Youth Without Youth (2007) Script

Sometimes I admit to myself that it's possible I will never be able to finish my life's work.

My one and only book.

And that in the end, without her...

...there will be nothing.

And I will die alone.

What are you doing here, Coane Dominic?

I have a migraine.

I thought a walk might help.

But in your pajamas on Christmas Eve?

Don't catch cold. Look.

At the first opportunity, I'll...

What do you do at the first opportunity?

At the first opportunity, I have to-- I have--

It's in the drawer.

I-- I have saved-- I saved it for--

At the first opportunity, I will open the blue envelope.

Not here in Piatra Neamt where everyone knows me, but somewhere far away.

Bucharest perhaps.

At Easter.



Special Easter edition. Universul.

War clouds over Romania.

Oh, it's pouring.


He was struck by lightning.

Call an ambulance.

Call for some help.

Look, who knows what sins he has committed that God would strike him on Easter.

They say whoever dies during Easter goes straight to heaven.



I will wish you. You know what I mean. I mean...

I will love you until the day I die.

The eye seems intact, but I don't know if he is blind or not.

I don't even know if he's conscious, if he hears or if he understands what he hears.

If you understand what I say, squeeze my finger.

I'm Dr. Roman Stanciulescu.

I'm here to help you.


We wish to find out your age.

For every 10 years, squeeze my finger once.


Twenty. Twenty.


Forty. Forty.

Fifty. Fifty.

Sixty. Sixty.

Seventy. Seventy.

Seventy years old.

Seventy. I would have thought less.

Well, in this larval state, it's hard to estimate.

I've never met anyone like you.

You want to know absolutely everything.

Laura, try to imagine conceiving a passion for something, having one desire, dedicating your life to it and then failing.

I am 26.

I have no accomplishments, I've made no discoveries.

I'm a failure.

Do you have a wife?

No. No.


Yes. Nephew.

Nephew. Do you want us to inform your nephew about your condition?


Let us know the first letter of your name. Continue.

I am going to say the alphabet.

A, B, C, D...

D. D.

He doesn't live in Bucharest.

He has only one relative, a distant one, and he has no wife.

Thank you.

He'll accept any test, no matter how dangerous or painful, to verify whether the optic nerve was damaged.

That's interesting.

How old did you say he was?


He's hiding his age.

He's a young man in the prime of his life.

I didn't come here...

I came here for an education. Come.

What did you think about the lecture?

Professor Matei is getting senile.

He told us the same thing three or four times.

I didn't notice. I was asleep.

Let's go get something to eat.

Is it true?

Failure, success.

Such extremes, Dominic.

You yourself taught me about Chandrakirti.

The concept of tetralemma logic, the four possibilities.

What you say is so, or it is not so, it's also so and not so combined, heh, or it's neither so nor not so combined.

You know, I've never told you this, but Dr. Chavannes' lecture in Paris...

I waited to see him.

I was hoping that he would accept me as a student.

And he told me that if I didn't master Chinese, Sanskrit, Tibetan and Japanese, I would never become a great Orientalist.

But didn't you tell him you wanted to study only the Chinese language?

I did.

I told him that I'd been studying Chinese for six months, six hours a day.

He stepped up to the blackboard.

He wrote some 20 characters on it, and he asked me to pronounce them one by one and then translate the passage.

In order to master Chinese, one must have the memory of Mandarin.

Photographic memory.

A memory of a Mandarin.

I remember hearing about another case, a priest hit by lightning.

Burned over his whole body and would survive many years afterwards.

True, he was left blind and mute, as our man is also probably.

Don't talk so loud. Maybe he can hear you.

I want him to hear me.

Let's see how he'll react. Maybe he isn't mute at all.


Not mute! Not mute!

Try to pronounce any word, anything.

Blue envelope.

Blue envelope.


The teeth, they're barely holding.

Call the dentist right now and see if the x-rays are ready.

What's next?

"Romania may be forced to negotiate with Hitler."

France is abandoning us to the Nazis.

He is right.

His x-rays have come in.

You really should take a look at them.

The roots are healthy, but they are being pushed up by new ones.

So we feel you're out of danger.

Only now do you begin to become an interesting case.

You understand why, don't you?

The way the lightning struck you, you had to have been killed on the spot, or else to have died of asphyxiation.

At best you'd be left paralyzed,

mute or blind.

You are lucky, I'll give you that.


We had ordered a set of dentures to allow you to eat and above all, to speak normally.

But the x-rays show that, uh, a new set of teeth are ready to appear.

It's impossible.

Yes. It's simply impossible.

And yet the x-rays are clear.

You are getting new teeth.

This is no longer a case of a living dead man, but of something else.

What, exactly, we still don't know.

Your recovery is amazing.

I don't want to tire you out.

Get some rest. I'll be back tomorrow.

News stories and feature articles are starting to appear in different papers, the majority of them absurd, ridiculous.

What are you doing?

New teeth!

But you must help us understand this.

We have to know more about you, who you are, what your profession is.

What's your real age?

Please cooperate a little more.

Were you so stubborn when you were young?


What is this you insist on writing, young man?

Well, I've almost finished with antiquity, the Middle Ages.

But the most exciting part, the origins.

The origins of language, of--

But when will you finish it, Dominic?

He needs 10 lifetimes to do it all.

The origins of language, human consciousness, even the idea of time itself.

This would call for years of research.

And what with the inexperience of our provincial...


I'm terribly sorry, professor.

I have an appointment. I really must run.

He's brilliant. Brilliant. But--

Laura, I'm so sorry. I completely forgot.

We have to talk, Dominic.

It's very important for both of us, and I can't hide it any longer.

Of course.

It's snowing. Should we go to the Café Select?

No. And please don't interrupt. It's not what you think.

I feel that you aren't mine, that you are never here with me.

That you-- That you live in another time.

I'm not thinking of your research, which in spite of what you believe, does interest me.

I wanted to help you with that.

But you keep yourself shut away in an alien world, one I can't enter.

So for my sake and for yours, we should break our engagement and separate.


Laura, no.

We are still young.

We both love life.

You will have more time for your research.

You'll see later.

Tell the professor what he wants to know.

Tell him you need a new identity.

All right, you can go. I'll be here all afternoon.

I understand that you are willing to speak to me candidly.

You don't have to make a great effort.

The words you cannot pronounce, you can write.

My name... is Dominic Matei.

On January the 8th...

I reached the age of 70.

I am a teacher in Piatra Neamt.

I live on Strada Episcopiei at Number 18.

It is my house.

It contains a library of... some 8,000 volumes...

which I have willed to the lycée.

You're 70 years old?



If you require further proof, I can tell you the... titles of the books on my desk or any other...

There's an album of photographs somewhere?

More precisely, with pictures of you when you were young?

And some, uh, clothing?

I implore you to be very, very discreet.

Agents from the Secret Service, they'll never believe I'm past 70 and therefore they'll never believe I am who I say I am.

Of course. We'll be very careful.

Anything can happen if you're interrogated by them.

I won't let that happen.

It's true, though, these are difficult times in Romania.

In truth...

I came here with the intention of committing suicide.

I had saved an envelope with enough strychnine in it to end my empty life.

Please... could you find me a fictitious identity?

That's not a problem.

When your beard comes off, you'll look like a man of 35, or, um, 40, at most.

Don't worry.

You're handsome without the beard, you know?

I have your jacket.

If you like, you can take me to the movies sometime.

The sleeves are too short.

And the tie is no good.

They look like an old man's clothes.

Go with him.

I've seen that car before.

Last night in my dream.

Some people might say that's a bad omen.

I'm not superstitious.

They're waiting for us.


Welcome. Thank you, doctor.

There's wild roses somewhere.

I want you to note down all that passes through your mind.

All the books you've read, all the languages you know, everything, all the memories, no matter how insignificant.

If you aren't in the mood to write, or if you have too much to say, use this device.

German, I'm sorry to say.

A wire recorder.

How do I operate this?

How do I operate this?

My memory...

My memory is unbelievable.

I have a surprise for you.

Soon you'll receive all the things from your home in Piatra Neamt: your reference books, dictionaries, personal belongings.


The watch she gave me.

I've brought your family album.

The one with your pictures from lycée and the university.

What are you thinking?

What kind of memories?

What kind of associations?

When I look at that photograph,

I sense the heat of that morning.

The fragrance of the oleander.

Laura's scent.

Soap... on her skin.

It's unforgettable.

She married someone else, you know.

And a year later she died in childbirth.

It was awful.

It's a kind of hypermnesia with lateral effects.

It's... too much, and it's useless.

It seems useless because we don't know yet what to do with it, with this fantastic recovery of memory.

It's useless.

Soon it will be learned that someone, an old man of unknown origin, was struck by lightning and after 10 weeks appeared perfectly healthy and young again.

Let's hope the rest will not be found out.

The anterior-posterior diameter, 19 centimeters.

The height of the face, 12 centimeters.

And the length of the nose, 6 centimeters.

The sexual organs look like those of a man of 40.

They are fully functional.

My opinion: the patient is clinically youthful.

I warned you there would be a sort of international consultation.

They had to see firsthand.

They couldn't believe the reports I published in La Presse Médicale.

Well, I wasn't expecting such questions.

Especially since I was still in the hospital and had no way of confirming or ruling out sexual possibilities.

Excuse me.

In your notebooks, you speak of erotic dreams.

Are you sure they were dreams?

I don't know.

But if I've confused erotic dreams with real experiences, my life is far more interesting than I'd imagined.

Good, we value this information.

Thank you.

But in the case of the young lady in Room 6, my friend, that woman was imposed on us by the Secret Service.

What young lady in Room 6?

Have we met somewhere before?

Of course we've met before.

Several times, in fact.

I am impressed. You are very discreet.


And when?

Most recently, last night in Room 6.

Your room is next door.

Open up!

Second floor is clear.

Sir... Over here.

Over here or there? Hey, get out of the car.

Hey, you, stop the car. Stop the car.

Don't worry.

It had to happen like this, for you to be confused with others, for people to think you can't distinguish dream from reality.

Who is taking care of me?

Did you think all you've gone through is due to chance?

Who is watching over me?

It doesn't matter now. You'll find out later.

Besides, you've guessed some of it already.

Otherwise, why haven't you told the professor about... certain dreams like this?


If you know someone else exists, why have you never referred to it?

I must not think, I must not think, I must not think of anything.

I must not think, I must not think of anything.

I must not think, I must not think of anything.

I must not think, I must not think...


You learn more quickly, more profoundly, in sleep.

You told the professor that in sleep you continued your studies of the daytime.

Little by little, you discovered you'd mastered Chinese, just as later, you discovered you'd mastered other languages.

I'm beginning to understand what's happening to me.



The enormous concentration of electricity that exploded directly above me regenerated me and... amplified fabulously all my mental faculties.

But this electrical discharge also made possible the emergence of a new personality, a sort of... double.


The formula of the double is...correct and useful.

But don't be in a hurry to tell the professor.

So, what I can say?

A man was about to cross the street.

He was 70 or 80 years old.

The young lady in Room 6 disappeared two days ago.

Your companion of a night, or several.

I'm afraid it was several.

Do you love me?

Yes, more than I could have imagined.

Tell me how you desire me, how you long for me.

You are my dream and my goddess.

She recorded all your conversations and transmitted them to the Gestapo.

And when she asked you questions in Russian, Polish or German, you replied without difficulty in all those languages.

It's probable that after listening to the recordings, someone high up in the Reich decided to kidnap you.

Kidnap me?

You have become the most valuable human specimen existing today on the face of the earth.

Come, have your chicken.

All the medical schools in the world would like to study you.

As a sort of guinea pig. Professor.

We are doing all we can to prevent that.

Professor, ahem, in your office, you must come.

Please, professor, immediately.

We are disturbed over your level of cooperation, Herr Professor.

As you see, your government has instructed you to relinquish the patient and all relevant files to our custody.

I'm sorry, I cannot comply with this one.

"Cannot comply"?

I will not turn over the patient himself.

As his doctor, his condition won't allow transfer at this time.

I'll return with a German doctor.


You're behaving as you should in order to create the necessary confusion.

The double.

He always answers the questions I'm ready to ask.

Like a true guardian angel.

Now that's a correct and useful formula.

Are there others?


For example?

Along with angels and guardian angels, there are powers:

Archangels, seraphim, cherubim.

Intermediary beings par excellence.

Intermediary between consciousness and unconsciousness?

Well, of course.

But also between nature and man, man and the divine, reason and Eros.

Feminine and masculine, darkness and light, matter and spirit.

So it's come back to my old passion again: philosophy of religion.

Yes, for you it will always come back to that.

But I can't believe in the objective reality of the person with whom I'm conversing. I--

I can only think of him as my double.

Well, in a sense, that's what he is, but... that doesn't mean he doesn't exist in an objective way independently.

Oh, I'd like to be convinced, but--

In metaphysical controversies, empirical proofs lose their value, but...

wouldn't you enjoy receiving a few fresh roses picked from the garden?

I've always liked roses.

Well, where would you like me to put them?

Not in the vase, at any rate.

One right here in my hand...

as I'm holding it now, open.

And another on my knee?

The third rose.

Where do you want me to put the third rose?

Let's see.

Things are more serious than we thought.

We know now why the Gestapo will try anything, anything, in order to get their hands on you.


Among the intimates of Goebbels, there is an enigmatic and ambiguous person, a certain Dr. Josef Rudolf.

Dr. Rudolf believes that electrocution by a current of at least a million volts could produce a radical mutation of the human species.

Word of these experiments has reached the ear of Adolf Hitler, who has become personally interested in your case.

Attention! The experiment begins!

They want us to lend you to them for a period of time.

God help me.

Time, Dominic, we are running out of time.

Austrian-Swiss border. Passport control.

Please disembark with all luggage.

An order has just come in from Vienna that certain nationals will be detained.

But why? I have a valid passport and visa.

Please take a step back.

Go on!

My cooperation with the Nazis is only symbolic.

Go ahead.

Thank you.


1941, May the 7th.

Dominic Matei, dictation.

The documents in the Geneva safety-deposit box summarize my life, which was profoundly changed in the spring of 1938, in front of the Gara de Nord railway station in Bucharest.

My first experiences were described and analyzed by Professor Roman Stanciulescu, in reports which were confiscated by the Nazis.

The war rages around me.

I am a fugitive in neutral Switzerland, encircled by the Axis powers.

My Romanian homeland has made a pact with the devil, Adolf Hitler, and may soon be under siege.

I've lost contact with my dear friend, Professor Stanciulescu, which could mean that he's been killed.

I live in fear, dreading what awaits in the alleyways.

Eluding capture by my wits, moving from hotel to rooming house, always working on my book.

November the 30th, 1941.

Zurich. Dominic Matei.

I have explained in portfolio B how I instinctually found the talent to preserve myself.

Living like a secret agent, I discovered abilities to forge documents, change addresses and prepare disguises.

Shortly before he disappeared, Professor Stanciulescu arranged a bank account for me in Geneva under the name of William Pedersen.

Now, without him, these funds will be depleted.

Oh, good morning, Mr. Pedersen.

And I will have to find other means.

February the 20th, 1942.


I must face the undeniable and chilling truth, that I am a mutant.

Like a character in a science-fiction novel, I am a strange superman of the future.

I have access to knowledge unavailable to mankind.

Powers I don't fully understand.

Despite this, I try to behave as an ordinary intellectual, working to complete my book, documenting the origin of language and human consciousness.

I began to realize that with any text I had before me, if I wanted to know the content, I simply...knew it.

Lake Campione. October the 23rd, 1942.

I found I could augment my income.

Winning just enough not to arouse suspicion.

No more bets.

Nothing is as it seems, I am the proof of that.

We've got a winner.

Dominic Matei?

Dominic Matei.

I trust no one.

Look at these.

See? These were taken at the clinic of Dr. Stanciulescu... in 1938.

And to think, 10 months ago, on January 8th, you turned 74 years old.

Eleven again.

You're trying to look older too.

Those glasses aren't even prescription.

I still don't-- Thank you. I still don't know with whom I have the pleasure to be speaking.

Ted Jones, Jr.

I'm a correspondent for LIFE magazine.


Switzerland is entirely surrounded by the Axis powers.

I'm cashing out. Thank you.

I'm on special assignment for the United States.

I really think you're confusing me with someone else.

We can protect your identity, completely.

I have a very powerful organization behind me.

I know I can be of some service to you.

We can pay you, or we can make some arrangements for you, anything that might help you.

You know, your English is perfect, but you're not saying anything.

I'm afraid I must remain neutral in all of this.

Now, if you'll excuse me.

If someone were to tell me that there exist among us authentic magicians, saints, bodhisattvas, or anyone endowed with miraculous powers, I would believe them.

In a certain sense, what you say is true.

But you've attained the freedom to accept or reject these new conditions to use them to finish your life's work, or not.

Have you decided?

To use them for good or for evil.

Have you decided?

Despite my precautions, I was afraid I would inadvertently give myself away conversing with professors and colleagues at the university.

I knew more than any of them and understood things they never even suspected existed.

I know you're a good friend of the Romanian Professor Stanciulescu.

I'm very sorry. I heard he died in a plane crash, an accident.

But we can talk about this when my friend gets here.

I told him to come at 9:00.

Your friend?

Dr. Monroe.

The director of an important gerontology foundation.

He's Swiss, like me.

Like you.

You know, I do have a name.

Would you like to know it?

Be careful.

He knows who you are.

Hello, I'm Dr. Monroe.

Head of the foundation investigating the materials of Professor Stanciulescu.

I'm afraid I have no idea to what you're referring.

The belief that youth and life can be prolonged in any way other than by the purely biochemical ones.

You do know what I'm referring to?

No, I'm sorry.

Methods proposed by that Nazi, Dr. Rudolf.

Electrocution by means of a million or more volts.


Fortunately, I believe that method was never tried.

But our informants said that Professor Stanciulescu had worked with a somewhat analogous case of rejuvenation induced by a bolt of lightning.

We know who you are, Mr. Dominic Matei.

Now, I have a prior engagement, I really must run.

I'm terribly sorry. I know.

Perhaps we could have dinner. Later tonight?

Mr. Matei?

What do we do with time?

That question, "what do we do with time" expresses the supreme ambiguity of the human condition.

I have no idea what you're talking about.

An opportunity has been given to us.

We, the human race.



You and I both know what is coming: atomic warfare, cataclysmic destruction.

But unlike the others, I'm trying to find a meaning to this impending catastrophe.

Think of me as the last European optimist.

This can be our life's work.


There are a few of us who since 1938 have known that you exist.

The fact that you appeared all of a sudden means that you have a special mission and that you possess means of knowledge much superior to those available to us.

You are gravely mistaken.

What is indispensable to a truly human existence?

For instance, the Occidental artistic treasury, music and poetry, but also a part of classic philosophy, and above all, science.

Post-historic man will be allergic to science for at least one or two centuries.

No, always science.

Science above all. Dominic.

I'm surprised at you.

Dominic, don't believe anything he says.

Shut up!

I will tell him the truth.

Come, Dominic, join me in this work.

He is Dr. Josef Rudolf, Hitler's most dedicated scientist.

Adolf Hitler?

If you actually knew him...

If you had ever been with him, in his presence...

If I could describe it to you...

Well, uh, you will meet him soon enough.

No! The Gestapo had Stanciulescu killed and Rudolf was the one-- Traitor!

You have no choice in the matter.


You were the honey in my dreams.

Forgive me. Please, forgive me.

It's true what he says.

You really have no choice in the matter.

Geneva 1955, 20th of August, about 10:31 a.m. Dominic Matei.

I've decided to stop making notes in English and instead to use an artificial language of my own invention.

Now I can describe paradoxical situations impossible to express in any existing language.

This will permit me to reveal facts I have not dared to confess in writing.

This language will only be deciphered by means of a perfected computer.

So my testimony is addressed to the future, let us say in the year 2010.

But to whom?

The coming nuclear wars will destroy many civilizations.

Undoubtedly, this will unleash a wave of deep pessimism, historically unprecedented.

A general despondency.

My testimony, deciphered in the future, could counter the despair because it shows the potential of humanity: a species superior to Homo sapiens, born in a far-off future.

This depends on the preservation of the material in the safe-deposit box.

I don't know how this will be assured.

But I do not doubt that the material will be preserved.

Otherwise, my life would have no meaning.


Excuse me, what's the best way up to the top?

Is it Laura?

She's afraid of curvy roads.

I really don't think you should go on.

There's a storm coming in.

We're used to mountain storms. And anyway, we can't wait.

It is.

Our vacation will be over in a few days.

Maybe I can help.

That's it.

That's it.

I'm Veronica. What's your name?


With her, you use your real name.

Thank you.

Be careful.

Goodbye, Dominic.

I can only guess what happened.

When the big storm broke out, they were probably on the road that runs under the mountain wall, where most of the lightning struck.

I'm afraid they could have been buried in a rockslide or a close strike of lightning can cause a heart attack.

Your name?

Martin Audricourt.

Passport, please.

You know, I can always go in a taxi by myself.

If I need help, I'll call from the first service station.

I don't think they could have had time to reach the shelter.

They could have taken refuge in one of the crevices in the wall.

Oh, there's their car.

There's a woman over here.

She's dead.

Om, shanti Shanti Veronica?

What happened? Are you all right?


How can it be?

She's had a shock. She's suffering from amnesia.

What language is that? What is she speaking?

It's an Indian language, I think.

Her papers identify her as Veronica Buehler, age 25.

Occupation: school teacher.

Living in Liestal, Canton Bâle-Campagne.

Excuse me. Please.

You're the only one who can calm her and speak her language, Mr...?


I'm a student of linguistics.



What is your name?

It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

My name is Rupini.

Thank you.

Good morning.

What can you tell us, Mr. Audricourt?

The young woman believes she is living in northeastern India

14 centuries ago.

She feels that she has spent several months in a cave meditating.

Now, this is where she was when a big storm broke out and she saw lightning strike above her on the mountain.

Many large rocks were dislodged, blocking the mouth of the cave.

Is that all?

She asserts her name is Rupini, daughter of Nagabhatta, descended from one of the first families to convert to Buddhism.

She became a disciple of the philosopher Chandrakirti, which is why she was in the cave copying down his works.

I see.

Would you mind if I discuss this a moment with my colleagues?

Not at all.

We will invite some doctors from, uh, Zurich, Basel and Geneva to come to see her.


If I might make a suggestion?


Perhaps some experts from the Oriental Institute in Rome might be necessary.

Necessary for what?

Well, to confirm if what she's saying is fact.



I present to you Professor Giuseppe Tucci from the Oriental Institute in Rome.

I am Blasi, his assistant.

Professor Tucci, it's an honor.

Before we begin, who wrote the telegram that included some of the particulars?

I did, professor.

You're a Sanskritist?

Not exactly. Excuse me.

Uh, but I have an interest in Oriental studies.

I came only because of your report.

Thank you.

You did well.

Well-being, your ladyship.

Well-being, your ladyship.

Welcome to both of you.

Where am I?

Why doesn't anybody understand me?

As in dreams, the mind presents the appearance of duality.

We've had some of her remarks translated into English.

The young woman's knowledge of Madhyamika philosophy and her master, Chandrakirti, is convincing.

The discussion only became delicate whenever Rupini asked what had happened to her, where she was and why no one understood her.

What did you tell her, professor?

I always begin by reminding of maya.

The cosmic illusion.

The great witch.

Actually it's not a dream, I told her, but it takes part in the illusory nature of dreaming, because it is the future, therefore, of time.

Now, time is par excellence unreal.

I don't believe I convinced her.

But fortunately, she's, uh, enthusiastic about logic and dialectics, and that's mainly what we discussed.

Uh, professor, could all this possibly be...?

How shall I say?




I would suggest a journey to India, more precisely to the province of Uttar Pradesh, to the caves where Rupini claims to have meditated.

I should think the Oriental Institute of Rome, of which I am president, would sponsor the expedition.

And, young man, I think you should accompany us to India.

I'd be delighted, professor.

It's been understood she will be put into a deep sleep before leaving the clinic and will continue to sleep until we reach the vicinity of the caves.

Start rolling. Rolling!

Tucci! Tucci, look here!

We are very close to the frontier of Nepal.

According to Rupini's account, this is where we'll find the cave where she would meditate.

We are very fortunate in having a pandit from Gorakhpur familiar with the Madhyamika philosophy.

He'll be at her side when she awakens.

Everyone, hide themselves.

No form, no feeling, no thought, no choice, no consciousness.

Gone, gone, gone beyond, completely gone.


So be it.


Why did it take you so long?

I was already here.

I know this place.

Stay back. Hide yourself.

Over here!


Oh, God.

Are you all right?

Just be still. Lay still.

Just rest.


She recognized it.

This is the cave!

But the entrance is blocked.

I don't think you'll be needing me for a while.

She is awake, but she has not opened her eyes.


How are you feeling, Rupini?

Didn't we--? Didn't we ask directions of you today?

My name is Veronica Buehler, and I speak three languages:

German, French and English.

Have you ever tried to learn any Oriental language?


Or have you ever read anything about India or Indian culture?

Some popular books.


Heh. Rudyard Kipling, I think?

The Jungle Book.

Have you ever heard the name Rupini?


In an earlier existence, Veronica Buehler had been Rupini.

I would say, for the vast majority of the Orientalists, a clear example of the transmigration of the soul.

And, young man, your opinion?

As a neophyte Orientalist, I can only cite some classical Indian conceptions, from Upanishads to Gautama Buddha.

Excuse me. It is precisely in the Upanishads in the Brhadaranyaka and Chandogya Upanishads that one can find this belief for the first time.

This is karma, isn't it?

But it's hard for me to believe that I ever existed before.

How did you say?


Metempsychosis. Mm-hm.

That absolutely doesn't make sense to me.



Maybe I was possessed by an evil spirit.


They never leave us alone.

It's all so confusing.

I'm afraid I'm going crazy.

Hello, Miss Veronica, just an interview.

That's enough. Let's go.


Just drive, drive anywhere.

I-- I think we should get away. I...

I think we should go somewhere. We should be alone.

We should go to, uh, somewhere beautiful, a Mediterranean island.

Dominic, that would make me very, very happy.

Look, that bird.

What kind of birds do they have in Malta?

That's a Maltese falcon.


Thank you.

No, that's fine. Thank you.

Thank you.

Thanks very much.

Finally alone.

Dominic, it's beautiful here.

Yes, it is.

When I first opened my eyes and saw you...

I confess I was thinking, if I were three or four years older and...

if he were to ask me to marry him...

I would say yes.


My love.

Is it true?


I've always loved you.


Do you understand it?

I don't know this language.

Ancient... Beyond...

Why else did you have to know her?



It's all right.

That's all right. It's all right.

I've got you. I've got you.

I've got you, darling.

I've got you, Laura.

It's all right.

I've got you.

I've got you, darling. I've got you, Laura.

I love you, darling.

I love you.

Was that Rupini's voice?

Mm-hm. Yes.

She's moving back in time from Sanskrit to earlier languages.

That was Egyptian.

Perhaps you'll take us back to a time before history.

The origins of language, which is where I've always wanted to go, but I never could.

But it's helping me finish my work.


Good. I want to help you.

You know, I'm...

I'm 88 years old, really.

If I added up all the years Rupini lived, I'd be older than you.

Well, then let's go dancing.

Thank you.

I don't think we'll be recognized, even with our pictures in all those magazines.

Well, our pictures are still appearing.

Let me see.

What's the matter?

I feel tired all the time, and I don't understand why.

Something is happening inside me. I can feel it.

And she's right.

The paramediumistic ecstasies have exhausted her.




No! Veronica, don't!


I was so worried!

What is it?

It was a dream.

A bad dream.

What was--? What was it?

I was somewhere beside a river, and someone, a stranger with a head like a dog, was coming toward me.

And in his hand, he-- He had...

Explain it to me!

I want to know what Rupini knows.

She knows things that we don't understand yet.

No. Let me--

No, no!

Don't ever leave me.

I'll never leave you.

Don't ever leave me. I'll never leave you.

Don't ever leave me.

I'll never leave you.


The stranger in your dream was probably Shiva.

And in his hand, a skull.

For Shiva is both creator and destroyer combined.


There's someone who looks like you spying on us.

I didn't notice anyone.

By the gate.

Come and look.

There's no one there.

Maybe I was mistaken.

You've been in the sun too long. Let's go inside.

I'm 88 years old, really.

She's in a hyper-suggestive state.

Tell her you love her.

Tell her that you've always loved her.

I love you.

I've always loved you.

That's Sumerian.

No, it's Babylonian.

After Egyptian and Babylonian, there followed probably a sample of proto-Elamite and one of Sumerian.

She is descending deeper and deeper into the past.

But how far back will she go?

Your life's work will finally have what was missing.

Every night for two weeks, Veronica went further back in time.

Through unknown languages...

unwritten history.

Getting closer... and closer... to the inarticulate moment... of the beginning.

But at what cost?

Madam is not suffering from anything, anything at all.

Are you sure, doctor?

Yes. I've prescribed a series of shots with vitamins and minerals.

Perhaps it's... the nervous condition that precedes menopause in certain women.

Well, just how old do you take her to be, doctor?

Late 40s, more or less.

She's 25.

Where have all the mirrors gone?

Bring one to me.

Veronica, you're not well.

Bring a mirror to me, Dominic, please.

Maybe that one.

I should have understood this from the beginning.

One more regression, she'll reach the protolanguage.

Your life's work will be complete.

You know I'm right.




Come sit with me.

Come sit with me.


Veronica, I'm to blame for this. No, it's me.

Listen to me. Listen to me and don't interrupt.

Please, listen.

Listen to me.

If I continue to live with you, by autumn you will have perished.

I can't tell you more.

But I assure you, in reality, you haven't aged.

The moment I disappear from your life, your youth and your beauty will return.

Don't leave me, Dominic. Please, don't leave me.

I was doomed to lose everything that I love.

But I'd rather lose you young and beautiful, the way you were, the way you will be again without me, than to watch you perish in my arms.

You promised me you would never leave me.

I am going to leave you.

If you leave me, I will die without you.

If in a few months, you don't find yourself as you were last autumn, I'll come back.

The minute I receive your telegram, I'll come back.

Three or four months, just wait--


far away from me.

Don't leave me. Please. Please.



The 3:10 train from Bucuresti to Iasi will depart in five minutes.

The 3:10 train from Bucuresti to Iasi will depart in five minutes.

Good evening.


Sign here, please.

Thank you.

On the second floor, Room 19.

Thank you.

By the way, do you know if the Café Select still exists?

How could it not exist? It's an historic monument.

Of course.

Have you heard of Professor Dominic Matei?

You know, I was born here.

Then you know that he frequented Café Select the whole time he was professor here in Piatra Neamt.

That's right.

Here's your key.


The second floor.

All right.

Welcome home.

Café Select.





"Good and evil lose their meaning, "and in the absolute being coincides with nonbeing."

Yes, but what no one dares to say is that in the horizon of these philosophies, atomic wars must be, if not justified, at least accepted.

No, I reject that.

True meaning of nuclear catastrophe can only be this:

The mutation of the human species, and the arrival of the new man.

Yes, but atomic wars will destroy populations, civilizations.

That is the price to be paid.

How can you even say that?

The resulting electromagnetic pulse will create an unlimited potential for post-historic man.

Yes, but it could go the other way and provoke a regression in the species.

All that matters is knowledge and the perfection of the human being.

So you're saying that the end justifies the means?

There is no other way.

Just as there was no other way for Veronica, just aging and suffering and then death.

There was no other way.

That's why you've never finished your book, why you'll always be a failure.


Dominic, what have you done?

Oh, Dominic.

Save me. Save me, Dominic.

Dominic, what have you done?

What have you done?

And the third rose?

Where shall I put the third rose?

Oh, where shall I put it?


Dominic Matei?

Cuconul Dominic Matei?

Is it you?

Praise God, you've returned.

Dr. Neculache, look. He's back.

Cuconul Dominic is here.

In other words, the story begins all over again.

Old friend.


Look, it's you. I'm dreaming.

I am dreaming.

When I wake up, it will seem like I've just begun to dream indeed.

It's like, uh, the story of Chuang-tzu and the butterfly.

The story of Chuang-tzu and the butterfly?


A king who was dreaming that he was a butterfly that dreamed he was a king, who was dreaming he was a butterfly.

I know very well that I'm--

I'm dreaming, and in a minute or two I will wake up.

You are awake, Cucoane Dominic, but you are tired.

In fact, you look very tired.

All right.

Between December the 20th, 1938, and this evening, many things have happened.

That is when it is happening, Cucoane Dominic.

This is December 20th, 1938.

I don't dare tell you what year we are really living in, we who are outside this dream.

I know that if I were to make the effort, I would wake up.

You are not dreaming, Coane Dominic.

You're here with us, your friends.

You're at the Café Select.

This is what we imagined would happen.

When Conul Dominic comes to his senses, when he recovers, you'll see.

He'll go straight to the Café Select.

But if I'm not dreaming, then you'd know about...


Of the hydrogen bomb, of Neil Armstrong, the astronaut who landed and walked on the moon...

...last summer in July.


Dominic, it's true.

You've come back.


You look good.

Welcome, old friend.

It's like that story of, uh, the Chinese philosopher, you know, the one I've told you about many times.

Which Chinese philosopher?

The name escapes me now.

The one with the butterfly.

Well, it's too long to repeat.

I'll call for a sleigh to take you home.

I don't need a sleigh.

I'm going on foot.

The next time the problem arises, I shall know how to answer.

What problem, dear Dominic?

The problem which worries all of us.


Is it your teeth?

Is it your teeth? Dominic?

Should I lock up the door?

The guest in Room 19 hasn't come back yet.

He went to the Café Select.

I'll call.

Yes, he came here.

He went into the backroom.

Uh, no one was there, so he stayed only a few minutes and left without saying good night.

He was, uh, holding his hand to his mouth.

And the third?

Where do you want me to put the third rose?