Drama - Development 2013

old Perla has managed to escape the regular deportations to the death camps of Poland
by offering her sexual favors to, among others, the Jewish head of the Council of Elders,
who removes her card from the central registry whenever he knows a deportation list is
being prepared.

    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Producer(s)
    • Tomas BELOHRADSKY (Czech Film)
    • Synopsis
    • synopsis of a full-length feature film
      based on the story by
      ARNOST LUSTIG – The Unloved
      An attempt will be made to put us into a frame of mind that knows nothing of the Holocaust. The story itself is set at a time when the Holocaust was already well under way, but covertly, under the lid.
      That is the time of this minor story, a metaphor of might and control, of the self-assurance of those in power and the submissiveness of the subjugated ones. Both stand on the shaky feet of collective consensus, which has no support in reality, in nature… its support lies solely in human minds.
      And yet or just because of it this most painful stain of human history could materialize.
      Out of what spark did this poisonous flame and smoke arise?
      On what authority?
      Was this authority traditional, charismatic or bureaucratic?
      Why do people fall for a charismatic authority even though it is completely devoid of reason?
      Why do they click their heel in reverence of a bureaucratic authority even though it lacks any trace of logic or beauty?
      Why are people prepared to accept the rule of a tyrant if his regime has at its disposal enough rubber stamps used, quite tautologically, to confirm the legitimacy of that regime?
      Why are people able, on the one hand, to sacrifice their own lives and, on the other hand, tremble for and before things, which will then prove to be – in a historical perspective – quite negligible?
      All ideologies have their half time of decay directly proportional to their intelligence.
      And why people, instead of saying: “Yes, we will change our lives because of you,“ do not simply reply: “And wouldn’t you, Adolph, rather go to see a psychiatrist? Don’t be afraid, it doesn’t hurt, you’ll be allowed to have walks and you’ll get a roundabout to play with.“
      Our heroine is seen lying on a couch with a half-filled mattress in an attic room. At first sight, it is a poorly furnished room. Some pieces of its furniture were slapped up out of materials originally designed for other uses. And the heroine’s behaviour is similarly improvised.
      So far nothing indicates where we are, at what coordinates of human history. And that pungent smoke generated by history’s most stupid enterprises still does not penetrate through the window.
      The heroine is biting a pencil. There is a scratching sound under the floor. But the heroine does not take fright. She knows the noise. She knows its sources and speaks out to address it. It is a rat. But not even this strange cohabitation still manages to cast any shadow of suspicion, does not provide a clue in which house, which street and in which town the heroine is actually nibbling her pencil. She takes it out of her mouth, opens her diary and in a conspiratorial way whispers to the rat the content of what she just wrote: “Tuesday morning, twice – half a loaf of bread and a letter knife…“
      Then she gets up and looks out of the window…
      And she can see herself several years earlier… We watch her growing up in a Prague block of flats, in an ordinary family. We watch her relation to her mother. Her emerging relation to men, growing out – to a large extent – from her own suspicion that her neighbour is an occasional prostitute. Her fascination with this woman and her secrets.
      Secrets that may later save her own life.
      But the idyllic life of a Prague tenement house is disturbed and ended by the Second World War. We learn that the heroine is a member of a nation hated by the great tautologist with a small moustache.
      His army of weapons and rubber stamps very quickly and efficiently created fiction of a super power and a state? With the cheekiness typical of entities incapable of self-reflection, this state gives out orders, while the self-assurance of its commands incomprehensibly hypnotizes other people. Even real super powers succumb to it, and so do individuals.
      And quite illogically and without any dispassionate view of the situation, people pack up their suitcases and change their places of residence, social status, habits, daily customs and regime…
      They let themselves be resettled to a new town with new laws. And quite incomprehensibly and very fast they become different people in a differently organized society.
      But organized it is! And very order-loving and systematic. (After all, even a mental illness may have its system.)
      And it is precisely because of this particular illusion, this haze of organization and state that, if there is an official stamp under a sentence, such a sentence must become law… people succumb to it.
      Our heroine, who is actually still a child, as well as adults succumb to the new reality, too.
      But – can you still call such people adults when so little was enough to cause this change of their identity.
      So little?
      Who knows nowadays?
      But let us narrate our story from this angle. Not for the originality and possible titillation of this perspective but for its ability to unmask, decode… and thus to prevent repetition.
      This whole process of subjugation to manipulation, which results in a change of identity… ending with anticipated death, the entire process of reconciling with such a state of things, and all the above indicated motives, thoughts and consequences, will be viewed through figures close to our heroine.
      At first, they will be seen from a linear point of view – up to the departure of the main figures to a “new town“, via the emergence of a special subculture, organization, hierarchy… to the eerily rapid “settling down“ in this town, and the moment when the heroes seek and eventually find their place in it. They accept their new roles and identities. As if they had no other identities before.
      Up to the establishment of the ghetto.
      From then on, the film’s action will proceed as a collage of the present and the heroine’s memories.
      Now, our heroine is seen stepping away from the window. A man comes in…
      And we realize what it was she had written in her diary. Without pornographic details we experience what she herself had gone through – she survived thanks to her youth and her beauty. In return for food, gifts, necessities as well as useless trifles she provides oral sex to her clients.
      She does that to men of her own language, nation and common history (she learns from a cabbalist, for instance, of the lucky number 44, and we realize this is the coming year)… as well as to their enslavers... namely to one of them – a Luftwaffe officer.
      The latter promises her a final change of identity – he says he is in a position to arrange her re-education to become member of a better race. And she is not against the idea. After all, it is an idea pretended by authority…
      Another man, a member of her own nation, secures her continued stay in the ghetto and helps her in avoiding transports to an extermination camp, because (in return for her services) he always puts the card with her name to the bottom of the box. Thanks to his new identity in the ghetto. (Which is temporary just as all the previous and future ones.)
      The heroine’s closest friend is a girl, a virgin. They have long debates about men. Especially about how they taste and about the presence of teeth during the heroine’s “job“.
      And this is how time runs in the ghetto. It is mostly spent in walks to the local mental hospital, as a universal symbol of the time and power; as a place where Adolph should have definitely been locked away.
      All the motives eventually merge during the last night of the story before the heroine’s departure in a transport. (Her protector had already left the ghetto in a transport and so it is her turn to go.) During her last night among the living, she is visited by the Luftwaffe officer, member of the dominating race. After a relatively friendly start of their meeting the officer evidently finds both enjoyment and excitement in the thought that someone whom he sends to death tomorrow is actually giving him sensual pleasure.
      At that moment, the afore-mentioned teeth come into play. The officer first loses his capacity to disseminate his own race and, numbed with pain and paralyzed with shock, has his neck pierced with a letter knife.
      He dies and his body is covered up by a used mattress.
      Our heroine spends her last night in the ghetto sleeping on that mattress.
      In the morning, she wishes bon appetite to the rat and leaves in a transport with number 44 hanging on her neck.
      The End