A huge clock marks 7:55 p.m. (The clock belongs to some landmark
building, to be determined). Immediately following, the building goes
Establishing shot of the Eiffel Tower, lit. Suddenly, all the lights
The same thing happens with the Granada’s Alhambra, Seville’s Giralda
Tower, the Guggenheim at Bilbao, the Gate of Alcala. All these well-
known architectonic wonders turn dark, abruptly. (Beauty that
disappears suddenly, beauty that’s extinguished and envelops us in
1. HARRY CAINE’S HOME. INT. NIGHT.
Harry (fifty years old) sits, as if he were waiting, without hurry,
immobile and patient in his study next to his desk, as if it were the
thing keeping him company. He isn’t doing anything. He lets time
take its course. His silence is broken by the sound of footsteps that
come and go. At first we can’t see who the footsteps belong to, until
In the living room, a few meters from Harry, Judit stops. She, too,
is shrouded in darkness. She looks at her wristwatch, the second hand
moves from left to right on the watch face. Judit (forty-eight, looks
younger) breathes, impatient. (She is dressed soberly, in a dignified
and practical manner).
She approaches a window that looks out onto the street. Everything
outside is also in darkness. The building in front is just a dark
mass. She looks to the end of the street. Almost all the buildings
visible from the window are dark, the Gate of Alcala in the background
is also not lit. Without turning, she says to Harry:
The Door of Alcala has also darkened.
Harry is still sitting, inert, absorbed by his thoughts. The whole
house is in darkness, only the ambient clarity of the night comes
through the windows, curtains drawn back.
Judit heads slowly toward the kitchen. On the wall there is a Vitra
clock, to which she gives a cursory glance.
She turns on the faucet and fills a glass of water. From her pocket,
she removes a tiny heart made of black nacar shell and rimmed in
silver. She opens it. She grabs a small pink pill. She takes it.
She glances once more at the stylized design of the Vitra clock. The
minute hand nears 8 p.m.
On a windowsill (or on the kitchen table) there is an open newspaper.
The exposed page displays an article about the dangers of global
warming. An international date has been convened for a five minute
blackout at 8 p.m.
Standing in the kitchen, Judit, poised and tense, looks up at the spot
where the clock is. The stillness of all the elements comprising the
frame make it seem like a painting. She waits until the seconds hand
completes its cycle and it’s 8 o’clock sharp.
Swiftly, Judit powers the central electrical switchboard, which is in
the kitchen. The kitchen lights up, the refrigerator emits its
characteristic sound. The lamps in the living room also light up.
(Low-hanging lamps that make the light bounce. The house is awash in
a special luminous atmosphere dense, translucent, with darkened
zones). All the furniture is flush with the walls. There are some
paintings hanging and a rug on the ground, everything is of the kind
of quality that denotes good personal taste.
Upon the light’s return, Judit exhales a profound sigh of relief.
She moves toward the window where she was standing earlier and
contemplates how, in the building across the way, the windows begin to
blink, in square patterns of light.
2. FLASHBACK. 1994. LANZAROTE HOSPITAL. INT. DAY.
The light’s return is contagious, a true spectacle, which ends with a
blinding light that floods the screen.
It will probably be a close-up of the sun.
That very sun enters through another window, which is not that of
Harry’s house, nor that of the building across the way. It is the
window of a hospital room (perhaps a sign should specify that the
following scene occurs “Fourteen years earlier”)
The hospital is on Lanzarote Island, in the Canary Islands. The scene
occurs fourteen years earlier. The characters are the same. Harry
Harry lies in bed, his head completely bandaged. Sunlight enters
through the window.
Judit is seated on the bed. She holds his hand and pleads, worried
Mateo, say something!
Mateo is dead.
(Sweet and devastated) Don’t say that!
The character to whom Judit refers as Mateo, (the same one that in the
previous scene we have called Harry), has a recent wound, either on
his arm or on his hands, along with his head, which is completely
covered by bandages.
Mateo and Harry are the same person, the difference is the fourteen
years that separate them. Harry, in the present (2008), is fifty
years old. In `94, the time period when the flashback takes place, he
was thirty-six. Let’s say that when he was thirty-six, Harry was
called Mateo. The character has two names, which his own voice-off
explains, while we observe what his day-to-day consists of in 2008.
I always wanted to be another person, to be someone
beside myself. To dispose of a single identity didn’t
seem enough. Living a single life wasn’t enough for
me. And half-joking, I came up with a pseudonym for
myself, Harry Caine, an adventurer who, as fate would
have it, became a writer. At that time, I had him
author all the scripts and stories that I wrote. I
came up with a standard biography to fill the back
flap of his books. He had been a sailor, an
industrial spy, the doorman at a Parisian cabaret, a
boxer, a waiter and an advertisement hand-double. A
self-made man, active and attractive like an English
spy, vital, skeptical and sarcastic. For many years,
Mateo Blanco and Harry Caine shared the same person,
me, but a time came when, all of a sudden, I couldn’t
be anyone other than Harry Caine. I became my
pseudonym. (He applies lotion in front of the mirror,
we first see him in front of it, and then, doubled,
reflected in it. Then, suddenly, the mirror does not
reflect him. Of his two identities he only has one
left). Just as I had planned, a heterodox writer and,
never better stated, a self-made man, one might even
say, “self-written man”. There was only one detail I
had not foreseen, Harry would be a blind writer.
3. IMAGES THAT ACCOMPANY THE VOICE -OFF. HARRY CAINE’S DAILY
Despite his fifty years and his blindness, Harry is a man that keeps
himself in great physical shape.
Harry’s Home. Interior. Day.
In the morning: he places a CD in a player. By himself, he selects
and starts the program on a treadmill. He steps on and begins
He takes a shower (“Mateo Blanco and Harry Caine shared the same
person, me, but a time came when, all of a sudden…”), the camera
pans over various parts of his body under the running water, dense
waves of white foam slide down his skin, as if it was a landscape.
The hangers have Braille-stickers that indicate the characteristic of
the clothing they hold. (All the closets have sliding doors)
In his bedroom, he opens the closet and looks for the clothes he will
wear. Despite the fact that he cannot see himself, he stands in front
of a mirror. He smiles, pleased with his appearance .
Everything in the house is rigorously ordered. All that Harry needs
to ascertain the identity of the things around him is his touch.
He exits onto the street.
4. HARRY’S STREET. EXT. DAY. PEDESTRIAN CROSSING.
Harry traverses (aided by an umbrella?) the pedestrian crossing. When
he reaches the opposite sidewalk, the credits appear on the black and
white stripes that mark the crossing. The crossway is clear of
pedestrians so that only cars pass through (not many) and as they do,
they run over the letters of the credits, making them disappear, in
pieces. On a different stripe, a new title appears and as it does, it
is run over and destroyed by another car. Like this, successively.
5. SIDEWALK ACROSS FROM HARRY’S BUILDING. EXT. DAY.
Just on the sidewalk across from where Harry lives, there is a news-
stand, and next to it, perhaps on the nearest corner, a bar.
Harry buys the newspaper at the news-stand. This is part of his daily
routine. He greets the attendant familiarly. He has the kind of face
that provokes pity. He grabs the newspaper, folds it, and places it
under his arm.
6. BAR ACROSS THE WAY. INT. DAY.
He enters the bar. He leans down somewhere on the bar table. Just as
soon as he sees him, he is approached by his Waiter Friend, an
approachable guy, somewhere in his forties, who is helped by a South
American waitress, wearing her makeup since the early part of the
morning, whom he is obviously screwing. He brings him a coffee. All
of these actions are part of a daily ritual.
Do you want me to read you something from the
No, thanks. I am off on a stroll.
RETURN TO SEC. 5
Harry exits the bar and becomes immersed in the different noises of
the street, the passersby, their different sounds and corporeal odors.
Auditory life. The camera swirls around his head. At first he hears
all the noises, indistinctly mixed, and then he begins to separate
them. He selects one he likes, the rest of the sounds of the street
disappear or their volume is lowered. Girls, cars, high heels, the
smells of different ethnicities. A multi-racial street. Harry
selects an odor (the body of a woman, whose aroma appears and
disappears), Harry follows it, having also singled out the sound of
her heels. He loses them. He finds them again.
He walks self-assuredly, without tripping either on the urban
furniture or the people. He leans, lightly, on his umbrella, which he
uses as a cane. At first glance he doesn’t appear blind …
He reaches a pedestrian crossing. Nearby, he recognizes the odor
which had attracted him, he follows its trace until he reaches the
sidewalk. The odor emanates from a young Girl, just next to him,
waiting before the crosswalk. Harry searches with the tip of the
umbrella, until he brushes her shoe. He excuses himself, as if the
contact had been inadvertent. The girl regards him. Harry then takes
one step forward, intent on crossing the street, the cars come very
close to him, almost running him over. (A real sense of danger). The
light is red for pedestrians. The Girl takes him by the arm, pulling
him toward her, frightened.
(Alarmed) Watch out! You can’t cross!
Sorry . . .
I’ll tell you when!
Thank you very much.
7. MATEO-HARRY’S STREET. EXT. DAY. PEDESTRIAN CROSSING.
They make it through the crosswalk. She is not holding his arm (but
almost), Harry doesn’t need it. He knows the surroundings well.
They reach the other sidewalk.
Harry thanks her for her help, the Girl observes him the entire time,
intrigued and curious.
I live nearby, two blocks up, would you mind coming along
The Girl accepts, delighted. Tall, thin, attractive, modern, and
inexpressive like a model, this is what the Girl is like.
8. CONTINUED. BUILDING’S ENTRANCE. EXT. DAY.
Once at the entrance, Harry invites her to come up so that she can
read aloud the newspaper to him. The Girl checks her watch, and ends
But I warn you, I’ve never read out-loud, you may not
You will only have to browse.
9. LIVING ROOM, MATEO’S HOME. INT. DAY.
The same living room we’ve seen in Sequence 1. There is very little
Do you mind if I turn on the light? So that I can
read… It’s too dark in here.
Oh, yes… Turn the light on…
The Girl turns on a table lamp.
Harry is sitting on a sofa and she is in front of him, on an armchair.
She opens the newspaper down the middle, before she reads anything she
directs a brief but intense glance at Harry.
She reads about the percentage of those in Madrid who abided by the
blackout that was organized in the name of global change. She turns a
few pages and stops. Reads as if for herself:
Ernesto Martel is dead!
Ernesto Martel. I know one of his granddaughters…
So he’s dead.
You knew him?
Turns more pages.
What are you interested in, politics, economy… culture?
I am interested in you. What are you like? Do you
mind describing yourself?
The girl begins to describe herself, at first a little tentative.
(Her measurements? She smiles. She knows them by heart.)
She describes herself. The color of her eyes. Her hair. Her skin.
How she’s dressed, while she traces over him with her glance (When she
speaks of her eyes, we see his eyes; when she speaks of her mouth, we
see his, etc). Her gaze stops at Harry’s crotch. Harry can feel her
watching him. The situation seems perfectly natural.
Harry approaches her (he knows she’s right in front of him). With his
hands, he places a brief caress on each of the parts the Girl has just
described. The eyes, the hair, the mouth. He lowers his hands until
they fall, spread, on her breasts. It is as though the blind man
could gaze at her with his fingers and palms. He rests his head on
the Girl’s breast, pulls down her bra straps and he begins to savor
her breasts, delicately. Harry’s cell phone rings, but he ignores it,
doesn’t pick up.
10. CONTINUED. HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY.
They make love on the sofa.
The Girl asks for the bathroom, Harry gestures with his hand in its
direction. Half-naked, with some of her clothes in her hand, the Girl
heads for the bathroom. Harry, still sitting on the same sofa, begins
to dress and to smooth down his clothes, without hurry.
11. CONTINUED. HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY.
The doorbell rings. Twice in a row. Immediately following, the key
is inserted into the keyhole, from the outside.
Someone is opening it.
Harry rises. Before he arrives to the foyer, the door is already
open. In the middle of the doorway, a woman, Judit (the same one who
had been with him during the blackout of the opening sequence).
Harry finishes tucking his shirt, barefoot. Judit closes the door
slowly and surveys him up and down with inquisitive eyes, which he
cannot see but one could say that he can guess. He smiles.
What are you laughing at?
I am only smiling, because of the way you’re looking
The sound of a running faucet emerging from the bathroom distracts
Judit; first the sound, then the immediate appearance of the Girl.
Both women look at each other and are surprised, despite their attempt
to hide it. Judit appears more annoyed than surprised. After a very
(To Harry) I must go.
Thanks for helping me cross.
Judit (forty-eight years old, seems younger, is dressed in an informal
and sober manner, little color, etc., her hair is pulled back, parted
in the middle, her attitude is that of a guardian), she puts away the
key to the door while she gazes sternly at the young woman.
The Girl, very uncomfortable, quickly vanishes.
12. CONTINUED. HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY.
(Annoyed and without apologizing, even if it seems
she’s trying) I’m sorry, I thought you were alone.
She helped me cross the street and I invited her in to
read me the newspaper . . .
Harry, you can’t bring into your house the first
person who helps you across the street. One of these
days something awful will happen to you!
(Sullen and ironic) Everything awful that’s had to
happen to me has. Now, all that’s left is for me to
enjoy life . . .
Judit changes the topic so that Harry may also change his tone. She
turns off the table lamp and she opens the window drapes that lead to
Diego told me yesterday that you finished the script.
I would like to add a final epilogue. It may not be
necessary, but I’d like to write it.
I agreed to deliver the definitive version to the
producer and director today.
You will have it by tomorrow, don’t worry.
As he speaks, Harry has made his way back to the sofa, without the use
of a cane, he knows by heart the landscape of the house, which he
walks through as if he could see. If anything, he touches any given
piece of furniture with the tip of his fingers, as if to ascertain
whether it’s still there. He walks both with ease, and with the
characteristic rigidity of blind people.
He picks up the socks from the floor and slips them on (the newspaper
is open on the floor). He puts his shoes on. Judit watches him for a
moment, and then turns toward the window.
13. JUDIT’S POINT OF VIEW. THE SIDEWALK ACROSS THE WAY. HARRY’S
STREET. EXT. DAY.
She observes how, on the sidewalk across the way, the Girl enters the
main door of the building just next to the news-stand where Harry buys
his newspaper. From the window she can make out that it’s an
important Modeling Agency.
RETURN TO SEQ. 12
Judit is still looking out the window, her back to Harry, when she
hears him say:
Ernesto Martel has died.
Judit turns to Harry, surprised but masking it with her voice.
I think he was very ill…
It’s been so long since we’ve spoken of him!
Judit nods plainly with her head. Silence. Ernesto Martel’s death
doesn’t bring good memories to either of them.
14. HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY. CONTINUED.
The doorbell rings. It’s Diego, Judit’s son, who doubles as Harry’s
typist and co-scriptwriter. He is a special kid, twenty-five years
old. Baggy-eyed, a weary aspect, but he overflows with charm.
Dresses as a modern kid, but not obnoxiously so. He speaks
delicately, an attitude uncommon for someone his age.
He greets his mother.
You look awful …!
I ran here.
And it’s Monday! Diego, you don’t have to run for me.
We are not in a hurry.
I am, I’ve committed …
You’ll have it by tonight, don’t worry.
Start thinking of the next script. Some kind of
horror or fantasy story for bratty teenagers. It’s
what sells best …
I don’t know if I’ll know how to. I was thinking of
developing a story inspired by Arthur Miller’s son…
(Perplexed) The writer who married Marilyn?
Yes… After Marilyn he married the photographer Inge
Morat and they had a son. He was born mentally
handicapped and Arthur Miller hid him; he doesn’t even
mention him in his memoirs. He never recognized him
publicly. From the moment he was born, he had him
placed in an institution and wanted to hear nothing of
him. Despite his condition, the boy was able to learn
and to make an almost normal life for himself. He
lived in an apartment with other friends and he found
a job as a clerk in a supermarket…
Judit looks at him perplexed. For some reason, Harry has his back
turned. This happens many times.
And Miller never saw him? …
(Continues, his back turned) One day, Miller was
giving a conference in defense of a mentally retarded
man, who had been condemned to death, after what was
believed to be a forced confession. Among those
present was his mentally handicapped son, who was
integrally involved with organizations that aided all
sorts of disabled people. The son was very proud to
finally be sharing something with his father. At the
end of the conference, he approached the stage and
held him in an embrace that must have seemed endless
to Arthur Miller, who did not know how to extract
himself from this mentally handicapped man; imagine,
it would not have been politically correct, least of
all given the situation in which Miller found himself.
Then the stranger let go of him and told him: “I am
your son, Daniel, and I am very proud of you, Father!”
This was the only time father and son saw each other.
Judith listens, affected and disoriented. She looks at her son as if
she were looking for help. Diego stops thumbing through a magazine in
order to listen to Harry and to witness his mother’s reaction. She
wasn’t ready for Harry to counter with such a shocking narrative.
(Somewhat tense) It’s very moving, but I don’t think
we can write a script about Arthur Miller without
procuring rights from the family.
We change the names, the story is not about the
writer’s miserliness, but about the strength of the
son who survives without the least bit of rancor
toward the father who has ignored him his entire life.
It is a story of troubles overcome and of inherent
goodness. There aren’t those many good men that one
can write about.
Judit would like to say that when she spoke of a commercial script
this is not what she had in mind, but she doesn’t want to come off
rude. Diego keeps watching them. Her mother appears oddly cornered,
until she remembers a past comment of Harry’s, that suits her just
It’s a beautiful story. But years ago, when you began
writing again and I began selling your scripts, you
told me you’d never write remakes, sequels, nor
biopics. Nor stories whose protagonists were film
directors, handicapped or blind. I remember clearly
because the part of the biopics surprised me.
I can’t bear them… (As if he had at that very moment
remembered) It’s true, it’s true I said all that, but
this wouldn’t exactly be a biopic…
They hear the doorbell ring, two or three times. For Judit, it’s the
best way to escape the conversation.
I’ll get it.
Diego settles on the armchair, in front of his laptop. On the other
side of the table sits the computer that is specially programmed for
Harry. Diego powers his laptop. Harry heads for the work table. And
he sits in front of Diego.
Diego, go to the end of the document.
Diego obeys while we hear Judit approaching the door and, before she
opens it, someone opens it from the other side. We see the document’s
text (a script) scrolling, fleetingly, over Diego’s computer screen.
At the door, Judit finds Mariacruz, the Latin American maid, who also
has her own key to the house. She is carrying two shopping bags.
Judit gives her some directive (about the windows, the curtains, the
kitchen furniture, the food, the floors, things to be dry cleaned ,
etc.) and she leaves, saying goodbye to Harry and Diego with a simple
“Boys, I’m leaving. Goodbye!”
15. NIGHT. BAR WITH MUSIC. INT. BOOTH.
Diego chooses a track that functions as background music to the three
night sequences that follow, although it’s not absolutely necessary.
He works at a modern bar (not very large), as a D.J. He spends most
of the time inside a small booth, which only a few friends access.
Alex, his same age, enters.
Did you bring me the session?
Alex takes three CDs out of his jacket.
It’s still warm. Just downloaded from the eMule.
Dude. I’ll throw it in now. You want something to
Yes. And you, would you like a tip of “crystal”?
I pass. I do need to sleep once in a while.
16. HARRY-MATEO HOME. DEN. NIGHT
At that moment, Harry is in front the computer (a special computer,
sonorous, set up for Harry, with Braille signs jutting from the
keyboard). He attempts to “read” some digital newspaper, its contents
can be heard spoken by a very unpleasant synthetic voice. His search
produces annoying and strange sounds. Harry continously makes
mistakes, but that’s the way to do it.
He manages to get into El Pais, the obituary section. He listens to a
list. He finally finds the news of Ernesto Martel’s death. He listens
to the headline.
The sound of a mobile phone ringing interrupts him.
17. JUDIT’S OFFICE. INT. NIGHT.
It’s Judit, from her office.
In front of Judit, on the other side of the table, full of papers, is
the head of production and someone from the American production. They
are trying to decide on the budget.
From the ashtrays full of cigarettes, the bottles of water and the
cups of coffee, one assumes that they must have been at this task for
many hours. (One should be able to see the layout of the shooting
schedule, something visual). The American production can be heard in
(Seq. 16 and 17 run in parallel)
She greets Harry.
You need anything?
What are you up to?
Harry touches the small MP3, much easier than to listen to the digital
newspaper. He doesn’t want to tell her that he is attempting to
listen to Ernesto Martel’s obituary, so he tells her what he will be
I was going to read an Alice Munro story on the MP3.
Then I’ll leave you. I’ll stop by tomorrow, when I
can. I have to finish the budget for the Americans as
soon as possible, so that I can decide what to do …
(Hangs up) (To the Americans, in English). Ok, we can
Once he hangs up his mobile, Harry returns to his computer, this is
when we actually hear the biographical sketch of the deceased
Fade to black.
During the fade to black, we continue to hear the biography. In
Ernesto Martel has passed away at his residence in the
countryside, “La Berzosa.” Financier, of Chilean
origin, who achieved great success and notoriety due
to his involvement in the financing of crucial public
infrastructures in different Latin American countries.
18. THE BUILDING’S ENTRANCE. EXT. DAY. 1990.
A modern building in the financial district. A sign displays the name
of an important financial company (M. Capital) and the year when the
action takes place, 1990.
19. 1990. ERNESTO MARTEL’S OFFICE. MODERN SKYSCRAPER. INT. DAY.
The end of the voice-off is heard over the image of Ernesto Martel
himself, alive, attending to a phone call, while we hear the last
words of his obituary, in off.
Recently he had been involved in various financial
scandals. He was implicated for fraud in the infamous
“case of Bank Banelco”. He was married three times,
and had two children…
The interior of Ernesto Martel’s office: elegant, ostentatious, and
decorated without concern for cost. Through the windows one can
witness a cosmopolitan Madrid, from whose soil skyscrapers begin to
Ernesto Martel, almost sixty, impeccable suit, settles a conversation
with the Transportation Minister.
Framed photographs sit on a piece of accessory furniture, one of him
with his two children, a boy and a girl, who do not resemble one
another. They have different mothers.
The walls are decorated by an abstract painting belonging to the
avant-garde group El Paso.
… I just spoke to the Transportation Minister. Things
are in full swing. Yes, we are doing the Caracas
metro … there’s a lot of money … at least five years.
I am looking for a qualified company and had you in
mind … of course, I will serve as intermediary, I have
been told so by the President himself.
20. ERNESTO MARTEL’S OFFICE BUILDING. ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES.
INT. DAY. 1990.
On the same floor. Fairly close to the boss’ office, divided by
modern and ample cubicles, we find some of the company’s employees.
His secretary, Magdalena (her diminutive is Lena), is speaking on the
phone with a look of contained alarm. Personal problems.
In her early thirties, Lena is dressed soberly, almost excessively so
(as if she were attempting to project a maturity, effectiveness and
responsibility that she not yet possesses). She is a very beautiful
woman, on whose countenance the passing of time has begun to leave its
mark. She has a small mole, slightly raised, next to the seam of the
lips, and another one on the top edge of the nose. She could do more
with her physique, modernize it, but this is not what she aims for.
Her face reminds us of one of the heroines of the American film noir,
brought up to date. She possesses the turbulent and at once
translucent beauty of Gene Tierney and the bored disdain of Linda
Darnell (in “Fallen Angels”). Lena is a splendid fallen angel.
We can’t hear what she says, but judging from her reaction, the
content of her conversation is dramatic. Her eyes flash with
indignation and anger.
RETURN TO 19.
Ernesto Martel calls Lena, his personal secretary, by way of an
RETURN TO 20.
Magdalena interrupts her conversation with “I’ll call you later”, as
the indicator lights up, announcing another call on the line. She
pushes on the button corresponding to that phone call and she hears
her boss’ voice summoning her. “Yes, sir”, she responds, promptly.
She gets up from the table. She dries her eyes and nose with a
Kleenex, grabs a pen and a rectangular writing block and heads to
Ernesto Martel’s office.
21. ERNESTO MARTEL’S OFFICE. INT. DAY. 1990
Despite the fact that he’s dealing in grand-scale business, there are
few documents for him to consult on his desk. It gives the sense that
for the most important part of his job (grand scale speculation),
Ernesto deals directly. He is the great intermediary without
Magdalena enters. He invites her to take a seat. She complies
without altogether controlling her nervousness; professionally
detached, she attempts to hide the tension that the recent, and
truncated, telephone conversation has caused her.
I will dictate a letter for the Minister of Industry…
Magdalena opens her writing pad, ready to write, looking serious. Her
pen drops to the floor. Ernesto M. observes her.
Are you alright?
(As she picks it up) Yes, thank you.
But it’s not true. Lena looks agitated, despite her efforts to hide
Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong? I’m sure I could
Lena looks at him, serious and hurt:
My father is very ill. This afternoon they are
releasing him and I wanted to ask you if I could leave
an hour early to go pick him and my mother up.
Of course. What’s wrong with him?
Stomach cancer, metastasized.
I am really sorry.
22. SURROUNDINGS AND ENTRANCE, PUERTA DE HIERRO HOSPITAL. EXT.
It’s a hot and sunny afternoon at the end of July. Lena arrives
inside a taxi to the entrance of Puerta de Hierro Hospital. On the
sidewalk, next to the entryway, her mother awaits, (chubby, tired,
defenseless and impatient, she’s around sixty) next to her, a suitcase
and a huge plastic bag full of clothes. The mother is a small-town
woman, dignified and beaten. The shock provoked by the situation has
liberated her, if only momentarily, from falling into desperation.
Through the car’s window, Lena can see her mother on the sidewalk, and
her ailing Father (a man in his sixties, very debilitated and aged),
sitting on a sofa in the foyer.
Lena tells the cab-driver to wait, and runs toward her mother. They
I can’t believe they have thrown you out of the
hospital, like dogs…
(Humiliated, hurt) Yes, honey, yes…
(Indignant) Does Dr. Alvaro de la Torre know this?
The mother gestures for them to get away from the door, that way the
Father cannot see them.
He’s been the one…
But how? If he was going to operate him this week,
and last week, and the other week…
I couldn’t explain on the phone. (She recounts) Dr.
De la Torre called us for an appointment. I though it
would be to tells us that they were finally going to
operate on your father… but instead he tells us they
are releasing him. (In disbelief) I asked him what
he meant and he replied: “quite simple, it’s July and
I am leaving for my vacation” (as her story moves
forward the mother relives the same states of mind
that she went through in her conversation with the
doctor) And I told him, “you are throwing us out onto
the street?” and he insisted, without the least bit
of compassion, “I am releasing him so that you can go
home”, but “what can I do with him at home in his
condition?”. “That’s your problem” he told me (she
cries), “do whatever you like, I am leaving on
vacation”. “He is dying!” I begged. “Well, let him
die in peace, at home”, he said to me.
(Powerless, furious) It cannot be! They can’t keep
him for twenty days, torturing him with tests in
preparation for an operation and now leave him like
this, just because the doctor is leaving on vacation!
The Mother looks at her without knowing what to say. She takes a
small handkerchief to her nose.
Have you protested?…
To who? Dr. De la Torre is the head surgeon. There
is no one over him.
Lena refuses to accept the situation.
The father appears through the doors of the hospital entrance,
exhausted. He leans down to catch his breath. With a weak voice,
almost inaudible, he says to them:
Did you forget about me?
Lena and the mother approach him, almost jubilant, hiding their sense
of helplessness and frustration.
(Her eyes welled up with tears, she gathers her last
bit of strength) How could you think that Dad!
Between the two women they help the father to the taxi that is waiting
for them nearby. They put him in the car. The man can hardly walk.
He is very thin, his bones jut out from under his ashen skin. He
walks crouched over.
The taxi pulls off.
23. PERIPHERAL HIGHWAY, MADRID. INSIDE THE TAXI. HIGHWAY. DAY.
You know what Dr. De la Torre told me before he broke
He falters. He is too exhausted to speak.
(To the Mother) You tell her, Paca.
He said: I am glad you are not still in the service,
“Because if you were still in the service, after what
I am going to tell you, you’d shoot me…”
Lena stares, completely wide-eyed with amazement.
He really said that?
Yes… and he was smiling, he thought it was funny…
24. PERIPHERAL NEIGHBORHOOD. EXT. DAY. 1990.
The taxi parks in front of a humble building, in one of those outlying
neighborhoods in the periphery of Madrid, a commuter town. Children,
women, street ambience. It’s like a provincial town, transported to a
huge city that is in the midst of merciless development. At that hour
there are few people on the street.
The passage between this sequence and the next happens through the
doors of the car and the apartment, respectively.
The Father exits, aided by Lena and the Mother, when the door to the
taxi closes it’s the door to the apartment that shuts, with all three
characters inside the entry hall.
25. LENA’S PARENTS’ HOME. INT. DAY. 1990.
Lena locks the door from inside. It’s a humble and small apartment,
Magdalena and her mother situate the man on the bed in the master
bedroom, in the most comfortable way possible.
The décor reflects the bad taste of the era, especially of that social
class, here and there a certain rural detail stands out. Antique
photographs of the grandparents. Photographs of the Father in his
policeman uniform, next to the Mother.
Over the headboard, there is a crucifix on the wall and perhaps a
thick, wooden rosary. Religious images on the nighstands. Attention
placed on the bedspread, the curtains, the dresser, the closet and the
walls. Everything is new, ugly period furniture. The effect
generated is of a somber kitsch.
Lena opens a dresser drawer, on top of it sits the picture of the
father in his policeman uniform, with the Mother. She finds a Star
9mm pistol. She grabs it and tries its weight, the mother sees her
and tells her to leave the weapon in its place. (Perhaps at that very
moment the mother is injecting the Father with morphine).
In the dinning hall, Lena hands her mother money so that she can buy
food and her father’s medications.
Call me any time, no matter what it is!
The light that shines through the windows, covered with curtains of an
indefinite but slightly brilliant pattern, begins to fade.
Mother and daughter kiss.
25 A. LENA INSIDE A TAXI RETURNING TO MADRID. NIGHT.
While Lena was at her parent’s apartment, night fell.
Lena departs lost in her thoughts, she can’t shake off her parents’
situation. She shifts her eyes. She must find a solution, urgently.
She lights a cigarette. She looks at her wristwatch. She seems to
have made a decision. She looks out the window. She finds the inter-
urban landscape desolating.
25 B. NEIGHBORHOOD: PROSPERIDAD, VALLEGAS OR LA LATINA. EXT.
The taxi stops in front of the building where Lena lives. She exits
the taxi and opens the door.
26. LENA’S HOME. (NEIGHBORHOOD: PROSPERIDAD, VALLEGAS OR LA
LATINA). INT. NIGHT. 1990.
Lena enters her apartment. A tiny studio, but charming. No sooner
has she dropped all that she is carrying, than she heads to the phone
and makes a call. The décor is agreeable. Little money, but well
spent. A poster of Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” dominates one of the walls,
or a framed photochrom of Kim Novak in the film. There may be another
film reference (Jean Seberg and Romy Schneider). Lena, secretly, is a
27. MADAME MYLENE’S DEN. 1990. INT. NIGHT.
27. A. LENA’S HOME. INT. NIGHT.
(Alternating between both spaces)
Madame Mylene is a blonde woman, very dressed up, older (between fifty
and seventy), has had plastic surgery, and has not renounced her
womanhood. Despite the quality of her attire, her makeup and her
jewels, there is something about her appearance that is unequivocally
sinister and heartless. While she speaks she has a drink and smokes a
cigar. A man of “professional” appearance keeps her company. It’s
the den of a high-class Madame. The den seems more practical than
Madame Mylene? Hello, it’s Severine.
Severine! It’s been so long! I’m so happy to hear from
I need money.
Now! My weekend’s free. I am busy during the week.
I’ll see what I can do. May I call tonight if I find
Her tone gives it away that she won’t have the slightest problem
“finding something” for Lena.
Yes. I’ll wait for your call.
28. LENA’S HOME. INT. NIGHT. 1990.
The telephone rings. Lena has her hair down, she has put makeup on
(in excess). She looks more attractive, but the makeup also gives her
a harder edge. She covers herself with a robe. She immediately grabs
the phone. She seems like a different woman, worldly and nocturnal.
OFF ERNESTO MARTEL
(On alert) Who is it?
29. LIVING ROOM, ERNESTO M.’S MANSION. INT. NIGHT.
We see Ernesto Martel, speaking on the phone, in one of the living
rooms of his mansion. He is dressed to go out, a drink in his hand.
He is alone, his tone is that of a man courting a woman.
I am calling on Madame Mylene’s behalf.
Lena recognizes the voice, there is no doubt it’s his. Despite the
shock she manages to bluff, categorical and quick:
(Slightly altering her voice) You’ve made a mistake,
sir. No Severine lives here.
Ernesto Martel doesn’t believe her, but he plays along.
I must have dialed wrong. Excuse me.
Lena hangs up, confused and irritated.
30. LENA’S HOME. INT. NIGHT AND
31. MADAME MYLENE’S DEN. INT. NIGHT. 1990
Lena dials Madame Mylene’s number
Hi! Has he already called?
The client! You will not complain about my speediness!
(Furious) But… how have you given him my number?!
I couldn’t say no.
Things aren’t done like that! Have you gone mad!?
He knows everything. And I haven’t been the one to
tell him, he found out on his own account, he knows
about your foray into acting, and that you sometimes
“acted” for me…
Lena listens, furious and impotent.
Months ago he made me promise him that if you got back
in contact with me I would call him. I couldn’t say
no, he is one of my best clients.
(Unmoved) Look on the bright side. He must really
like you to go to the lengths he has… Perhaps you’ve
found your Sugar Daddy.
Lena remains in silence, humiliated, cornered.
What have you agreed on? Remember I am part of the
Lena doesn’t respond. She hangs up the telephone.
32. LENA’S HOME. INT. DAY. 1990.
IN THE MORNING.
Magdalena is sleeping in her bed. The phone wakes her. It’s her
mother, in the middle of a crying fit and panic attack.
(Wakes up, suddenly, frightened) How is Dad?
(Crying) Not well at all, my dear. We’ve been through
a hellish night. He has not eaten anything. But he
won’t stop bleeding… and everything is coming up…
it’s as if he has burst inside.
The mother speech falters, she is very scared…
I will be there with an ambulance immediately. Be
ready to leave!
Before she calls an ambulance, Lena calls Ernesto Martel. They greet
each other. Ernesto does not pretend to be surprised, he comes across
cordially. He thinks this may be the continuation of their phone call
from the previous night.
Mr. Martel? It’s Lena.
(Delighted) Good morning, Lena.
I am sorry to bother you…
(Gallantly) You are never a bother.
My father is dying. We must admit him urgently, but I
don’t know where. As I told you, they released him
from Puerta de Hierro yesterday.
Ernesto changes his tone. Now he is an all-powerful man, generous and
with every recourse at his fingertips.
Don’t worry. We will take him to the Emergency Room
at a private clinic. (Wanting to confirm) You told
me that he has stomach cancer…
(Thinking) The best digestive surgeon in Europe is at
the Clinica de la Luz. I will take care of the
admittance issue. Call an ambulance and tell them to
pick up your parents. I’ll meet you at the Clinica de
la Luz in an hour…
(Plainly, but grateful) Thank you very much.
Even though neither one of them mentions the phone conversation of the
night before, it is present on both of their minds.
33. MADRID STREETS. EXT. DAY. 1990
An ambulance traverses Madrid at full speed.
34. SURROUNDINGS AND ENTRANCE TO CLINICA DE LA LUZ. EXT. DAY.
It arrives to the Emergency ward at the Clinica de la Luz. They carry
Lena’s father in a stretcher, her mother alongside him.
35. CLINICA DE LA LUZ. HALLWAYS. INT. DAY. 1990
One of the hospital’s hallways.
The Mother, Lena and Ernesto are waiting together on a row of chairs
next to a door. Dr. Blasco emerges, an eminent Surgeon Specialist.
An impenetrable man, he doesn’t mince words. Getting information from
him is like pulling teeth. He is polite, but not accommodating in the
How’s the patient?
You have brought him in terrible conditions… Which I
suppose you know.
The mother affirms with a gesture.
(With good manners, but authoritarian) Will you be
able to save him?
We will do everything possible… at this very moment
it is impossible to operate…
Lena and the Mother look at both men, anxiously.
Perhaps tomorrow. We are providing parenteral
nutrition… He will need a blood transfusion…
(Looks at both women) Do you have any relatives who
Well, here… I don’t know…
The Mother also doesn’t know what to say.
Give him the best blood you’ve got!
I will keep you updated on his condition in the next
hours… (He says goodbye to them)
May I stay?
Yes, of course. You can stay in his room as long as
The Mother is not accustomed to so many privileges.
The doctor says goodbye to Ernesto Martel and the women, mechanically.
36. HALLWAYS CLINICA DE LA LUZ. INT. DAY. 1990
When the three are alone the Mother thanks Ernesto Martel for what he
has done for them. She looks at her daughter, in a knowing way, as if
she understands (and accepts, what else can she do!) the situation.
I’ll stay here, Mom. You have to rest…
(With strength, but beaten) No, you rest… You’ve
already done enough… Thank you very much, Mr. Ernesto.
If my husband survives, it will be thanks to you.
He will survive, ma’am.
Really, you don’t want me to stay? Or that I bring you
No, go. You both must have things to do…
Lena complies. In effect, there is something urgent she must do: pay
the price for all those privileges. To pay the cost of her father’s
Ernesto and Lena walk to the other end of the hallway. Before she
enters the room, the Mother bids farewell to them with a look that’s
sad, tired, but of fortitude.
The two figures slowly recede down the hallway, until they disappear
Fade to black.
37. MATEO-HARRY’S HOME. RETURN TO 2008. INT. DAY.
The door to Harry’s apartment. The doorbell rings. The house is
completely dark. Harry moves with his characteristic naturalness.
He is coming from the bathroom, his hair wet and wearing a robe.
He feels around until he finds the peephole. He opens it and reaches
his eye toward it, as if he could really see the person on the other
side. He is not waiting for anyone, so he hopes the visitor will
think he is watching, even if he can’t see a thing.
(From inside) Who is it?
A voice on the other side of the door responds:
I’m Ray X …
Ray X? There’s no such a name.
It’s a nickname, at one time I took a lot of ecstasy.
What do you want?
To write a script with you, so that I can direct it.
It’s your first film?
I made a documentary (naïve) … a very good one,
eighteen years ago, this would be my first fiction
OK. Call Judit Garcia, my agent, and explain
everything. If she finds it suitable, she will set up
a date for us. And now, I’d like to go dry myself, you
pulled me out of the shower and I am dripping wet.
(The words escape) You are naked?
It’s none of your business.
Ray does not move. Neither does Harry. They both remain still and
mute on their respective sides of the door, waiting for the other to
do something. Ray is mortified about having asked the last question.
Will you stand there all day?
You haven’t given me Judit Garcia’s phone number.
Find it out. She is a well-known Production Director.
This time Ray steps away from the door and walks toward the elevator.
38. HARRY’S HOME. 2008. INT. DAY
At another point in the day.
Harry plays music (a CD with songs that Diego has selected for him,
expressly), he looks after the bonsai, or he waters the plants while
he listens to the radio. Harry touches the plants as well as the
bonsai delicately, with the tip of his fingers.
The phone rings.
Hi Harry. It’s me.
A young director has been in contact with me. His
name is Ray X and he wants to write a script with you…
Does this ring a bell?
Yes… (He is about to tell her he showed up without
notice, but Judit doesn’t give him time to).
(Since she is always busy and in a hurry) Well, he
wants to see you this afternoon, or tomorrow, if you
can. I have asked him for an advance and he has
accepted, but I cannot accompany you either today or
I will speak to him… and let you know.
Good, I hope you like him, he seems to be loaded.
Have you seen him?
No, just judging from his voice. And from the check I
am about to ask him for. I will send Diego over so
that you’re not alone.
39. HARRY-MATEO HOME. DEN. INT. DAY. 2008
(The next morning, Harry wears different clothes than in the previous
sequence and Ray X as well.)
The doorbell rings. It’s Ray X. Mariacruz opens the door. Harry
waits for him while seated at his desk, one can hear the noises his
Ray X heads toward the den and introduces himself.
Harry stretches his hand and waits for the other man to find it and
Hi, I’m Ray X.
They shake hands.
Hello Mr. X. Please, have a seat…
Please, don’t address me formally.
(Perhaps the kitchen is lit and only the light from the window enters
the area where the conversation is taking place).
Ray watches Harry inquisitively. He observes everything, the
furniture, the wall-hangings and Harry’s own body, shamelessly, taking
advantage of the fact that Harry cannot see him.
Mateo senses the heat of his visitor’s gaze over his body.
Ray is thirty-five years old and his physique is somewhere between
freakish and bohemian but expensively dressed, hard to classify, thin,
with a beard. Only when he speaks he reveals his well-bred origin
(not excessively, nor parodically, just sufficiently evocative). He
is excited by the very fact of being there, it seems it is something
he has been desiring for some time.
He takes advantage of the fact that Harry cannot see him in order to
observe him without reserve.
During the conversation, Harry is not always sitting. At some point
he moves (to look for cigarettes, perhaps) and remains standing.
I love your work, I know it from the start.
I have seen all of Mateo Blanco’s films, including the
last one, “Girls and Suitcases”.
Is that so? You must be the only one.
40. HARRY’S HOME. VESTIBULE AND KITCHEN. INT. DAY. 2008.
At this exact moment, Diego enters. Mariacruz opens the door for him.
Just in time to hear Ray’s question.
What happened to Mateo Blanco?
Why do you ask?
Diego goes to the kitchen. Harry has heard him, he knows he’s there,
if he hasn’t called him it’s because he doesn’t need him.
Because he vanished from public life…
It would seem that way.
Almost as if he’d died.
Yes . . . (Ironically) I lost track of him some time ago.
I’ve always been intrigued by the case of his last film.
Mateo Blanco’s. The first five are stupendous. You
were the screenwriter for all of them, how do you
explain that the last one was a disaster?
(Made uncomfortable by the topic) Films turn out well
or badly. The reason is always a mystery. (Mateo
switched genres, perhaps he wasn’t skilled for
comedy). But tell me about the story you want to
Ray X measures his words, it’s very important to him and he doesn’t
want to do so hastily.
… I would like to write a story about a son’s revenge,
one against the memory of his father.
Why does the son desire revenge?
(Speaking personally) Because the father ruined his
life, practically nullifying him while he lived. The
father is a successful financier, violent, homophobic,
very powerful and unscrupulous. He thinks everyone
has a price and that’s how he behaves with people. I
don’t know if you’ve had the misfortune of meeting
someone like this…
Harry does not allay his doubt.
When you say he is powerful, what kind of power are
you referring to?
Economic, with everything that entails. He is a
broker, of the generation of speculators that made
quick, high-profit gains in the 80s; he amassed a
great fortune during the oil crisis. The son is
sensitive, with complexes and artistic preoccupations,
and lives under his shadow, trying to please the
father in everything. Despite being a bit…
homosexual, the son marries twice, just like the
father, and, just like him, he separates. He has a
son that hates him just as much as he hates his own
father. When the father dies, the son is finally able
to rebuild his life. That is his salvation and his
I get it. I am afraid I am not the writer you are
You are, you don’t know how much!
Harry registers what he has just heard.
I will pay whatever you ask.
It’s too personal.
Make it yours. I am not aiming for a biopic, rather,
I think of it as a base from which to develop a
Thanks, but no. (He rises) And now, if you don’t mind…
He calls Diego. The boy responds in that instant, he was in the
kitchen, waiting for Harry to call him.
Ray X will not give up, so he writes his telephone number on a piece
of paper and places it in his hand.
There you have my phone number, if you change your mind.
Harry is still standing, with the piece of paper in his hand. Diego
observes both men.
Ray gets up.
I am sure we will see each other again.
In my case, that would be a miracle.
Diego accompanies him to the door. And closes it behind him.
Harry opens his desk’s drawer and places the piece of paper with Ray’s
telephone number inside. He rummages through the drawer’s interior
until he finds a key. He grabs it.
Harry and Diego are now alone, in the den. Ruminating over Ray X’s
visit and the story he was proposing Harry.
Did you overhear that?
Yes… I’m flipping out! Why did he ask you if Mateo
To provoke me… I don’t know… Help me find
something… (he points toward the drawers at the
bottom of the bookcase and he hands him the key to
open one of them) Look inside that drawer.
Diego opens the drawer with the key Harry has given him. The drawer
is full of different groups of photographs and various objects mixed
in a certain order. There is a black notebook. A box with Mexican
handicrafts. Some 1980s postcards as well some from other decades,
some movie postcards, some others of exotic landscapes… Some of the
groups of photographs are sorted into envelopes, boxes or transparent
binders. For Diego it’s like looking into a treasure chest. It has
been many years since that drawer has been opened. This was out of
respect, not from lack of curiosity, Diego would never do so behind
Look through the pictures of the `94 shoot. Some of
the photographs must have the date on it.
After tossing aside various envelopes, Diego finds a lot of
photographs of the shooting, dated `94. He takes them out of their
He shuffles through them, until he pauses at one.
I think this is him…
The man who just left.
(Rising) Describe the picture to me.
It’s from the shoot. (He looks at the box from where
he’s taken it). He is carrying a small camera, like a
It’s a 16mm. Are you sure it’s him?
He is now thinner and wears a beard, but it’s him. He
is talking to you.
What am I saying?
I don’t know. He is handing you something, it looks
like a pack of cigarettes.
It’s a radio microphone. He is asking me to wear it
and I am refusing it.
Who is he?
Ernesto Martel’s son.
Harry is perturbed by the confirmation of his doubts. He would have
preferred to be mistaken.
(Serious and pensive) You can put them away now…
Diego returns the different sets of photographs to their place, inside
the drawer a photo appears of Lena’s face, in close-up. It’s the same
woman who appears in sequences 20 through 36.
The drawer closes, darkness engulfs its interior, drowning Lena’s
image, soon reborn in the next sequence.
43. HOME, ERNESTO MARTEL SENIOR. (1992)
Out of the darkness, Lena’s image emerges, the year is `92: A close-
up of the woman, looking at herself in the mirror, touching up her
makeup. She grabs a dress by a famous designer of the time and puts
A few meters away, in the bedroom, Ernesto buttons up his fly, after
tucking in his shirt tail. The scene is that of a wealthy couple, who
They are preparing to attend a concert. Ernesto is a big fan of
Lena looks rejuvenated and more refined. Her life and her facial skin
have both improved since the first time we see her in Martel’s office.
The moles have disappeared from her face. Her demeanor is still adult,
that of a young woman who has experienced life.
Ernesto Martel frequently rests his gaze on her, fascinated, it’s hard
for him to believe that “such beauty” belongs to him.
The phone rings. Ernesto Senior picks up the handset. His relaxed
countenance changes the second he hears the voice on the other end.
It’s his second wife, whom he divorced years ago. He treats her with
I can’t talk now, Rosanna.
It’s about your son. I have caught him trying on my
dresses. And it’s not the first time…
It’s your fault, you made him effeminate to humiliate me!
That’s not the problem, the boy is very depressed,
I’ve had to take him to a psychiatrist.
Don’t call him “boy”. He is already seventeen.
The doctor has told me he is in need of a father
figure… I think I am going to send him your way so
that he can spend some time with you, after all you
are his father.
If I haven’t been a good father in eighteen years, I
don’t think I can learn to be one precisely now.
How can you speak like that! Have you no feelings?
(Looks at Lena, intently) I have them. Very deep
feelings, they just don’t include either of you.
While he speaks, Lena consults him about the jewelry she is about to
put on, she tries on different pairs of earrings for his approval,
something he gives without pausing his phone conversation.
Lena makes a gesture of reproach. Ernesto should not speak to his ex-
wife in that tone.
If anything happens to him, you’ll know who’s at fault.
Stop blackmailing me, Rosanna. Tell Ernesto that if
he wants to talk to me he should call me himself.
Ernesto Martel Senior hangs up, bewildered.
45. CONTINUED. 1992.
(In reprimand) Don’t be so harsh with them, Ernesto!
He sips from his drink, or he serves himself another one if he has
already finished the first.
Why don’t you invite your son to spend a few days here?
It’d be better if you didn’t get involved with them,
Ernesto takes a sip from his drink.
He can keep me company… Does he like movies or theater?
Ernesto Senior casts her a sideways glance.
I don’t know. But the mother has told me he is a bit
faggot. If I ask him to come I would like for you to
tell me if that’s true… and whether you think there’s
And how would I know?! What an idea!
I am not asking you to fuck him, but you good-looking
girls can tell these things.
Call him, but you can’t count on me for the rest.
Ernesto approaches the telephone and dials a number.
46. ERNESTO MARTEL’S MANSION. (2008). INT. NIGHT.
Fourteen years later in the same room, decorated differently, (more
modern, more colorful), although it still retains some noble and
timeless furniture pieces and the same layout Ernesto Junior (we in
effect confirm that this is Ray X) speaks on the telephone while
getting dressed to leave for a party. In that very room, another man
(young, handsome and ambitious) is getting dressed in front of a piece
of furniture equipped with a mirror, at the very spot Lena had been
earlier. (This piece of furniture is not the same one as the one
fourteen years earlier, this is a more masculine piece, the other one
was a type of boudoir).
I am not reproaching you for our separation but that
you live with a man… What will your children think!
(On the phone) That their father is a homosexual (he
gazes at his handsome boyfriend) and that he has very
good taste. If they love me and you don’t set them
against me, they will accept it.
You should have told me before we married!
If you hadn’t been so exclusively concerned with my
father’s fortune you might have noticed it yourself.
The ex-wife grumbles furiously. The beautiful boyfriend continues to
dress and smiles at Ernesto.
Another telephone rings.
I have to go, I have another call.
47. ERNESTO SON’S MANSION. INT. NIGHT 2008
47 A. JUDIT’S PRODUCTION OFFICE. INT. NIGHT.
ERNESTO J.’s LOVER
Will it be your other ex-wife?
I hope not. (Into the headset) Yes?
(Dryly) It’s Judit Garcia.
Oh, hello, Judit. (In an amiable tone) Did you get the
I don’t want it! I just sent it back, Ernesto!
She emphasizes his name.
You won’t call me Ray? It’s my artistic name…
Artistic? What are you up to?
Hoping to erase my father’s name.
And what does that have to do with Harry?
I’ve been wanting to see him for a long time. And
it’s true that I want to shoot a movie and that I want
him to write the script. (Looks at the boyfriend) I’ve
got the protagonist.
The boyfriend catches the allusion.
You are not a director!
You should take a look at my documentary, you’d change
Ernesto, forget about us!
Don’t be afraid of me. I am not my father.
Do not come near Harry again. If you ever stop by his
house again I will report you for harassment.
And she hangs up the phone. At that very moment Judit is in her office
with the American production team. She apologizes and attempts to
recover her calm before undertaking the subject of the meeting at
48. JUDIT’S HOME. JUDIT’S BEDROOM. INT. NIGHT. 2008
The house is not very big, but it is large enough for two people.
It’s discretely feminine and very practical. The details indicate
that an independent woman lives there, as well as a young-man, twenty-
five years old. There is some detail of the décor (the curtains, for
example) that is replicated in Harry’s home. It is clear that Judit
has had a hand in setting up the writer’s home.
Judit is packing her bags, she paces back and forth. She is a bit
overwhelmed, with multiple thoughts crossing her mind. At times, she
asks for Diego’s help.
I am not at all pleased with having to scout outside
Madrid, but the Americans pay a bundle and we need
You can leave without concerns. Don’t worry about me.
I am also worried for Harry. (Sounds more like an
order than a request) Please, look after him during
(Protests) I have things to do, mom. I can’t look
after him all day.
It’s only two weeks!
Harry manages perfectly on his own and right now we
are not writing anything.
Acknowledges the reason for her worry.
I am worried about Ernesto Junior’s visit. I would
like for you to be on guard in case he appears or
calls and then let me know immediately!
Why are you so worried?
Judit stops what she’s doing, and takes a moment to take a deep
He’s crazy. I don’t trust him.
(Evasive) It’s a long story.
(Persistent) Summarize it!
Diego, please, this is not the moment.
It never is for you!
(Exasperated) Hey, if it bothers you so much to look
after Harry, I’ll quit the job and stay in Madrid! Or
I’ll hire someone.
It doesn’t bother me to look after Harry! But I am
tired of so much secrecy!
(It’s a civilized encounter, no screaming. There is tension, but it
is kept under control by both of them)
49. IN A PUBLIC PARK AND ON THE STREET. EXT. DAY. 2008
A public park. Diego and Harry are walking along a straight pathway.
Kids, dogs, people jogging. It is a tranquil and pleasant place.
Diego is in front, Harry is behind him, holding on to his elbow, (as
reference), but it’s Harry who is moving faster, pushing Diego from
his elbow. The boy shows signs of exhaustion, he is wearing black
Don’t go so fast!
We are exercising…
I’m not. I’m just keeping you company. How can you
walk so fast?
I am training and I don’t work at night, nor do I drug
(On guard) What do you mean by that?
That I take care of myself, with the fanaticism of an
older, handicapped person.
You are no fanatic.
Yes, I am. All of us who survive a critical physical
injury are. There is no other way.
50. CONTINUED. EXT. DAY.
They exit the park. While they wait at a stop sign, a billboard
catches Diego’s attention. Half of the billboard is taken up by the
motto: DONATE BLOOD. The names of participating ambulatory hospitals
and their hours appear below.
Harry can tell his company is distracted, so he asks him:
What are you looking at?
In huge letters it says “Donate Blood”, it includes
where one has to go.
You want to donate blood?
No, no… I was thinking that “Donate Blood” is a good
title for a movie…
Yes. It has a good ring.
For a vampire flick.
Harry finds it amusing. They walk toward home.
(Ironizing, kidding, improvising) Imagine that behind
the billboard a whole group of vampires that work in
ambulatory care are hiding… and they actually keep the
blood they get from donors for their own consumption,
Your mother would like that story.
51. HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY. 2008
Mariacruz, the Latin American maid, is preparing something in the
kitchen. Meanwhile, Diego and Mateo gather around the table. Diego
sits in front of his laptop.
Both of the characters are improvising, rapidly, and become
increasingly excited, completing each other’s sentences. They are
having fun, as if playing a game. The sequence becomes a
demonstration of the process of creating fiction, based on an trivial,
real anecdote. (They will begin the sequence by opening a document.
Diego writes the title in caps: DONATE BLOOD.)
The vampires would be like a type of ethnic group,
completely assimilated into Spanish society, they
don’t stand out. There are vampires who occupy
important positions, keeping it a secret (like the
Opus Dei). But even though they live in the shadows,
they have amassed great social and economic power…
They control various industries. For example, the one
responsible for dark sunglasses…
(Smiles) And those that provide nightly entertainment:
bars, discos, after-hours… Since they don’t need drugs
to stay awake, they are the most apt for working at
night. They don’t burn out…
And for the sunscreen business. The poor things are
very sensitive to climate change and to the holes in
the ozone layer. Their sunscreens are some of the
best on the market.
(Laughs) And those which sell best… This is all great…
Diego talks and takes notes on his laptop. Harry paces back and
forth, in front of the table, like a caged animal.
Protected by the sunscreen, they can function all day…
The lotion must be as dense as armour.
(More inspired) This is how the story could begin:
(describes) A gorgeous woman, totally naked, rubbing
her body with a super-dense lotion, before heading to
work at an ambulatory hospital. Her body is a velvety
(Continues) What a great opening! We also need a love
A hybrid love story, between the female vampire and a
Like in “Cat People”, a love story between beings of
She works at one of those labs where blood is donated
and where they snatch it for themselves. The guy has
gone to donate his, or to get some tests. They like
each other immediately. After the first needle prick
into his vein, she gets completely excited. So, they
start to date. But she doesn’t want to turn him into
a vampire… these aren’t proselytizing vampires, they
are above biting people… unless they truly need it to
But they must like sex, right?
Of course. That’s one of the problems, the couple
desire each other desperately. But when it comes to
fucking, she becomes prudish…
Because she is afraid of losing control in her
excitement and taking a bite into his jugular…
When they’re horny, she lets him do everything, front,
back, whatever he wants, except ravaging her mouth.
And her breasts?
Also… But that gets into high-risk territory. When
he sucks on her breasts, she has to cover her mouth
with a pillow, which she ends up shredding with her
And when she sucks his dick?
No, no sucking. She would tear it on the first bite.
And how does he react? A man may do without kissing,
but it’s very rough not to have your cock sucked.
Since he is deeply in love, he accepts the situation
(or gives up to it). Once they are more comfortable
with each other, she wears a muzzle, as security for
both. Because when she’s turned on, she has a type of
dental erection, her face grows into something like
that of a she-wolf…
Diego writes furiously, while cracking up.
I like your story very much, Diego.
No. This one was your idea, and you’ll author it.
I’ll be your sparring partner, for all the times
you’ve done the same for me…
Harry is welcoming him as a writer. This fact doesn’t escape the boy,
he feels an unexpected pride.
52. MODERN AND MODEST BAR WHERE DIEGO WORKS. NIGHT. INT. 2008
At nights, Diego D.J.’s inside a small booth. Two of his friends, or
just acquaintances of the club scene, one of them we’ve already seen
earlier, keep him company. The one we don’t know, Friend A, looks
pretty loaded. He is very “friendly” with the other two.
(Without acrimony) Stop fondling me… damn it!
It’s the GHB. It kicks your ass.
Diego takes a sip of Coke and whisky and sets it down somewhere inside
Do you want a little bit of “X”? (referring to
“MDMA”, aka Ecstasy)
Just a tip. (He licks his finger and sticks its moist
tip into the bag that Alex offers him, he takes his
finger to his mouth) Tomorrow I have to work, we are
writing a vampire script that’s going to be the shit!
AT THE BAR .
The Friend, high on GHB, grabs a glass of Coca-cola from the
bartender’s hands, at the bar. He takes out a small container and
adds a few drops of liquid ecstasy into the drink.
He takes a sip and enters the booth where the other two are. He sets
the glass down and begins to jump, euphorically.
Stop already, you are going to go through the roof.
In between songs, (he is changing the tune) Diego grabs Friend A’s
drink. They are both drinking Coca-Cola, Diego’s has whisky and Friend
A’s has liquid ecstasy. Distracted by changing tunes, Diego does not
realize that he has grabbed the drink with GHB. He takes a long sip.
And he falls flat to the floor.
The two friends, bewildered and scared, attempt to revive him, but to
no avail. Perhaps Alex will exclaim:
Holy shit, he’s taken a drink from your glass! Why in
the world did you get Coca-cola! Didn’t you notice he
was drinking a jack and coke?
I didn’t realize!
(Very alarmed) He’s unconscious!
53. BAR EXTERIOR. NIGHT. 2008 (OPTIONAL)
An ambulance arrives.
They carry Diego out, unconscious, from the bar on a stretcher. Alex
goes with him, very scared. Before they go into the vehicle, Diego’s
mobile phone rings. Alex takes it from Diego’s pocket, he doesn’t
know why he is doing so, it is a hysterical reaction. On the other
side of the line, he hears Harry’s voice.
No. I’m a friend. Diego just… he’s not well. We
are taking him into the emergency room…
Emergency? Can I talk to him?
What hospital are you taking him to?
The friend asks one of the ambulance employees who tells him the
name of the hospital. Alex repeats it for Harry.
Who are you?
(Improvising) …His uncle. I am on my way.
54. ENRACE TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM OF A HOSPITAL. EXT. NIGHT. 2008
Harry gets out of a taxi. He aids himself with the typical blind
man’s cane. He can’t find the entryway. He bumps into something. We
have not yet seen him this clumsy. Someone helps him enter. The same
person accompanies him to the reception desk in the waiting-room area.
He is no longer the blind man who was walking euphorically along his
street’s sidewalk, umbrella in hand.
(Anxious) I am here to see Diego Garcia. He’s just been
The “receptionist” looks through the admittances. Taking into account
that Harry is blind, she decides to call the Doctor who has attended
Shortly thereafter, the Doctor appears. He heads directly for Harry.
I am here to see Diego Garcia.
Are you immediate family?
(Improvises) Yes… I’m his uncle, and his godfather.
Your nephew is at the ICU, he arrived in a coma…
Harry reacts to the news.
In a coma?
But, what has happened?!
He ingested liquid ecstasy and alcohol… it is a lethal
combination. His friend informed us it was a mistake…
(It happens sometimes, kids grab the wrong glass…)
My God! But Diego is a very healthy boy…
The doctor makes a neutral gesture of acknowledgement…
Barring any complications, he will recover in six to
If that’s the case, I’ll wait…
Go home, we will call you…
I’d rather wait.
Are you certain?
Yes. Guide me to a place where I can sit, please…
The Doctor directs him toward an area with sofas.
Would you mind providing us with his parents’ phone
He only has a mother and, at the moment, she is
working outside Madrid… I would prefer to call her
myself… I don’t want to alarm her, unless he is truly
in a grave condition…
Normally, he should recuperate in a few hours… but,
in any case, you should have a talk with him, once
Yes, of course…
They arrive at a couch set, ugly and lacking style, Harry collapses on
one of the armchairs, demolished.
The Doctor returns to work.
The girl at the reception desk stares at Harry, who is immobile,
readied for a long wait.
A slow fade to black.
55. HARRY’S HOME. HARRY’S BEDROOM. INT. DAWN. 2008
Harry is still waiting, this time at home, sitting on a wingback chair
close to the bed where Diego sleeps.
On the nightstand, there are some medications and a glass of water,
next to a plastic bottle, an alarm-clock. And perhaps a book.
Through the window you can see the day beginning to break, Diego
awakens. At first he doesn’t know where he is. In the darkness of
the room he discovers Harry’s figure, sitting on the wingback chair.
He can’t tell if he’s awake or asleep, but it soothes him to know he’s
not alone. Diego stares at him, he doesn’t say anything. Just
To his surprise, Harry asks him:
How are you?
Diego makes a listless gesture.
I don’t know… dazed. Did you speak with my mother?
Yes, I told her it was something you ate…
And she believed it?
I don’t know. She wanted to hurry back, but I
convinced her to continue with the location scouting.
At some point you’ll have to call her.
Silence. Diego thinks about everything’s that’s happened.
After a few seconds:
Are you asleep?
I’m not sleepy anymore.
Do you want to talk?
Would you like me to speak?
I don’t know. If you’d like…
I say so in order to distract you. When I was young,
before I got into making movies, I was very good at
(Not sure) Well, then… would you mind telling me why
my mother is so afraid of Ernesto Junior?
She’s afraid of him?
Before she left, she made me promise that I would
remain alert, in case he reappeared…
She didn’t explain why?
She never explains anything.
Harry remains pensive for a moment, Diego’s request has taken him by
It’s a long story…
Judit says the same thing. How did you meet him?
It is not easy to talk about. In some way it must be obvious that
Harry has spent many years (fourteen) avoiding this topic, but he is
determined to do anything necessary to entertain Diego.
Diego serves himself some water and prepares to listen.
We met him… In an office we had rented in preparation
for my new film, about fourteen years ago.
56. MATEO’S OFFICE. INT. DAY. 1994
The images that correspond to the past are edited more freely than the
rest of the narrative. Summarized and sped-up by Harry’s voice-off,
mixing media from diverse sources.
…After having written five dramas, I had finally
managed to write a script for a comedy, or that’s what
I thought. I wanted to change genres… to take a risk
(ironic-destructive) And I swear I accomplished that,
the part about taking a risk.
In 1994, everyone calls Harry “Mateo”. He is sitting behind a table
filled with papers, photographs, books, magazines, an ashtray, pencil
and pen holders, etc. At its center, a script lies open, with tons of
notes scribbled on the margins of its pages. He is finishing the
definitive version of “Girls and Suitcases”.
The casual messiness of the place produces its own aesthetic. The
only decorations on the walls, here and there, not following any
particular symmetrical rule, are postcards of painters, actors or
landscapes, held in place by tacks. There is also a newspaper page
that has caught Mateo’s attention. Or some astonishing photograph,
taken from a magazine. The cover of some magazine. Everything without
framing, tacked directly onto the wall.
The furniture is pastel, medium-shade green or red, with velvet
tapestry, worn and outmoded. The pieces don’t match, but they look
Judit enters (also fourteen years younger, but this is less obvious.
She is a woman unmarked by the march of time.)
Mateo is focused on the script’s pages. Judit is Mateo’s right-hand
man, they are accomplices in everything, both professionally and
A girl has stopped by. She doesn’t have an appointment,
so there is no reason for you to see her…
(Without much interest) What’s she like?
Too beautiful to be funny.
She is Ernesto Martel’s lover, the tycoon. She is
here with his son.
And she’s an actress?
(Ironic) Her? If she’s been with him for three years,
she must be. In any case, go out and say hello, to be
polite. One must get along well with important men.
You never know.
57. CONTINUED. WAITING AREA. 1994.
Mateo exits his office. In the improvised waiting area (it is not a
proper waiting room but a transient-space turned waiting area by a
couch left over from the furnishings of some previous film). He finds
Ernesto Junior (in other words, the character who had introduced
himself as Ray X fourteen years ago; in his case, the age-difference
is noticeable, he’s just a kid). He is a little heavier, his hair
longer, he reminds us of the love-struck big-kid that Phyllip Seymour
Hoffman played in “Boogie Nights”.
Mateo’s gaze rests only for an instant on the young man, even though
the boy does not take his stupefied eyes away from Mateo throughout
the entire sequence.
Ernesto Junior has accompanied Lena. When he sees her, Mateo freezes,
at the door to his office.
Lena’s back is turned, or her head is tilted as she reads a magazine.
Ernesto elbows her, Lena raises her head and discovers Mateo, watching
her from the door to his office.
Mateo’s heart churns, it’s a cinematographic churn, he feels like
James Stewart in “Vertigo”, when he first sees Kim Novak at the
restaurant, with her famous green dress. Time stops for an instant so
that Mateo may contemplate this woman’s apparition.
After this brief hypnotic moment, they introduce themselves,
forgetting Ernesto’s presence, who then, since no one pays attention
to him, introduces himself.
Even though she’s a bit nervous, one can tell that Lena is a strong
and decisive woman. Brunette. Mysterious. Made-up in dark tones that
stand out on her pale skin. Refined. She doesn’t have the aspect of a
comedienne, her presence is too intense, she seems better suited to be
the heroine of a film noir (as we’ve said).
Genres and their iconographies pose no limit on Mateo’s capacity to be
attracted to her, from the first instant.
I am sorry we showed up like this, but I’ve heard you
are running auditions… and I would like for you to
give me a try out.
Mateo observes her intently. She does not resemble any of the
characters in the script, but he no longer cares about that. At some
point, Judit makes her appearance and gets to contemplate this scene
I can come whatever day is convenient.
You’re already here. Let’s read something.
It doesn’t sound like “let’s read something” but more like “let’s have
They disappear through Mateo’s office door.
Fade to black.
58. ERNESTO SENIOR’S MANSION. (IN PUERTA DE HIERRO OR
SOMETHING LIKE IT). EXT. NIGHT. 1994.
(Over an establishing shot of the mansion, one hears Harry’s voice-off
as he speaks to Diego)
The reading didn’t work out. We were both too nervous.
The first meeting and the reading we did only served
to make me realize that woman’s very presence
Great mansion, with a huge green parcel of land with various trees,
bushes, flowers… Two or three dogs are running across the lawn. The
plot of land must span about 6,000 square meters or more. (The dogs
approach the camera, as if it were a trespasser).
Alarm system, etc. The main building has two levels, joined by a grand
staircase. All decorated by wives with the wish to be decorators,
aided by hired decorators. Brand-name furniture, two or three
paintings worth millions. A piano and a certain desolateness. One can
tell that his previous wives have left along with a part of the
59. LIVING ROOM ON THE TOP LEVEL. LENA AND ERNESTO SENIOR
DINE. INT. NIGHT. 1994
The Father already knows he is missing information about something
unexpected that has gone on that morning. They are at dessert.
Where have you been this morning?
Ernesto hasn’t told you?
I haven’t asked him.
(She hates having to account for herself.) I went to
see a film director.
(Dryly) For an audition.
Ernesto looks at her with surprise, he doesn’t approve of it.
An audition? How so?
(With less determination than she would like, but
enough to alarm Ernesto Senior) I want to work.
Weren’t you going to study interior design? Weren’t
you going to redecorate the house? I thought we
agreed that you would transform what’s left of my two
shipwrecked marriages into something more our own…
Call a decorator… I want to be an actress. I’ve
always wanted to.
You’ve already attempted it once… and look how you’ve
Lena shoots him a fulminating glance.
(Affected) That’s a cheap shot.
(First, he attacks. Then, he is sorry. Lºike any
violent lover) I am sorry, forgive me.
Lena is frustrated and restless. She rises.
Excuse me, I am retiring to my room.
Ernesto grabs her and then embraces her. Lena remains still within his
arms, imprisoned and elusive, the two locked in a strange posture.
In any case, don’t worry. It didn’t turn out well. I
was too nervous.
Someone calls at the door. “There’s a call”. It’s the voice of one
of the hired help, behind the door. “it’s Mr. Mateo Blanco, and he
says it’s important”.
(Yells) Come in!
She breaks free from Ernesto’s embrace and runs toward the door where
the maid is holding the supplementary handset. Avidly, she grabs it
from her. She listens, excited. She responds only in monosyllables,
affirmatively. She hangs up the phone. Her eyes glitter with intense
happiness, a feeling from which Ernesto feels excluded.
(Enthusiastically) That’s the film director. He says
the reading was not sufficient and he wants to see me
Lena looks imploringly at Ernesto Senior.
What are you going to do?
Go see him, no?!
Ernesto makes a gesture that betrays his anger and displeasure.
Please, Ernesto. I need to do something! And I’ve
always wanted to be an actress!
And what will become of me?
They have not given me the role yet.
Well, if I were to get it, we would still see each
other every day, as it has been, in the mornings and
evenings. Nothing will change, except that during the
day I would work, just like you.
Why don’t we get married?
(Taken by surprise) What?
I am asking you to marry me…
Don’t you think you’ve married and divorced enough
With you it’d be the first.
We’ve been living together for three years, aren’t we
fine like this?
(Somber) It doesn’t seem you are.
61. IN THE MORNING. HARRY’S HOME. SIGNIFICANT ELLIPSIS. INT.
Diego is better, but Harry prefers to keep caring for him. Harry
makes him breakfast. Diego is sitting at the table.
Ernesto Martel offered to produce the movie. Your
mother didn’t want him to. She was waiting for a
subsidy from the Ministry and an advance sale to
television, but that would take months and I was
suddenly in a great hurry to begin shooting.
62. DRESSING ROOM FOR MAKE-UP, HAIR, AND COSTUME. INT. DAY.
Part of the voice-off is edited over these images.
Lena is in the process of being made-up, coifed and dressed. This,
under the control of Mateo Blanco, who does not stop speaking,
offering references, making ironic remarks, etc. All of this is seen
through the lens of a 16mm camera. (Images of contrasting colors).
The editing is vertiginous and doesn’t at all respect continuity
rules. The young Ernesto Junior is carrying the camera. We also see
this scene from the other side of the 16mm frame, from the point of
view of the main narration, which includes images of Ernesto Junior
filming with the 16mm camera.
On the inside frame of the dressing room mirror, there are photographs
of a young Shirley MacLaine, Kate Hepburn (young), Judy Holliday,
Audrey Hepburn, Goldie Hawn (in “Butterflies Are Free” or any other
film where she wears her hair long with a fringe). Icons of the
romantic comedy of today and yesteryear.
Over the voices of the characters that appear on frame, one hears
I enjoyed making her up, styling her and dressing
her. Lena could be the Shirley McLaine of “The
Apartment” and the Audrey Hepburn of “Breakfast at
Tiffany’s”, or even Goldie Hawn…
Through the 16mm camera we can see the details of Lena’s mutating
image, how it gets constructed. It is true that she reminds us of the
three actresses that Harry mentions in his voice-off. The members of
the team assisting her (hair-stylist, makeup artist, costume designer,
etc. and Lena herself) laugh heartily when they finish setting her up
with Goldie’s blonde long-hair wig with a fringe. And they stare,
dumbfounded, when she is made-up as Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at
Tiffany’s” or “Sabrina”. It’s a style that fits Lena like a glove.
They are all fascinated by the change, except Judit, estranged and
angered by their playfulness.
(For Judit, Mateo is constructing his ideal woman. She finds all that
playing around obscene and dangerous).
Your mother didn’t like Lena.
Judit watches Lena-Audrey with a fatalistic stare.
I, on the other hand, liked her a lot, and she liked
Mateo manifests his enthusiasm over the changes and Lena looks at him
with excitement. She also feels transformed on the inside and that’s
thanks to Mateo.
Ernesto Junior also liked me…
Ernesto Junior directs his camera lens toward Harry’s face, not hiding
I was hoping to use him for my own ends. His father
had asked him to make a documentary about the
63. SCREENING ROOM, ERNESTO MARTEL SENIOR’S HOME. INT. DAY. OR
Ernesto Senior is watching the make-up test, the hair-styling test,
etc., part of what we have already seen through the 16mm lens. The
sound is chaotic, many people are always speaking at once.
CONTINUED OFF HARRY
As far as Ernesto Senior was concerned, (we observe
him watching the projection uncomfortably) I’ve never
known a man more obsessed with a woman, except myself.
He was producing the film out of a desperate attempt
to not lose Lena. In the middle of this emotional
quagmire, we began shooting… Your mother was present
at every instant, her face like a sergeant’s.
(End with a shot in 16mm of Judit.)
64. SHOOTING. THE SET OF “GIRLS AND SUITCASES”. INT. EFFECT
TO BE DETERMINED. 1994
Images from “the making of” shot by Ernesto Junior on 16mm, with high
grain and contrast, mixed with direct images from the establishing
shot of what is occurring.
The look of Lena’s character is openly inspired by the Audrey Hepburn
of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, with Sabrina’s hair style and loop
earrings (fringe and ponytail). She has also adopted the style of
Holy Golithly, her kind heart and that urbane sophistication that
characterizes modern girls from rural origins. The only difference is
a more visceral quality, Pina (Lena’s character) is exalted and
Mediterranean, nothing like Hepburn. Her wardrobe is that of a modern
girl in `94, she is a professional model for cosmetic products. One
of her advertising photographs is framed and hangs on one of the walls
of the loft where she lives.
IN STUDIO-MADE KITCHEN, INSIDE THE COMPLEX “PINA’S LOFT”.
Pina, Lena’s character, is cutting tomatoes for a gazpacho, inside a
beautiful and shiny kitchen.
Pina is sad, probably thinking about “all the times she has had
gazpacho with Ivan, the absent lover”. A tear drops from her face onto
the knife with which she’s cutting the tomatoes. (In slow motion, one
sees the collision of the tear with the knife, in a cut-in). Hers is a
subtly comic sadness.
When she is done grinding up the tomatoes she takes a box of
sedatives, which she is carrying in her apron’s pocket. She throws
all the pills into the gazpacho. She keeps two or three for herself.
(She may even say out loud, “These are for me”.) With a wooden spoon,
she mixes the orange liquid, even though it only contains red
The cut-ins are to be alternated with the “making of” of the cut-ins.
As well as Mateo’s comments over the action, which instruct Lena how
The clap-board marks the end. It’s the fifth take. Mateo says
“Great”. Lena almost screams with joy.
65. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SET. INT. DAY. 1994
(Maybe on two random chairs from THE LOFT TERRACE, which are piled up
with objects from the set, given that this is not where they will be
shooting; the chairs are next to the corral with the chickens and
rabbits.) Seen through the 16mm camera: In the foreground, the team
that’s preparing the next shot for the next sequence; in the
background, without being able to hear what they are saying, Mateo
speaking to Lena. They are both holding a script in their hands.
Mateo is giving her directions. Everything is very professional, but
their demeanor radiates understanding, complicity and… a latent
desire. They are not talking about anything personal.
“Now we will do the part where you return home, frustrated, after
having left Ivan a note on his door. When you bump into Julieta.
You just open this door, you look at the answering machine from afar.
The machine has become some kind of monster to you. You are terrified
“Yes… Your sanity depends on it. If the light blinks, it means there
may have been a call. And if it doesn’t blink… you can’t do anything
but wait… and you lost your patience some time ago.”
66. ERNESTO SENIOR’S SCREENING ROOM. INT. 1994
What Lena and Mateo are saying on the terrace, as captured by the
“making of” by Ernesto Junior, is being seen and listened to by
Ernesto Senior, in the screening room that he’s had installed in his
own home. Next to him, a young female lip-reader (A girl of neutral
aspect, but interesting, dressed as a glamour-less Russian.) is
translating for Ernesto Senior what Lena and Mateo are saying, as if
she were dubbing them. (The tone of her voice does not betray anything
suspicious. Everything sounds strictly professional, a director and an
actress who speak, in complicity, about their work.) They both appear
contained, their attraction made more evident by what they hide than
by what they show.
Judit is present in all the shots of the setting up, including the
ones where Mateo and Lena are in the background, as Mateo makes
suggestions on how to add nuance to Lena’s performance. Judit appears
solemn and always with an annoyed expression. Ernesto Senior feels
sympathy for this woman.
67. END OF THE WORK DAY. INTERIOR OF THE STUDIO. INT. DAY. 1994
The team has just finished shooting a shot with Pina on the terrace,
leaning over a railing, her back turned, waiting for Ivan. Mateo
yells “cut”. And the Assistant sends the team away, until the next
The Production team hands out the order for the next day, as if
handing out the last edition of a newspaper with breaking news.
The different teams disband and head toward the exit doors.
Mateo crosses paths with Ernesto Junior.
Are you going to work on something?
No. You may go.
I don’t mind staying.
It’s best if you leave. I am going to try out some wigs.
Wigs? I love wigs!
(Categorically) No! You don’t love them! You already
have many hours shot of wigs. This is more of the
Disappointed, Ernesto Junior says goodbye.
After she tries on the new wigs, she’s asked for a
massage therapist, she has a spasm…
Spasms… I don’t have footage of spasms… Couldn’t I
Ernesto, stop being a pest and leave already! See you
Mateo speaks to him in a friendly tone, as if there were a warm
rapport between them. He does so strategically, given that he thinks
the boy is the plague.
Ernesto Junior finally understands that there is nothing for him to do
And Mateo breathes.
68. WAREHOUSE HALLWAY AND HAIR & MAKE-UP DRESSING ROOM. INT.
Mateo accompanies Edurne, (the make-up artist and old flame,
collaborator and accomplice in other films), to discuss some detail of
Lena’s hairstyle and makeup. They end up at the make-up and hair
dressing room. Lena’s dressing room is just next door. She is there
with one or two actors who are still hanging around. The rest have
left. (The reason of the previous scene has been a pretext. They both
(To Edurne) I am going to speak to Magdalena… Do you
mind being on the lookout? Don’t let anyone interrupt
The hairdresser gestures in accord.
69. LENA’S DRESSING ROOM. INT. DAY. 1994
Lena sees him enter, she glances at him ardently, not surprised to
have him in her dressing room.
Is Junior around?
No. I sent him home. There’s only Edurne, on watch…
Mateo approaches Lena and, without the slightest preamble, launches
himself at her mouth, kissing her fervently. The impression is that
they are about to devour each other. They separate as if to catch
their breath, looking intensely into each other’s eyes.
They tear each other’s clothes off (she’s in a robe).
This is madness, Mateo. I am no good for you.
You should have warned me sooner.
There are no overtures. They devour each other, hungry. They make
love on a small bed, as if they were on the edge of a precipice.
Desire, contained by both during the past weeks, explodes and levels
them. Neither one does anything to stop it. (A train passes by at
high-speed, both images fuse, the lovers and the train across their
Fade to black.
70. ERNESTO SENIOR’S HOME. INT. NIGHT. 1994.
Lena arrives late from the shooting, tired and satisfied. This is
supposed to be another day, not the same day of the “scene” in the
Ernesto Senior awaits for her in the living room, in front of a muted
television, with a drink in hand. (Perhaps the train will still be
present, on the television screen.)
Lena approaches him and kisses him.
(Ironic) I didn’t know one worked so hard in the movies.
(Smiles) Well, yes, especially if you’re a girl.
Why if you’re a girl?
Lena sits and takes a sip from his drink.
Because you must put on makeup (and then remove it),
dress up, do your hair. Get dressed again, do your
hair again. And that takes hours.
And you’re not tired?
At the end of the week, sure, but I’m happy…
I was thinking we should take a break, a weekend.
Just the two of us, alone. At the house in Ibiza, or
in Paris… wherever you want… you and I.
I can’t travel until the shoot is over…
I am talking about just a weekend.
We rehearse on weekends.
Don’t you also rehearse during the shooting?
What’s going on, you spend all day rehearsing!
(Without losing her cool) That’s how one makes a
movie! (thinking, “you moron!”, but she doesn’t say
And everyone else’s life? It can’t be set aside for
The movie is boss.
Excuse me, I’m the producer, so I’m the boss.
71. ON A SET IN MID-CONSTRUCTION, WITH CARPENTERS, PAINTERS,
ETC. INT. DAY. 1994
Mateo argues with the set designer over one of the sets.
Distractedly, Judit waters the plants, real ones, of Pina’s fake
terrace, some of them somewhat shriveled from being away from the sun
for so long.
Mateo is going to go complain to her about the set, but he notices
that she is so worried and tired that he doesn’t say anything.
You look awful…
Little Diego… he could hardly breathe all night…
neither of us has slept a wink.
(Worried) You still don’t know what it is?
Some doctors say it’s asthma, others that it’s
allergies, but we don’t know to what… They are still
running tests, but it’s driving me to the brink…
Take all the time you need… Even if we’re shooting,
your son is more important.
Thanks. (Changing subjects) One more thing, I’ve
talked to the producer.
He complains that the shooting is monopolizing Lena.
(Exasperated and condescending) And how does he think
one makes movies?
Ernesto is a businessman, not an artist.
Then he shouldn’t have signed up as a producer, no one
I warned you! Ernesto Martel doesn’t give a crap
about this movie and those of us making it, except for
one person! This weekend he is taking her to Ibiza
with him, so you won’t be able to rehearse.
Mateo looks at her as if she had just slapped him. Mumbles:
Son of a bitch!
72. LUXURIOUS IBIZAN HOUSE. EXT AND INT. DAY. 1994
Lena and Ernesto spend the weekend together, at an Ibizan house
minutely decorated with ethnic details. The decoration, super-
luxurious hippie, does not ring untrue to the Island’s aesthetic.
Consider that Ernesto Senior and Lena are in the bedroom, on the bed,
making love luxuriously. There’s no hurry, they pay careful attention
to all the details.
After the final sprint, they both come, satisfied. Or so it seems.
Ernesto remains spent on the bed, motionless. Lena gets up and goes
to the bathroom.
She opens the faucet and lets the water run.
Immediately, she is overtaken by vicious retching. On her knees, she
vomits into the toilet.
After she’s done vomiting she gets up and looks at herself in the
mirror. She wipes off her mouth and closes the faucet. She looks
very pale, the exertion from the vomiting is written on her face.
Quickly, she puts some makeup on. Enough to bring some color back to
her cheeks and to get rid of the bags under her eyes. Her eyes still
glimmer from the tears she’s shed. More than in any other sequence,
it is here that Lena reveals her talent as an actress.
She exits the bathroom, wrapped in an elegant robe, a bit divine-
73. BEDROOM IBIZAN HOUSE. INT. DAY. 1994
Ernesto Senior is still lying in bed, recuperating.
He gazes at her, love-struck.
Have you put on makeup?
(Animated, without exaggeration. A well-faked
serenity) I want you to find me pretty.
To me, you always are! It’s impossible that you
wouldn’t be pretty.
Lena sits on the bed, her back to Ernesto. He wraps his arm around
her waist while she makes some typical girl-gesture: looks at her
nails thinking of how she’ll fix them, looks into her pocket mirror
and ponders the color of her hair, grabs a magazine on the nightstand
and thumbs through it, calls her mother to see how she’s doing… Or,
simplest of all, takes a cigarette out of its box, looks for the
lighter, finds it and lights it. Everything is done sluggishly, she’s
trying to take up as much time as possible.
Would you like a cigarette?
Do you know how many fucks we’ve had since we arrived
(Smiles, like a champ) Six?
(Also smiles) Ten.
With honours, yes?
Lena forces a smile, with her back to Ernesto.
Yes, I suppose so.
Ernesto Senior embraces her from behind and brings her toward him. He
We have to take advantage of our time. We only have
one more day left.
74. ENTRANCE HALL, PINA’S LOFT. INT. DAY. 1994
SHOOT. THE FOLLOWING MONDAY.
Only the indispensable members of the team and the actors are
clustered around the entrance hall and the elevator:
A scene is being shot where Pina exits the elevator and walks through
the entrance hall, in a hurry, toward the street. She bumps into
Chus, the porter, who is holding two metal objects (A Robert Indiana
“LOVE”, impressive and metallic, and a Gucci alarm clock in the shape
of a G, the G is also metallic.)
Chus stops her, almost by force. She is a very “communicative” woman
and Pina attempts to get her off her back, as quickly as possible,
without being rude to her.
Chus shows her both objects, with a questioning look on her face.
Look at what I’ve found on the sidewalk, they fell
from your terrace.
They are gifts from Mr. Ivan and I tossed them out.
He told me to keep them, but I don’t want them!
But you can’t do that, Ms. Pina. You could have
killed somebody… You can’t just throw things off the
terrace, much less if they are metal…
In Naples, on New Year’s Eve, they even throw out
furniture, my grandfather was Neapolitan… I carry it
in my blood.
But this is not Naples, nor is today New Year’s Eve…
I was anxious and throwing things relaxes me… Keep
them if you like.
Thanks so much, Ms. Pina. But that’s not right…
Pina exits the entrance hall, leaving the porter mid-sentence, while
the porter repeats, still, two more times.
It’s not alright, Ms. Pina.
The scene is very simple, but it must exude charm. Chus is a natural
comic talent and Pina’s character must act with a flippancy that plays
comically. At the same time, Lena is noticeably exhausted, both
physically and emotionally. Instead of lending the text lightness, she
brings it down. And she’s aware of it.
For the first time, Mateo does not hide his annoyance as a director
because the scene turns out badly, and as a lover because he is
jealous of her weekend with Ernesto Senior. Lena cannot stand to look
at him, she can’t bare his angered expression.
Mateo takes her aside to a secluded corner of the set and away from
(Serious) Your tone is off, Magdalena.
(Very depressed) I know.
(In a very low voice) What’s wrong?
(Whispers, on the brink of tears) I’ll tell you later.
Mateo gestures for the Assistant to come over. Lena still has her
back toward the team. Mateo says something to the Assistant, who then
says out loud for all to hear:
We break for thirty minutes, it’s snack time!
Mateo meets with Lena in the darkest corner of the entrance hall.
75. ERNESTO SENIOR’S HOME. SCREENING ROOM. INT. 1994
Ernesto Senior must be intercut, watching in his screening room all
that occurs at the shoot. Next to him, the lip-reader.
76. CONTINUED. ENTRANCE HALL.
The members of the team slowly depart from the entrance hall. They
take the opportunity to grab a bite or get some air, they gather close
to the trucks or next to the catering. All except Ernesto Junior who
remains inside and hides furtively behind a styrofoam panel, somewhat
removed from the couple, who cannot see him.
Mateo looks all around to ensure that they are alone.
(With urgency) What’s happened?
I’ve had a horrible weekend…
But… we haven’t rehearsed, so that you could rest!
Rest? I haven’t slept a wink all weekend… (Sighs, on
the brink of tears) It’s been a nightmare!
Mateo once again ascertains that there is no one in the entrance hall.
He hands her a Kleenex so that she may wipe her tears.
I have literally had Ernesto on top of me, all those
forty-eight hours, like a leech! (repulsed
expression) He has not given me a second to breathe,
Mateo grabs her by the arm and takes her up the stairs to an apartment
that the production company has rented in the same building.
77. ERNESTO SENIOR’S SCREENING ROOM. INT. 1994
Ernesto Senior hears the entire conversation from the lips of the lip-
reader. A stony expression on his face. The “reader” repeats the
dialogues in an unexpressive tone, which makes them sound even more
dramatic and painful.
Fade to black.
78. ON THE SET OF PINA’S LOFT. FLASHBACK. INT. 1994
A DIFFERENT DAY.
Returning from black.
Various shots of Pina’s loft. Everything seems chaotic, typical of
the end of the work day. The furniture is out of place, silverware
and plastic is all mixed together with electrical material and stage
equipment. The warehouse lights begin to shut off.
The team disbands.
On her way to the dressing room, Lena tells Ernesto Junior that she is
headed to her yoga class, as she does every day. And that she wants
to go alone.
My father asks me why it is that I don’t go with you
to yoga, he asks me all the time.
Well, you tell him that I am a grown-up now, and free,
and that I’ve forbidden you to follow me.
You know I can’t tell him that.
Try it. It would do you good.
Do as you wish, but you’re not coming with me.
And she leaves him behind. Ernesto Junior watches her walk away,
disoriented. He always has a tripod attached to his camera, as in
79. STREET, MATEO’S HOME. EXT. NIGHT.1994.
It’s the fist time we see this setting: the entrance of the building
where Mateo lives. Almost all the windows are darkened. It’s
midnight. We watch this sequence through the 16mm camera, situated
just in front of the building’s doorway.
We watch as Mateo appears on the sidewalk, walking toward the
In front of the building, in the main narrative, we see Ernesto Junior
filming with his 16mm camera. He is hiding behind a bush, or cloaked
by a tree’s shade. Either way, Mateo does not discover him.
80. ERNESTO MARTEL’S MANSION. LIVING ROOM. NIGHT. 1994.
At the same time that the former is taking place, Lena arrives to
Martel’s mansion. She finds Ernesto Senior with a drink in his hand,
in one of the living areas (or playing the piano), she approaches him
and gives him a slight kiss on the lips, in a gesture of hello.
(Quotidian and tranquil, an unexpected demeanor for a
character of his temperament) How are you?
(On guard) Yes…
The yoga is doing you good, isn’t it?
Lena catches Ernesto’s allusion, but she pretends she hasn’t. She
demonstrates her control over herself and her cold determination.
Yes, especially after work…
I am going to snack on something. Will you join me?
I am not hungry, I’d rather go to bed right now. I’ll
only have a yogurt.
Lena climbs up the long staircase, heads directly for her room.
Ernesto listens to her steps as they recede. His ironic tranquility
disappears and gives way to a furious expression.
Fade to black.
81. FRONT ENTRANCE, MATEO’S HOME. EXT. NIGHT. 1994.
From black. (A different day.)
Framed by the window to Mateo’s living room seen from the street, one
observes the bottom halves of Mateo’s and Lena’s bodies, as they move
around the apartment. Only half of their body is visible because the
roman shades are halfway drawn. (One gets the impression that Mateo
is showing her around the house).
They say goodbye.
We see all this through a 16mm camera. Without a pause in the
shooting we realize that the person carrying the camera crosses the
street and waits outside of the front door to Mateo’s building.
82. FRONT DOOR TO MATEO’S BUILDING. NIGHT. EXT. 1994
Lena exits through the door. The second she discovers the camera, she
Ernesto, what are you doing here?
Turn that off, you idiot! Hasn’t Mateo forbidden you
to tape us outside the shooting?
Not far from them there is a garbage truck that is making horrendous
noises and makes it difficult to hear what they are saying. The truck
gets closer and the noises louder so that Ernesto Junior and Lena must
scream back and forth at each other.
My father has told me not to listen to him… he wants
to see everything.
You both have no scruples!
Remember I am taping you.
Lena throws herself at Ernesto Junior and attempts to take the camera
from him. They struggle (the camera continues shooting, the images
move around, dizzyingly). Ernesto Junior manages to break free from
Lena. They are both out of breath. Ernesto backs up a few steps in
order to frame Lena again and so that he can focus her image. Lena
could take off running, but instead she stays right where she is; she
lets Ernesto bring her into focus and frame her correctly, while she
fixes her hair. She looks straight at the camera:
(In a barrage) Listen carefully, Ernesto. Yes, I am
talking to you. (She points toward Mateo’s house) I
was just with the man I love and I am the happiest
I’ve been all my life because he loves me too!
(screams) And listen carefully, Ernesto! I will let
you be very soon! There is no need to spy on me.
There is nothing left to hide!
83. PRIVATE SCREENING ROOM, ERNESTO SENIOR’S MANSION. INT. DAY.
(We see this at the same moment it’s happening.)
The next day, Ernesto Senior is watching the previous night’s scene on
the screen of his private projection room. We discover this when he
is halfway into it; the images pick the action up at the point when
Lena exits Mateo’s house and confronts the camera, right after she has
attempted to grab the camera away from Ernesto Junior.
The shots in 16mm alternate with the shots in 35mm that belong to the
main narrative. The sound is uproarious, we can hear what they say in
a low volume, just as reference. Ernesto asks for the sound to be
muted so that the “translator” can do her job.
The “lip reader” tries, as usual, to be “neutral and inexpressive”,
but on this occasion she cannot help but have the violence of the
scene affect her. She acts as a mere vehicle, not part of the
conflict; nonetheless, she gets a little nervous. She is seated next
to the volcano: Ernesto Senior, stony, frozen, silent, and about to
84. CONTINUED. SAME LOCATION.
Just a little earlier, right before the dizzying images appear on
screen, those caused by Lena’s attempt to remove the camera from
Ernesto Junior’s hands:
On the opposite end of where the screen is, behind the back of both
Ernesto and the translator, a door opens. Lena appears.
She watches the scene that is unfolding on screen as she lets her
voice rise to her mouth. (The entire dialogue in which she has
addressed Ernesto Senior directly is seen during the action taking
place in the projection room, not on the street.) At first, her voice
overlaps with that of the translator, who becomes instantly silent and
turns her head toward the door where Lena is standing. Lena is
I was just with the man I love and I am the happiest
that I’ve been all my life because he loves me too!
And listen carefully, Ernesto! I will let you be very
soon! There is no need to spy on me. I don’t have
anything left to hide!
The translator watches Lena and Ernesto Senior, who is still
motionless, watching the screen.
On screen, we see Lena walking, her back turned, for a good stretch.
With an equal obsession, she is followed down the street by the son
and in the screening room by the father.
85. LENA’S BEDROOM, ERNESTO’S MANSION. DUSK FALLING. 1994
An avalanche of snow, on the television screen.
(Some short shots of both ice and whisky as they fall into a tall
glass function as an ellipsis between one scene and the next).
Lena paces around anxiously in her bedroom. She attempts to focus on
a fashion magazine, but is unsuccessful. She takes a deep breath,
makes a decision. She opens the closet and takes out a small, weekend
suitcase. She fills it with her most indispensable clothes.
She exits her bedroom, on the top floor. In the hallway, only a few
meters separate the door to her bedroom from the stairway. There is a
small landing just before the top of the stairs, it has a small table
against the wall, a beautiful vase with flowers, a mirror and two
small sofas on either side of the small table. Ernesto is seated on
one of them, holding a glass of whisky in his right hand. It cannot
be the first he’s had. One could say he’s been waiting some time now
for Lena’s exit, a bottle and an icebox keeping him company. Lena
walks a few steps. Se approaches Ernesto, but keeps her distance.
She speaks to him in passing.
(Suitcase in hand) I am leaving, Ernesto. I am leaving
(Cold, drunk, contemptuous) You are not going anywhere.
And how will you stop me?
(Every single one of the words in this dialogue sounds laded and slow)
No sooner has she said it than Lena realizes that it has been an
unnecessary provocation. But it’s too late to take back what’s been
said. Ernesto Senior shoots her a deathly look. But then gets up and
changes his expression to calm her.
(Pleading) Lena, please.
One more time, Ernesto begs forgiveness, but Lena doesn’t want to see
him or hear him. She turns and begins to descend the stairs. The
Ernesto approaches her slowly, from behind. He is still pleading, as
in a litany: “Lena, please”. “Lena…”
86. CONTINUED. ON THE STAIRWAY.
But Lena keeps her back to his supplication, descends one more step,
her second one. Suddenly, without any change in his expression,
Ernesto pushes her with a quick and unexpected movement of his arm.
Lena loses her balance and falls, rolling, bouncing violently against
the edges of the steps until her whole body hits the floor at the foot
of the stairs. During the time the fall takes, Ernesto doesn’t move,
he watches her fall, bump by bump. He waits until she’s on the floor
and she casts him a fulminating glance, before he reacts.
Lena lands on the floor, broken and stunned by the blows.
She lifts her head and attempts to move, but can’t. Ernesto descends
quickly and comes to her side. He begs, calmly, without violence, for
her not to move. Lena cannot stand, her battered body only allows her
to drag herself toward the door, like a reptile.
Ernesto takes her, delicately, in his arms. Lena gazes at him in
88. PUERTA DE HIERRO MANSION. LAWN. EXT. NIGHT. 1994
He exits into the night, onto a green lawn, with the woman in his
arms, they look like two newlyweds. The dogs, disconcerted, follow
them in procession, they intuit that something is not right.
Once inside the car (none of the hired help is there that night), he
opens the gate from the inside and exits onto the highway.
89. HIGHWAY. EXT. NIGHT. 1994.
Lena is lying on the back seat, pale and in pain, but she’s not
complaining. Ernesto is driving faster than 180 Km/hr. He alerts a
pair of patrolmen. When he realizes he’s being followed, he increases
his speed. The patrolmen signal with their lights for him to stop on
the curb, but Ernesto Martel ignores their signal until the police car
catches up to him and forces him to stop.
90. A DIFFERENT SEGMENT OF THE HIGHWAY. EXT. NIGHT. 1994
The two patrolmen get out of their vehicle and head, enraged, toward
Ernesto. They gesture for him to lower his window.
Ernesto lowers the window, relaxed, despite the situation. The two
patrolmen, especially the one who calls the shots, recriminate him,
their voices raised, for all the infractions he has just committed.
They are very agitated and they quickly notice the high level of
alcohol emitted by the driver’s breath.
Knocked out on the back seat, Lena observes the whole scene. Her face
is contorted with pain and anxiety.
(A river of cars continues to pass nearby.)
Using a nasty tone, one of the policemen asks Ernesto for his
The following conversation takes place while the policemen verify the
vehicle’s documents. Ernesto explains to them with a common sense
We have to get to the hospital. My wife is badly hurt…
Lena moans in affirmation. The Policeman takes a look inside the car,
in order to ascertain that she is indeed not faking it…
I was in the living room and, since we weren’t
planning to go out, I started drinking early. I am
pretty drunk, as you may notice. Suddenly, I heard a
thump, I ran to the stairs and there she was. She
tripped and fell down the stairs…
Is this true, Madam?
Yes… Can’t you leave the paperwork for later?
Your husband can’t drive in this condition!
What do you mean?
Ernesto attempts to start the car, but the other policeman stops him.
Lena moans inside the car. She may even start crying.
She says this to the two men.
Get out of there! I will drive!
You either let me drive or we all stay here until the
(To Ernesto) Stop it, Ernesto! Let him drive!
(To Ernesto, paternalistic and contemptuous) Get down
and sit in the back, with your wife!
(Threatening) If anything happens (referring to Lena),
you better be ready… You have no idea who I am!
Taking his time, Ernesto vacates the driver’s seat and sits in the
back, next to Lena.
I will pretend that I didn’t hear you. I will also
pretend I noticed neither how drunk you are nor your
affronts to authority, Mr. Martel.
Sulking and with an alcohol-driven affection (and casual) he asks
Are you all right?
(Screams) No! (to the policeman) And could we get (the
The policeman gets the car moving and his partner follows them in the
91. HOSPITAL ENTRANCE. EXT. NIGHT. 1994
Ernesto’s car, driven by the patroleman, arrives to the entrance of a
Immediately, at the Emergency Room, some male nurses arrive with a
92. HOSPITAL. INT. NIGHT. 1994
X-Rays of arms, legs and head, along with all other routine tests, in
short shots. A broken leg. Various contusions. A cast must be
The image of the X-Ray takes up the whole screen. We may hear the
nurses giving instructions. “Don’t move”, “Don’t breathe”, etc.
93. HOSPITAL. INT. NIGHT. 1994
The last thing we see is the X-ray of the head, which dissolves over
Lena’s head and face as she asks a nurse for the telephone, telling
her that she needs to make an urgent phone call.
Ernesto censures her with his look. Once the last X-ray has been
taken, the nurse brings her a supplementary handset and plugs it in.
She hands the handset to Lena.
You really can’t wait?
Ernesto looks at her not knowing what to expect. Nonetheless, he
remains seated next to her. Lena doesn’t react, she doesn’t care if
he overhears the conversation, she almost wants him to.
The brutal beating to which she has been victim is an inescapable
reality that gives her an edge over Ernesto, an edge of which she
intends to take advantage. She is wounded, but she is no longer
afraid of him.
She rings Mateo’s number. They greet each other.
What’s going on? Are you not coming?
Has something happened?
Something unexpected has happened, but don’t worry,
Tomorrow the shooting begins in the afternoon, will I
see you before then?
I won’t be able to. I will see you directly at the
studio. I have something to do.
(Worried) You’re acting strange, Magdalena. Are you
sure nothing’s wrong?
Yes. I’ll see you tomorrow.
94. THE NEXT DAY. PUERTA DE HIERRO MANSION. ON THE LAWN.
Ernesto Senior’s car arrives at the Puerta de Hierro Mansion.
Various members, three or four, of the Mansion’s personnel approach to
help the couple.
Lena exits the car with her leg covered in a cast up to her knee. She
leans on crutches or a cane.
95. MANSION. GROUND FLOOR. INT. DAY. 1994.
The group gathers in the living room of the ground floor. Ernesto
asks the help to bring them something and then to leave them alone.
96. MANSION. GROUND FLOOR. INT. DAY. 1994
A table set ad hoc.
Lena is sitting in front of her breakfast (or lunch), sullen, pale,
implacable, she doesn’t move a single muscle of her massacred face.
Ernesto Senior is all sweetness toward his victim. Lena begins to
pick at her food, listless, in silence, in order to keep her mouth and
(Begs, sincerely) What would you like me to do? What
can I do so that you will forgive me?
(Seriously) Take me to the studio.
You shouldn’t move.
If you don’t take me, I’ll go there myself, even if I
have to drag myself.
Her face is still covered in bruises, on her cheekbone and around her
At some point someone from the hired help appears: “Sir, Madam, do you
need anything else?”. “No, you can leave us alone, I have already
told you this, for God’s sake!” Ernesto Senior responds. The servant
Lowering his tone:
And what will you say? how will you explain the cast
on your leg and the bruises?
Lena appears implacable throughout the conversation.
It’s up to you.
To me? I will do whatever you ask, as long as you
promise you’ll stay with me.
I will stay, under the condition that you let Mateo
finish the shooting, according to what he decides.
He will barrage you with questions, that guy’s not
I will tell him I tripped.
And how will you shoot, if you can’t walk?
I don’t know. Whatever Mateo decides, but I want to
rest assured that you will respect his decision, no
matter the cost nor the time that it will take. Is
Ernesto Senior hates to negotiate under predetermined limitations. He
weighs out his options and realizes that Lena has the upper hand.
97. WAREHOUSE, SHABBY STUDIO. EXT. INT. DAY. 1994
They enter the warehouse, temporarily turned into a studio. (The
darkness is almost absolute. A huge door opens. The silhouettes of
Ernesto Senior and Lena, on a wheelchair, enter.)
The dark, vast space is pierced by the blinding light of a doorway,
which both frames and silhouettes the figures of Ernesto and Lena,
like cut-outs; creating a powerful image. Epic and terrible.
They bump into some of the members of the team, who begin their work
When Mateo discovers the pair, he approaches them immediately.
98. MATEO’S OFFICE, IN THE WAREHOUSE TURNED STUDIO. INT. DAY.
Mateo is seated at a casual table. The entire decoration of the
office is casual and chaotic, not luxurious, austere, nothing like
Lena’s dressing room. An enormous drip eats away at one of the
corners of the room.
Lena is sitting across from him, on a wheelchair, and seated on an
ugly armchair, Ernesto Senior. Judit is also present, she’s standing.
They have just finished talking. Lena has told the version that she
and Ernesto Senior agreed on.
… And that’s it.
Mateo looks at them in disbelief. Judit, still as a statue, waits for
the others’ reactions. Lena breathes, expectantly. And Ernesto
Senior looks uncomfortable and insecure, he is used to being the one
who calls the shots; the inverse role, that of listener, disorients
him and puts him in a bad mood.
Ernesto is prepared to support whatever you decide.
(Containing his rage) Decide, what?! I can’t move
from one shot where you are walking normally to
another one where you are wearing a cast! How long
must you wear the cast?
Mateo lets out a huff…
(To Ernesto Senior) Can we stop for those three
weeks? With pay for the team, of course.
If there is no other option!
(A bit agitated) I hate stopping! Movies, when you
pick them back up, are no longer the same!
Looks at Judit and Ernesto Senior.
(Dryly) Do you mind if I speak to Lena alone for a
It’s not a question but a demand.
Judit shoots him a look of recrimination, as if saying “This is not
the moment for that”, but she cannot do anything to stop him.
Ernesto Senior is also not pleased (but he knows he cannot say no, and
this irritates him even more). He glances first at Lena, who orders
him with her own glance to accept, and then looks at Judit, who warmly
invites him to exit with her.
For some reason, Ernesto Senior empathizes with that woman.
99. WAREHOUSE, SHABBY STUDIO. NEXT TO MATEO’S DRESSING ROOM.
INT. DAY. 1994
Judit and Ernesto Senior exit the office and hang around not far from
to the door. They smoke, perhaps. They are both restless. They look
at each other as if seeking some kind of understanding, despite their
differences. And they find it. They are joined by their jealousy.
At the other end of the warehouse, like a mirage amongst the shadows,
Pina’s loft appears, majestic, ramshackle and mysterious. Ernesto
contemplates it without understanding it, but is affected by its
presence. He is unable to understand the essence of this make-belief
game, but it’s the first time he begins to grasp its hermetic
100. MATEO’S OFFICE. WAREHOUSE, SHABBY STUDIO. INT. DAY. 1994
Mateo lifts her skirt in an attempt to see how far up the cast goes.
On the white skin of her thighs, like in an uneven print, various
asymmetrical bruises stand out. Mateo touches with his lips on every
one of them, kissing them delicately. Lena shudders.
Be careful, he may walk in.
Let him walk in!
And he continues kissing her thighs until he comes close to her pubis.
Lena lifts and/or caresses his head. Mateo lifts it to look at her.
Tell me the truth! People don’t fall down the stairs,
that only happens in movies.
Lena avoids giving a direct answer, but in her own way, she lets him
know, somberly and urgently.
Mateo, we must finish the shooting as soon as
possible! Until then, I cannot leave Ernesto.
Why not? He’s a psychopath! What more proof do you
I cannot leave, I’ve made a deal with him.
A deal? What deal?
I have promised to stay in his house in exchange for
his letting you finish the film, under your
But I cannot ask you for such a sacrifice.
You have not asked me…
I can’t accept it either.
(Pleads) Mateo, please!
There must be another answer.
What else? The only solution is that I continue to live
with him until you finish the film.
Can you take it?
You don’t have to think about that… What’s important
is that you finish shooting.
Exactly what have you agreed to?
I’ve told you, to live under the same roof, with him
in his room and me in mine. He doesn’t have the right
to anything more.
And you think he will be content with that?
(Angst-ridden) I don’t know… but the sooner you
finish shooting, the better! Come up with a reason
not to pause!
Mateo goes over the story in his head, desperately attempting to think
of something. Lena observes him, expectantly. Finally, something
seems to hit him.
(Unenthusiastic) We would have to repeat part of the
101. SHOOTING AT THE STAIRWAY. STAIRWAY LANDING, IVAN’S HOUSE.
INT. DAY. 1994
(Taking up the whole screen, we see the scene through the Moviola,
with the texture of a bad copy, streaks, grain, etc. The solution
Mateo has proposed is to repeat the last part of the sequence. On the
surface of the Moviola screen, the reflection of Mateo’s face is
barely visible over the first set of images screened.)
A wooden landing and stairway in a building of the old Madrid. At its
center, an elevator, also antique.
Pina has just left a note for Ivan on the door to his study asking him
to please call on her, that she needs to speak to him urgently, that
something unexpected has come up… (She is dressed as she was when she
came out of the entrance hall in the previous scene with Chus. This
sequence is supposed to be the one that follows it.)
She has just left the note when Julieta appears, she is dressed
conventionally, but with some extravagant detail, something that
garners attention. She bumps into Pina by the elevator, Pina does not
know her. Julieta knocks on the studio’s door (just as Pina had done
earlier), she doesn’t get an answer. She notices the note that Pina
has just affixed on the door. She takes it down and reads it, much to
Pina’s bafflement, who has been watching her from the other side of
the landing. After reading it, Julieta crumples it up. Pina cannot
believe it. She remains motionless on the other side of the landing,
because she doesn’t trust the eccentric looking woman.
(Indignant) Leave that note there! It’s not for you.
How dare you take it and crumple it?
Julieta throws the crumpled note through the gap in the stairway and
looks condescendingly at Pina while she approaches her, prepared to
walk down the stairs.
What do you have to speak to Ivan about, you whore!
It’s none of your business.
I am his wife.
His wife has been admitted at a psychiatric hospital
for twenty years now.
UP TO THIS POINT WE WATCH THE SEQUENCE THROUGH THE IMAGE-TEXTURE OF
THE MOVIOLA AND THE REFLECTION OF MATEO’S FACE.
(These images are what will be retained from what had been shot
102. SHOOTING AT THE STAIRWAY. CONTINUED.
Pina makes a gesture as if to say: “So you are the ex-wife, the crazy
Pina and Julieta begin to descend the stairs.
(Repeats) I am no longer committed. I am now here
with you. Walking down the stairs.
Pina looks at her apprehensively… She steps down only one
You are in a hurry to see him, aren’t you?
Well, what are you waiting for!
She pushes her and Pina falls, rolling all the way to the bottom.
103. WAREHOUSE, SHABBY PLATEAU. VARIOUS SPACES. 1994
Images that indicate the passing of time during the shooting. Short
sequences of the minute work done by each of the teams, as if
assembling ballet pieces, all of it accompanied by a musical score:
The D.P. sets up the lighting for the shoot, the bulbs are lit, the
filters applied, the interior of the camera cleaned, the film is
loaded. The atmosphere is set. Pina in her bedroom, lying on the
bed, with one leg in a cast, is relaxing, breathing deeply. The
actress playing Chon jokes around with the costume team, they laugh.
But no one pays attention to the others. Edurne, in a close-up,
retouches one of Pina’s eyes. The mouth as well. Chon stops laughing
so that the hair-stylist may shape her hair.
All the images are very brief… The score predominates, the ambient
sounds of the activities of the different teams is heard more like a
whisper. The scene must not last longer than a minute. This set of
images serves to abridge time and to indicate that the shooting is in
its final days, after a long journey.
There will probably not be many images, but less: the bulb that
lights, Lena’s eye as Edurne retouches it, its blinking, its sadness.
Chon’s mouth as she speaks without pause, stopping only when lipstick
is added. The film loaded, the hair fluffed. Lena lying on the rug
in her dressing room, totally motionless, her eyes made-up and closed,
doing breathing exercises for relaxation, her leg in a cast, etc.
104. WAREHOUSE STUDIO. PINA’S LOFT. 1994
SCENE FROM “GIRLS AND SUITCASES”
The doorbell rings in the loft. Pina limps over to the door. She
looks through the metal peephole, its design creates an optical
illusion. On the other side of the peephole, Chon’s exalted eyes
appear. Chon is a Better Midler type, in her 40s, that kind of
extroverted woman who at first glance appears chubby but isn’t quite
so. She is wearing designer clothes, despite the fact that her
demeanor is direct and crass. Both of them, Pina and Chon, are tired
and hysterical, which each one of them interprets in her own way.
Pina opens the door and Chon enters. Even though they are good
friends, the last thing Pina is in the mood for is to see Chon, much
less an over-excited Chon with “problems”.
(Whispers) What a drag! (she opens the door, in a
languid, bored tone) Oh, it’s you?
(Reproaches, depressed) I’ve left you a thousand
Chon notices Ivan’s suitcase in the middle of the foyer and looks at
it as if she’d never seen a suitcase.
And this suitcase?!
Judging from the tone, one would guess she could care less. But the
script asks for her to inquire about the suitcase and she inquires.
(Sounding bored, asleep) It’s Ivan’s. He’s leaving me.
Chon, disconcerted, notices that Pina drags herself around with a cast
on her leg.
(She has picked up Pina’s inexpressive tone)
And that broken leg?
His ex-wife, the crazy one. She pushed me down the
stairs . . .
I see, we’re in great shape…
(Interrupts the take) Cut!
Final clap board. It’s take number twelve.
105. SHOOTING AND SURROUNDINGS. INT. EXT. DAY. 1994
The camera team directs “load camera” (new film stock is loaded, the
one already inside has run out).
Mateo has a look of worry, the scene is not funny at all, the
actresses are bored and tense. They behave like automatons. Lena
looks at Mateo, she had never seen him so disconsolate.
A general impasse and discouragement. The team betrays boredom,
preoccupation, and exhaustion.
The actress playing Chon grumbles, annoyed. Juanba, the hair-stylist,
approaches her to fix her hair. In the background, one sees Mateo
speaking to Lena.
Ernesto Junior wanders around the set.
We suppose that he has already shot the other takes, we notice a
change in his attitude. He watches Lena and Mateo converse, then
watches them as they move away from the set; he has no intention of
following them. One might say that he is now on their side, against
his own father.
WAREHOUSE, SHABBY STUDIO. AWAY FROM THE LOFT. AT THE
MAKE-UP & HAIR DRESSING ROOM, OR SOME OTHER PLACE. 1994
In some place of the warehouse where no one can see them and they can
speak calmly. Mateo and Lena.
During this time, Lena has been keeping her end of the deal and
continues to live with Ernesto Martel but, as much as she attempts to
diffuse it, its effect has been devastating. She is very depressed.
She can hardly hold herself up. Lena’s state of mind and how it
affects the shooting, makes Mateo feel impotent and guilty.
(Distressed, maybe she’ll cry) I am sorry…
Don’t worry, it will turn out. (Acknowledges) But I
don’t know what more direction to give you.
(Exhausted, hard on herself) You have told me
everything, in every way possible…
(Somber and guilty) Ernesto is getting just what he
hoped. That we make a piece of crap of a movie! I
told you not to agree to that deal…
Lena breathes, grasping for a solution and for breath. She attempts
to regain her strength.
We can’t let him have his way! (She dries her tears,
feeling newly replenished) Every day I arrive worn
out and every day I recover, right?
I ask you only for a bit more patience… And a kiss!
Mateo kisses her as one kisses one shipwrecked, although the one
shipwrecked is really him. In any case, the kiss brings life back to
both of them.
107. LOFT PINA. REPEAT THE TAKE. 1994
Motor. Action. The clap board indicates that they will shoot take
number thirteen. A traveling shot follows Lena as she limps toward
the door. She looks through the peephole, behind it, Chon. They are
supposed to be good friends, but she’s the last person Lena wants to
(Whispers) What a drag! (contemptuous, she greets
her) Oh, it’s you?
Listen, if that’s how you’ll greet me, I’ll leave.
No, c’mon! Come inside!
Pina treats her with a friendly disdain, which plays comically. She
has once again recovered her strength and her lightness. Her low
spirits have disappeared and she comes off thoughtless and impudent.
Her reenactment has an effect on Chon, who also performs much better
than in the previous take.
These first few phrases are enough to determine that the two actresses
have improved. Lena is now a different actress, light and delicious.
Mateo smiles, brimming with admiration.
108. EDITING ROOM. INT. DAY. 1994
Mateo and his editor (and the assistant editor) watch the end of the
sequence on the Moviola.
She’s so much better! Grab this one!
Mateo smiles, satisfied. On the same table where the Moviola sits,
Luis, the editor, has a notebook in which each page corresponds to a
sequence, numbered respectively. The sequences are divided by shots
and the shots by the number of takes.
Luis draws a circle around take number thirteen.
Let’s look at fourteen, it’s even better!
Luis, an editing assistant and Mateo, sitting in front of the Moviola,
examine the footage.
There is a palpable complicity between Luis and Mateo. Luis has edited
all of Mateo’s films, they have been colleagues for a long time. As
with Judit, despite their differences, one can tell that Luis belongs
to Mateo’s artistic family.
109. EDITING ROOM. INT. EVENING. 1994
The characters are dressed differently.
As they load the film and sound onto the Moviola, we hear Harry’s
YEAR 2008. VOICE-OFF OF HARRY SPEAKING TO DIEGO. We hear it over the
When we finished shooting, I quickly selected all the
takes for the film so that I could rescue Lena as soon
as possible from the Martel house. The situation had
worsened, we could hardly see each other, he had
practically kidnapped her… They were difficult days for
everyone, but Lena insisted that I leave all the takes
selected… then, we could leave.
He hasn’t finished saying this when we hear the phone ring. The
assistant, phone in hand: (to Mateo) “It’s for you”. He takes it,
surprised, he is still staring at the Moviola screen. It’s Lena.
Is there something wrong?
No. I’m downstairs. I’ve forgotten my money. I have
to pay the cab . . .
I’ll be right down.
He exits the editing room.
110. CINEARTE [EDITING AND POST-PRODUCTION STUDIO]. STAIRWAY.
INT. NIGHT. 1994
Mateo descends the stairs of Cinearte at a good clip, he wasn’t
expecting Lena’s visit. He can sense something’s happened.
When he arrives at the foyer, he can’t find her.
The phone operator (ugly, but polite) at the reception desk tells him
Lena is in the bathroom.
111. CINEARTE. COSTUMER’S BATHROOM. INT. NIGHT. 1994
He enters the bathroom and finds Lena, barefoot, wearing only her bra
and panties, cleaning wounds she’s suffered on her face and legs. The
surface of the sink is tainted with blood. Mateo looks at her,
horrified. (She is no longer wearing a cast). A man’s jacket lies on
top of the counter, this is the only piece of clothing that appears in
(Horrified) But . . . what has happened?!
We have had a brutal fight… At the end, he ripped my
clothes off and my shoes and he threw me out naked onto
the highway. The jacket belongs to the cab driver.
You must give him a good tip, if it weren’t for him I
don’t know how I would have made it here…
Mateo cannot believe his eyes. He hurls insults at Ernesto Senior.
Lena’s apparent composure is purely hysterical.
112. CINEARTE. EXT. NIGHT. 1994
Mateo and Lena exit Cinearte.
They enter a cab that is waiting for them.
(To the cab driver) Take us to the nearest police
We must denounce him, Magdalena!
He will turn against you!
The cab begins moving.
Mateo gives the cab driver his address.
No, not your house.
We have to look after you. Let’s go to a hotel…
(Pleads) Let’s leave Madrid.
Mateo looks through his pockets, fortunately, he has all his credit
cards on him.
113. LANZAROTE. FAMARA BEACH. BUNGALOW ZONE. EXT. DAY. 1994
Mateo and Lena are living in a bungalow zone on Famara Beach, a
complex nestled between the beach and the foot of a mountain. It is a
special and intimate place, like an enormous grotto, where the sky is
its ceiling and the mountains one of its walls.
Lena and Mateo exit a bungalow and get into a rented car, a red Opel
Corsa, not in very good shape.
114. EL GOLFO BEACH. EXT. AT DAY’S END. 1994
On the peak of a reddish rock, on Golfo Beach, Mateo takes photographs
of the natural wonders surrounding him. Next to him, Lena
contemplates the view.
What Mateo sees with his camera:
a) Wine colored rocks
b) The yellow-green lake circumscribed by a rope that has become
white, against the black sand.
c) The black sand of the enormous beach, licked by the shimmering foam
of the waves.
d) The rocky walls enveloping the beach, eroded through centuries by
the wind on the surface of which it has created peaks and valleys
resembling the jutted edge of a watch cog.
One of the images captures part of a wine-colored rock. Below it, the
infinite surface of the black beach, licked by the white foam of the
waves. In the backdrop, an immense limestone wall, its surface full of
pit holes where the wind circulates.
The sequence ends with a close-up of the click of Mateo’s camera’s
shutter, opening and closing like an owl’s eye.
115. SOUVENIR AND PHOTOGRAPHY STORE. LANZAROTE. INT. DAY. 1994
Mateo-Harry and Lena pick up their photos at the store’s counter. The
owner of the shop hands them to him, he is an attractive and bohemian
Mateo opens the envelope impatiently, he wants to make sure that his
photographs are, in effect, the ones inside it.
He looks at the last one closely, the landscape with the rocks, the
beach, the foam, etc. Somewhere on the vast black-sand beach one can
make out a couple, their size is tiny compared to the immensity of the
beach. The two are melded into a tight embrace. The beach is
deserted. Mateo had not been aware of them when he took the
photograph and is overtaken by his discovery.
He shows it to Lena. Half-joking.
Look. It’s us. (I thought it was empty)
Mateo asks the bohemian Attendant for a larger print.
116. MATEO AND LENA, INSIDE THE CAR, ON THE HIGHWAY. EXT. DAY.
They go through various traffic circles. Mateo comments that it is
“the island of the useless traffic circles”. “That’s part of its
charm”, comments Lena.
117. TRAFFIC CIRCLE WITH CESAR MANRIQUE SCULPTURE. EXT. DAY.
They stop on one of the stop signs at the traffic circle. In the
center there is a huge mobile sculpture by Cesar Manrique, rocked by
Mateo and Lena exit the car to take pictures of themselves. Their
faces close together, their eyes happy. The sculpture turning around
itself produces a strange screeching sound.
118. BUNGALOW. FAMARA BEACH. INT. DUSK OR NIGHT. 1994
Many days have passed. Mateo’s hair is longer and he appears more
tan, the proximity to nature and the absence of a social life has also
affected Magdalena’s appearance, now much more savage, but also more
serene and more humble. She is dressed in cheap clothing, which she
has bought on the island (and which fits her marvelously) and her hair
is pulled up into a messy bun.
The photograph, enlarged, presides on top of a small table where Mateo
writes. The picture is leaning against the wall. It’s the only image
inside the bungalow. The photograph is a clear metaphor for the
mysterious quality of the island as well as of the isolation of Mateo
and Lena and of their fusion.
While Mateo writes, Lena cleans the dishes or she does the laundry in
the bathtub. The two wear T-shirts, comfortable and sporty clothes.
(On the tape-deck one hears La Lupe singing: … “porque hay un hombre
para cada mujer y una mujer para cada hombre, y nosotros somos,
nosotros somos… la pareja” [because there is only one man for each
woman and only one woman for each man, and we are, and we are… the
couple]). Mateo and Magdalena, the couple.
In the bungalow there isn’t much furniture; there’s a large couch on
which they can lie comfortably, a short table, along with the wooden
table on which Mateo writes. Some armchair and lamps. And a tape-
119. BUNGALOW. INT. DUSK OR NIGHT. 1994
Engulfed by the couch, Mateo and Lena are absorbed watching, on a
small television, a broadcast of “Voyage in Italy” (Roberto
The scene they are watching is set in a place where a group of men are
working on some excavation. The married couple (in the midst of their
breakup), played by George Sanders and Ingrid Bergman, is on a tourist
trip in that area of Italy and they have gone to visit the excavation.
One of the technicians describes the delicate work that is involved in
excavating part of a city that had been buried, centuries ago, by the
lethal eruption of the Vesuvius.
At that moment, the men who are working on the excavation begin, bit
by bit, to uncover a couple, a man and a woman, sleeping in an
embrace, whom the eruption had taken unaware, leaving them preserved
in this position for centuries.
Ingrid Bergman cannot stand the sight of this couple calcined in an
eternal embrace. She compares it to her own marriage, destroyed by
their lack of communication and by the absence of generosity between
them. She walks away from the place, unable to contain her tears.
The scene affects Magdalena and Mateo as much as it had Ingrid
Mateo and Lena instinctively embrace each other, seeking refuge in
each other, their posture echoes that of the calcined couple.
Suddenly, Mateo breaks their embrace. He positions the camera on top
of the table where he writes, not far from where the image of the
other “embrace” sits. He points it toward the couch and he presses
the automatic button. And they take a picture together, locked in an
120. PUBLIC PARK. MADRID. EXT. DAY. 2008
Harry and Diego, now completely cured, are sitting on a bench.
Do you want to go back home and return to the “Donate
I am hoping to get back to it, but first tell me what
happened in Lanzarote. You can’t leave me hanging!
Harry takes a deep breath. At this stage of the narrative, it is only
understandable that Diego would want to know everything. But it pains
him to think of what is still left to tell.
Without realizing, a month had elapsed… I knew that
sooner or later we would have to return, but we kept
postponing it. I was only worried about you and your
mother. I had not even said goodbye and you were still
suffering from your allergy problem when we left… I can
imagine Judit was furious with me.
You can’t imagine how much.
I was planning to return soon to finish the editing…
and to explain things to your mother. But Magdalena
decided she’d wait for me on the island. She couldn’t
stand the thought of seeing Ernesto again.
121. OFFICE FOR THE FAMARA BUNGALOWS. INT. DAY. 1994
Mateo and Lena are walking toward the office for the bungalow complex.
(Part of the previous dialogue is heard as the couple are approaching
121. A. INTERIOR OF THE RECEPTION HALL, FAMARA BUNGALOWS. INT.
Behind the counter there are two foreign employees, a man and a woman.
Lena addresses them in English, while Mateo keeps himself busy at the
other end of the reception hall, next to a table with magazines and
newspapers. He grabs a newspaper.
Sorry to interrupt… I wanted to ask if there are any
employment opportunities available here, with you… You
always look so busy… I have a lot of free time…
We could use the help, especially now that the high
season is about to start… Do you have experience?
I have worked as a secretary at M. Capital, a very
important finance company.
(Looks at her) You could first work during the
afternoons and, then, we could see…
With his back to the counter, at the other end of the reception desk,
Mateo reads a newspaper, frozen.
Suddenly, the employee opens a National newspaper and looks for a
particular page. He shows it to Lena. On the Entertainment page, an
ad for Mateo’s movie (Opening Soon). The ad is a close-up of her, in
her role as Pina, in the movie. Lena is stunned. She can’t believe
We were just saying that the girl in the ad looks like
Lena looks toward where Mateo is standing and she notices that he is
as perplexed as she is, staring at the ad for a soon-to-be-released
film in the newspaper.
(To the employee) No. It’s not me.
They exit the office.
122. BUNGALOW COMPLEX. EXT. DAY. 1994
Mateo and Lena walk toward their bungalow as if someone were chasing
them. They have just run into the very thing they have been
attempting to escape in Madrid.
I was wondering how long it would take him to emerge!
(Disoriented) But they can’t release the film so
No. It’s a scheme to annoy us, and a trap to get you
to return. The ad is only lacking the words “Missing.”
What are we going to do?
Nothing. Fuck them!
123. TWO WEEKS LATER. ON FAMARA BEACH. EXT. DAY. 1994
A TITLE TAKING UP THE WHOLE SCREEN: TWO WEEKS LATER
A few surfers are preparing to go into the ocean. A father and his
young son toss their kites into the wind.
Lounging on lounge chairs, on a cobble-stone area before one reaches
the sand, Lena and Mateo-Harry are reading the news of the opening of
the film in a National newspaper. They only have one copy and Mateo’s
eyes are transfixed on the news.
The note accompanying the event says, in bold type:
“The financier, Ernesto Martel, has managed to gather all of Madrid
for his first film as a producer, missing are only its director and
Two pictures accompany the news of the event. Printed next to them,
there is a review entitled, “Disaster.”
Mateo throws the newspaper away from him, enraged. He refuses to read
The wind dishevels the newspaper pages. Lena rises and chases the
pages that fly, like kites, slightly above the ground.
In mid-flight, she catches the Entertainment page and reads it as she
approaches Mateo, who watches the ocean, feeling impotent, furious,
unable to quite grasp what is happening.
Lena sits down next to him, still reading.
(Disconsolate) What does it say?
That the only intelligent thing we have done has been
not to attend the premier, that my acting is pathetic,
that you seem like a first-time director and that you
lack talent. At the end, it wonders who might have
made your first films. Never before has such a
resounding downfall been witnessed… How horrible!
Mateo rises and heads quickly for the bungalow, which functions as the
office for the complex.
Lena follows him, alarmed.
What are you going to do?
124. OFFICE FOR BUNGALOW COMPLEX. FAMARA BEACH. INT. DAY. 1994
Cut to, directly to the shot of the telephone. Mateo has just dialed
Judit’s number. He gets the answering machine, hearing Judit’s voice
encourages him to leave a message. “Hi. You have reached Judit
Garcia’s voicemail. Leave your message after the tone and I will
return your call as soon as possible.”
Mateo leaves his message.
(Dryly) Judit. It’s me. I hope you and the boy are
OK. I apologize that I left without notice, but
terrible things have happened, I will explain.
Speaking of which, I need to talk to you, urgently.
Please call me! Here’s the number… (Asks one of the
employees) Oh, and, ask for Harry Caine, I have
registered under that name… (said almost as an order)
I will be waiting for your call!
He also rings Luis, the editor. He also doesn’t answer. He leaves
Luis a shorter and more violent message.
Luis, I just read in the newspaper that the film has
opened and I am beside myself!! I don’t know what the
fuck is going on there, but I would like to know! OK,
I’ll ring back!
He looks at Lena, breathless, his face contorted from sheer
125. RETURN TO 2008. HARRY’S HOME. DEN. DAY.
Harry is standing, pacing back and forth. Diego stands next to the
bookcase. The drawer with the photographs is open.
He looks at the photograph of the traffic circle and at the one of
“The embrace” on the black sand of Golfo Beach.
He has taken them out of the large brown envelope. At the bottom of
the drawer one can begin to see Luis’ (the editor) notebook. Diego is
holding a Dymo label machine, (this Dymo has appeared in previous
scenes) with all of its keyboard buttons, corresponding to the regular
alphabet, in Braille. He is writing, in Braille, “Famara Lanzarote
94″ so that he can stick the raised title onto the old envelope.
And mom, did she call you back?
(Can’t understand, he’s almost indignant) Why?
She was pissed, I suppose.
I remember that time, it was while I was undergoing
treatment for pulmonary aspergillosis. It was a
horrible time for me… Not just because of the illness,
my mother was like a crazy woman… I had just seen “The
Exorcist” and, for some time, I believed she was
(Smiles pathetically) I was the demon, Diego. And I
am sorry. I suppose I behaved selfishly, but I am not
sure I had a choice…
Diego thinks about this.
(Emotionally exhausted) No matter how upset she was,
she should have alerted you to what was happening.
The fact is she never did, and we’ve never spoken of
it. Neither one of us has broached the topic.
(Surprised) And you weren’t curious?…
(Emphatically) Me? Curiosity was killing me! For
two days I called both your mother and Luis non-stop,
the editor (says it agitated), but neither of them
answered! So I decided to return to Madrid the next
day so that I could witness what was happening for
126. RESTAURANT. EL MIRADOR [THE LOOKOUT]. EXT. DUSK. 1994
(Night falls while they dine.)
Mateo and Magdalena dine at “El Mirador,” a local restaurant with
spectacular views. Their table is beside a long sliding-door window
that overlooks the valley. A group of rocks seem to grow next to the
window as if they were plants made of stone. The view of the valley
There are few patrons inside the restaurant. Perhaps a foreign
couple, sitting far from Lena and Mateo. A waiter brings their first
course. They are drinking wine.
Lena appears melancholic and fearful.
How did you meet Ernesto Senior?
(It’s not a topic she likes, but she doesn’t hesitate
to answer.) I was one of his secretaries.
And… how did you end up with him? You fell in love?
He was very generous with me and my family. My father
was dying, I needed to take him to a private Hospital
and Ernesto took care of everything… He paid for
everything… And he made sure that my parents could
return to their home town and that they lacked nothing…
Mateo imagines the situation, it upsets him. He is perturbed by the
very idea of Lena’s past with Ernesto, but he doesn’t want to upset
her on the night before his departure. They have gone out to dinner
with just the opposite intent.
(Lovingly) Pardon me, I have no right to ask you about
that time in your life.
It’s only natural that you would want to know. And I
don’t want any skeletons between us. (Unguarded) I
would like to be able to forget all that, but you have
the right to ask.
(Assuring her) No. I do not have any right. For me,
you were born the day you came for the audition. You
looked at me, I saw your face and… I was left
Lena smiles. She is both comforted and relived by remembering that
I remember your face perfectly. I think I fell in
love with the way you looked at me. I thought: this
man will be my salvation.
Mateo is moved by her use of those terms to speak of their first
126. A. CIRCULAR PARKING AT “EL MIRADOR.” EXT. NIGHT. 1994
They exit in an embrace and head toward their car, parked nearby.
They kiss before they get in the car. We notice another car which we
will have the occasion to recall in the future, the camera gives it
just a passing glance.
(Childish) It’s the first time we part…
(Pampering) Either way, I will return next weekend.
But if you are going to be worried, you should come
No… I will be better off here.
And she smiles, as if the worry has already passed, so as not to
127. IN MOVEMENT. THE ISLAND, NIGHTTIME. INSIDE AND OUTSIDE
OF THE CAR. LANZAROTE. 1994.
View of the sea of lava or of La Geria in an aerial shot with the car
moving across the landscape. The full moon allows us to glimpse
through the darkness of the landscape.
Mateo’s car once again heads for the bungalow complex. Show the
highway illuminated by the headlights and the landscape as it appears
to its left and right.
From inside the car, one can see the mobile sculpture of Cesar
Manrique at a distance.
(Very insecure) And did I manage to save you from
(Enigmatic and unwavering) Yes!
Lena does not elaborate on the dangers that Mateo has saved her from,
he doesn’t understand them exactly, but he likes to hear her say so.
They approach the traffic circle. A set of lights first betrays the
presence of a car that appears from the left. Mateo yields to it, and
briefly kisses Magdalena on the lips.
Mateo continues on his way, a short instant later, as he enters the
traffic circle, an SUV moving at full speed crashes into them.
Everything happens very fast. From inside the car, without any
particular attention to Lena or Mateo, the screen fills up with light,
noise and darkness. All the different noises form a deafening magma.
At the center of the traffic circle, Cesar Manrique’s sculpture
rotates, propelled by the wind.
In any case, we will also shoot the crash from the outside. And
although it will not be obvious at first sight, the back side of
Mateo’s car is illuminated by the headlights of a car that we never
quite see, but which has been a witness to the accident.
128. TRAFFIC CIRCLE WITH MOBILE SCULPTURE. LANZAROTE. EXT.
The huge mobile sculpture by Cesar Manrique continues to rotate with
the wind immediately following the collision.
One can hear the screeching wheels of the SUV escaping from the
accident scene. One also hears the sound of a second vehicle, which
approaches and stops, and something that sounds like a door opening
and a moan.
The camera only focuses on the sculpture, swaying in the wind.
129. MATEO-HARRY’S HOME. INT. NIGHT. 2008.
Diego looks at Harry in silence, he doesn’t say a word. He is still
holding the Dymo. Harry also says nothing.
Magdalena’s death didn’t catch us melded in an embrace,
but sitting on separate seats. It caught me by
surprise, in that of leaving me alive.
When Harry’s face once again appears, we begin to hear his voice-off.
130. OUTSIDE A HOSPITAL. LANZAROTE. EXT. DAY. 1994.
The entrance to a Hospital in Lanzarote.
Through one of the windows, we can see Mateo’s gaunt and nebulous
figure resting on a bed, his head bandaged.
131. INSIDE THE HOSPITAL ROOM. LIGHT COMING THROUGH THE
WINDOW. INT DAY. 1994.
Just as in the beginning, Judit is next to Mateo’s bed. She is
holding his hand and begs him:
Mateo, say something!
Mateo is dead, Judit.
(Bags under her eyes and tearful) Don’t say that!
132. LANZAROTE HOSPITAL. PSYCHIATRIC WARD. INT. DAY. 1994.
A naturalist décor and stage-setting of an island Hospital of that
era, located in a very picturesque place. Through the window we can
see the local surroundings. The walls are a pastel color, green or
blue, an aquatic color, and they have various spots where humidity has
Other than the psychiatrist, there is another doctor present,
explaining the situation to Judit.
We call him by his name, but he doesn’t respond to it.
He insists Mateo has died.
Images are the source of his work… and to live in the
dark, I suppose that’s death to him… Is there any
chance he will see?
None. His is what we refer to as a cortical
blindness, and it’s irreversible. It’s the result of
a lesion to the occipital lobe, the intelligent part
of the brain, which has the role of processing all
visual information. In other words, the neurons have
died… and that’s permanent…
133. HOSPITAL. EXIT. EXT. DAY. 1994.
I felt as though I had died with Lena. The Mateo-
film-director who had left Madrid would never return.
Days or weeks later.
Judit exits the hospital, with blind-Mateo (he’s hidden behind black
sunglasses), now without the bandages or very few, and with little
Diego (eight years old), holding hands. Mateo walks tentatively and
slowly. He will probably be aided by the typical blind man’s cane.
They get into a car that is waiting for them. Judit instructs the
driver to take them to Famara Beach, to the bungalow complex.
134. LANZAROTE. ROUTE TO FAMARA. HIGHWAY. EXT. DAY. 1994.
A CLOUDY AND WINDY DAY.
(This is a good opportunity to show some of the more dramatic
landscapes of the island. The lava sea, black and twisted, and the
rented car that crosses it through the highway that divides it. Or
“La Geria” and its vine stalks buried in half-spheres of black dirt to
protect them from the winds. The green palm tree fronds flop around
against the backdrop of this black-dirt landscape.)
Inside the car, Mateo asks Judit:
Did you visit Lena’s mother at her hometown?
What did she say?
She was very thankful to Ernesto for having taken care
Yes, they buried her next to her father.
Did you visit the grave?
Mateo nods in defeated acknowledgement.
135. FAMARA BEACH. BUNGALOW COMPLEX. EXT. DAY. 1994.
A CLOUDY AND WINDY DAY.
The car stops in front of the bungalow that functions as the
“Reception Desk” for the complex.
Judit and little Diego exit. Judit helps Mateo out.
Mateo remains glued to the ground. He can’t move. Judit stares at
him. Even though Mateo had renounced being Mateo, he has inherited
his most painful memories. Being near the RECEPTION bungalow, and
thus near the bungalow where he lived with Magdalena, generates some
kind of spasm in him that keeps him from moving. He feels an intense
heat (inside and outside of him), as if he were approaching a bonfire
the flames of which would slowly scorch him, were he to move.
(Perhaps we’ll have to inlay the image with the flames of an imaginary
conflagration). The face contorted.
(Weakened) You go… I can’t… I’ll wait for you on the beach.
The idea excites little Diego.
I also want to go to the beach!
He approaches Mateo and instinctively grabs his hand. Judit watches
the couple. The situation unfolds before she can stop it.
Do whatever you need to do. We’ll wait for you there.
Judit is worried about the wind. She buttons Diego’s jacket and wraps
his scarf around him. She does the same thing with Mateo.
Bundle up! And don’t get too close to the water. (To
little Diego) Don’t let go of his hand!
Little Diego grabs Mateo’s hand. Despite the wind, the boy is excited
about the idea of going to the beach. He has just become Mateo’s
guide and Mateo lets him guide him, like a somnambulist.
136. BUNGALOWS OFFICE. INT. DAY. 1994.
In the offices of the complex, the two employees are in the middle of
a brawl. (Consult with the original) In front of the desk, Judit
addresses one of them, in English.
I am here to pay Mateo Blanco’s bill.
We don’t have anyone here registered by that name.
Judit gestures that she doesn’t understand.
It’s the man who had the accident. He was in bungalow
Oh, you mean Harry Caine.
Yes, of course.
Poor souls! They are not the first to have an
accident on that traffic circle! Awful!
137. FAMARA. ROUTE TO THE BEACH. NEXT TO THE BUNGALOWS. EXT.
Mateo and little Diego walk only a few meters past bungalow number
two, where he lived with Magdalena. At that moment they are walking
facing the wind, a fierce wind that threatens to tear off their
clothes. It is as if nature itself wanted to keep Mateo from walking
away from the bungalow where he loved Lena. From this point on, his
life will become just that, an endless battle against the elements and
against the memory of Lena.
Little Diego’s voice distracts him.
Look… There are kites!
At times little Diego forgets that Mateo cannot see. So he points
toward the sky of a nearby beach, whose surface is dotted by various
Mateo is grateful for the life-affirming sound of the boy’s voice and
so he allows himself to be towed.
The wind’s violent sweep over all the different elements that compose
the landscape creates a symphony of strange sounds.
138. BUNGALOW No.2. FAMARA. INT. AND EXT. DAY. 1994.
Judit, using the key she was handed at the Reception Desk, opens the
door to bungalow number two. She enters into what had been Mateo and
Lena’s love nest. She takes the entire space in with one glance; she
is overtaken, as if she has entered an ancestral and sacred space.
She imagines Mateo and Lena filling up the space with their presence.
(A strange modesty comes over her, but her curiosity is greater).
Lena’s spirit (at least in Judit’s mind) hangs in the air, but in the
material surrounding her absence is absolute. Those who took her body
did not leave any trace of Lena. Not a single object, not a single
dress. Nothing. Ernesto Senior’s cohorts (or Ernesto himself) took
all of her things.
Mateo’s clothes and things are found piled up in a closet. Yet the
table where he sat to write remains intact. On it, the photograph of
the embrace on Golfo Beach still rests, along with his notebook, blank
pages and some envelopes.
Judit observes the photograph on Golfo Beach as if it were alive,
still palpitating. And she imagines that the two lovers, locked in an
embrace, lost in the anonymous vastness of the black sand, are Mateo
She opens the desk’s drawer and, much to her surprise, finds it
overflowing with torn photographs of Mateo and Lena, shuffled in no
particular order (one might say they had been thrown violently into
the drawer. The violence of the hand that ripped and threw them has
left its pulsating mark).
Judit picks up all the pieces, slowly and delicately, and she places
them inside a brown envelope that she finds next to Mateo’s notebook.
Her sense of guilt is so profound that it dries out her throat and the
expression on her face.
139. FAMARA BEACH. EXT. DAY. 1994.
At the base of the complex, on one end of the beach, the car that
brought them is waiting. Judit places the bags with Mateo’s
belongings, which she has just carried from the bungalow, inside the
trunk. She raises her head, emotionally exhausted. From where she
stands she can see little Diego, ecstatic, in front of a group of
surfers wearing brilliant colors traversing the waves and a group of
kites (around eight or ten) darting through the sky like flying fish.
Mateo is motionless, in front of the sea, soaking up its strength.
Judit’s pain is at odds with the boy’s joy and the overwhelming
vitality that the place exudes at that very moment.
She begins to walk toward Mateo and little Diego. Once she is a few
meters away, she observes a surfer riding a wave. In the foreground
of her line of sight stands Mateo, out of focus. As he comes into
focus, Judit yells out to him:
Harry! Harry Caine!
It seems as though she is invoking the wind (a hurricane) which moves
the waves along with the expert surfers riding them.
When he hears Judit’s voice, Mateo turns to face in her direction and
We’re here, Judit! (And raises his hand like a child)
Judit approaches them, petrified with emotion. The wind tears tears
from her eyes.
We have to go, Harry.
(To the boy) Let’s go, Dieguito. Give me your hand.
(Protests, politely) Can’t we stay a little longer?
No. We must obey your mother… You’ve had enough wind
for one day…
But I’m already all better!
Judit walks in front of the blind man and the boy, her eyes glitter.
Mateo has responded to her call, and that has filled her with
uncontrollable emotion. At this very moment she decides that she will
dedicate her life exclusively to the care of this man. This is how it
140. HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY. 2008.
Diego is still sitting on the floor, next to the brown envelope. He
sticks on the Braille title, “Famara. Lanzarote 94.” In front of him,
spread on the floor like a puzzle, lie the pieces of various embraces
between Mateo and Lena (like archeological finds, like the Minoan
paintings in Crete). The pieces begin to join with one another, an
order is established and, soon, the better part of the picture is
clear. There are four photographs where, regardless of the missing
pieces, one can make out the image. Two are of embraces and the rest
are of domestic scenes. The scratches on the four photographs reveal
the passing of time.
Neither of the two men speak. Mateo remains seated at his desk.
141. HARRY’S HOME. INT. NIGHT. 2008.
They prepare to watch/hear a DVD. Diego goes over Harry’s collection
(even though one would imagine he knows it). On the spines, the
titles are written in Braille. He has already asked him what he would
like to watch (he reads off some titles; in general, all the movies
are made prior to ’94, all classics).
Play “Elevator to the Gallows” and take a look at the
While he looks for it…
Do you always watch the same movies?
Yes. Since I know them by heart, I can visualize the
Is there any new movie you’d want to see…?
Yes. But you’d have to describe the action. Your
mother used to describe some to me, some time ago.
I wouldn’t mind doing so.
I would like to “watch” one by Tarantino or Scorsese,
and also some Asian cinema…
They pick a movie (chosen by Mateo). Diego hooks up the television,
then inserts the DVD.
Images of Mateo Blanco’s last film, “Girls and Suitcases,” appear on a
random television station, it is the beginning of one of the sequences
of which the spectator is already aware.
For Harry it is all a shock, there is not doubt that it is his film.
It is the sequence where Magdalena, wearing a cast, opens the door for
her friend Chon.
143. WHAT WE SEE ON THE TELEVISION SCREEN. A SCENE FROM “GIRLS
AND SUITCASES.” PINA’S LOFT. INT. 2008.
Pina limps toward the door. Through the peephole she sees her friend
Chon, looking back with an exaggerated look of reproach:
What a drag! (she opens, not very welcoming) Oh, it’s
RETURN TO 142. IN HARRY’S LIVING ROOM. 2008.
In front of the television, having heard only those two phrases, Harry
jumps up as if propelled by springs.
That’s “Girls and Suitcases”!
Diego observes him and then looks at the television.
Turn up the volume!
Sitting on the floor, next to the television, Diego turns up the
Harry focuses on the sounds from the screen and Diego on everything
144. ON THE TELEVISION. 2008.
Chon enters. (They are supposed to be good friends). Chon has an
endearing appearance, she is a little chubby, well dressed, according
to her age (forty) and her profession, a Counselor for Social Affairs.
Spontaneous and direct (she is kind of a Bette Midler in her forties),
but the actress is lacking grace and her restlessness reveals more
about her fear of running into the moving camera, than about the very
funny way that the character inhabits her own anxiety. Lena is also
quite languid, lacking spark, tired and unenthusiastic. (As a comedy,
it’s without charm and, as a drama, it’s uninteresting, that’s what
the critics said).
(Reproachful) I’ve left you a thousand messages.
Yes. A thousand from you, and none from Ivan.
As if Ivan’s phone call depended on Chon.
145. LIVINGROOM, HARRY’S HOME. INT. NIGHT. 2008.
Harry twitches around in his chair, anxious and impatient. He doesn’t
like what he hears.
146. ON THE TELEVISION. 2008.
(Sees the suitcase sitting in the middle of the loft.
Looks at it as if it were some strange insect.) And
It’s Ivan’s. He’s leaving me.
And the cast on your leg?
His ex-wife, the crazy one. She pushed me down the
stairs and I broke my leg…
All said without any spark. The actresses are reciting the text
mechanically and they appear tired of interpreting it.
Wow! Well, we’re in good shape… I also broke up with
147. LIVINGROOM, HARRY’S HOME. INT. NIGHT. 2008
Diego and Harry are still staring at the television. Harry with his
ear turned toward the screen, disappointed and tense. Diego is more
indulgent of the scene.
(Annoyed) They’re terrible!
Each of the men focus their respective senses on the television
How could I have thought these takes were the good
ones! What was I thinking!
With the same fury with which he had thrown down the newspaper with
the bad review of his film onto the sand, he abruptly shuts off the
He remains suspended for a few moments, as if trying to find an
explanation for what he has just heard. Was he so caught up in
Magdalena’s problems that he was unable to distinguish when a take was
good or bad?
148. HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY. 2008.
The next morning, Harry wakes up early. He has spent an entire night
thinking about the same thing. Dressed in a bathrobe, but not
showered yet, he walks over to his desk.
All these scenes take place in the dark. A faint light from the
breaking dawn enters through the corners of the drapes that cover the
He opens the drawer with the photographs. (When Diego had opened it
before, we had been able to see that along with the photographs there
were other objects, for example, Luis’ notebook (the editor). Diego
had not mentioned any of this to Harry). Harry pokes around in the
drawer with his hands, finds the notebook.
He grabs it. He opens it on top of his desk. He touches the
different pages. The tips of his finger tips run over the numbers
corresponding to the sequences, the shots, the selected takes,
attempting to find a message.
149. DIEGO’S ROOM. INT. DAY. 2008.
Harry walks over to Diego’s room with the notebook in hand. The boy
is naked, drying himself with a towel after his shower.
Harry asks permission to enter.
May I come in?
(Drying himself) Yes, come in!
Not giving him time to get dressed, Harry hands him the notebook.
Luis, the editor, sent it to me six years ago. At
that time I didn’t even bother to open it, I didn’t
want to know anything about him. I am now thinking
that perhaps he had something to tell me. Would you
mind seeing if beyond the takes and all of that there
is something else written?
Diego looks through it carefully. The last pages are empty. The rest
only have the numbers pertaining to the sequences, the shots, and the
selected takes, like we have seen in the sequence with the Moviola.
Although, there is something written on the last page. “My new
number: 91 6994079.”
At the end he says this is my new number, a number’s
Harry hands him his mobile phone.
Call him, please!
Right now? It’s too early.
It doesn’t matter.
Diego dials the number and hands the phone to Harry.
May I get dressed? I’m naked…
Oh, I’m sorry.
He turns around and leaves.
150. HARRY’S HOME. DEN. INT. DAY. 2008.
He exits the bedroom and heads for his dark den.
(On the phone) Could I speak to Luis, please?
(Surprised) Luis died six years ago!
Oh, I am so sorry… I had no idea!
It was cancer. I’m his widow. Who are you?
Mateo Blanco. Luis edited all my films…
(More serene) Mateo Blanco! Luis spoke to me about
you. I am his second wife…
The one I know is Nieves, the first one.
We married twelve years ago.
(Sincere and sorrowful) I am sorry to hear about Luis’
death. I would have liked to speak to him…
He would have liked so too! Once he was quite ill and
didn’t want to speak to anyone, he would always tell
me that, if it was you, I should hand him the phone…
Harry keeps silent.
You have no idea how sorry I am!
151. LIVING ROOM, HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY. 2008.
Diego is in the kitchen. He is preparing breakfast, both for himself
Harry, heavy-hearted, approaches the kitchen, pensive. A half-hearted
“happy birthday” escapes Diego’s lips. Harry doesn’t react, perhaps
he hasn’t heard him. Noticing the look on his face Diego is not eager
What’s going on?
My editor. I just found out he died six years ago…
Diego remains silent and lets Harry continue talking.
Not long before he died he sent me this notebook. But
I didn’t want to know anything about him, I also
didn’t know he was dying… and I put it away… until
today… His wife just told me he would have liked to
speak to me, that was the purpose of sending me the
notebook… but I didn’t give him the chance.
Had you spoken since the accident?
Diego places plates with toast and juice on the table. He serves
Harry some coffee and adds sugar.
The coffee is in front of you…
Harry finds the cup easily.
Are you OK? Would you like me to stay here?
No, no… You’re heading out?
My mother arrives today. I would like to be home when
I didn’t know she was arriving…
I didn’t either, she left me a message this morning.
She’s coming to celebrate your birthday, with us…
It’s my birthday?
It seems so. Today’s the (he tells him the day), does
that sound right?
Yes. A day like today, fifty-one years ago, I entered the
152. JUDIT AND DIEGO’S HOME. INT. DAY. 2008.
Judit returns from location scouting. She enters her house. She hugs
her son, effusively.
She drops a large suitcase, with wheels. (The sequence takes place in
various rooms in the house. From the foyer she should move toward the
bedroom or the kitchen, where she makes herself some tea, or where she
opens bags full of food that she’s brought, typical to the region
she’s just visited. (She looks inside the refrigerator and doesn’t
find anything). Things like that.
I was dying to see you! Are you OK, my son?
I was very worried about you!
Mateo has looked after me day and night…
Mateo? You’re not calling him Harry…?
Diego had not realized.
Today’s his birthday, we must get him something… What
have you been up to all this time?
Nothing… Watching movies… and talking…
(As if it were something strange) Talking?
Judit looks at her son. She finds him different. As if all the
confidences shared with Harry had left a physical and visible mark on
him. Diego seems to guess what his mother is thinking.
OK. So what happened to you? (Sort of joking) I
don’t know if I should believe the thing about the
stomach flu, you two used that as an excuse in a
(Elusive) (I suffered) … an accident. But I would
rather not speak of that right now…
(Irritated, by the surprise) What kind of accident?
It’s hard to explain.
(Orders him, annoyed) Try to! I am not that stupid!
Let’s leave it for another time, yes? I am all well now.
Judit gets the sense that she can no longer speak to her son in the
same way that she could before she left on her trip. Those two weeks
have irreversibly changed him.
What’s wrong with you, Diego?
Nothing. I’m doing just fine. I’m going to buy a
present for Mateo.
(Repeats) For Mateo…
(Offended, she doesn’t want her son to think she is a drag, so she
makes an effort not to bombard him with questions)
Call him however you wish. That’s the advantage of
having two names.
Diego disappears and leaves her in mid-sentence.
(Is this his way of avenging himself? Perhaps his reaction is unfair,
but he cannot stand to stay there with his mother, answering thousands
of questions regarding an “accident” when there has been another
“accident” that he is much more intrigued by and that she has kept
silent for fourteen years.)
153. MATEO-HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY. 2008.
(The maid may be around)
Mateo goes to open the door. Judit has the key in one hand and a huge
flower bouquet in the other. They greet each other enthusiastically.
Mateo-Harry attempts to hug her but his arms collide with the flowers.
Wait, my arms are full…
Are those flowers?
Yes! Happy Birthday!
154. MATEO-HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAY. 2008.
Mateo and Judit talk, they are sitting on a sofa, the conversation is
Thank you for looking after Diego… I don’t know how to thank
You’ve been looking after me for fourteen years now…
Judit brushes his acknowledgement off, with a half-smile.
I’ve found him somewhat hostile. He left without
telling me what it was that happened… Will you tell
I don’t know. It should be your son to tell you.
Judit is upset by both of their evasiveness.
What is wrong with the two of you? Why is it that he
suddenly is not calling you Harry but Mateo?
(He evades the first question, but responds to the
second one.) Two weeks ago, at the place where he
D.J.’s, by mistake, he grabbed a friend’s drink that
had been spiked with G.H.B., liquid ecstasy. He
thought it was his drink, both drinks had Coca-cola.
Yes. It’s a very dangerous drug when it’s mixed with
alcohol and Diego had already had two Cuba Libres
before he drank from his friend’s glass…
And… what happened… exactly?
(Being vague.) He was badly affected. He spent two
days in urgent care, after that, I brought him here.
Judit looks at him, horrified. She can’t seem to comprehend such a
turbulent and simple story.
Diego’s a drug addict?
No. I’ve told you, he drank from the glass containing
liquid ecstasy by mistake…
But how can one make a mistake with something like
At first glace one cannot tell the difference. Both
glasses contained Coca-cola… It’s not the first time
Judit sighs, defenseless and horrified.
Diego has not told you so that you wouldn’t be alarmed…
(That I wouldn’t be alarmed?!) Well, he hasn’t
succeeded. At some point he will have to speak to me,
He is wanting to do so!
Judit takes a cigarette out of its box and lights it.
Is that so? Because I ask him and he doesn’t answer!
Then you should try answering him, when he asks you.
Judit smokes in silence, she is curious to know what Mateo and Diego
have been talking about in her absence, but she doesn’t dare ask
The two of you are acting very differently. Both of
you. You both have changed.
She laments it, as if she had been put aside and they had not taken
her into account.
155. “NO VIEWS” RESTAURANT. INT. NIGHT. 2008.
AT THE BAR BEFORE ONE ENTERS THE RESTAURANT.
Judit and Mateo are having something to drink. Mateo tilts his head
subtly in front of Judit.
You smell good…
(Insecure) I have put on some makeup and I am dressed
as a woman.
What’s the dress like?
Judit describes it, with few words and almost shyly.
And the hair? How are you wearing your hair? It’s
been so long since I’ve asked you that I don’t even
know whether it’s long or short.
The fact that Mateo betrays that type of interest flatters and
I haven’t changed much, Harry. I am wearing my hair short.
Short like Jean Seberg in “Breathless”? Like Joan of
Arc on the bonfire? Like Liza Minnelli in “Cabaret”?
Or like Yul Brynner?
Short, or rather, very short, like that of all
fortysomethings who want to appear younger.
I am sure it looks good on you. Thanks for dressing up
for me, Judit…
Diego looks at them, amused. He hands Mateo three DVDs (Scorsese’s
“Goodfellas” (or the Coen Brother’s “Fargo”), Tarantino’s “Kill Bill,”
and Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry”).
Near them, on the bar table, two couples talk excitedly as if they
were about to go on a ride at an Amusement Park.
The barman tells them they may now enter.
156. “NO VIEWS” RESTAURANT. INT. NIGHT. 2008.
Once they’ve crossed the doorway, a man signals them to follow him.
He’s a blind man that, like Mateo, moves smoothly, he knows the place
The restaurant is completely shrouded in darkness, all the waiters,
men and women, are blind. The one in charge of Mateo, Diego, and
Judit introduces himself:
My name is Javier. How many are you?
There is not a single light inside. The following sequences take
place in absolute darkness.
Please, grab onto each other’s shoulders and follow me
in Indian-file. I will guide you to your table. It’s
What is the idea here, Harry?
We are dinning in darkness.
You didn’t know this, ma’am?
(Anxious, feeling slightly ridiculed) No…
You should have been warned, but don’t worry. People
get used to it after a few minutes.
157. “NO VIEWS” RESTAURANT. INT. NIGHT. 2008.
They have arrived to their table, as signaled by the waiter. Table
number eight. He tells them where to sit.
Imagine that your plate is the face of a watch. Your
silverware is at 9h and at 3h. Your glass at 1h.
Bread at 11h.
Each of them reaches for the objects as indicated by the waiter around
an imaginary clock.
Judit still believes this is some kind of joke and that the lights
will come on at any moment and that something spectacular will appear
before her eyes.
If she had been able to see, she would have been witness to the very
interesting scenes surrounding her. Two couples kissing, with bestial
enjoyment. And a well-bred woman performing fellatio on the man
sitting next to her. No one sees them except our camera.
Harry, what is all this about?
The waiter responds.
We want our clients to discover that the lack of sight
harnesses the other senses. Touch, taste, smell and
sound will acquire a special intensity tonight, ma’am.
I hope you’ll enjoy them.
Judit says nothing. She hides her nervousness in order not to ruin
Mateo’s night, he seems fascinated with the place and completely
unaware of the process she is now living: the discovery of absolute
darkness. A bottomless pit.
Will the gentlemen be drinking something?
Bring us a bottle of wine, to toast.
The waiter leaves them.
Slowly, Judit begins to walk the plank that will plunge her into
anxiety. The evening feels far from a party, but she doesn’t want to
spoil it for either Mateo or Diego. She hears Mateo explaining to
I found out about this place in the newspaper and I
wanted to check it out.
It’s a German idea, there are various restaurant like
this one, they’re totally in fashion.
(Can’t believe what she’s hearing.) Darkness, in
fashion? I don’t understand.
Silence. Judit pours herself some water and drinks. And she gets
depressed, in silence.
She lights a cigarette.
158. “NO VIEWS” RESTAURANT. AT THE TABLE. INT. NIGHT. 2008.
Javier, the waiter, arrives with the wine. He tells Judit she can’t
smoke. She puts out the cigarette. (On the floor?)
To enliven the occasion, Diego proposes a toast.
Yes. Let’s toast.
Mateo pours the glasses. They each grab one. Clumsily, they bring
them close until they can her the sound of the crystal clinking.
Happy Birthday! We must look into each other’s eyes.
(She has already said it and it’s too late when she
thinks of retracting it.)
Well, we’re kind of screwed…
Oh, sorry… It slipped.
They attempt to clink glasses. It is not such an easy task. The
three glasses head for each other in the darkness, it would have been
easiest to have all three meet at the center, but instead each opts to
find the other. Only Mateo puts his forward and leaves it in place,
waiting for the other two to find his. When this happens, Judit’s
glass collides with too much force, breaks his glass and wine spills
all over the table cloth. Mateo attempts to make light of the
situation, as if nothing had happened. He presses his fingers into
the wine that has spilled on the tablecloth and exclaims:
Joy! Joy! (to Judit) Bring your ear to me so that I
can sprinkle some wine behind it. It’s for good luck!
Judit attempts to heed his request, she leans forward, offering her
head, parallel to the table. Mateo can’t quite find her ear. Judit
collapses. Her head topples onto the table, without strength, and she
bursts into tears.
159. “THE MIRROR” TERRACE. INT. EXT. NIGHT. 2008.
Show both terraces, the exterior one and the glass-enclosed one. The
sequence begins once all three of them (Judit, Diego and Harry) are
seated and drinking. Judit’s emotional state has not improved. The
short sequence of events that she’s had to live through since her
arrival have been making her increasingly tense and worried. She is
trying to combat the letdown by way of gin-and-tonic.
(They are sitting on one extreme of the ellipsis that makes up the
glass-enclosed terrace, decorated with cheesy Decó motifs).
At the center, where the bar is located, two or three waiters prepare
to clean up the tables. Once in a while, they look over at the only
three remaining clients. Once in a while, they are also able to catch
Judit’s words. And once in a while, the waiters function as the
audience, witnessing a theatrical production. Although on this
occasion, the setting is real and so is the drama.
Judit sips-down the gin-and-tonic quite rapidly. Mateo and Diego
160. CONTINUED. MIRROR TERRACE. INT. NIGHT.
I don’t know what you’ve been talking about these past
A topic which they have waited to broach since she arrived from her
Neither of the two men respond, but they are both made uncomfortable
by the comment.
But I do know what I haven’t talked to you about all
Mateo directs his face toward her, surprised and polite.
I’ve never asked you…
But you must have asked yourself a thousand times.
This is my birthday gift, Mateo. (To Diego) The gift
is also for you, Diego.
She takes another sip to draw courage, but she’s already gathered
(To Mateo) After you disappeared, Ernesto Senior
thought only of his revenge. A plan had occurred to
him but, to carry it out, he had to bribe, at the very
least, both Luis and me. It wasn’t an issue, we both
sold ourselves without hesitation. Luis and I. With
me, he had the courtesy to provide an alibi, he
proposed that I leave for a month and a half to the
United States, to the Mayo Clinic, so that Diego could
undergo a cure for his aspergillosis, that way I
wouldn’t have to be present while he destroyed the
movie (because that was his plan, to make a mess out
of the film). I opted to stay in Madrid and have
Diego undergo his cure here. I wanted to witness
everything. If I was going to betray you, I wanted to
pay the full price…
What a living hell! For both of you!
You said it!
She takes a deep breath and continues:
Yes. It was torture to watch Ernesto select the worst
takes of each shot and Luis edit them together, turning
your film into a monster (briefly tears?). The only
way of withstanding that was to suffer more.
(Overcome) I sold myself to Ernesto because of my pain
and jealousy. I couldn’t take it and I couldn’t (then)
forgive you for having abandoned Cinearte with Lena
without saying a word! My betrayal was my revenge
against you, against her and against myself… The only
innocent one was Diego… (To Diego) Forgive me, my
son, for the bitterness that you’ve had to absorb all
these years… no one deserves to grow up like this…
161. CONTINUED. MIRROR TERRACE. INT. NIGHT.
Judit rises. She approaches the bar table. She orders another gin-
and-tonic. The waiter doesn’t dare to tell her they’ve already
closed, so he serves her.
With the glass in her hand, Judit returns to the table where Mateo and
Diego wait, expectantly.
She has observed them whispering, but she hasn’t heard what they have
said. She sits down with them.
Judit takes a sip.
(Interrupts her) Don’t continue, Judit! It’s not necessary.
Yes. Now that you once again call yourself Mateo, I
have no excuse.
Judit takes a sip from her drink, to gather her strength.
No one knew where you were. We had no idea. Ernesto
Senior put everything together, the premier, all that
ruckus, to see if you’d react. His revenge was
pointless if neither of you found out about it.
(Pauses) Ernesto asked me constantly if I knew where
you were, but I said that I also didn’t know anything,
which was true.
(Somber) That’s why I never called you, but even if
you don’t believe it, I was very worried for you and
I believe you…
Diego attempts to say that he, too, believes him, but Judit doesn’t
give him time.
Ernesto hired various detectives to search for you, but
before they found you, you called me, two days after
the premier. (Slowly, debilitated.) I was too
embarrassed to answer, and… too stunned. I still am.
When Ernesto Senior asked me again about you, I don’t
know why, I gave him the phone number for Famara…
Mateo and Diego listen to her, with renewed attention. This new
information reveals an unexpected possibility, something that neither
of the two men had considered. Their reaction toward Judit’s painful
declaration changes in character. In Mateo’s case, his compassion
vanishes and is replaced by doubt, now incited by new suspicions.
Ernesto sent his son to find you in Lanzarote.
(Images of Ernesto Junior, inside a rented car, following the couple
across various places on the island, including the highway that leads
to Famara, on that last night.)
He was the one who found you after the accident and
called the hospital…
Did he have something to do with the accident?
No! But I can’t stop thinking that had I not given his
father the phone number, perhaps nothing would have
(Dryly) Why do you think that?
I don’t know…
(Categorically) If you don’t know, then stop torturing
He says this with spite and somewhat disparagingly. For Judit it’s
like a splash of cold water to the face.
The confession, rather than ending as a liberating catharsis, has
devolved in its opposite. The silence is weighed down by suspicion
and the new abyss between Mateo and Judit.
Never before has Judit felt Mateo this distant and antagonistic. Her
dramatic confession, far from liberating her, has opened new wounds
and generated new suspicions. And Judit feels taken over by an arid
anxiety, corrosive, unbearable. She almost can’t breathe.
162. CASTELLANA STREET. EXT. NIGHT. 2008.
Judit, Mateo and Diego are inside Judit’s car. Diego is driving. The
three are tense and silent.
163. MATEO’S BUILDING. EXT. INT. NIGHT. 2008.
In silence, they arrive at the entrance of the building where Mateo
lives. (Mateo is possibly carrying his umbrella or a blind man’s
cane). He exits the car. Judit walks him to the front door. She is
glad that Mateo can’t see her look of embarrassment.
(Destroyed) Good night. Call me if you need anything…
Mateo doesn’t respond. When the entrance door shuts like a resounding
Judit waits until she sees him disappear into the elevator.
164. MATEO’S DOORWAY. EXT. NIGHT. 2008.
From Judit’s point of view, Mateo disappears into the elevator, which
soon begins to rise.
165. STREET. IN FRONT OF THE ENTRANCE TO MATEO’S BUILDING.
EXT. NIGHT. 2008.
Undone, and she no longer pretends otherwise, Judit returns to the
Before she opens the door she bends over and retches violently.
Diego gets out of the car and holds her by the waist. He attempts to
Judit’s face is contorted. She wipes a thread of saliva still hanging
from her lips. Despite the retching, she has not vomited anything
other than liquid.
(Touching her forehead) You are sweating…
It’s a panic attack… (Takes a deep breath, as if she
had lost her wind) Hand me the purse!
Diego finds the purse in the car and hands it to her immediately.
Judit searches through the purse, impatiently. She takes the purse
and drops all of its contents on the sidewalk. She find a box of
tranquilizers. The pill she presses through the aluminum seal comes
out with a pop; she places it on her tongue. She leans over the car.
Diego looks at her, scared, he has never seen her like this.
Articulating poorly, so as to not move her tongue, Judit say to him:
This will pass soon…
166. JUDIT’S HOME. INT. NIGHT. 2008.
Diego hands her a glass of water. Once in bed, Judit takes two
sleeping pills. She has overcome the crisis.
Diego looks at her, very concerned. His mother has never shown
herself to be so physically fragile. He wants to help her, but it
doesn’t seem like there is anything more he can do than what he
Judit attempts to smile in order to calm him.
I will sleep well with this…
Do you want me to stay here?
(Surprised) Here? What for?
In case the panic returns, so that you don’t feel alone.
Judit eyes swell with tears.
Thank you. I am feeling better… and I’ll fall asleep
Call me, if you are not feeling well…
He kisses her twice and exits. The curtains that cover a large window
that looks out into an interior terrace are made from the same
material as those that Mateo has in his bedroom.
168. HARRY’S HOME. INT. DAWN. 2008.
The next day.
Standing over his desk, Mateo searches the desk drawer under the
computer. It’s open. There are not many things inside (credit cards,
envelopes with money, a jump drive, the MP3, etc.), he goes through it
meticulously until he finds the note that Ray X had left him the day
he came to ask him if they could write a script together. Ray X has
hand-written his own telephone number on the note. He goes over it
with his fingertips, as if he could see through them.
He dials a familiar number, Diego’s.
169. JUDIT’S HOME. DIEGO’S BEDROOM. INT. DAWN. 2008.
Diego’s mobile phone vibrates four or five times. But Diego is
sleeping and he doesn’t wake up. The mobile phone stops vibrating.
In all the scenes where Mateo is alone at home, he never turns on the
light. He will be in the dark, lightly illuminated by any light that
the cracks in the windows let through.
RETURN TO 168.
Mateo leaves him a message: “I am sorry to call you so early. Tell
your mother to call me as soon as she can.”
170. HARRY’S STREET. EXT. DAY. 2008.
As usual, Mateo buys his newspaper at the same news-agent. He turns
his body toward the Modeling Agency, but no one there enters or exits
whose odor or whose clacking heels rings familiar.
There are a few people on the sidewalk and those he crosses are all
heading, like zombies, to work.
171. BAR ACROSS. 8 IN THE MORNING. EXT. INT. DAY. 2008.
He enters the bar where his Waiter Friend works. The place has just
opened. There are very few clients.
He greets him.
Why here so early?
I couldn’t sleep. Would you mind dialing this number?
He hands him the phone and the piece of paper where Ray X’s number is
172. KITCHEN, JUDIT’S HOME. INT. DAY. 2008.
Diego is meticulously preparing breakfast for himself and Judit. He
works hard to ensure that they both start their day with the help of a
generous and varied breakfast, toast, juice, coffee and tea,
marmalade, toasted bread spread with oil and tomato, etc..
Judit appears through one of the kitchen doors, calm, with a look of
having rested (but also with the hangover of having survived a
nightmarish day, the day before). Diego does not hear her approach.
The mother takes advantage of this to observe her son with a tender
smile. When Diego turns to look, the tenderness disappears a little,
more out of modesty and a lack of habit. In any case, Judit enjoys
the peacefulness of the moment: her son caring for her after the
Judit looks over the culinary display.
I am specializing in breakfasts. I would do the same
Judit’s expression changes, now a bit more somber.
Are you OK?
Yes, (still a bit beaten down) don’t worry about last
night. It’s horrible, but it only happens occasionally
and I know how to stop it…
It scared me, it seemed as though an alien would pop
out of your stomach.
It’s not a bad way of describing a panic attack…
(Changing the topic, one can tell she’s made the
decision before she arrived in the kitchen). Diego,
there was one last thing I didn’t tell you yesterday.
Assuming it will be painful, he attempts to dissuade her:
You can tell me some other time. Now it’s time for breakfast.
If I don’t tell you now, I may never do so… At the end
of the eighties, in `77, to be exact.
The year of punk.
Yes, in the year of punk, Mateo and I became involved…
In a love affair?
Yes… We were just getting started in film, and we are
still at it, but our love affair ended, at least on his
side… That didn’t keep us from working together…
I knew all that, or I imagined it…
There’s one more thing… Mateo is your father…
Diego looks at her, astonished.
And that fleeting lover, my supposed biological
father? You made him up?
No… I… can hide things… but I never make things up…
I don’t know how to make up… The fleeting lover
existed, he was gay and our affair was short-lived.
His name was Vicente and it was while I was with him
that you were conceived, but your biological father
was Mateo, not Vicente.
Still thinking about what he has just heard, Diego places the
breakfast on the main kitchen table and serves his mother a cup of
tea. Judit begins to drink it, one tiny sip at a time.
(Assimilates the news. He is not displeased) Does
No. At that time, he asked me and I denied it, of
course. I didn’t want to put pressure on him, I
didn’t want our relationship to change because of it.
After all, I had never asked him if he wanted to
become a father.
The pieces begin to fall together.
If you think I made a mistake, don’t tell me now. We
have the rest of our lives for recriminations.
Diego remains pensive for a moment.
I will not recriminate you… I think I like being
Mateo’s son (the son of a bitch) … Speaking of, he
called early this morning…
Mateo. At 8h.
She looks at the clock and it’s 11h.
What did he want?
For you to call him as soon as you could.
(Surprised, tense) That I call him? Why in the world
have you not awakened me?!
Because, after what happened last night, you needed to
sleep. He didn’t say it was urgent. You can call him
Judit grabs her son’s phone, agitated once again, and dials Mateo’s
173. ALTERNATING BETWEEN JUDIT’S HOME. INT. DAY. 2008.
174. PUERTA DE HIERRO MANSION. ERNESTO JUNIOR’S STUDY. INT.
In the beginning the shot is close up and so we are not aware of where
he is. All one can see is a bit of a curtain, out of focus.
(Attempts to appear calm, since her confession her
voice has a less authoritarian edge and is weaker)
Diego has told me to call you. Are you OK? Do you need
anything? (This is what she’s most worried about.)
(Almost with irony) I am not alright, Judit. And yes,
I do need something… The forty thousand meters of
negative we shot during my last film in order to edit
it… I am at the home of Ernesto Junior and I just
found out the material was destroyed in ’94. I
imagined something like this, I just didn’t think it
would have happened that soon…
(With urgency) Let me explain…
(Cuts her off) No. I am in a hideous mood, Judit,
and I don’t want to take it out on you!
(Surprised and alarmed) What are you doing at
The shot opens up, and we discover Ernesto Junior at the other end of
the room, next to a 16mm camera (on a tripod) recording everything
that Mateo says and does, while he searches around in some drawers.
I think I am going to bribe him. We need money, I
don’t want Diego back at that damn bar. I want to pay
Diego a salary, we need money and he has money to
175. PUERTA DE HIERRO MANSION. ERNESTO’S STUDY. INT. DAY. 2008.
The studio has a different configuration than when his father lived,
but we recognize the place nonetheless; when the father was alive the
space served a different purpose.
Ernesto looks at Mateo fearlessly, he is still determined to search,
urgently, for something inside the drawers of a chest. The place is a
pretty big mess.
Mateo, stop talking crazy!
It is not craziness. I can’t think of anyone else to
blame for Magdalena’s death.
My God! (She asks Diego to bring her the box of
tranquilizers.) Wait a second… I have something to
Let it be, you already said enough last night.
(She takes a pill and yells at him) Listen to me,
Mateo! (As she raises her voice, she becomes
dominant.) I was the production director, if you want
to know anything about the footage, ask me!
Since you insist, I will ask you. What do you have to
In effect, Ernesto Senior asked for it to be
In ’94! Very shortly after the release of that
Yes. In any case, sooner or later the lab disposes of
all the material… and that was many years ago.
That’s not anything that I don’t already know.
As the film’s producer I was the only one who had
access to the lab… to all the material. After I gave
the order to have everything destroyed, I intercepted
it. And I kept it. I have all of it at home.
You are lying to me.
I didn’t tell you this last night because I didn’t
realize you wanted to edit it. I took everything, all
the double takes, the internegative, the sound tapes…
Everything! You can have it whenever you want!
The silence on the other end of the line reassures her.
That changes everything.
(Begs) Please, get out of that place, leave Ernesto
alone. He had nothing to do with this.
Mateo looks over at Ernesto Junior. The camera is still on its
I am not so sure. He has yet to explain what he was
doing in Lanzarote. I’ll let you go, it seems he
wants to talk… (Hangs up)
Ernesto, finally, finds a DVD. He has it in his hand and brings it
toward Mateo. (His hand enters into view on the screen of the 16mm
Here is a copy of “the making of”.
And why would I want that? I can’t watch it! Plus,
I’m not interested.
Ernesto takes his hand and places the DVD softly onto it.
Have someone you trust watch it and tell you about it.
(This DVD proves that I wasn’t responsible for the
accident.) Oh, and even if my father had asked me to
harm you, I never would have… You are very important
to me, Mateo…
Ernesto speaks naturally, for the first time, Mateo takes him
176. MATEO-HARRY HOME. INT. DAY. 2008
Diego is watching the images of “the making of”, while Mateo works out
on his treadmill.
At the last moment, an instant prior to being struck by the SUV, Mateo
and Lena kiss inside the car. They are then distracted by a noise
from the car that is about to hit them. These images have been
recorded from inside a different car, which has been following them
from behind, at a safe distance (Ernesto Junior’s car).
Mateo reaches the living room from the other end of the house,
dripping with sweat.
Diego has just watched the kiss and the accident. He rewinds and he
pauses right at the moment when Mateo’s and Lena’s kiss fills the
Is there something new I should know about?
(Surprised and moved) It’s a very interesting
documentary… And, yes, in effect, Ernesto followed
you to Lanzarote, until the last moment.
The images are there?
Those of the last night?
They take a look at the images that Ernesto taped at “El Mirador” from
the outside. Through the glass of the large window we see Lena and
Yes. He recorded you at a safe distance, while you
were on you way back after dinner. The scene is lit
by the light of his headlights. It’s not a lot, but
enough to see what happened. Not only did he not have
anything to do with the accident, he saved your life.
Mateo watches the screen of the television without being able to see
it, taking in the information Diego gives him.
And one more e thing: When you were at the traffic
circle, before the SUV crashed into to you, you and
A kiss? I don’t remember it…
It was an ordinary kiss, just one more of the many
kisses a couple gives each other, almost without
(Pensive) The last kiss…
Yes. Even if it sounds cheesy, someone has to tell
you: Lena did not die in your arms, as you dreamed,
but the last sensation she experienced in this world
was the taste of your mouth…
Mateo watches without seeing the television, he gets close to the
screen. With his fingertips, he caresses the surface, literally
touching Lena’s last kiss.
Shots of Mateo’s hand caressing the screen, with the image of the
kiss. Shot of Diego observing the entirety of the scene, moved. A
shot of everything. The appropriate kind of music accompanies the
scene as it begins to fade out, bit by bit, while a sign appears:
177. ON THE AVID. INT. 2008
Luis’ notebook, open on given sequences, as if Luis were present on
this last moment of the definitive editing. An ashtray with a lit
cigarette. The hands of the editor powering the Avid, directing the
mouse through all the necessary steps until the screen fills with a
block of sequences of “Girls and Suitcases,” in Pina’s loft.
The images fill the entire screen of the main narration. It begins
with the same sequence Diego and Mateo watched on television.
Everything is the same, but it plays completely differently. The
actresses are funny and fresh. The spectator does not know what the
difference is, but, unconsciously, he must feel enthralled by the
sequences of Pina and Chon, as if spellbound.
178. SCENES FROM “GIRLS AND SUITCASES.” PINA’S LOFT. ENTRANCE
HALL. INT. 2008
Pina limps (fed up) toward the door. Looks through the peephole,
behind it, Chon. They are good friends, but Chon is the last person
Pina wants to see right now.
(Whispers.) What a drag! (She opens, not the least
bit welcoming.) Oh, it’s you?
(Anxious, reproachful.) I have left you a thousand
Yes. A thousand from you and none from Ivan.
(Looks at the suitcase as if it were a menacing,
strange bug.) What about this suitcase!
It’s Ivan’s. He’s leaving me.
She notices that Pina is wearing a cast on her leg.
And that cast on your leg?
His ex-wife, the crazy one. She pushed me down the
Well, we’re in good shape! I’ve also broken up with
Oh, sorry to hear it! I will make some coffee, I have
spent my entire night looking for Ivan and I haven’t
gone to bed.
Neither have I.
On her way to the kitchen Chon notices, through the bedroom door, that
the bed has been burnt. She bumps into the phone that has been ripped
out of its socket, now on the floor. She says nothing, she doesn’t
want to pry, but she thinks that Pina’s situation must be more
complicated than hers.
179. LOFT’S KITCHEN. INT. 2008
The chickens are living large, free to roam throughout the entire
When did you leave him?
Four days ago. I could see it coming. The thing is
that after breaking up, I go out onto the street and I
notice there is this “guy” looking at me.
She also discovers the gazpacho on the kitchen table.
(Voracious.) Oh my, gazpacho! Can I have a bowl?
No! I’ve spiked it with an entire box of downers…
In case Ivan arrived, he loves gazpacho.
(Scolds her.) Pina, my God!
Throughout the conversation Pina makes coffee and prepares a tray of
Fornassetti cups and the whole bit.
And that’s not all! Since he wasn’t calling, I’ve
torn the phone from the wall, in a moment of rage…
I’ve tripped on the thing, but I didn’t want to pry…
And the bed? I think I noticed it smoking a bit…
I dropped a lit match and it began to burn, and I
didn’t want to squelch it. Fire purifies. I will
have to change the mattress, but all for the best! A
whole lot of less memories!
Chon looks at her friend.
But excuse me, I’ve interrupted you. You were telling
She grabs the tray, now full with coffee and pastries.
Let’s have breakfast on the terrace.
The two women head for the terrace, which sits in front of the
beautiful backdrop curtain of Madrid.
180. LOFT’S TERRACE. INT. 2008
Chickens and rabbits, running around. Lots of plants, etc. An
idyllic and false image. Only the feelings are authentic and the
women’s happy disposition for living in hysteria.
(Struggling with what she’s about to say.) Yes. I
was telling you that I also have a suitcase at home.
No. It’s a suitcase with fifteen kilos of cocaine,
Pina’s eyes open wide.
You’ve become a dealer, Chon?
No! How could you think that! I am still a Counselor
for Social Affairs in the City Hall! The suitcase
appeared in my closet. Imagine the scandal if the
police find out. They could put me in jail!
I have to get rid of those fifteen kilos as soon as
possible. (Thinks.) Because of the hours we keep,
politicians consume a lot of drugs. So, between my
party cohorts and city hall, I could distribute two
kilos, but what do I do with the rest!
Throw it out!
Are you crazy? How could I throw it out?! I have to
keep the police from finding it in my house… I have
to take it some other place, immediately!
But I don’t understand…
(Interrupts.) Well, it’s clear, honey!
(Finishes her question.) How is it that the suitcase
appeared in your closet?
(Drinks a little coffee, and takes a bite from a
pastry.) As I was telling you, after breaking up with
my husband, I bumped into this guy on the street who
kept watching at me, good-looking, well hung. Summing
up, I took him home and screwed him over and over…
(Takes another sip of coffee.)
An how was he?
In bed? Divine. Look at my arm hair? I’ve got
goose-bumps! (She shows her the hair on her arm,
standing straight up.) He’s that kind of guy who
knows how to drive a woman mad with pleasure!
So you lost your mind…
What else could I do?! So he asked me if he could
stay at my place for a few days and I said OK, but I
couldn’t promise anything. I didn’t want him thinking
that I was that easy. So (breathes in) he brought the
suitcase. He asked me if I cared if he kept it in the
closet. He said that he was attached to the suitcase.
And, well, why would I care?! (breathes in) By pure
chance, I am watching TV last night and I find out
that the police have nabbed him in the course of a
drug sting operation and that he is one of the most
wanted traffickers! I open the suitcase and I
discover that it is filled with little bags of
cocaine. I ran out of the house and I haven’t
Pina breathes out in solidarity.
What a story, my God!
(Concluding.) I was wondering why he was such a good
fuck! For men living in such high-stakes conditions,
each fuck could be the last! (She reaches her arm
out, again.) Look, the goose-bumps!
Once again, she shows Pina her arm, hair standing straight up.
I’ve seen them already… They comes easy for you…
(Changing topic.) And the suitcase?
(Humble.) I was going to ask you… if you didn’t mind
that I brought it here. If they find it in my house,
well, it’s not about what could happen to me, but that
it’s just not an ideal situation for the Counselor of
Social Affairs. Imagine how upset the mayor would be,
and my party! My party can’t take one more scandal!
The doorbell rings:
Shush, how could it be the police?! No one knows
I am a woman who attracts attention, Pina. Since I
was a little girl…
Just pretend you’re here for coffee…
Pina limps toward the door, uncertain. (Behind it she will find new
adventures). She looks back, toward Chon, half-smiling, tired but
charming, filled with understanding and a love for life, with all its
emotions and its contradictions. It’s with this half-smile on
Magdalena’s face that the sequence arrives at its end.
181. AVID ROOM. INT. 2008
Mateo, Judit, Diego, and the new editor, somewhat removed from them,
are seated in front of the editing table, they are both moved and
This is hilarious!
(Wants to be sure.) It doesn’t sound like what we
watched on TV, right?
Not at all! This is a whole different thing!
Judit is the one who is most deeply moved. She may cry, but this time
her tears will be happy tears, welcome tears.
It’s wonderful, Mateo. We should re-release it.
The important thing is to finish it. Films must be
Judit keeps crying.
THE END[amazonjs asin=”B00JZNOF7M” locale=”JP” title=”抱擁のかけら DVD”]