Based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink
INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. BERLIN. DAY. CREDITS 1995. A modern apartment, all cool and glass. MICHAEL BERG is preparing breakfast, laying the table for two. He is 51, dark- haired, saturnine. He is doing everything with deliberate quietness, taking the occasional glance towards the bedroom to check he's not making too much noise. He is boiling an egg, which he takes out of boiling water and puts on a sparkling clean plate. MICHAEL puts the yolk-stained egg-cup and plate into the sink, his breakfast eaten, then, as noiseless as he can, turns on the tap to run water. The bedroom door opens, and BRIGITTE comes out, naked. She's attractive, younger. The credits end.
BRIGITTE You didn't wake me. MICHAEL You were sleeping. BRIGITTE You let me sleep because you can't bear to have breakfast with me. It's half-serious. MICHAEL doesn't react. MICHAEL Nothing could be further from the truth. I boiled you an egg. See? MICHAEL produces a second boiled egg in a cup, seemingly from nowhere, like a magician, and puts it on the table. MICHAEL I'd hardly have boiled you an egg if I didn't want to see you. Tea or coffee? BRIGITTE has re-appeared from the bedroom, now in a dressing gown. She's still half-serious. BRIGITTE Does any woman ever stay long enough to find out what the hell goes on in your head? MICHAEL smiles to himself. BRIGITTE What are you doing tonight?
2. MICHAEL I'm seeing my daughter. BRIGITTE Your daughter? You've kept very quiet about her. MICHAEL Have I? She's been abroad for a year. Did you say tea? INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. BERLIN. DAY MICHAEL kisses BRIGITTE on the cheek as she departs. BRIGITTE I'm going. Give my love to your daughter. He closes the door, then turns to the open door of the bedroom. He looks at the mess of last night's love-making. Then he goes to the window and looks out. A yellow U-Bahn goes by. INT. TRAM. DAY. December 1958. MICHAEL, now 15, is sitting on a tram. He is in a well-cut suit he's inherited, ill-fitting, with two-tone shoes and tangled mop of hair. Sweat breaks out all over his face. A WOMAN is staring at him. He's plainly feeling ill. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. DAY 1995. MICHAEL stands at the window, looking out. INT. TRAM. DAY 1958. Impulsively MICHAEL gets up, rings the bell and gets off at the next stop. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. DAY 1995. MICHAEL closes the window. EXT. BANHOFSTRASSE. DAY 1958. It has come on to rain. MICHAEL is walking along the street, looking more and more sickly. There is an archway leading to a courtyard, and impulsively he darts inside to get out of the rain. He begins to vomit. Opposite him is a wood workshop open to the yard. A uniformed TRAM CONDUCTRESS walks past.
3. MICHAEL'S body is turned away, his face invisible, his hand over his mouth. She puts down her ticket machine on the pavement and seizes him by the arm. HANNA Hey. Hey! HANNA SCHMITZ has ash-blonde hair and is in her mid-thirties. She disappears. He's sick again. She reappears with a bucket of water to sluice down the pavement. She wipes his face down with a wet cloth. Then she fills another bucket. HANNA Hey, kid. Hey. MICHAEL I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Effortlessly, HANNA takes MICHAEL in her arms. She holds his head against her breasts. MICHAEL buries himself and slowly he stops sobbing. Then he lifts his head. HANNA Where do you live? EXT. STREET. DAY HANNA and MICHAEL walk at a fair pace along a street, dotted with the scaffolding of new building. HANNA is carrying his satchel, she is pulling him by the arm. EXT. BLUMENSTRASSE. DAY They come up the road. It is now snowing. MICHAEL stops outside his block, as if nervous she might come in. MICHAEL It's here. I'll be fine now. Thank you. HANNA Look after yourself. MICHAEL smiles `Thank you' and goes in. HANNA is left alone. She looks round, frowning, then sets off, stopping uncertainly at the crossroads to check for the way she came. MICHAEL turns and watches, curious at her indecision. INT. BERG APARTMENT. BLUMENSTRASSE. NIGHT CARLA BERG is at the stove in the kitchen. She takes dinner through for the BERG family, at a round table in a traditional apartment, under a five-candled brass chandelier.
4. MICHAEL'S father, PETER, is a balding, abstracted man, eating in oppressive silence. Next to him, his older brother THOMAS, 18, his older sister, ANGELA, and his younger sister, EMILY. MICHAEL has his book in front of him, not touching his food. CARLA I'm worried about him. He looks terrible. PETER The boy's saying he doesn't need a doctor. EMILY He does. MICHAEL I don't need a doctor. PETER Good then. CARLA looks reproachful. CARLA Peter. PETER We're not going to argue about this. People have to take responsibility for their own lives. INT. BEDROOM. BERG APARTMENT. DAY MICHAEL is lying in a single bed, his face violently inflamed. CARLA is with the DOCTOR, a much older man. DOCTOR Remind me, how old are you now? CARLA Michael's fifteen. DOCTOR It's scarlet fever. He'll be in bed for several months. At least. MICHAEL turns into the pillow, a wet patch beneath his head. Delusional with fever, he senses a presence at the door. He turns. It's EMILY. But at once CARLA's arm pulls her away. CARLA Keep away. He's contagious.
5. They vanish. The door closes. In the corridor the DOCTOR is heard. DOCTOR Burn the sheets. Complete isolation. And three months is the minimum. INT & EXT. BERG APARTMENT. DAY 1959. A sunny day in March. MICHAEL's bed has been moved beside open windows so he can profit from the weak sun. He is sitting up, working on his stamp collection. CARLA is moving round behind him, tidying the room. CARLA How are you feeling? MICHAEL Better. By the way, I meant to tell you, the day I got ill... a woman helped me. A woman in the street. CARLA She helped you? MICHAEL Yes. She brought me home. CARLA Do you have her address? EXT. BANHOFSTRASSE. DAY MICHAEL is standing holding a small bunch of flowers. He is looking puzzled at a row of bells with numbers only. The woodyard is busy. WORKMEN come out of the building. INT. STAIRS & LANDING. BANHOFSTRASSE. DAY MICHAEL comes up the stairwell, once grand, now in decay - green linoleum and faded red paint. The sound of a sentimental song at the open door of a small apartment. Inside, HANNA is ironing in a sleeveless smock, blue with red flowers. Her hair is fastened in a clip. She looks at him a moment. HANNA Come in.
6. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY The flat is without decoration, an enfilade of small rooms. A stove, a sink, a tub, a boiler, a table, a few wooden chairs. There is no window, just a balcony door to let light into the room. HANNA carries on ironing. MICHAEL I brought you these flowers. To say thank you. HANNA Put them down there. MICHAEL puts them beside the sink. HANNA has a blanket and a cloth over the table : nothing disturbs her rhythm, as she irons one piece of laundry after another, then folds it and puts it over one of the chairs. MICHAEL I would have come earlier, but I've been in bed for three months. HANNA You're better now? MICHAEL Thank you. HANNA Have you always been weak? MICHAEL Oh no. I'd never been ill before. It's incredibly boring. There's nothing to do. I couldn't even be bothered to read. HANNA carries on ironing. He is becoming as comfortable with the silence as she is. She starts ironing a pair of knickers. He watches her bare arms moving back and forth. She looks broad-planed, strong. She is at peace with being watched. She puts one pair of knickers down, then does another. Then she upends the iron. HANNA I have to go to work. I'll walk with you. Wait in the hall while I change. MICHAEL goes out into the hall. The kitchen door is slightly open. HANNA takes off her smock and stands in a green slip. Her stockings are hanging over the back of a chair.
7. She picks one up, rolls it, smooths it up over her calf and knee, then attaches it to her suspender. She reaches for the other. The flesh is bare between her legs. MICHAEL watches, riveted. HANNA seems oblivious. But as she is about to put the second stocking on, she looks at him. She drops her dress, and straightens, holding her stare. In response, he blushes, then panics and runs out of the flat. The door slams. INT. STAIRS. DAY MICHAEL runs down the stairs in terror and shame, and out the front door. EXT. COURTYARD. DAY The WORKMEN look up, curious, as MICHAEL flies by, slamming the outer door. INT. BEDROOM. DAWN MICHAEL is lying in bed. He looks up at the sound of a tram going by outside. EXT. STREET. DAWN The tram making its way along the quiet street. INT. BEDROOM. DAWN MICHAEL gets out of bed and quickly gets dressed. INT. TRAM. DAY MICHAEL, reading a book, watches unobserved, fascinated as HANNA collects tickets. She calls out the name of the next stop. She doesn't see him as she works. EXT. BANHOFSTRASSE. DAY MICHAEL is standing on the other side of the street from HANNA'S courtyard. He is in two minds about whether to go in. The WOODWORKERS are loading a van. He waits for them to finish before he slips in through the archway, making his way to the stairs. INT. LANDING. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY MICHAEL is sitting on the steps of the first landing. Then, as if from nowhere, HANNA is suddenly standing behind him, in uniform, carrying a box of coal in one hand, a scuttle in the other. She looks tired but not surprised to see him.
8. HANNA There are two more buckets downstairs. You can fill them and bring them up. HANNA walks straight past him. For a moment he tenses as if there might be some contact. But she goes by. INT. CELLAR. DAY MICHAEL opens the door. He turns on a dim light. There is a flight of wooden stairs into the murk of a huge pile of coke, poured in from the street. He goes down to the bottom, and picks up a bucket. He digs in to the coke, and at once it comes tumbling down on him in a cloud of dust. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY HANNA is at the kitchen table, drinking a glass of milk. She has taken off her jacket and loosened her tie. MICHAEL comes in with the two buckets of coal, his face and clothes filthy. She roars with laughter, full-throated. HANNA You look ridiculous, look at you, kid. MICHAEL sees himself in the mirror, but she has already got up, going towards the tub in the corner of the kitchen. HANNA You can't go home like that. Give me your clothes, I'll run you a bath. HANNA opens the tap. There's a boiler, and steaming hot water comes out. MICHAEL takes off his sweater, then stops. HANNA What, do you always take a bath in your trousers? HANNA takes his sweater and goes to open the balcony door. He undresses. She puts his sweater on the balcony rail. HANNA It's all right, I won't look. On the contrary, she turns and walks straight towards him. MICHAEL is naked. HANNA takes his clothes from the chair. He gets into the bath. She goes to the balcony. In the bath, he submerges himself. HANNA goes out and shakes his clothes out in the open air.
9. When he comes up from under the water, she is laying his clothes back on the chair. She picks up the shampoo and hands it to him. HANNA Wash your hair, I'll get you a towel. MICHAEL washes his hair, then submerges again. When he comes back up, HANNA is holding out a large towel. He gets out, turning away to hide his erection. From behind, she wraps his body and rubs him dry. Then she lets the towel fall. She puts her body against his back, and he realises she's naked. He turns and faces her. HANNA So. That's why you came back. MICHAEL looks at her, awed. MICHAEL You're so incredibly beautiful. HANNA Now, kid, you know that's not true. At once she puts her arms round him and they kiss. MICHAEL goes down onto the floor, HANNA on top of him. All the time, she's staring into his eyes. He can't take it. He closes his eyes and, about to come, begins to scream. She puts her hand over his mouth to smother the noise. INT. DINING ROOM. BERG APARTMENT. NIGHT The family is half-way through their meal. MICHAEL is sitting watching them eat, thinking about his lovemaking with HANNA. PETER You've inconvenienced your mother. MICHAEL How many more times? I've said I'm sorry. PETER You scared her. MICHAEL It's hardly my fault, I got lost, that's all. That's why I was late. Can I have some more? He reaches for more stew. THOMAS goes on eating, a look of contempt on his face, too superior to engage in this.
10. EMILY How can anyone get lost in their own home town? MICHAEL The doctor told me I had to take walks. EMILY So? MICHAEL I meant to head for the castle, I ended up at the sports-field. EMILY They're in opposite directions. MICHAEL It's none of your business. EMILY He's lying. CARLA He's not lying. Michael never lies. CARLA smiles benignly. EMILY knows she's right. They all eat on for a few moments. MICHAEL Dad, I've decided, I want to go back to school tomorrow. CARLA The doctor says you need another three weeks. MICHAEL Well I'm going. CARLA Peter? PETER If he wants to go back, then he must. MICHAEL can't breathe, as if some decisive moment in his life has been reached. PETER is looking at him, seeming to know what's going on.
11. EXT. SCHOOL. DAY A massive brownstone building. The whole SCHOOL is coming out, but MICHAEL is first, in a desperate hurry, waving goodbye to his friends and running quickly away. INT. STAIRS & LANDING. BANHOFSTRASSE. DAY MICHAEL comes quickly up the stairs. The door of HANNA'S apartment is ajar. He pushes it open. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY HANNA is at the sink. MICHAEL comes in, precipitate, tearing off his clothes and embracing her at the same time. He drops his trousers and lifts her onto the sink. He comes in about twenty seconds. He stands sweating. HANNA All right, kid, it's not just about you. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY They are on the bed. He is lying underneath her. HANNA leads his hands to her face, then down her body. She begins to move, and in response, he moves too. He watches awed as she comes. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY HANNA has fallen asleep on MICHAEL'S chest. He is awake, looking at the birthmark on her left shoulder. The sound of the wood yard below. He kisses the birthmark. She stirs. MICHAEL What's your name? She opens her eyes. A look of suspicion. HANNA What? MICHAEL Your name. HANNA Why do you want to know? MICHAEL I've been here three times. You haven't told me your name.
12. MICHAEL waits a moment. HANNA It's Hanna. What's yours, kid? MICHAEL Michael. HANNA Michael. Hmm. So I'm with a Michael. HANNA smiles, as if there were something funny about it. MICHAEL `Hanna'. INT. CLASSROOM. SCHOOL. DAY A TEACHER, in his sixties, has scrawled the words `Odysseus', `Hamlet' and `Faust' on the blackboard. The class of BOYS is attentive. Next to him, his friend HOLGER SCHLUTER. Across the way, RUDOLF. TEACHER The notion of secrecy is central to Western literature. You may say the whole idea of character in fiction is defined by people holding specific information which for various reasons - sometimes perverse, sometimes noble - they are determined not to disclose. MICHAEL looks content. The bell goes. INT. CORRIDOR. SCHOOL. DAY The BOYS come pouring out cheerfully into the corridor and head to the next classroom. MICHAEL'S demeanour has changed. There's a knowingness, a swagger, a confidence which is new. MICHAEL lingers for a moment, then slopes off in the opposite direction, alone. EXT. SCHOOL. DAY MICHAEL comes out the back door of the school, unobserved, climbs over the railings and starts to run down the street. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. EVE Later. Dark. MICHAEL is almost asleep, HANNA awake.
13. HANNA You never tell me what you've been studying. MICHAEL Studying? HANNA At school. Do you learn languages? MICHAEL Yes. HANNA What languages? MICHAEL Latin. HANNA Say something in Latin. MICHAEL Oh... MICHAEL thinks a moment. MICHAEL Quo, quo scelesti ruitis? Aut cur dexteris aptantur enses conditi? MICHAEL smiles slightly. MICHAEL It's Horace. HANNA It's wonderful. MICHAEL Do you want some Greek? MICHAEL grins, pleased to be able to do something. He goes and gets his satchel. HANNA turns on a light. MICHAEL Oi men ippeon stroton oi de pesedon oi da naon phais epi gan malainan emmenai kalliston, ego de ken otto tis eratai. HANNA It's beautiful.
14. MICHAEL How can you tell? How do you know when you've no idea what it means? HANNA looks at him a moment. HANNA What about in German? MICHAEL In German? HANNA Do you have anything? MICHAEL Well, I'm writing an essay. It's about a play. By a writer called Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Perhaps you've heard of him? HANNA makes no reaction. MICHAEL The play's called Emilia Galotti. HANNA Have you got it? MICHAEL reaches down to the satchel and pulls out a book. MICHAEL Here. You can read it. HANNA I'd rather listen to you. There is a silence as MICHAEL absorbs the idea. MICHAEL All right. I'm not very good. MICHAEL grins, embarrassed, then opens the book. MICHAEL Act One. Scene One. The setting : one of the prince's chambers. Prince - "Complaints, nothing but complaints, petitions, nothing but petitions. For goodness' sake, just imagine that people actually envy us."
15. INT. KITCHEN. NIGHT Later. They are in the bath together. HANNA takes a piece of soap and runs it lovingly down his cheek. Then she passes the soap across his stomach. HANNA You're good at it, aren't you? MICHAEL Good at what? HANNA Reading. He smiles. HANNA Why are you smiling? MICHAEL Because I didn't think I was good at anything. INT. GYMNASIUM. DAY MICHAEL is playing handball with terrific physical confidence. A couple of bruising physical encounters. HOLGER, RUDOLF and MICHAEL all laugh. The whistle blows. Game over. EXT. TRAM. DAWN An empty tram moving through the eerie early morning streets. MICHAEL appears walking alongside it and gets on. INT. TRAM. DAWN MICHAEL is sitting in the second carriage. He looks up. The CONDUCTRESS is HANNA. At first, she does not notice him. MICHAEL watches, waiting to be noticed. She turns round and looks at him. He smiles in greeting but she makes no acknowledgement at all. She turns away. He frowns, bewildered. EXT. TRAM. DAY The tram is heading out of town. INT. TRAM. DAY HANNA is now talking animatedly to the DRIVER. They are getting on very well, laughing together and chatting. MICHAEL is still by himself in the second carriage, looking foolish.
16. EXT. TRAM. DAY The tram comes to a halt and PASSENGERS get on. INT. TRAM. DAY HANNA is now in the busy second carriage, collecting tickets. MICHAEL looks up expectantly. But as he holds up his ticket, HANNA makes no reaction except to clip it. She turns away without speaking. The tram comes to a halt again, and MICHAEL, humiliated, bolts for the door. EXT. ROAD. DAY MICHAEL watches the tram disappears up the hill. He looks around, lost, in the middle of nowhere. A tractor goes by, WORKERS heading to the fields. MICHAEL sets off to walk back to town. INT. LANDING. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY MICHAEL is on the stairs as HANNA comes up, in her uniform. MICHAEL What was all that about? HANNA lets herself in, saying nothing. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY HANNA has gone in to put down her things at the kitchen table. MICHAEL follows, desperate. MICHAEL I got up - at 4.30 - specially - it's the first day of the holidays, I'd been planning to surprise you - HANNA Poor little baby. Got up at four thirty - and on your holidays too. MICHAEL What is this? I was on your tram! You totally ignored me! What do you think I was doing? Why the hell do you think I was there? MICHAEL has yelled in desperation. HANNA looks him straight in the eye.
17. HANNA I haven't the slightest idea. And what you do is your business not mine. HANNA turns and moves away. HANNA And if you wanted to speak to me, I was in the first carriage. So why did you sit in the second? HANNA goes to run a bath. HANNA And now, thanks very much, I've been working, I need a bath. Get out, I'd like to be by myself. MICHAEL I didn't mean to upset you. HANNA You don't have the power to upset me. You don't matter enough to upset me. She takes off her clothes to get in. As soon as she does, he gets up and goes into the other room. He sits by himself, miserable. He hears her, bathing. Then finally gets up and goes back in. She is still in the bath. MICHAEL I don't know what to say. I've never been with a woman. We've been together four weeks and I can't live without you. I can't. Even the thought of it kills me. HANNA looks at him thoughtfully. MICHAEL I sat in the second carriage because I thought you might kiss me. HANNA Kid, you thought we could make love in a tram? They smile. But MICHAEL has a more urgent question.
18. MICHAEL Is it true what you said? That I don't matter to you? In the bath, she shakes her head. MICHAEL Do you forgive me? She nods. MICHAEL Do you love me? She looks at him. Then she nods. INT. BEDROOM. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY MICHAEL is sitting on the side of the bed. HANNA comes in, wrapped in a towel. HANNA Do you have a book? MICHAEL Oh. Well I do. I took something with me this morning. HANNA What is it? MICHAEL It's another play. MICHAEL gets it out of his pocket. HANNA has lain down on the bed, completely content. HANNA We're changing the order we do things. Read to me first, kid. Then we make love. MICHAEL sits at the foot of the bed and starts to read. MICHAEL Intrigue and Love, a play by Friedrich Schiller... INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY HANNA is baking bread. MICHAEL is on a chair beside her with a book.
19. MICHAEL The Odyssey by Homer. HANNA What's an odyssey? MICHAEL It's a journey. He sets out on a journey. He starts to read. MICHAEL "Sing to me of the Man, Muse, the man of twists and turns Driven time and again off course, once he had plundered The hallowed heights of Troy. Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds, Many pains he suffered, heartsick at the open sea, Fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home... INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. EVE HANNA is in the bath. MICHAEL is reading a Shakespeare sonnet to her. MICHAEL "And we will some new pleasures prove of golden sands and crystal brooks, with silken lights and silver hooks..." HANNA Come here. She pulls him into the bath. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. NIGHT HANNA is sewing. MICHAEL is reading Huckleberry Finn. MICHAEL I poked into the place aways and encountered a little open patch as big as a bedroom, all hung around with vines and found a man lying there asleep, and by Jinks it was my old Jim...
20. He starts acting out Jim, and the two of them collapse laughing. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY MICHAEL is at the bottom of the bed. HANNA is lying inside. He is reading Lady Chatterley's Lover. MICHAEL "Lady Chatterley felt his naked flesh against her as he came into her. For a moment he was still inside her... HANNA This is disgusting. Where did you get this? MICHAEL I borrowed it from someone at school. HANNA You should be ashamed. Go on. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. EVE MICHAEL reads Tin-Tin to HANNA, who is lying on the bed. They are both looking at the pictures. MICHAEL `Blistering Barnacles and a thundering typhoon. It is water.' `But what on earth did you expect it to be?' HANNA Whisky. MICHAEL Whisky! By thunder, whisky. `Whisky? Come now captain, you can't be serious.' HANNA All right, kid, that's enough for today. They fall back onto the bed.
21. MICHAEL I was wondering, do you think you could get some time off? Maybe we could go for a trip. HANNA What sort of trip? MICHAEL I'd love to go bicycling. Just for two days. MICHAEL reaches for a book. MICHAEL I've got a guide-book. I've worked out the route. Look, what do you think? HANNA'S look is so far-away she doesn't seem to hear the question. Silence. Then : HANNA I think you like planning, don't you? She throws the book away and they begin to make love. INT. BEDROOM. BERG APARTMENT. DAWN First light. Dawn breaking outside the window. MICHAEL is working at his desk, the surface covered in stamps, his collection book open. He picks one with a pyramid on it and looks at it. Underneath, MICHAEL'S VOICE reading Intrigue and Love by Schiller. MICHAEL'S VOICE "I'm not frightened. I'm not frightened of anything. Why should I be? I welcome obstacles, because they'll be like mountains I can fly over to be in your arms. The more I suffer, the more I'll love... INT & EXT. SHOP. DAY Seen from outside, a shop full of stamps. MICHAEL and a STAMP DEALER with white hair and a moustache. MICHAEL is offering his pyramid stamp, his gestures becoming desperate as the STAMP DEALER shakes his head, clearly not giving him as much as he hopes.
22. Then MICHAEL concedes, the DEALER concedes, and a bunch of notes are handed across. MICHAEL runs exhilarated out into the street. MICHAEL'S VOICE "Danger will only increase my love, it will sharpen it, it will give it spice. I'll be the only angel you need. On this arm, Luise, you will go dancing through life. You will leave life even more beautiful than you entered it. Heaven will take you back and look at you and say `Only one thing can make a soul complete, and that thing is love.' EXT. HILL. DAY HANNA and MICHAEL are whizzing down a hill together on bicycles. He has a rucksack. It's a rural paradise - hills on all sides, a gleaming river below, the sun shining brightly. She is wearing a blue dress. EXT. CAFE. DAY They come to a cafe and sit down outside. They pick up the menus on the table. A WAITRESS arrives. WAITRESS So what would you like to have? MICHAEL What are you having? HANNA You order. I'll have what you have. MICHAEL starts giving the order. Next to them are a group of BOY SCOUTS, who are laughing among themselves. BOYS There's sausages, sausages or sausages. Give it to me, come on, give it here. Let me have a look. You always have the same thing. They all laugh. HANNA watches them nervously. EXT. CAFE. DAY The meal finished, MICHAEL is alone, paying the bill. WAITRESS I hope your mother was happy.
23. MICHAEL Thank you. She enjoyed her meal very much. The WAITRESS goes. HANNA returns from inside. MICHAEL holds out his arm to her, which she takes. They walk away towards their bikes. He is smiling. MICHAEL looks round, then dares to reach across and kiss her on the lips. The WAITRESS watches. EXT. CHURCH. DAY They get off their bikes at a small church. MICHAEL stops and gets out a map and a guide book. MICHAEL Here, let me show you where we're going. HANNA It's OK, kid. I don't want to know. The sound of a choir from inside. INT. CHURCH. DAY MICHAEL and HANNA enter tentatively to find a choir rehearsing Bach. It is a traditional German scene - whole families singing together at the altar. HANNA is transported, entranced at the sound of the music. MICHAEL watches. EXT. RIVERSIDE. DAY HANNA is in a river, the water up to her calves, her skirt tied round her thighs. She is completely absorbed. Then she looks up, aware of being watched. MICHAEL is sitting with a notebook. HANNA What are you doing? MICHAEL I'm writing a poem. About you. HANNA Can I hear it? MICHAEL It's not ready. I'll read it to you one day.
24. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. BERLIN. DAY 1995. MICHAEL, now 51, is standing by his desk. He opens a drawer. He takes out the recognizable notebook. He opens its yellowing pages and looks at the poetry. Then flips the pages, to some handwritten lists - the words `Odyssey', `Schnitzler', `Chekhov', `Zweig' with numbers beside them. MICHAEL flaps it shut, puts it back and turns to go out. INT. STREET. DAY MICHAEL leaves his apartment block. He gets into his black Mercedes. INT. CAR. DAY MICHAEL is listening on the radio to the same Bach music they heard in the church. He drives through the thriving modern city. Beyond, the huge cranes and gouged-out building sites of a city under construction. EXT. STREET. DAY MICHAEL swings his car into place. He gets out and heads across the road, prosperous, purposeful. INT. LOBBY. COURTHOUSE. DAY An ASSISTANT meets MICHAEL with his robe which he pulls on as he walks quickly through an elaborate lobby. GERHARD BADE, also in his fifties, also robed, falls in step. GERHARD You all right, Michael? MICHAEL I'm fine. GERHARD You'd better hurry. You know what she's like. A robed ASSISTANT is waiting outside the door with documents he hands to MICHAEL. They all go in. INT. COURTROOM. DAY MICHAEL joins his CLIENT, just seconds before the FEMALE JUDGE comes in and everyone stands. Silence. The JUDGE looks at MICHAEL disapprovingly, sensing his lateness. Everyone sits. MICHAEL sits, thinking back.
25. INT. STAIRWAY. SCHOOL. DAY 1958. A sheriff's posse of sixteen-year old GIRLS, come laughing, blushing towards the classroom. One of them is talking excitedly to the other. SOPHIE I'm just going to pretend I've been here for years, I'm not going to behave in any special way. GIRL You just wait. You wait and see. They smile together and head for the classroom. INT. SCHOOL. DAY The BOYS are already in place, dotted round, as the GIRLS come in. There are cries of `Here they come'. Then the TEACHER comes in. TEACHER Good morning, ladies. Gentlemen, please welcome your new fellow- students, treat them with courtesy, please. Not far from MICHAEL, a GIRL sits across the aisle, virginal with brown hair, brown summer skin. SOPHIE Hello. My name's Sophie. MICHAEL I'm Michael. The TEACHER comes in. The class quietens. INT. SCHOOL. DAY Later. The TEACHER is in full flow. MICHAEL can't take his eyes off SOPHIE. TEACHER Everyone believes that Homer's subject is homecoming. In fact, The Odyssey is a book about a journey. Home is a place you dream of, it's not a place you ever attain. The TEACHER breaks off.
26. TEACHER Berg, I don't mean to distract you, but we're meant to studying Homer, not studying Sophia. The whole class cracks up. MICHAEL blushes. EXT. SWIMMING LAKE. DAY MICHAEL is riveted as SOPHIE swims fast and lithe through the water. Around him, YOUNG PEOPLE are lounging round on towels. It's the social centre. HOLGER and RUDOLF are rubbing their hair with towels as SOPHIE approaches. HOLGER Michael the water's fantastic. MICHAEL It's wonderful, isn't it? HOLGER Wonderful. It's going to be a great summer. MICHAEL looks across to where a group of AMERICANS are shouting and playing a very loud game of volleyball. HOLGER Now the Americans have allowed us back in our own lake. SOPHIE Why are they so loud? HOLGER You should see their stores. They have everything. MICHAEL Oh sure. Everything mankind could ever dream of. SOPHIE You don't like Americans? MICHAEL Just it's more fun without them. He looks SOPHIE straight in the eye. There is a sudden silence, MICHAEL looking straight at SOPHIE. SOPHIE looks down. Then MICHAEL moves slightly to pack up his stuff.
27. SOPHIE Why do you leave early? HOLGER He always leaves early. EXT. BANHOFSTRASSE. DAY MICHAEL is cycling back towards town, a smile on his face. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY MICHAEL flies up the stairs, then goes in. HANNA is sitting sewing. He kisses her on the cheek as he gets out a book. MICHAEL I'm sorry I'm late. I was held up at school. At once he sits down opposite her. A ritual. MICHAEL The Lady with the Little Dog. By Anton Chekhov. HANNA looks, seeing right through him. MICHAEL "The talk was that a new face had appeared on the promenade, a lady with a little dog." INT. GARAGE. DAY A huge tram-shed full of empty trams. HANNA is at the end of the garage, talking to the SUPERVISER, a large man in his fifties. SUPERVISER Schmitz, one moment. We've got good news for you. Your work is good, we're going to promote you. To work with me in the office. It's more money. Congratulations. He moves away. HANNA looks distraught. EXT. SWIMMING LAKE. DAY MICHAEL is watching SOPHIE swimming, a look of anxiety in his eye, when HOLGER touches his shoulder.
28. HOLGER Get a move on, we're leaving early today. MICHAEL Why? What for? HOLGER We're going back to Sophie's. It's your birthday. We're giving you a party. HOLGER and RUDOLF disappear to get dressed. SOPHIE appears in her swimming costume. SOPHIE Come on, it's a surprise. We thought you'd like it. We've been planning it for weeks. MICHAEL I'm sorry. Really. I promised someone I'd do something else. The others are furious with him. They all go off. EXT. STREET. DAY MICHAEL is cycling towards HANNA'S apartment, his hair wet from the lake, looking equally unhappy. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY HANNA is sitting unhappily as MICHAEL reads to her. They are both in a bad mood. HANNA Oh kid, kid. Stop. MICHAEL What's wrong? HANNA Nothing's wrong. It's nothing. HANNA just shrugs. She goes and sits at the table to drink tea. MICHAEL is irritated. MICHAEL You never ask, you never bother to ask how I am.
29. HANNA You never say. MICHAEL It just happens to be my birthday. It's my birthday, that's all. In fact, you've never even asked when it is. HANNA Look if you want a fight, kid... MICHAEL No, I don't want a fight. What's wrong with you? HANNA What business is it of yours? She has snapped at him, razor-like. MICHAEL It's always on your terms. Everything. We do what you want. It's always what you want. My friends were giving me a party! HANNA Well then why are you here? Go back to your party. Isn't that what you want? HANNA puts down her cup, angry. She goes into the bedroom and slams the door. He sits, the magic of the day gone. He gets up and opens the bedroom door. HANNA is on the bed. MICHAEL And it's always me that has to apologize. Silence. HANNA lets time go by. Then : HANNA You don't have to apologize. No-one has to apologize. No-one can make you. HANNA reaches for a book from beside the bed. She throws it down on the cover. HANNA War and Peace, kid.
30. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY HANNA is on the edge of the bath, running water. She has a pale blue flowered smock. She is running with sweat. The smock sticks to her. MICHAEL gets out a book. HANNA drops lavender oil into the bath. MICHAEL stands in the bath and she washes his body. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY They are making love on the bed. It's intense. At one point she moves on top of him. She holds his head between her hands, as if she would crush the life out of him. Then she lets go. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY They are both sweating, exhausted. She looks a moment. HANNA Now you must go back to your friends. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. DAY MICHAEL has gone. HANNA washes out milk bottles and empties them into the sink. Then she picks up her luggage and leaves the empty apartment. EXT. SWIMMING LAKE. DAY MICHAEL is sitting on the pier watching as HOLGER, RUDOLF and SOPHIE swim competitively out to a pontoon, then turn back, full of energy and high spirits. MICHAEL watches for a while, then suddenly he gets up and starts to run away from them all. SOPHIE Michael. You all right? But MICHAEL is running away across the lakeside beach. INT. LANDING & HANNA'S APARTMENT. DUSK MICHAEL opens the door. He goes in. The apartment is emptied, the rented furniture in place, all trace of HANNA gone. He looks round. He looks at the empty bath, the tap above it. He opens the kitchen cupboards - some coffee, sugar, that's about it. He goes into the bedroom, the bed stripped bare. He lies down on the bed.
31. INT. HANNA'S APARTMENT. NIGHT MICHAEL lying on the bed, curled up, in his clothes, like a foetus, asleep. INT. APARTMENT. DAY The family at breakfast. MICHAEL slips quietly in the main door, trying to go to his room without being heard. EMILY runs to look. EMILY It's him. Sheepishly MICHAEL appears. CARLA Where were you last night? What happened? MICHAEL I stayed at a friend's. PETER Carla. PETER looks. He seems to know exactly what's been going on. PETER Get the boy something to eat. I think we all knew you'd come back to us eventually. EXT. SWIMMING LAKE. DUSK MICHAEL is alone in the deserted pool. He is on the jetty. He takes off his clothes and slips into the water. Just his head, like a seal's, at one end, just out of the water, quite still. INT. COURTHOUSE. NIGHT 1995. MICHAEL sitting alone, thinking back. EXT. SWIMMING LAKE. DUSK 1958. The sun slants, and for a few seconds the water dazzles. He slips his head under. INT. COURTHOUSE. DAY 1995. MICHAEL still sitting thoughtfully by himself in the empty court. Then he looks up. An ASSISTANT has appeared.
32. ASSISTANT Mr Berg. It is eight o'clock. Your daughter. MICHAEL Thank you. He gets up. INT. BRASSERIE. BERLIN. NIGHT JULIA is already at the table in a chic modern brasserie. She is a sympathetic young woman of around 23. MICHAEL approaches. When she sees him, she gets up. JULIA I was early. MICHAEL leans in and kisses her on the cheek. MICHAEL Julia. They're uneasy. She looks a moment, then they sit down. MICHAEL Welcome back. INT. RESTAURANT. NIGHT Later. They have eaten. They both have big glasses of red wine. It's more relaxed. MICHAEL So how will you decide? JULIA I don't know. I'm happy back in Berlin, I suppose. MICHAEL You've seen your mother? JULIA nods. JULIA I wanted to get away. There was nothing more to it. It was Paris, but it could have been anywhere. MICHAEL Away from your parents?
33. JULIA doesn't answer. MICHAEL I'm aware I was difficult. I wasn't always open with you. I'm not open with anyone. JULIA I knew you were distant. I'd always assumed it was my fault. MICHAEL Julia. How wrong can you be? JULIA colours, on the verge of tears. Then she looks away. INT & EXT. CAR. NIGHT They drive through the gleaming streets. It's been raining - Berlin is glistening. Their voices : MICHAEL I admit it now, I was nervous. JULIA I was nervous too. It's silly isn't it? MICHAEL It is silly. JULIA Thank you for dinner. MICHAEL I'll see you very soon. EXT. CAR. DAY MICHAEL lets JULIA out, and is watching her safely to her door from the car. JULIA Good night, Dad. MICHAEL suddenly gets out himself. MICHAEL Julia, wait. I want to ask you a favour. JULIA What favour?
34. MICHAEL I want to take you on a trip. I want to show you something. JULIA When? MICHAEL Tomorrow, maybe. Can I pick you up in the car? JULIA doesn't need to say anything. MICHAEL At ten, say. JULIA smiles. MICHAEL Then good. MICHAEL hugs her, his heart aching with love. JULIA goes in to her place. MICHAEL is left standing still in the plaza outside, not moving. Underneath the sound of what follows, thirty years previously. INT. LECTURE ROOM. HEIDELBERG LAW SCHOOL. DAY 1966. A WOMAN LECTURER has a class of about 75 STUDENTS. From their hair, their dress, it could only be the 1960s. LECTURER Those of you for the special seminar group on The Legal System in the Third Reich, please stay on in this room. Professor Rohl will be here in a moment. Nearly all the STUDENTS leave, talking among themselves. Just eight are left, dotted around the huge room. MICHAEL is one of them, now 22, in a corduroy jacket and tie. There is a lull. MICHAEL looks round at the group of oddballs, then finds ROHL, distinguished, greying, is already in front of them. ROHL Well, we seem to be quite a small group. A small group and a select one. Clearly, this is going to be a unique seminar. Let me start by thanking those of you who've chosen to take part. Good for you. A reading list, gentlemen. (MORE)
35. ROHL (cont'd) Karl Jaspers, The Question of German Guilt... A calm STUDENT with long hair smiles at MICHAEL. She looks like Francoise Hardy. She murmurs. MARTHE And ladies. INT. STUDENT DIGS. NIGHT MICHAEL is working alone at his desk, a light on. The door of his extremely modest student digs is open. MARTHE appears at the door, silently. He looks up. MARTHE So this is where you are. MICHAEL Yes. Come in. But neither of them move. MARTHE just smiles from the door. MARTHE You take work seriously. MICHAEL Oh I don't know. MARTHE You're rather a serious boy. MARTHE shrugs slightly. MICHAEL It's how I was brought up. What about you? Are you serious? MARTHE You're sure you want to work tonight? MICHAEL Well I do. But I won't work every night. MARTHE See you tomorrow. They smile at one another. She goes.
36. INT. TRAIN. DAY The seminar group, long-haired, hippyish, is on the train : PROFESSOR ROHL, with MARTHE, DIETER and a few others. MICHAEL catches MARTHA'S eye. They smile. Then he opens the window, cheerful. EXT. TOWN HALL. MANNHEIM. DAY The STUDENTS are having a cigarette in front of the huge building. Two black vans with barred windows come by, carrying prisoners. The first one veers close to MICHAEL on the pavement, then disappears into the inner courtyard. ROHL smiles at MICHAEL. MICHAEL Why all the police? ROHL They're worried about demonstrators. MICHAEL For or against? ROHL Both. INT. TOWN HALL. DAY A courtroom has been improvised inside the town hall. There are large windows, with milky glass, down the left-hand side. As ROHL and the STUDENTS arrive, the court is a melee of PHOTOGRAPHERS, LAWYERS and PUBLIC. The three JUDGES are already in place, next to six selected CITIZENS. MICHAEL and the others take places in the gallery CLERK All photographers are now asked to leave. The PHOTOGRAPHERS go. JUDGE The defendants, please. From being noisy and chaotic, the court is now silent. JUDGE The first thing I'm going to do is hear motions from each of the defendants' lawyers. (MORE)
37. JUDGE (cont'd) They're going to be arguing that there's no reason to keep the defendants in jail until the outcome of the forthcoming trial. DIETER grins at MICHAEL in anticipation. JUDGE I am going to take these cases one by one. MICHAEL is leaning down to get stuff out of his briefcase, as MARTHE shakes a pen which isn't working. MICHAEL Do you want a pen? MARTHE I've got a pen. So MICHAEL doesn't hear as the JUDGE speaks. JUDGE Hanna Schmitz. There is a row of six DEFENDANTS. The fifth woman is HANNA, her hair tied in a knot, her gaze fixedly into the middle distance, not looking towards the SPECTATORS. She is wearing a grey dress with short sleeves. They all sit, sideways to the gallery. HANNA rises to her feet. The words seem to come very quietly, across a great distance. JUDGE Your name is Hanna Schmitz? HANNA Yes. It is only when the JUDGE repeats the name that MICHAEL looks up, hearing it for the first time. JUDGE Can you speak louder please? HANNA My name is Hanna Schmitz. MICHAEL is rigid, blank, just staring. JUDGE Thank you. You were born on October 21st, 1922?
38. HANNA Yes. JUDGE At Hermannstadt. And you're now 43 years old? HANNA Yes. JUDGE You joined the SS in 1943? HANNA Yes. JUDGE What was your reason? What was your reason for joining? HANNA doesn't answer. JUDGE You were working at the Siemens factory at the time? HANNA Yes. JUDGE You'd recently been offered a promotion. Why did you prefer to join the SS? HANNA has a DEFENCE COUNSEL, a young man, beside her, who is about to get up. But the JUDGE forestalls him. JUDGE I'll re-phrase my question. I'm trying to ascertain if she joined the SS freely. Of her own free will. Everyone waits. JUDGE Well? HANNA I heard there were jobs. JUDGE Go on.
39. HANNA I was working at Siemens when I heard the SS was recruiting. JUDGE Did you know the kind of work you'd be expected to do? HANNA They were looking for guards. I applied for a job. MICHAEL is intent now, so are the STUDENTS beside him. JUDGE And you worked first at Auschwitz? HANNA Yes. JUDGE Until 1944. Then you were moved to a smaller camp near Cracow? HANNA Yes. ROHL leans into MICHAEL. ROHL Are you OK? MICHAEL I'm fine. JUDGE You then helped move the prisoners west in the winter of 1944 in the so-called death marches? INT. TRAIN. DAY MICHAEL is hanging out of the window of the train, smoking a cigarette. INT. TRAIN. DAY MICHAEL sits down in his seat. ROHL moves to sit opposite him. ROHL So what did you think?
40. MICHAEL I don't know. It wasn't quite what I expecting. ROHL Wasn't it? In what way? What were you expecting? ROHL is looking at him. MICHAEL doesn't answer. DIETER I thought it was exciting. ROHL Exciting? DIETER Yes. ROHL Why? Why did you think it exciting? DIETER Because it's justice. EXT. COUNTRYSIDE. DAY The train hurtles through the German countryside. INT. STUDENT DIGS. NIGHT A student party, in a candle-lit room. MARTHE is singing to a guitar. It's been going on for hours - the STUDENTS are on the floor with beer and cigarettes. The front door is open. DIETER, beer in hand, looks out to the balcony where he can see MICHAEL bent away from them, all by himself. EXT. STUDENT DIGS. NIGHT MICHAEL, his arms on the balcony, is smoking, looking out into the night. His eye lands on a student room in which a couple are making love. INT. LECTURE ROOM. HEIDELBERG LAW SCHOOL. DAY The small STUDENT GROUP is now rattling around informally in the big lecture room. ROHL I need to correct an impression. Dieter said yesterday this was about justice. But is it? (MORE)
41. ROHL (cont'd) If it were about justice you might ask why has it taken so long? The war ended twenty years ago. Remember, there've been no significant trials between Nuremburg in 1946 and the Auschwitz trials a couple of years ago. That's a long gap. What's the reason for the gap? ROHL waits a moment for a STUDENT to answer. DIETER I'd have thought it was obvious. ROHL Say. DIETER Cowardice. It's cowardice, isn't it? It's bad conscience. It's the big cover-up. ROHL Go on. DIETER After the war. The German people didn't want to look at what they'd done. ROHL Is that right? DIETER Because they had too much to hide. All our parents are liars. All right, mine are. So it's left to us, isn't it? ROHL How so? DIETER Because we're not implicated. ROHL Aren't you? Good. So that's all right then. Everyone laughs.
42. MARTHE No, but seriously, Dieter's right. My parents, I can't even talk to them. I don't love them. How could I? How could anyone love them? Because they've told themselves so many lies, they can't remember the truth, let alone admit it. Isn't that why we signed up for this seminar? ROHL I don't know. You tell me. MARTHE Speaking for myself. ROHL Michael? MICHAEL I'm not sure any more. ROHL is staring at him thoughtfully. ROHL What did your father do, Dieter? DIETER If you want to know, he was in the Waffen SS. There are some smiles, but DIETER rides over the reaction. DIETER That's what I mean, that's what I'm saying. So were a million other Germans. ROHL That's exactly my point. That's why it's better not to pretend this is about justice. Forgive me, nor is it about getting into an emotional state. It has no purpose if it's just the young giving their parents a bad time. There's a silence. That's clearly why some of them are there. MARTHE So what is it about? What do you think?
43. ROHL Societies think they operate by something called morality. But they don't. They operate by something called law. You're not guilty of anything merely by working at Auschwitz. 8,000 people worked at Auschwitz. Precisely 19 have been convicted, and only 6 for murder. To prove murder you have to prove intent. That's the law. Remember, the question is never `Was it wrong?' but `Was it legal?' And not by our laws, no, by the laws at the time. DIETER frowns, unhappy. DIETER But isn't that... ROHL What? DIETER Narrow? ROHL Yes. The law is narrow. ROHL looks unapologetic. ROHL On the other hand, I suspect people who kill other people tend to be aware that it's wrong. INT. COURTROOM. MANNHEIM. DAY ROHL is leaning forward, attentive. HANNA is standing, opposite the JUDGE, who holds up a book called MOTHER & DAUGHTER : A STORY OF SURVIVAL. JUDGE Miss Schmitz, you're familiar with this book... HANNA Yes... JUDGE Parts of it have already been read out in court. (MORE)
44. JUDGE (cont'd) It's an American publication, which has been translated. It's by a survivor, a prisoner who survived, Ilana Mather... HANNA Yes I know. I know Ilana Mather. JUDGE She was in the camp, wasn't she, when she was a child? She was with her mother. The judge waits. HANNA seems arrogant, defiant. JUDGE In the book, she describes a selection process. At the end of the month's labour, every month, sixty inmates were selected. They were picked out to be sent from the satellite camp back to Auschwitz. That's right, isn't it? HANNA Yes, it's right. JUDGE And so far, each of your fellow defendants has specifically denied being part of that process. Now I'm going to ask you. Were you part of it? HANNA Yes. There is a stir among the other DEFENDANTS and in the court. They start talking to their LAWYERS. JUDGE So you helped make the selection? HANNA Yes. JUDGE You admit that? Then tell me, how did that selection happen? HANNA shrugs slightly, as though it were obvious.
45. HANNA There were six guards, so we decided we'd choose ten people each. That's how we did it - every month. We'd all choose ten. JUDGE Are you saying your fellow defendants took part in the process? HANNA We all did. JUDGE Even though they've denied it? But you admit it. You're saying you took part in the process. The other DEFENDANTS stir with animosity, but the JUDGE is intent, following his own line. JUDGE Did you not realise you were sending these women to their deaths? He waits. HANNA nods slightly. HANNA Yes but there were new arrivals, new women were arriving all the time, so of course we had to move some of the old ones on. JUDGE I'm not sure you understand... HANNA We couldn't keep everyone. There wasn't room. The JUDGE frowns, genuinely surprised that she doesn't seem to understand his point. JUDGE No, but what I'm saying : let me rephrase : to make room, you were picking women out and saying `You you and you have to be sent back to be killed.'
46. HANNA Well, what would you have done? HANNA is looking at the JUDGE - a perfectly straight question. MICHAEL smiles slightly, proud of her. Everyone in the court waits for the JUDGE to answer. Silence. ROHL is impassive. But HANNA follows her own thoughts. She quietly asks herself a question. HANNA So should I never have signed up at Siemens? INT. LOBBY. TOWN HALL. DAY MICHAEL is alone, smoking. On a bench, side by side, are two women. One is very small, dark, in her sixties. The other is composed, formidable, elegant, in her thirties. ROSE and ILANA MATHER. They look up, catching MICHAEL's eye. Then a CLERK leans in to the younger woman. CLERK Ms. Mather, they're ready for you now. The two women go into the court. The door closes. INT. LOBBY & COURTROOM. DAY MICHAEL is alone in the now-deserted lobby, unwilling to go back. Then he goes to the door. He opens it a little. The sound of the trial. He opens the door fully. MICHAEL can see that it is ILANA who is testifying. The court is conspicuously packed. Large black-and-white photographs of the labour camp now dominate the room. MICHAEL comes quietly into the back of the room as the trial goes on. MICHAEL has pushed past a couple of people to sit down near ROSE who is sitting in the body of the court. He looks across to the DEFENDANTS. RITA BECKHART, a large older woman, is one of a couple who isn't bothering to listen. PROSECUTOR In your book you describe the process of selection... ILANA Yes. You were made to work and then, when you were no longer any use to them, then they sent you back to Auschwitz to be killed.
47. PROSECUTOR Are there people here today who made that selection? ILANA Yes. PROSECUTOR I need you to identify them. Can you please point them out? ILANA points with her finger at the DEFENDANTS. ILANA Her. And her. And her. And her. And her. And her. The last finger has been to HANNA. MICHAEL watches, but HANNA does not react. ILANA Each of the guards would choose a certain number of women. Hanna Schmitz chose differently. JUDGE In what way differently? ILANA She had favourites. Girls, mostly young. We all remarked on it, she gave them food and places to sleep. In the evening, she asked them to join her. We all thought - well, you can imagine what we thought. HANNA stares back, impassive. MICHAEL watches. ILANA Then we found out - she was making these women read aloud to her. They were reading to her. At first we thought this guard, this guard is more sensitive, she's more human, she's kinder. Often she chose the weak, the sick, she picked them out, she seemed to be protecting them almost. But then she dispatched them. Is that kinder? HANNA looks back, not apologizing.
48. INT. LOBBY. TOWN HALL. DAY MICHAEL sits alone, head in hands, in despair. INT. COURTROOM. DAY Now ROSE is testifying. The court is quiet, focused. JUDGE I want to move on now to the march. As I understand it, you and your daughter were marched for many months. ROSE Yes. It was the winter of 1944. Our camp was closed down, we were told we had to move on. But the plan kept changing every day. Women were dying all around us in the snow. Half of us died on the march. My daughter says in the book, less a death march, more a death gallop. MICHAEL looks along the row to where ILANA is now sitting. JUDGE Please tell us about the night in the church. MICHAEL watches as ROSE looks across to ILANA. ILANA stares back at her. MICHAEL watches the exchange as ROSE nods, as if accepting she must go ahead and speak. ROSE That night we actually thought we were lucky because we had a roof over our heads. We'd arrived in a village, as always, the guards took the best quarters, they took the priest's house. But they let us sleep in a church. There was a bombing raid. In the middle of the night. At first we could only hear the fire, it was in the steeple. Then we could see burning beams, and they began to crash to the floor. Everyone rushed, rushed to the doors. But the doors had been locked on the outside.
49. JUDGE The church burned down? Nobody came to open the doors? Is that right? ROSE Nobody. JUDGE Even though you were all burning to death? ROSE nods. JUDGE How many people were killed? ROSE Everyone was killed. JUDGE How did you survive? ROSE I needed to get away from the other women. Because they were panicking, they were screaming. I couldn't stand it. I couldn't stand their screaming. I was more frightened of the other women than I was of the fire. So I too my daughter and led her to the upper floor. I can't defend what I did. It's impossible to defend. I took Ilana in my arms and I led her towards the fire. There was a small gallery at the side of the church on the upper level. It saved our lives. The gallery didn't burn. ROSE turns, in tears, to look at ILANA. JUDGE Thank you. I want to thank you for coming to this country today to testify. INT. LECTURE ROOM. LAW SCHOOL. DAY The group is back in the big hall. But the atmosphere is grim. It's a while before DIETER speaks.
50. DIETER I don't know. I don't know what we're doing any more. ROHL Don't you? DIETER You keep telling us to think like lawyers, but there's something disgusting about this. ROHL is very still, like an analyst who is finally leading his patient to the heart of things. ROHL How so? DIETER This didn't happen to the Germans. It happened to the Jews. Everyone is shocked at his violent passion. DIETER What are we trying to do? MICHAEL We're trying to understand. DIETER Six women locked three hundred Jews in a church, and let them burn. What is there to understand? Tell me, I'm asking : what is there to understand? MICHAEL can't answer. DIETER gets up, outraged now. DIETER I started out believing in this trial, I thought it was great, now I think it's just a diversion. ROHL Yes? Diversion from what? DIETER You choose six women, you put them on trial, you say `They were the evil ones, they were the guilty ones'. Brilliant! (MORE)
51. DIETER (cont'd) Because one of the victims happened to write a book! That's why they're on trial and nobody else. Do you know how many camps there were in Europe? DIETER turns, furious. DIETER People go on about how much did everyone know? `Who knew?' `What did they know?' That isn't the question. The question is `How could you let it happen?' And - better - `Why didn't you kill yourself when you found out?' One of the group walks out. DIETER Thousands! That's how many. There were thousands of camps. Everyone knew. DIETER'S passion is so great that everyone is shaken. DIETER Look at that woman... MICHAEL Which woman? DIETER The woman you're always staring at. I'm sorry but you are. MICHAEL is white. The atmosphere is electric. MICHAEL I don't know which woman you mean. DIETER You know what I'd do? Put the gun in my hand, I'd shoot her myself. EXT. EMPTY ROAD. DAY MICHAEL walks along an empty wooded road, miles from anywhere. The sun is shining through the trees behind him.
52. EXT. STRUTHOF CAMP. DAY The wire fence of a concentration camp, deserted. MICHAEL, with a back-pack, goes alone through the metal gate. MICHAEL walks among the deserted empty huts. INT. STRUTHOF CAMP. DAY Inside one of the huts, MICHAEL is by himself staring at a line of empty beds. He moves on, overwhelmed, lost. He passes through the showers. Then he comes to a room with vast metal cages on either side. In the cages, the countless dusty shoes of the exterminated. INT. STRUTHOF CAMP. DAY MICHAEL opens a door and walks into a room with a line of gas ovens. He walks past them. Then he stands beside them, his head down. INT. COURTROOM. DAY HANNA is standing being examined by the JUDGE. Large photographs and maps of the village, with the lay-out of the church, are now on display. JUDGE Why did you not unlock the doors? He waits. HANNA doesn't reply. JUDGE Why did you not unlock the doors? The JUDGE turns to the row of DEFENDANTS. JUDGE I've asked all of you and I'm getting no answer. Two of the victims are in this court. They deserve an answer. ILANA and ROSE are not far away from MICHAEL and the STUDENTS. The JUDGE puts down a bound handwritten document. JUDGE Here, this is the SS report. You all have copies. There is a flurry of paperwork among the DEFENDANTS and LAWYERS as they turn to their copies.
53. JUDGE This is the report which was written, approved and signed by all of you immediately after the event. In the written report, you all claim you didn't even know about the fire until after it happened. But that isn't true, is it? The JUDGE waits. JUDGE Well? It isn't true. HANNA I don't know what you're asking. JUDGE The first thing I'm asking is, why didn't you unlock the doors? HANNA takes a look to the other DEFENDANTS. For the first time her poise is crumbling. HANNA Obviously. For the obvious reason. We couldn't. JUDGE Why? Why couldn't you? HANNA We were guards. Our job was to guard the prisoners. We couldn't just let them escape. JUDGE I see. And if they escaped, then you'd be blamed, you'd be charged, you might even be executed? HANNA No. JUDGE Well then? The JUDGE waits. HANNA If we opened the doors, then there would have been chaos. How could we have restored order? (MORE)
54. HANNA (cont'd) It happened so fast. It was snowing. The bombs - There were flames all over the village. Then the screaming began. It got worse and worse. And if they'd all come rushing out, we couldn't just let them escape. We couldn't. We were responsible for them. JUDGE So you did know what was happening? You did know? You made a choice. You let them die rather than risk letting them escape. HANNA can't answer - she has no answer. JUDGE The other defendants have made an allegation against you. Have you heard this allegation? HANNA does not reply. JUDGE They say you were in charge. HANNA It isn't true. I was just one of the guards. The other DEFENDANTS interrupt to call out `She was in charge'. JUDGE Did you write the report? HANNA No. No. We all discussed what to say. We all wrote it together. BECKHART She wrote it! She wrote the report. She was in charge. JUDGE Is that true? HANNA No. And I didn't write the report. Does it matter who did? RITA BECKHART has called out from her place. The JUDGE looks at HANNA a moment.
55. JUDGE I need to see a sample of your handwriting. HANNA My handwriting? JUDGE Yes. I need to establish who wrote the report. At once HANNA'S COUNSEL rises. HANNA'S COUNSEL I'm sorry, but I really don't see how that's appropriate. Nearly twenty years have gone by. JUDGE Somebody take her this piece of paper. HANNA'S COUNSEL Are you really going to compare handwriting of twenty years ago, with handwriting of today? JUDGE Give her the paper. Counsel, approach the bench. A piece of paper and a pen are put down in front of HANNA. Her COUNSEL moves to the bench. MICHAEL stares, first at her, then at the pen and paper, an apprehension rising in him. INT & EXT. DAY AND NIGHT. FLASHBACKS MICHAEL thinks back, to HANNA in her bedroom saying `No you read', to her looking puzzled at the menu on the bicycle trip, and to her throwing a book away in the apartment. At this moment, MICHAEL realises she is illiterate. INT. COURTROOM. DAY Back in the courtroom, HANNA looks up to the JUDGE to stop the conference. HANNA There's no need. I wrote the report.
56. MICHAEL, in a panic, pushes along his row, past ROHL and the others, who all look up, knowing something is going on. HANNA turns, as if sensing him behind her. INT. STAIRS. HEIDELBERG LAW SCHOOL. DAY MICHAEL is sitting on the steps outside the lecture room. ROHL walks straight past him. ROHL You've been skipping seminars. INT. LECTURE ROOM. HEIDELBERG LAW SCHOOL. DAY MICHAEL comes into the room and sits down, smoking a cigarette. ROHL waits. ROHL So? MICHAEL looks at him. MICHAEL I have a piece of information. Concerning one of the defendants. Something they're not admitting. ROHL What information? MICHAEL stubs out his cigarette. ROHL You don't need me to tell you. It's perfectly clear you have a moral obligation to disclose it to the court. MICHAEL It happens this information is favourable to the defendant. It can help her case. It may even affect the outcome, certainly the sentencing. ROHL So? MICHAEL There's a problem. The defendant herself is determined to keep this information secret.
57. Two STUDENTS come in for the seminar. ROHL A moment, please. Please. Chastened, they leave. ROHL What are her reasons? MICHAEL Because she's ashamed. ROHL Ashamed? Ashamed of what? MICHAEL doesn't answer. ROHL Have you spoken to her? MICHAEL Of course not. ROHL Why of course not? MICHAEL I can't. I can't do that. I can't talk to her. ROHL What we feel isn't important. It's utterly unimportant. The only question is what we do. ROHL gets up. ROHL If people like you don't learn from what happened to people like me, then what the hell is the point of anything? INT. REMAND CELL. EVE HANNA is sitting on the edge of her bed. A GUARD comes to the door. GUARD You have a visitor. Michael Berg. HANNA is taken aback for a moment. Then she gets up.
58. EXT. PRISON WAITING ROOM. DAY MICHAEL is standing smoking a cigarette in the waiting area. A whole number of visitors, old people, children, families are waiting. Some kids are playing with a football. Then a GUARD arrives and calls out names. MICHAEL's name is called. INT. MEETING ROOM. PRISON. DAY HANNA is led swiftly down a prison corridor towards her meeting and sat down at a desk to wait. EXT. PRISON YARD. DAY MICHAEL is led in the GROUP towards the visiting room. It has come on to snow. As he walks towards the room, he loses heart. He changes his mind. The rest of the GROUP go on, as he falls behind, watching them go. He begins to turn back. INT. MEETING ROOM. PRISON. DAY. HANNA sits down at the empty table, waiting. EXT. PRISON YARD. DAY MICHAEL turns away and heads back the way he came. INT. MEETING ROOM. PRISON. DAY HANNA looks round. Nobody is coming. She waits more. GUARD Time's up. INT. PRISON. EVE HANNA is still waiting. Then she is led back to her cell. INT. MARTHE'S ROOM. STUDENT DIGS. NIGHT MICHAEL appears at the door of MARTHE'S room. She is working at her desk. He smiles and closes the door. MARTHE You've taken your time. They kiss. She starts to pull his clothes off. He lets her. He makes no move to undress her. She takes all his clothes off until he is naked, and she remains clothed. He looks at her a moment, then takes her in his arms and they go down on the bed. They make love.
59. INT. MARTHE'S ROOM. NIGHT MARTHE is apparently asleep, MICHAEL awake. As quietly as he can MICHAEL tries to slip away. MARTHE Where are you going? MICHAEL I'm sorry. I need to sleep by myself. INT. REMAND CELL. DAWN HANNA is standing naked at the sink, preparing herself for the day. INT. STUDENT DIGS. MICHAEL'S ROOM. DAWN MICHAEL is lying in his own bed, staring up at the ceiling, not able to sleep. MICHAEL reluctantly pushes back the cover and gets naked out of bed. Slowly he begins to dress. INT. REMAND CELL. DAY HANNA washes herself, naked. INT. STUDENT DIGS. DAY MICHAEL is dressed now. He stands in front of his mirror, adjusting his tie. INT. REMAND CELL. DAY HANNA stands in front of the mirror, tying her tie. There is a small, inadequate mirror in which she checks her dress - a black suit, a white blouse and black tie. She looks very formal. INT. PRISON. DAY HANNA is led through the prison by a GUARD. EXT. TOWN HALL. DAY A lot of people heading into the courtroom. As the seminar group goes in, MICHAEL hangs back. ROHL looks at him as he goes through the doors. MICHAEL is left outside, then goes to watch as the vans arrive.
60. INT. COURTROOM. TOWN HALL. DAY HANNA and the PRISONERS are led into the court. HANNA'S suit is so formal that members of the public call out. `Nazi! Nazi!' DIETER leans in to MARTHE. HANNA walks on to her place. INT. COURTROOM. DAY Everyone rises as the JUDGES come in to take their places. HANNA's face is resigned, without expression. The JUDGES sit. The whole court goes quiet. JUDGE The court finds guilty the defendants Rita Beckhart, Karolina Steinhof, Regina Kreutz, Angela Zieber, Andrea Luhmann jointly aiding and abetting murder in three hundred cases. The court finds the defendant Hanna Schmitz guilty of murder in three hundred cases. There are tears in MICHAEL's eyes as he watches. JUDGE The court sentences the accused as follows. Rita Beckhart, Karolina Steinhof, Regina Kreutz, Angela Zieber, and Andrea Luhmann, you will each serve a total sentence in prison of four years and three months. ROHL, MARTHE, DIETER and the students are looking down on the sentencing. MICHAEL is crying. JUDGE Hanna Schmitz, in view of your own admissions and your special role, you are in a different category. The court sentences the accused Schmitz to imprisonment for life. HANNA is impassive, not reacting. Then she turns and looks up to the gallery. EXT. COURTHOUSE. DAY MICHAEL walks away through the cameras and news crews.
61. INT. TRAIN. DAY MICHAEL sits on the train, thinking. The younger MICHAEL becomes the older. INT. TRAIN. DAY 1976. MICHAEL is sitting beside JULIA. MICHAEL is 32, JULIA is a bright little 4 year-old in a coat. The countryside speeding by. JULIA Where are we going? MICHAEL I said : I'll tell you when we get there. You told me you liked surprises. JULIA I like surprises. EXT. BLUMENSTRASSE. DAY MICHAEL walks with JULIA towards their old house. He looks round, the memory of coming with HANNA as a sick boy 18 years earlier clear in his mind. The same landmarks. INT. DINING ROOM. BERG APARTMENT. DAY They are all three eating at the dinner table, eating a small roast chicken. MICHAEL She's grown, hasn't she? CARLA I don't know. It's so long since I saw her, Michael, how can I tell? MICHAEL My fault. We shouldn't have come unannounced. JULIA Daddy, why's she angry? MICHAEL smiles. Even CARLA smiles slightly. MICHAEL I'm afraid I've have some bad news. Julia knows. (MORE)
62. MICHAEL (cont'd) We've already told her. Gertrud and I are getting a divorce. JULIA Daddy's going to live in his own house. CARLA You didn't come for your father's funeral, but you come for this? MICHAEL You know, it's not easy for me to visit this town. CARLA Were you really so unhappy? MICHAEL That's not what I'm saying. It's not what I meant. CARLA Well then? CARLA looks at him hard. MICHAEL You mustn't worry about Gertrud. I'm going to look after her. And anyway, let's face it, she's already a state prosecutor, she earns far more than I do. CARLA Michael, I'm not worried about Gertrud. I'm worried about you. INT. TRAIN. EVE Exhausted by her day, JULIA is sleeping in MICHAEL'S arms. He looks down at her, full of love. EXT. SCHONEBERG. BERLIN. NIGHT On the other side of a busy Berlin street full of traffic, MICHAEL holds JULIA'S hand, a loving father, to guide her across the street. INT. LANDING. GERTRUD'S APARTMENT. BERLIN. NIGHT GERTRUD has come to the door, a shrewd-looking intelligent woman, a little older than MICHAEL, very thin, in slacks and a blouse. MICHAEL is standing outside with JULIA.
63. JULIA Hello Mummy. GERTRUD Hello beautiful. GERTRUD leans down and scoops JULIA up, kisses her. MICHAEL stands on the step, hovering. GERTRUD Do you mind if I don't ask you in? MICHAEL I don't mind at all. I've a lot to do, in fact. It doesn't look like it. He stands, not going. MICHAEL I took her to see where I grew up. GERTRUD You went to the West? My God, what a trip. JULIA We went to say hello to granny. GERTRUD Oh. Daddy took you to see Carla, did he? JULIA She was strange. GERTRUD Come on, let's see what's on TV. GERTRUD gives JULIA her supper and puts her in front of the TV. Then she comes back to MICHAEL. GERTRUD I bet she was strange. MICHAEL You could say. GERTRUD She always was. Why on earth did you decide to do that? MICHAEL I don't know. Impulse.
64. GERTRUD says nothing. MICHAEL I suppose if I'm honest we went because I wanted to re-establish contact. GERTRUD With your mother? And did you succeed? They both smile. MICHAEL Are you all right? He touches her arm. GERTRUD Michael you're meant to be an intelligent man. Don't you know, it's very hard to receive contact if you're not willing to give it? GERTRUD looks level, not unkind. GERTRUD Say goodbye to Julia. JULIA Goodbye, Daddy. MICHAEL turns to say goodbye. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. KREUZBERG. NIGHT MICHAEL standing in the empty room. It's eerily silent. He goes to his bookcase. He runs his fingers along the spines, as HANNA once did. He takes out a paperback of the Odyssey. He looks at it a moment, then he starts to read to himself. MICHAEL "Sing to me of the Man, Muse, the man of twists and turns Driven time and again off course, once he had plundered The hallowed heights of Troy... He sits back.
65. INT. HANNA'S CELL. DAWN HANNA is in her cell, folding her blanket. She is 53, a new austerity, a greyness about her. Her cell is modern, but without decoration. INT. PRISON. CORRIDOR. DAY A GUARD comes along the corridor, calling out `Mail'. She leans into Hanna's cell to tell her she has mail. HANNA is obviously surprised. INT. MAIL ROOM. PRISON. DAY HANNA reports to the mail room where she is given a big parcel, which she is told to open. Inside, a huge batch of casette tapes and a tape machine. INT. CELL. DAY HANNA is opening the box, taking out the tapes. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. EVE MICHAEL gets out a tape machine. INT. CELL. DAY In her cell HANNA takes out the machine. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. EVE MICHAEL holds the microphone. MICHAEL Testing. Testing. 1-2-3. INT. CELL. DAY HANNA puts a cassette into the machine. MICHAEL'S VOICE The Odyssey by Homer. In panic, she turns it off. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. EVE MICHAEL presses the recording button and speaks into the machine.
66. MICHAEL The Odyssey by Homer. "Sing to me of the Man, Muse, the man of twists and turns Driven time and again off course, once he had plundered The hallowed heights of Troy... Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds, Many pains he suffered, heartsick at the open sea, Fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home... INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. NIGHT Later. MICHAEL is now walking up and down, in his shorts and T-shirt, microphone in hand, still reading. MICHAEL "Ah, how shameless - the way these mortals blame the gods. From us alone, they say, come all their miseries... INT. BEDROOM. NIGHT Middle of the night. MICHAEL is lying on his back, still reading. MICHAEL "Who are you? Where are you from? Your city? Your parents? I'm wonderstruck - you drank my drugs, you're not bewitched..." INT. LIVING ROOM. DAY MICHAEL takes a cassette and puts it into a white box. He writes on the side ODYSSEY 6. Then he reaches up to put it on a shelf next to boxes separately marked ODYSSEY 1,2,3,4,5. Then he takes out a small notebook and cross-references the new tape in a handwritten list. INT. CELL. NIGHT It's dark. HANNA is lying on the bed. MICHAEL'S VOICE Zeus from the very start, the thunder king Has hated the race of Atreus with a vengeance - (MORE)
67. MICHAEL'S VOICE (cont'd) His trustiest weapon women's twisted wiles... HANNA smiles with pleasure at his reading. INT & EXT. MONTAGE. DAY & NIGHT A montage of MICHAEL reading and HANNA listening. MICHAEL is reading different books. He is animated now, excited. There are extracts from The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway) ; Anatol (Schnitzler) ; The World of Yesterday (Zweig) and Doctor Zhivago (Pasternak). MICHAEL catching fire with excitement with what he is doing. HANNA collecting the tapes from the mail room and organizing on her shelves - her library growing. INT. CELL. NIGHT HANNA is lying in bed listening to a new tape. MICHAEL The Lady with the Little Dog, by Anton Chekhov. "The talk was that a new face had appeared on the promenade, a lady with a little dog..." EXT. EXERCISE YARD. PRISON. DAY HANNA is walking round with other PRISONERS, in sequence. Suddenly she stops dead, an idea hitting her. INT. PRISON LIBRARY. DAY The library is right next to the mail room. HANNA walks past the mail room and goes to the library counter. HANNA I want to take out a book. LIBRARIAN Which book? HANNA Do you have The Lady with the Little Dog? LIBRARIAN What's your name? HANNA Hanna Schmitz.
68. The LIBRARIAN goes to get it. HANNA stands, waiting and looks at the stacks of books, for the first time seeing possibility. INT. CELL. DAY HANNA is back in the cell. She puts down a new parcel and a book. She puts the parcel to one side, then opens the book. She then winds back the tape which is already in the recorder. MICHAEL'S VOICE The Lady with the Little Dog, a story by Anton Chekhov. The talk was... She turns off the tape. She runs her finger along the title `The Lady with the Little Dog'. She gets down a small decorated metal tin, and takes a pencil from it. She starts making the sounds. `The', `the', `the'... L, L, L, etc. INT. CELL. NIGHT HANNA is working now, circling the word `the' each time it comes in the book. The book is covered in marks. EXT & INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. EVE 1981. MICHAEL is coming down a busy Kreuzberg street. He is 37. He goes into his block. He opens the door : the place is much more lived-in. He picks up his mail. Thumbing through it, he sees a letter in childish handwriting. MICHAEL frowns, opening it and taking out a piece of paper. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. EVE MICHAEL is holding a letter. He looks down at the writing : `Thanks for the latest, kid. I really liked it.' He stares, then puts it down and steps back stunned. INT. CELL. DAY HANNA stands with a new package. She opens it excitedly. She takes out tapes. She looks for writing, a letter. There is none. She turns the packing paper over and over, but there's nothing. She stands, desolate. INT. CELL. PRISON. NIGHT. MONTAGE HANNA effortfully writing various letters - just a single message on each. The pen working agonizingly across the paper. First :
69. I WOULD LIKE MORE ROMANCE, LESS ADVENTURE Next: I AM NOT SURE WHAT KAFKA IS SAYING INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. BEDROOM. NIGHT MICHAEL continuing to read to her on the machine. INT. CELL. PRISON. NIGHT. MONTAGE HANNA still writing. DO YOU STILL LIKE DICKENS? Then finally, many attempts at the same sentence, written many times : DO YOU RECEIVE MY LETTERS? WRITE TO ME, KID INT. STUDY. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. DAY MICHAEL is reading the latest letter from HANNA. He looks at it. "Do you receive my letters? Write to me, kid." MICHAEL opens a drawer in a file box on the floor. There is a stack of her letters inside. He puts the latest on top of the pile and closes the drawer. INT. CELL. PRISON. DAY HANNA stands at her window, in despair. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. KREUZBERG. DAY 1988. MICHAEL, 44, is at his desk, with the phone in his hand, with a typed letter in front of him. MS BRENNER (VOICE ON PHONE) You're Michael Berg? MICHAEL'S VOICE Yes. MS BRENNER (VOICE ON PHONE) You got my letter? MICHAEL I have it here. MS BRENNER (PHONE) As I say, Hanna Schmitz is coming up for release very soon.
70. MICHAEL fingers the letter a moment. INT. BRENNER'S OFFICE. PRISON. DAY MS BRENNER is sitting at her desk in a simple, modern office. MS BRENNER Hanna has been in prison for over twenty years. She has no family. She has no friends. You're her only contact. And I'm told you don't visit her. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. KREUZBERG. DAY MICHAEL is sitting quite still. MICHAEL No. I don't. INT. BRENNER'S OFFICE. DAY MS BRENNER When she gets out, she's going to need a job. She's going to need somewhere to live. You can't imagine how frightening the modern world will seem to her. There is a silence. MICHAEL Yes. I'm still here. INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. KREUZBERG. DAY MS BRENNER I have no-one else to ask. If you don't take responsibility for her, then Hanna has no future at all. MICHAEL It's kind of you. Thank you for letting me know. MICHAEL puts the phone down. He looks as if he has just been handed a sentence. He gets up and stares at the wall which is now stacked with all the books he has read. Then he goes to his balcony. EXT & INT. MICHAEL'S APARTMENT. KREUZBERG. DAY MICHAEL stands looking out over Berlin from his balcony.
71. EXT. PRISON. DAY MICHAEL walks along the road by the prison wall, then goes to the guichet to sign in. EXT. PRISON YARD. DAY MICHAEL is waiting in a small barred waiting area as MS BRENNER walks across the yard to open the gate and let MICHAEL in. MS BRENNER You're Michael Berg? MICHAEL Yes. MS BRENNER Louisa Brenner. We were expecting you earlier. INT & EXT. STAIRS & PASSAGE. PRISON. DAY MS BRENNER is walking MICHAEL up the steps towards the prison canteen. They pass GUARDS and INMATES. MS BRENNER I should warn you: for a long time Hanna held herself together. She was very purposeful. In the last few years she's different. She's let herself go. INT. CANTEEN. PRISON. DAY MS BRENNER leads MICHAEL to the door of the canteen. MS BRENNER They're in the canteen. They're just finishing lunch. MICHAEL sees an OLD WOMAN who is sitting at a table. Her blue dress is stretched too tight across her heavy body. Her hair is grey. She has a book in her lap, but she's not reading it. A few PRISONERS are finishing their meal. It takes MICHAEL a moment to realise the OLD WOMAN is HANNA. Then HANNA becomes aware of being watched. She turns and looks round. At once her face lights up. MICHAEL smiles back, but as he approaches her, he fixes onto her inquiring look and sees the light go out of her eyes, as if she has looked at him and been disappointed. He sits down opposite her. She smiles, weary.
72. HANNA You've grown up, kid. She takes his hand. There is a long silence, MICHAEL unable to think of anything to say. He withdraws his hand. MICHAEL I've got a friend who's a tailor, he makes my suits. He'll give you a job. And I've found you somewhere to live. It's a nice place. Quite small but nice. I think you'll like it. HANNA Thank you. There's a moment's silence. MICHAEL There are various social programmes, cultural stuff I can sign you up for. And there's a public library very close. HANNA nods slightly. MICHAEL You read a lot? HANNA I prefer being read to. There is a short silence. HANNA That's over now, isn't it? MICHAEL doesn't answer. HANNA Did you get married? MICHAEL I did. Yes I did. We have a daughter. I'm not seeing as much of her as I would like. I'd like to see a great deal more of her. After a few moments, he concedes. MICHAEL The marriage didn't last.
73. There is a silence. MICHAEL Have you spent a lot of time thinking about the past? HANNA You mean, with you? MICHAEL No. No, I didn't mean with me. HANNA Before the trial I never thought about the past. I never had to. MICHAEL And now? What do you feel now? HANNA looks a moment, a haunting look, searching him. HANNA It doesn't matter what I think. It doesn't matter what I feel. The dead are still dead. There's a silence. MICHAEL I wasn't sure what you'd learnt. HANNA I have learnt, kid. I've learnt to read. MICHAEL stares, devastated. MICHAEL I'll pick you up next week, OK? HANNA That sounds a good plan. MICHAEL Good. Quietly, or shall we make a big fuss? HANNA Quietly. MICHAEL OK. Quietly.
74. They look at each other. The other PRISONERS have already gone. They stand up. She scans his face again, searching for his thoughts. He takes her in his arms, a little awkward. HANNA Take care, kid. MICHAEL You too. They walk side by side, back towards the door. Then by way of saying goodbye, she takes his hand. MICHAEL See you next week. She stretches her arm out before she lets go of his hand, then vanishes inside. MICHAEL walks on alone. EXT. PRISON. EVE MICHAEL comes out of the main entrance. He stands a moment, looking round at the evening. MICHAEL walks to his car. INT. HANNA'S ROOM. EVE The room is simple, a bedroom to one side, a bathroom to the other. It is all furnished with simple functional furniture. The end of a hard day's work. MICHAEL hangs a picture over the desk - a landscape, reminiscent of where they once went cycling. The job is done. He looks round, grimly content. INT. CELL. DAWN HANNA is lying on her bed, fully dressed. She gets up and gets some books down from the shelf. She puts them, one by one, in a pile on the table. Then she takes off her shoes. She stands up and climbs onto the pile of books on the table. Her bare feet on the books. Then she reaches up. EXT & INT. PRISON. DAY MICHAEL gets out of the car. He is carrying a bunch of flowers. He walks towards the prison. He leans in to the GUARD who is in a modern office. INT. PRISON. DAY From the far end of the corridor, MICHAEL is seen sitting on a bench. MS BRENNER comes out of her office and murmurs in his ear. MICHAEL is seen nodding, ashen.
75. INT. CORRIDOR & CELL. PRISON. DAY The two of them come together down the corridor. They stop at the open door of the cell. The body has been removed. The books are still on the floor. MICHAEL goes in. A bare table, a chair, a bed, a closet, a toilet in the corner behind the door. There are shelves with books, an alarm clock, a stuffed bear, two mugs, instant coffee, tea tins. MICHAEL She didn't pack. She never intended to leave. MS BRENNER looks at him in confirmation. MICHAEL looks at the two lower shelves on which are ranged the tapes with the cassette machine. Above the bed are a series of cuttings, pictures torn from magazines, showing meadows, hillsides, pasture, cherry trees. One in particular : a burst of autumnal colours. MICHAEL kneels on the bed to look at them. There are quotations, articles, recipes, even sayings in HANNA'S childish handwriting : `Spring lets its blue banner flutter through the air' is one. Then he sees a newspaper photograph : the young MICHAEL BERG receiving a prize from the school principal. The headline `Michael Berg receives school literature prize.' MS BRENNER reaches out for a tea tin from the shelf. Then she sits next to MICHAEL on the bed, and takes out a folded sheet of paper from her suit pocket. MS BRENNER She left me a message, a sort of will. I'll read out the bit that concerns you. MICHAEL looks at the effortful handwriting on the page. MS BRENNER "There is money in the old tea tin. Give it to Michael Berg. He should send it, alongside the 7,000 marks in the bank, to the daughter who wrote the book. It's for her. She should decide what to do with it. And tell Michael I said hello. Tell him to get on with his life." MS BRENNER looks at him. MS BRENNER Do you want to see her?
76. MICHAEL shakes his head. EXT. BRIDGE. MANHATTAN. DAY MICHAEL rides in a taxi into Manhattan. A view of the familiar skyline. EXT. FIFTH AVENUE. DAY MICHAEL'S taxi comes up Fifth Avenue. It draws up outside an expensive apartment block. MICHAEL gets out and goes in, the Manhattan skyline opening up behind him. INT. LIVING ROOM. ILANA'S APARTMENT. DAY A superbly appointed space full of great and expensive art. MICHAEL has taken his coat off. ILANA MATHER appears, elegant, well-dressed - on the surface, the spirit of prosperous New York. She is now in her early fifties. MICHAEL Ms Mather? ILANA Yes. You're Michael Berg. I was expecting you. ILANA So you must tell me: what exactly brings you to the United States? MICHAEL I was already here. I was at a conference in Boston. ILANA You're a lawyer? MICHAEL Yes. ILANA I was intrigued by your letter but I can't say I wholly understood it. You attended the trial? MICHAEL Yes. Almost twenty years ago. I was a law student. I remember you, I remember your mother very clearly.
77. ILANA My mother died in Israel - a good many years ago. MICHAEL I'm sorry. MICHAEL hesitates for a moment. ILANA Go on, please. MICHAEL Perhaps you heard. Hanna Schmitz recently died. She killed herself. ILANA shakes her head. ILANA She was a friend of yours? MICHAEL A kind of friend. It's as simple as this. Hanna was illiterate for the greater part of her life. ILANA Is that an explanation of her behaviour? MICHAEL No. ILANA Or an excuse? MICHAEL shakes his head. MICHAEL No. No. She taught herself to read when she was in prison. I sent her tapes. She'd always liked being read to. ILANA shifts slightly. ILANA Why don't you start by being honest with me? At least start that way. What was the nature of your friendship?
78. MICHAEL When I was young I had an affair with Hanna. ILANA looks at him for a moment. ILANA I'm not sure I can help you, Mr. Berg. Or rather, even if I could I'm not willing to. MICHAEL I was almost sixteen when I took up with her. The affair only lasted a summer. But. ILANA But what? MICHAEL just looks at her. ILANA I see. And did Hanna Schmitz acknowledge the effect she'd had on your life? MICHAEL stares back, understood for the first time. MICHAEL She'd done much worse to other people. I've never told anyone. ILANA People ask all the time what I learned in the camps. But the camps weren't therapy. What do you think these places were? Universities? We didn't go there to learn. One becomes very clear about these things. ILANA looks at him, unrelenting. ILANA What are you asking for? Forgiveness for her? Or do you just want to feel better yourself? My advice, go to the theatre, if you want catharsis. Please. Go to literature. Don't go to the camps. Nothing comes out of the camps. Nothing.
79. ILANA looks at him, unrelenting. MICHAEL What she wanted...what she wanted was to leave you her money. I have with me. ILANA To do what? MICHAEL As you think fit. MICHAEL reaches for his briefcase. He takes out the lavender tea-tin, which he sets down on the table in front of ILANA. MICHAEL Here. ILANA lifts the tin. ILANA When I was a little girl, I had a tea-tin for my treasures. Not quite like this. It had Cyrillic lettering. I took it with me to the camp, but it got stolen. MICHAEL What was in it? ILANA Oh. Sentimental things. A piece of hair from our dog. Some tickets to operas my father had taken me to. It wasn't stolen for its contents. It was the tin itself which was valuable, what you could do with it. She sits a moment, overcome, her hand on the tin. ILANA There's nothing I can do with this money. If I give it to anything associated with the extermination of the Jews, then to me it will seem like absolution and that is something I'm neither willing nor in a position to grant. MICHAEL nods slightly.
80. MICHAEL I was thinking maybe an organization to encourage literacy. ILANA Good. There's a silence. ILANA Good. MICHAEL Do you know if there's a Jewish organization? ILANA I'll be surprised if there isn't. There's a Jewish organisation for everything. Not that illiteracy is a very Jewish problem. There is the shadow of a smile. ILANA Why don't you find out? Send them the money. MICHAEL Shall I do it in Hanna's name? ILANA As you think fit. ILANA smiles slightly. She puts her hand on top of the tin. ILANA I'll keep the tin. INT. ILANA'S HOUSE. DAY ILANA is standing at the window watching down to the street where MICHAEL is walking away. She has the tin in her hand. When he's vanished, she turns and goes into her bedroom. There on the dressing table, there is a framed photo of ILANA with her mother in Germany before the war. She sets the tin down beside the photo. INT & EXT. CAR. DAY 1995. MICHAEL is driving JULIA in the big Mercedes through the German countryside. He is tense, silent. JULIA takes a sideways look at him, but he does not respond.
81. JULIA Where are we going? MICHAEL I thought you liked surprises. JULIA I do. I do like surprises. EXT. COUNTRY. DAY They draw up at a church. It is the same one he and HANNA passed on their bicycles years before. MICHAEL and JULIA get out and walk towards the graveyard at the side. EXT. CEMETERY. DAY MICHAEL & JULIA stand at a deserted grave-side. The whole cemetery is seen. MICHAEL stoops down and uncovers a simple stone : HANNA SCHMITZ 1923-1988. JULIA watching, says her name. JULIA Hanna Schmitz. JULIA waits a moment. JULIA Who was she? MICHAEL That's what I wanted to tell you. That's why we're here. JULIA looks, waiting. MICHAEL looks for a moment as if he will not go on. JULIA So tell me. There is a moment, then they turn to stroll, MICHAEL talking, starting to tell the story. MICHAEL I was 15, I was coming home from school, I was ill... They walk away among the trees. FADE TO BLACK