Papa looked so ordinary next to her.
And then she sneered at his books.
Papa has to get good reviews on this book.
But everybody reads his books.
He doesn't care about the sales.
He wants to be a writer.
What are you laughing at?
You're so tall and so serious.
"He wants to be a writer."
Don't look so hurt. I love you, little Minus.
You've grown so tall. Stop being so silly.
Seventeen and nearly ten feet tall.
Where's your girlfriend? Who'd want to be with me?
Don't be mad because I laughed at you.
Edgar is the only psychiatrist I trust.
He's treated her all along.
When Karin came home from the hospital last month, he and I had a good talk.
He couldn't guarantee a permanent recovery.
She seems unusually well.
She hasn't been sleeping well.
Her hearing has become very acute. That's about it.
How much does she know?
She actually knows the whole truth about her illness, but not that it's relatively incurable.
You say "relatively"?
Edgar has had cases of full recovery, so there is hope.
How are things between you?
Fine, thank you.
The days pass by as usual.
I've given my lectures all spring and examined numerous students.
I've come to realize that I love her and that I'm helplessly bound to her, whatever happens.
I've become the anchor of her existence, perhaps her only security.
Well, shall we put out the nets?
Be careful now.
Keep away from me.
Stop hugging and kissing me.
Stop sunbathing half-naked. You disgust me.
You know very well what I mean. Women are horrible.
How they smell and move around, how they stick out their stomachs, how they comb their hair and talk.
Makes me feel like a skinned rabbit. Poor boy.
Thanks. I can give myself all the pity I want.
What's wrong? I've never seen you like this.
Please don't tell Martin or Papa.
Don't be silly.
I wish I could talk to Papa, just once.
He's so wrapped up in himself.
Let's go home.
I spilled the milk. Careless boy.
Damn! I hate it when I hurt my finger.
Put a bandage on it.
Martin cut his finger. Let's have a look.
I'll put the milk in the cellar.
It looks deep. Put a bandage on it. So much fuss over a little finger.
Isn't it beautiful... supper by lantern and moonlight?
You're a master chef, Papa. It smells wonderful.
Smell it, Minus.
You should write cookbooks instead of novels.
How shall we sit? Karin there, and you over there.
Minus over there, and me here.
How I've longed for this moment. Why?
I was homesick the whole time.
For us? Yes, even for you.
Are you staying?
For this month, at least.
Are you going away again?
I'm in charge of a tour to Yugoslavia.
In charge of a tour? Why?
It's a very flattering offer.
A cultural delegation.
Since I know the country, why not?
Well, cheers, David. Welcome home.
Cheers, Karin. Cheers, Minus.
What about your book?
It'll be finished by then.
I spoke to the publishers. I'll turn in the manuscript next week.
Will you be away long? I'm not sure.
I may stay a while in Dubrovnik after the others go home.
I feel like a criminal for some reason.
You promised to stay home after Switzerland, didn't you?
I vaguely remember discussing it, but as for promising...
Yes, Papa, you promised.
Yes, it is.
This was to be a nice evening, and instead we're on the verge of tears.
I've got presents for you all from Switzerland.
Thanks. You shouldn't have.
Can we open them now? Yes, do.
Excuse me. I'm going to get my tobacco.
These won't even fit my thumbs.
I have one just like this.
I bet he didn't think of them till he got to Stockholm.
It was a kind thought.
Thank you so much, David. Thanks for the lovely gloves.
We've got a surprise for you too.
We have to blindfold you. Don't peek.
I'll take care of this. You go ahead.
I can't see a thing.
It's like walking on clouds. Whose idea was this?
Karin and I helped.
Wait and see.
This is almost like Shakespeare.
Are you ready?
Our play is called The Artistic Haunting or The Tomb of Illusions.
Let the play begin.
It's midnight in Saint Teresa's Chapel.
Here I shall meet my heart's desire.
Here, by this tomb redolent with the smell of death.
Someone moved inside. Could it be her?
I'll hide so as not to frighten her.
Who are you?
I am the princess of Castile who died in childbirth in her 13th year.
My husband and beloved master, who was my playmate as a child, has turned to other women.
Princess, I love you.
Who are you?
I cannot speak to just anybody, even though I am dead.
Fear not, fair lady.
I am ruler of my own kingdom, small and poor though it may be.
I am an artist.
Yes, Princess. An artist of the purest kind.
A poet without poems, a painter without paintings...
Musician. A musician without notes.
I scorn ready-made art, the banal result of vulgar effort.
My life is my work, and it is dedicated to my love for you.
Beautiful words, but hard to believe.
I beg of you, put me to the test.
Listen carefully. In a moment, I will leave you.
When the convent clock strikes 2:00, you shall enter the tomb and blow out the three candles inside.
At that instant, the doors will close forever and you shall join me in death.
An easy sacrifice, my princess.
For what is life to a true artist?
You thus perfect your work of art and crown your love.
You ennoble your life and show the skeptics what a true artist can do.
Farewell, my friend.
Do not fail me.
I face the moment of ultimate perfection.
I tremble with anticipation.
Oblivion shall own me and death alone shall love me.
I will go. Nothing can stop me.
I am waiting.
Ye devils, what am I about to do?
Sacrifice my life? For what?
For the perfect work of art? For love?
Have I gone mad? I am waiting.
Who shall see my sacrifice? Death.
Who shall gauge the depth of my love? A ghost.
And who shall thank me? Eternity.
I am waiting.
My knees turn to clay, my whole body trembles, and my insides run like water.
I cannot enter eternity with...
I shall wait no longer.
Well... such is life.
I could, of course, write a poem about my meeting with the princess.
Or paint a picture or compose an opera, although it would need a more heroic ending.
Oblivion shall own me... and death alone shall love me.
The cock heralds the dawn.
I shall go home to bed.
You were fantastic.
And you were excellent. It was all Minus's doing.
But I forgot my lines. I never noticed.
Let's clear the table and clean up.
No, I'll do it. It's too early for bed.
Not on your life.
I like puttering around. You'd actually be doing me a service.
Well, in that case... It's settled, then.
I'll get cracking right away.
Are you going to bed now? Yes.
There's hot water in the kitchen.
You were smart to think ahead.
The thunderstorm has passed. I told you so.
We left the window open. We'll have mosquitoes in the bedroom.
A few mosquitoes won't hurt you.
Good night, Papa.
Good night, Karin. Sleep well.
Good night, everybody.
Can you manage? I'm fine.
I'll help you. I'm fine.
Could you help me?
How black they get from your gardening.
It won't come off.
You have such kind fingers.
But your thumb looks rather stubborn.
Are you sad, Karin? Not really.
What are you thinking about?
Sometimes we're so defenseless.
No, I don't know.
Like children cast out into the wilderness at night.
The owls fly past, watching you with their yellow eyes.
You hear the pitter-patter and rustling, the soughing and sighing, all the damp noses sniffing at you.
The wolves bare their teeth.
Don't worry. You and I have each other.
You look worried. I'm not so sure about that.
I'm not worried at all.
You say, "There are no wolves.
I see nothing, and there's no owl either.
I don't hear a sound, and the wolf is only your imagination."
You have to trust me, Karin.
You always say that.
Am I so little, or has the illness made a child of me?
Do I seem strange to you?
Do you think I speak the truth? I don't know.
Don't you think I love you? Yes, I do.
Isn't that enough?
Of course it's enough.
Leave it, or you'll start bleeding. I'll be all right.
I have to do some washing tomorrow.
Come to bed, Karin.
Did you notice that Papa took Minus's play as a personal affront?
He was terribly hurt but tried not to let on.
And that upset Minus, of course.
Shall we put out the light?
I'm sorry if I upset you.
My dear, dear girl.
Sweetheart, I love you.
You couldn't upset me.
You're so kind, and I'm so horrid.
"She came towards him, panting with anticipation... cheeks rosy from the blustering wind."
They met... on the beach.
Hello, little Kajsa.
Are you up already? It can't be later than 4:00.
Hello, Papa. What is it?
I'm adding the finishing touches to my book, which is never much fun.
Read to me. Later, when I get the proofs.
How come you're not asleep?
Some birds made frightening noises right at sunrise.
They woke me up, and then I didn't dare go back to sleep.
Just a moment.
Just like when I was little.
Now you'll sleep. You'll see.
"They met on the beach.
It was a clear day.
Autumn was in the air."
Karin just fell asleep.
Want to come and pull in the nets?
I'll be right there.
Last summer I was as good at walking on my hands as on my feet.
Now I'm so tall, I've lost all balance.
You mean spiritually. I get it.
Do you write these days? Plays.
May I read some of it? No.
Sorry. Nothing personal, but they're not very good.
Have you written a lot?
Thirteen plays and an opera this summer.
It comes gushing out of me. Isn't it the same for you?
What did you think of our play last night? Honestly.
It was nice.
I thought it was crap.
"Her illness is incurable...
with periods of temporary improvement.
I have long suspected it, but the certainty is nevertheless almost unbearable.
I'm horrified by my curiosity... by my urge to record its course... to make an accurate description of her gradual disintegration...
to use her."
Martin, wake up. How long are you going to sleep?
Time for a swim. Get up now.
What time is it? Almost 10:00.
Heavens, have I slept that long?
You little imp. It's only 5:00. So what?
I've been up for ages and had all kinds of odd experiences, while you just slept.
Come over here. No, get up. We're going for a swim.
Papa and Minus are doing the nets.
You sleep too much.
That's what makes you such a know-it-all.
My little one, what's wrong?
What is it, Karin?
I have a confession.
Out with it, then.
When Papa went out just now, I rummaged through his desk.
I don't know why. I just felt I had to.
I found his diary. And?
He'd written things in it. Like what?
What had he written?
I can't tell you.
About your illness?
Is it true it's incurable?
Dearest Karin, listen to me.
Listen to me now.
Look at me.
I told David there's a chance you'll have a relapse.
It's possible he misunderstood me.
No one can say your illness is incurable.
Word of honor?
Word of honor.
There was more.
I can't tell you.
Please. I couldn't possibly.
Ask him yourself.
Karin, little Karin.
You must be patient with me.
I'm sure my desire will come back.
Don't you think? Oh, yes.
Does it worry you? Not in the least.
Listen, I'm terribly tired... but I still think we should go for a swim.
It's not cold at all.
Imagine having a stable wife who gave you children and coffee in bed... who was big and soft and warm and beautiful.
Wouldn't that be nice after all?
It's you I love. Of course, but all the same...
I don't want anyone else.
It's funny. Even though you always say and do the right thing, it turns out wrong.
If I do, it's out of love.
He that loves for real always does right by his loved one.
In that case, you don't love me.
Make sure poor Minus doesn't fall asleep over his Latin.
I said I'd test him on his grammar. Bye, my girl.
Don't forget your brandy, and get a bottle of white wine.
My very thought.
Bye, darling. We'll be back for dinner.
What the hell are you laughing at?
Have a look, if it's so amusing.
Which are your favorites?
Don't be such an old maid. Come and show me.
You like her best? Why?
She's so soft.
I think she's pretty too. But isn't she a bit fat?
And her hair is so long... She doesn't look too deep.
But it doesn't help me a damn bit.
Are you going to hit me?
It was my fault. Forgive me.
Easy now, Minus.
It doesn't matter. Don't worry.
I was silly and curious. Forgive me.
I don't mean to. It just happens.
Did you study? More or less.
Shall I test you? If you'd like.
I wonder if everyone is caged in. What?
You in your cage, I in mine.
Each in his own little cube. Everybody.
I don't feel caged in at all.
Then I'm wrong, as usual.
Constructio ad sensum. What does that mean?
Oh, no, you don't.
It means that a grammatically correct construction is changed to suit the context.
Nobilitas rem publicam deseru...
It's so hot.
And I've been up since 4:30.
Let's have a cigarette. Got any?
If you look long enough with your head tilted to one side, it gives you the creeps.
Though it's fascinating.
I don't talk to Papa or Martin about it. They don't understand.
Particularly not Martin. He's too anxious and has enough worries as it is.
They don't understand. They just think I'm sick.
Do you think so too? No.
I knew you didn't.
I've so often wanted to talk to you about it all. It's like a...
You can trust me.
It's hard not to talk about something that's constantly on your mind.
But I don't think the others would mind my telling you.
Don't fluster me with a lot of stupid questions.
Either I tell you all I dare, or it's over.
I'm curious. That's fine for you.
Let me show you something.
I walk through the wall, you see.
Early in the morning, I'm woken by someone calling me in a firm voice.
I rise and come to this room.
One day, someone called me from behind the wallpaper.
I looked in the closet, but there was no one there.
But the voice kept calling me, so I pressed myself against the wall, and it gave way, like foliage... and I was inside.
You think I'm making it up?
I enter a large room.
It's bright and peaceful.
People are moving back and forth.
Some of them talk to me, and I understand them.
It's so nice, and I feel safe.
In some of their faces, there's a shining light.
Everyone is waiting for him to come, but no one is anxious.
They say that I can be there when it happens.
Why are you crying?
Nothing to worry about.
But... sometimes I have this intense yearning.
I long for that moment... when the door will open... and all the faces will turn to him.
Who is coming?
No one has said for certain.
But I think it's God who will reveal himself to us.
That it will be him coming into the room through that door.
I have something difficult to tell you.
What's that? I turn away from Martin.
He stands there calling me, but I can't help him.
It all becomes like a game.
Does he notice anything? I'm not sure.
I must choose between him and the others.
I've made up my mind.
I've sacrificed Martin.
Is all this for real?
I don't know.
I'm caught in the middle, and sometimes I'm uncertain.
I know I've been ill and that my illness was like a dream.
But these are no dreams.
They must be real. They must be real.
They're not real for me, not in the least.
They're not real for me. Oh, yes.
A god steps down from the mountain.
He walks through the dark forest.
There are wild beasts everywhere in the silent darkness.
It must be real.
I'm not dreaming. I'm telling the truth.
Now I'm in one world, now in the other.
I can't stop it.
Shall we go for a swim?
I'll go alone, then.
I'm going to sleep a bit.
Close the door when you leave.
Stop that. Get out.
What the hell am I to do?
Well, have you prepared your Latin?
But first we'll have some tea.
Will you tell Papa and Martin?
Tell them what?
Clever answer, but you don't fool me.
Tonight you'll take Martin aside and say, "I have to talk to you about Karin." And then you'll tell him everything.
Can't you tell him? Promise not to say anything.
You're the only one who understands.
Say one word and you've betrayed me.
It looks like rain. Do you think so?
What's with you? What do you mean?
You're so quiet, almost hostile.
It's not worth talking about. Please.
It's about Karin.
She rummaged through your desk and found your diary.
And she read it, of course.
What did you write?
Karin wanted me to ask you.
I wrote that her illness is incurable... that I felt a horrible urge to record its course.
There's no one else to blame.
I've no excuse.
It's always about you and yours.
Your callousness is perverse.
"Record its course." That's so typical.
You don't understand.
No, I don't.
But one thing I do understand.
You're always on the hunt for subjects.
Your daughter's insanity.
What a great idea.
I love her, Martin.
Love her? You're void of all feeling.
You lack common decency.
You know how to express yourself. You always have just the right words.
There's just one thing you haven't the slightest clue about... life itself.
You're a craven coward, but a genius at evasions and excuses.
What do you want me to do?
Write your book.
Maybe it will give you your heart's desire... your big breakthrough as a writer.
Then you won't have sacrificed your daughter in vain, and...
Go ahead, say it.
In your novels, you're always courting some god.
But let me tell you, your faith and your doubt are very unconvincing.
All that's apparent is your ingenuity.
Don't you think I know that?
Then why go on?
Why not do something respectable instead?
Have you written one word of truth in your life as an author?
I don't know. See?
Your half-lies are so refined that they look like truth.
I do my best. Maybe you do.
But you fall short.
You're empty but clever.
Now you're trying to fill your void with Karin's extinction.
But I don't see how you'll bring God into that.
It'll make him more inscrutable than ever.
Can I ask you something? Of course.
Can you always control your innermost thoughts?
Fortunately I'm not very complex.
My world is very simple. Quite clear and human.
Still you've wished Karin would die?
Only you could think such a thing.
Can you swear you've never thought of it?
It would be logical.
You know that her case is hopeless and that both your suffering is pointless.
She might as well be dead.
You are grotesque.
That depends entirely on your point of view.
I love her.
I can only stand by and watch... as she is transformed into a poor, tormented animal.
Let me tell you something.
When I was in Switzerland, I decided to kill myself.
I hired a car and found a cliff.
I set out calmly.
It was afternoon. The valley was already in darkness.
I was empty. No fear, no regrets, no expectations.
I aimed the car at the cliff, stepped on the gas... and stalled, stopping dead.
The transmission went out, you see.
The car slid on the gravel and came to a halt, front wheels over the edge.
I crawled out of the car, trembling.
I leaned against a rock across the road.
I sat gasping for breath for hours.
Why are you telling me this?
To tell you I no longer have any pretense to keep up.
The truth won't bring catastrophe.
This has nothing to do with Karin.
I think it does.
I don't understand.
From the void within me, something was born that I can't touch or name.
For Karin and Minus.
One day, I may tell you about it.
I dare not do it now.
But if it's the way I'm hoping...
Let's leave it for now.
The rain is coming.
The rain is coming.
Karin, is that you?
It's me, Karin.
Can't you hear me, Karin?
I'm not well.
Let's go home.
You have to help me. How can I help you?
You have to help me.
I'm so thirsty.
I'll get some water.
What time is it?
5:00, I think.
I've been very sick, but I feel better now.
Karin, my darling.
I want to talk to Papa alone. Let's go home.
I must talk to Papa before it starts again.
Karin, dear. Please.
I'll go and call an ambulance.
Please go and get my medicine bag.
I'll have to give her a shot.
I want to stay at the hospital now. I don't want any more treatments.
Can you tell them no more of those?
I don't know.
I can't live in two worlds. I have to choose.
I can't keep going back and forth between one and the other.
It can't go on.
I didn't do it of my own free will.
A voice told me what to do.
The voice told you to read my diary.
It also told you to tell Martin what you read.
I've done worse than that.
I tried to resist, but I couldn't get away.
I was forced to do it.
When was this?
Poor little Minus.
I just don't understand!
Try to stay calm, Karin.
And then the room with the people waiting.
Those good, bright-faced people waiting for the door to open... for God to come to them.
Then the voices start... and I have to do as they say.
I can't make sense of it all.
Is it really just my illness?
It's so horrible to see your own confusion and understand it.
I want to apologize to you.
I've always had a guilty conscience about you, so I turned away.
It makes me sick to think of the life I sacrificed to my so-called art.
I first became successful around the time your mother died.
It meant more to me than her death.
I was secretly rejoicing, yet I loved your mother in my own confused way.
When I fell ill, you went to Switzerland.
I couldn't bear that you had inherited your mother's illness, so I fled.
I had to finish my novel.
Is it any good?
You see, Karin... one draws a magic circle around oneself to keep everything out that doesn't fit one's secret games.
Each time life breaks through the circle, the games become puny and ridiculous.
So one draws a new circle and builds new defenses.
Poor little Papa.
Yes, poor little Papa, forced to live in reality.
Let's go home now.
I have to pack.
When will the ambulance be here? About an hour.
I just want to get changed and pack.
Thanks. I can manage.
The light is so strong.
You must help Minus with his Latin, Papa.
I already thought of it.
We mustn't forget the keys to our place in town.
The doorman's on vacation.
Aren't you coming back here? No, I'll stay in town.
I think that's best.
We didn't get to pick any mushrooms.
Will you help me pack, Martin? Of course.
I want to talk to you.
Come here now, Minus.
Your shirts are washed but not ironed.
I'll wear this. I've got shirts in town anyway.
Can you help me close this, please?
It's the shoes. I'll leave them here.
Wear these instead and leave those.
I'm taking them to the shoemaker's.
Have you got something for a headache?
I thought I put my bag in here. No, it's in the kitchen.
So it is.
Have you seen Karin?
I came as quickly as I could, but it wasn't easy.
There are many who would stop me.
I'm so happy.
Yes, I understand.
Yes, I understand.
Yes, I understand.
I know it won't be long now.
It's a great comfort to know that.
But our waiting has been a time of joy.
Martin, walk quietly.
They say he'll be here any moment now.
We must be ready.
We're going to town.
I can't go now. Don't you see?
You're mistaken, Karin.
Nothing is happening in there.
No god is going to walk through that door.
He'll be here any moment now, and I must be here.
Dearest Karin, it's not true.
If you can't be quiet, you'd best leave.
Why must you spoil it?
Go away and let me have this moment alone.
I'm sorry I was so mean just now.
Couldn't you kneel down next to me and put your hands together?
You look so funny and conspicuous sitting there.
I know you don't believe... but for my sake, Martin.
Hold her legs.
Calm down, Karin.
I was frightened.
The door opened.
But the god that came out was a spider.
He came towards me... and I saw his face.
It was a terrible, stony face.
He crawled up and tried to force himself into me, but I defended myself.
The whole time, I saw his eyes.
They were cold and calm.
When he couldn't penetrate me... he continued up my chest...
up onto my face and on up the wall.
I have seen God.
Wait by the jetty. We'll be there as soon as we can.
They'll be waiting by the jetty.
I'm scared, Papa.
When I sat holding Karin down in the wreck, reality burst open.
Do you understand what I mean?
Yes, I understand.
Reality burst open, and I tumbled out.
It's like in a dream.
Anything can happen.
I can't live in this new world.
Yes, you can, but you must have something to hold onto.
What would that be?
Give me some proof of God.
You can't. Yes, I can.
But you have to listen carefully.
Yes, I need to listen.
I can only give you a hint of my own hope.
It's knowing that love exists for real in the human world.
A special kind of love, I suppose? All kinds, Minus.
The highest and the lowest, the most absurd and the most sublime.
All kinds of love.
The longing for love?
Longing and denial.
Trust and distrust.
So love is the proof?
I don't know if love is proof of God's existence or if love is God himself.
For you, love and God are the same.
That thought helps me in my emptiness and my dirty despair.
Tell me more, Papa.
Suddenly the emptiness turns into abundance, and despair into life.
It's like a reprieve, Minus... from a death sentence.
Papa, if it is as you say, then Karin is surrounded by God, since we love her.
Can that help her?
I believe so.
Would you mind if I go for a run?
Off you go. I'll make dinner.
See you in an hour.
Papa spoke to me.