a movie about revenge & family

ACT I

Scene 1. Exterior. The north.

The Scientist is bundled up in jackets and hats, and walks out of his house to a waiting car. A friend, George BUYERSON, sits in the driver’s seat, smoking a cigar.

SCIENTIST

New car?

BUYERSON

I’m selling it. Five hundred euros. Practically new.

SCIENTIST

You must be joking. Is it legal?

BUYERSON

Of course it’s legal. Are you interested?

SCIENTIST

I have three cars already, thanks.

BUYERSON

You don’t have a Rover. And all your cars are used.

SCIENTIST

Used by me. I don’t need any more cars, thanks. Sell it when you go home.

BUYERSON

Are you joking? This is a car designed for the country, and there are already too many in the city. I have to sell it out here, to somebody like you, who knows good value.

SCIENTIST

If it’s such a good car for the country why is it I have never seen one owned by anyone out here?

BUYERSON

Because the fools in the city were first in line. If the ship came over there filled with these cars, then all your neighbors would be driving them. It’s all about geography these days. The value of your money depends on where you live.

Cut to:

Scene 2. Exterior. Rural land.

The men are standing behind a hill, both with rifles. It is bitterly cold, and the Scientist constantly blows into his gloved hands, but Buyerson seems oblivious to the elements. He looks through binoculars at the countryside around him.

BUYERSON

Where are these things?

SCIENTIST

I haven’t seen one in a year. We’re wasting our time.

BUYERSON

Something will come up. Give it another twenty minutes.

SCIENTIST

Yeah, maybe a farmer will walk by. I have to take a leak.

BUYERSON

Try to keep a low profile, bend over. You always walk like a soldier, and the foxes see you sticking out.

SCIENTIST

It hurts to bend over, man.

BUYERSON

Ah, yes, I’m sorry, man. I wasn’t thinking. Sorry.

Scientist walks away from his friend, toward the Rover.

Cut to:

The Scientist strains to pee, and winces twice as he begins to urinate. His urine is dark red, and flecks of bright blood splash on the snow.

Cut to:

Scene 3. Interior. Inside the Rover.

The men are in Buyerson’s car, driving homeward. They bounce over the rocky path.

BUYERSON

You know, my mother died and suddenly my father had no friends.

SCIENTIST

Your mother and father divorced, and that’s why he had no friends. Nobody here liked him very much because of how he treated your mother. It had nothing to do with her dying.

BUYERSON

Do you think it might be like that for Anna?

SCIENTIST

We’re not divorcing. She has her friends and I have mine.

BUYERSON

No, no, I mean, you know, afterwards.

SCIENTIST

I’m not dying, man, relax. And I’m not getting divorced, either.

Cut to:

Scene 4. Interior. Kitchen.

At the kitchen table in the scientist’s house, Mr. Buyerson is blowing his nose into a tissue. He sits opposite ANNA, the scientist’s wife. She looks at him in concern.

ANNA

You’re snorting too much, George.

BUYERSON

It’s not that, Anna, I swear. I just get the feeling there will be no more hunting with him. Each time I see him, there seems to be less of him there. Besides, these days, you smoke it, there’s no snorting. I’m dieting, don’t worry. And I don’t have the cash any more.

ANNA

It’s not about cash, George, it’s about your habit.

BUYERSON

Please, this is not about me, it’s about him.

ANNA

He says he’s fine.

BUYERSON

He’s a scientist, of course he says that shit. If he was a poet he’d be here in the kitchen crying with me.

The Scientist carefully walks into the kitchen, as if he knows his wife and Buyerson have been talking about him. He playfully has his hands cupped over his ears, and cautiously moves them away from his head.

SCIENTIST

Is it safe to listen now?

BUYERSON

Anna is telling me to go on a diet.

SCIENTIST

Ah, good idea.

ANNA

George was just telling me that he thinks he can buy his way out of a habit.

SCIENTIST

But he says he’s broke.

ANNA

He thinks he can stop the toot because he no longer has the money to pay for his habit. But the habit needs only credit, and George has plenty of that.

SCIENTIST

Ah, yes. True. Surely you can trade a Rover for some dope, George?

BUYERSON

Listen, this is about how I feel for you, better than I feel about my own brother. I am afraid the day is coming, I wish it were not true, when you will not be here to hunt foxes with me.

SCIENTIST

There are no foxes to hunt, George, that’s why we have to stop. Not because I’m going anywhere.

BUYERSON

First thing I get home, she asks me: ‘Was there red snow.’ Everyone knows, man.

SCIENTIST

I just pissed, man. Didn’t flush. Would you like to see?

Cut to:

Scene 5. Interior. Bathroom

The Scientist and Buyerson squeeze into the small bathroom and look into the toilet bowl. There is no red or pink in the water; a tint of pale bronze shines back.

BUYERSON

You put in apple juice. I can smell it.

SCIENTIST

Good God. Everyone thinks I’m dying because you say so. Do you want me dead for some reason? Why are you so intent on spreading these rumors?

BUYERSON

I smell apple juice. You’re not fooling me like that. Show me the x-rays.

SCIENTIST

Come on, come one. Let’s have a tea.

CUT TO:

Scene 6. Interiors.

Split between kitchen and Farmer’s house.

Kitchen, telephone ringing, Anna gives the scientist the phone. Buyerson has his face in a napkin. He appears to be weeping.

SCIENTIST

Hello, Julius, are you feeling better?

Cut to

The farmer to the north, JULIUS, is on his telephone, standing in front of his window. He has just phoned the scientist. (In the dialogue that follows, some cutting is done between locations; when the Scientist is shown, his wife Anna is looking out the kitchen window while Buyerson cries softly into his napkin.)

Farmer JULIUS

I am good. So is my leg. Good. We need to see you at the fishing club tonight. Six o’clock. And it is cloudy with rain, so you cannot tell us you are looking for another planet.

SCIENTIST

I do have plans, Julius. I was just doing some writing.

Farmer JULIUS

The car dealer is visiting you, and the only words he knows how to read are printed on the money. Please, do not make me say anything about your wife or your mother to force you to come to this meeting tonight.

SCIENTIST

I know about my wife, Julius. And about my mother –

Farmer JULIUS

We must see you tonight. Please, let us be straight with each other. We need your help.

SCIENTIST

My help, or my advice?

Farmer JULIUS

Your help, Sir. Your advice if you do not mind me saying it has for years been quite useless. Now we need blood, sweat. Something we can measure. See you at six.

CUT TO:

Scene 7. Interior. Living Room

The Scientist has a book in his hands as he sits on the sofa, but is not reading. Anna has a journal on the table, but her pencil is in her teeth, and she drums her fingers gently against the tabletop; she is not writing. The scientist glances at the clock: It is 5:50 pm. He glances at the book, and then puts it down. Anna spits out the pencil and it falls onto the desk. She raises her eyebrows and looks at her husband. He stands up and rubs his back; he is in a little pain. He starts to walk out of the room.

ANNA

I was just writing something small, a little haiku, that you should take with you. (Pause)  A small revolution might kill him, but refusal can cripple them.

The Scientist smiles and walks into his study. He stands before a telescope and seems reluctant to touch it. Gently, he pulls the cap off the eyepiece, but then simply stares at the eyepiece and does not get close enough to look through it. A clock is ticking loudly. He replaces the eyepiece and looks out the window. In his car driving to the fishing club, he will lean forward until his face is almost against the windshield as he looks at the sky. When he stops to urinate, he also looks at the sky.

CUT TO:

Scene 8. Interior. Thing (Meeting Room in Community Building)

Four farmers sit at a long table with the scientist. They are inside the Thing, the meeting house of the municipality. The farmers sit according to their orietantation: the farmer from the north, Julius, sits at the north, etc.

Farmer Julius

We need your help, Sir.

Farmer WEST

Only you can help us. I am sure of this.

SCIENTIST

How long have you men known me? (Pause)  I am always ready to help. You know this.

Farmer JULIUS

This is not about a lost sheep or a broken axle.

Farmer WEST

We need you to save the future. You can do something we cannot. You have no future, no crops coming, but you have your legs. And you are good with a gun, we have seen this for years. We need you to run a mission.

Farmer EAST

Oh come on. This isn’t Vietnam on TV. Just say it. Or I will.

SCIENTIST

Is this about the tractors? You’re going to tell me you have no yen to pay for them. Or no dollars? And you want me to rob a bank because I’m dying soon?

(Long pause.)

Farmer JULIUS

Do you think we are meeting here as a joke?

SCIENTIST

I’m sorry. Go on. I will help as I can.

Farmer SOUTH

I told you he would be diplomatic. Did I not say it? Ah, he will help as he “can”! Let’s send him home and let him expire in peace. (To the Scientist . . . ) What the hell do you mean, if you can. You have no choice!

Farmer JULIUS

Sit down and shut up. We’re not Polish. Sit down and shut up. I will tell him politely what to do.

Farmer South sits down, a look of disgust on his face. The Scientist stares silently at the men; he has never seen them so irritated.

Farmer JULIUS

I am terribly sorry, Sir, that we have not asked about your prostate. Are you in pain?

CUT TO:

Scene 9. Interior. Living room

Anna is sitting on the sofa, a book in her lap. Lights reflect in the window as her husband arrives home. She sits back and sighs, as if she has something difficult to say to him, and dreads his entrance into the living room. She puts on her glasses and pretends to read as he walks in. But she is surprised when she sees him, because he walks in holding a rifle by its barrel. He lifts the gun in the doorway and shows it in the faint light of her reading lamp.

ANNA

They want you to shoot more foxes?

SCIENTIST

No, they want me to shoot Westhamson, the car importer, because he is in town for a few days from the Canaries.

ANNA

Your uncle?

SCIENTIST

They’ve already talked to my aunt, and she has given her blessings and wants me to visit her before I see him.

ANNA

Do you mean, shoot, as in murder?

SCIENTIST

Yes. Cold blood. One of the farmers has had a vision, and claims I will get away without detection, and that my remaining days will be peaceful and pain-free.

ANNA

That guy would have been burned to a crisp down on the beach just a generation ago for his visions. But what do you think?

SCIENTIST

I have no choice, really.

ANNA

They’re not blackmailing you because of me or because of your mother, right?

SCIENTIST

No, no. I don’t care who knows my secrets. They are worse than pride, I have no strength to carry them any more.

ANNA

You know I will help you however I can. I’ll drive the getaway car, give you a blowjob, pretend to be my sister . . . I will pull the trigger, even, if you make sure I am on your life insurance policy, please.

SCIENTIST

You are my beneficiary. Don’t worry about that. I can’t use your help, Anna. If I could, I would ask for it. You’ve been the best partner any living creature could ask for, and what I feel for you is beyond love, really. It’s a sort of religion. I will try to find the insurance papers.

ANNA

When will you see your uncle?

SCIENTIST

The day after tomorrow perhaps. He’s not really my uncle, so let’s not call him that.

ANNA

Will you tell George?

SCIENTIST

No, George hates his father and he would want to be involved if there’s a plot. And if George is involved there is a possibility of a screw-up. And Westhamson will be very suspicious if his son suddenly wants to see him. It will just be me.

ANNA

Let me call Westhamson and tell him I am coming, too, so he will be sure to make the time for us, alone, without secretaries.

SCIENTIST

Okay, that’s a good idea. Tell him you’re coming from the spa. But sleep tight, I want to work a little bit.

CUT TO:

Scene 10. Interior. Study

The Scientist sits in his study. He is looking at his telescope in the foreground. The instrument seems to glow, as if reflecting some astronomical disturbance in the sky outside the study’s large window. A clock is ticking loudly.

=======================

in ACT II

The Scientist drives into the city, and has encounters with many people along the way. With his “aunt,” the sister of the Rover importer, Westhamson, and with a mysterious foreigner he picks up hitching in the West Fjords. Everyone he sees, from people at the gas station to men driving snowplows, seem to know he is on a secret mission. For instance:

He is driving a lonely stretch of road, when he sees an elderly lady standing at the gate of her farm. She waves him to a stop; he rolls down his window. “Are you the scientist?” She gives him an apple and holds his hand as she says, “Bless.”

In ACT III

In the city, the Scientist meets with Westhamson, alone. He pulls his gun on the Rover importer, but finds himself unable to shoot. Westhamson talks him out of the killing, and gives him millions of yen and thousands of dollars and euros, tells him to pay of the tractors and telescopes.

In ACT IV, or the Coda,

The Scientist comes back home to the family farm and faces his wife and neighbors.