12b 1916 THE MAKING OF MANON
1916. Gropius and Alma, Walter's voice comes from the distance,
as if it came over a bad telephone line. Alma answers him
shouting back, to overcome the bad line.
Can you hear me?
The line is very bad! Speak louder!
you hear me now?
Now I hear you. But there's a lot of noise.
the artillery barrage.
are you, Walter?
in a field hospital.
you say A field hospital?
It's a field hospital in Zonnebeke,
a small village, east of Ypres.
happened? Are you all right?
you badly injured?
be all right. I received a medal!
ALMA A medal?
I'm so proud of you! But I must see you! I must! I've some
good news to tell you. Very good news! I have got a lot to
tell you. You said the name of the village was Zonnebeke?
It's a field hospital in Zonnebeke? I'll find you there! We
must get together! Don't worry for me. I'll take care. I'll
find you. (She addresses the people around her:) Does anybody
know where's Zonnebeke? It must be a small village near Ypres.
Does anybody know where's Ypres? It must be somewhere in Belgium,
near the French border. I hear there's a fierce battle going
on there. I must get there. My husband is being treated there
in a military field hospital in Zonnebeke. Can anybody tell
me how I can get there?
Walter Gropius is wearing the Bavarian Order of Merit, 4th
Class, with swords to indicate exceptional bravery.
I'm so proud of you!
don't know what got into me. Actually it was suicidal.
bolt upright into enemy fire. I must have had a guardian angel.
ALMA Of course
you did. But just don't let your superiors know, or they'll
take back your medal.
been literally circumscribed by bullets during this war. One
in my cap, one in the sole of my boots, two through my overcoat
- one on the right, one on the left; those ghastly grenades.
got a surprise for you too. Guess what?
going to leave me?
Why should I leave you?
you want to go back to Kokoschka.
what is it?
you looked at me yet today? I mean, properly. Look at me!
Can you see any difference?
haircut? No make-up? Unwashed?
stupid you are, Walter. How divinely stupid. - Look in my
eyes. What do you see?
that wasn't there before.
don't know what you mean.
am .... pregnant .
Kokoschka? Who, then, holy Christ?
who do you think?
on, come on, stop that, we've only been together for two days.
ALMA So what?
You think you can't get pregnant in two days? That's pretty
naive. All you need is one good night. One good minute. Even
in a second - if it's blessed by God. And done properly
can live for seven years with a man, and nothing happens.
You have children, but you've never got pregnant. And then,
suddenly - !
on, you're pulling my leg! Is it Oscar's? We can get rid of
it, you know.
I don't want to get rid of it, you hear?! I want to keep the
child. It's the first time I've ever wanted to keep a child.
It's your child, Walter!
idiotic. How can you be so sure?
ALMA A woman
knows when she gets pregnant.
does a woman know?
simple. But it's a secret among women. Don't tell any other
you're pregnant - the colours change...! When I get pregnant,
I see the world in rosy colors. For instance: now I see you
right. That doesn't prove anything. My skin is naturally rosy.
But what about my eyes?
eyes, they are rosy too..
Your eyes are rosy.
thank you. Should I be worried?
ALMA On the
contrary. They are very beautiful.
should see them from my point of view.
resisting what I'm telling you.
you got any more signs?
for instance. You are as sweet as Oskar.
I wanted to say sugar. You taste as sweet as sugar.
his hand) Wrong. I taste salty.
see? It only proves you're not pregnant.
What shall we call her?
ALMA I hope
it's a him, not a her. I don't want to bring another girl
into this world. This time I wish it were a boy. I want a
boy. Whatever happens.
you crazy? You want to put another man between the two of
us. Or are you already fed up with me?
You've fulfilled your mission. Brilliantly. You're used up
already. Why should I settle for a second-hand man when I
can have the latest model? Why should I settle for a worker
when I've got the product? Why should I still be interested
in the artist once I'm carrying his masterpiece inside my
right. Which way to the dustbin? Or do you want me to dive
into the toilet so you can flush me down the drain?
ALMA Oh no,
you sweet, Aryan piece of shit! You misunderstand me completely.
You tried to run away once, but this time I'm not going to
let you. You can bet on it! You can bet on it! (pointing to
her belly) The fact that a new object draws my attention doesn't
mean I have to throw the old one. On the contrary! I always
say: never throw away a man once you've had him. One day I
could use you or even desire you again. Who knows? If I lose
interest in you, and have no use for you any more, I'd rather
put you aside carefully to rest for a while in the corner,
within my reach. And if your time comes again
Who can say whether it will come. Who can say when it will
come? But the possibility does exist, doesn't it?!
am I to you, Alma, hmm?! Tell me! Tell me, for Christ's sake!
I feel as if I'm a pure-blooded Aryan. A thoroughbred. Am
I actually a person to you?! Will I ever match the depth of
feeling that you revealed to Oskar and Gustav? I will never
reach the depth of feelings that those two did, and I'll never
be able to awaken your emotions the way they did.
is lost to me! I can't find him inside me any more. He has
become a stranger.. He so completely isolated me from the
world that learned how little one is really needed in it.
I know he'll go further, and probably be better off, without
me. We almost killed each other with our love. He and I were
compatible to the last fiber of our being. He had everything
a person needs to be great. I loved him for that, and I loved
the ill-bred, stubborn child in him. We rubbed up against
each other, and now he can live in peace and quiet. No-one's
getting on his nerves any more. No-one. I want to forget him.
You have to help me do that. You have to help me. You have
to help me.
I did. I loved him like crazy. Unimaginably. That big kid.
He robbed me of all my reason. He's the only one I ever let
do that to me. I wish I'd never met him. You just can't imagine
how much he needed my love. I wanted to kill him with my love.
I wanted him to die in my arms while I was on top of him.
I wanted to feel him die inside me. I'm sorry I didn't succeed
make me shudder. I can already hear you speaking about me
the same way one day. I hate him. I hate him. I could kill
him right away.
no use. He's been killed already.
You've already...? That's not possible!
ALMA I didn't
have to do it. Thank God. The Russians did it for me.
ALMA I didn't
tell you; it's too dreadful. But now, since it's in all the
newspapers: »A bullet penetrated his ear canal and exited
through his neck.«
what are you talking about?
He's fallen. May his soul rest in peace.
God, I thought you were talking about our baby !
still fixated on that baby? Then why did you say you wanted
to kill him? That you hate him?! Were you struck in the head
don't want another man between the two of us. And that's why
I want it to be a girl.
ALMA I don't
want a girl!! I don't want her to suffer what I have suffered
from all these crazy, tyrannical men!
no, we will raise her in total freedom. We will develop her
talents. I will never do to her what Gustav did to you, and
I will not let any stupid man do it to her! I can already
see what she will look like. She is going to be a stunning
beauty, with long legs like a gazelle, and a thin waist, and
golden hair. With little tight breasts with two roses for
nipples, and her lips will be velvet, and sweet and sensual...!!!
It sounds like you're already dreaming about your next mistress!
If you're fed up with me, say it! And you won't see me any
talking about you, stupid!!
ALMA I know
it's going to be a girl. Whenever I am pregnant with a girl,
I love my men twice as much as before.
That was the case with Gustav?! You had two girls with him.
Did you love him four times as much?! How can I keep pace
with that? I hope we have triplets.!
again?! I thought we'd finished with him -
we haven't. He is still there, between the two of us.
nonsense! Gustav is dead and buried! Enough is enough! This
girl is going to be different from all my aborted children.
Your spirit and my body - your magnificent Aryan blood has
merged with mine. She'll be half goddess!! To cherish and
nurture her will be my holy duty in this world.
know what I want her to be called. Manon.
ALMA Do you
want to humiliate me?! Tell me, Walter, do you want to take
my child away?! Manon is your mother's name! You know she
hates me. Your entire family hates my guts. They want to separate
they adore you. They say you transform any room the moment
you cross the threshold. You change the physical dynamics
of a place
Everything floats above reality as soon as
you appear... They love your wonderful sense of humor, your
way of talking, your impassioned way of listening ...
making fun of me, will you?! "Impassioned way of listening"!
You know very well I'm deaf in one ear, so don't mock me.!
mocking you ? I've never been so serious ...*
the crap! Keep your nonsense to yourself, till you're 90 years
old, sitting by the fire in the old folks' home; then you
can bore your geriatric friends with it all. !
can see her! I look at you and I can see Manon! The way she'll
look when she is 16 years old!
men! You're always looking for a fountain of youth! You remind
me of Gustav! We're never young enough for you. 16, is that
OK? - No? So wait a minute (plays a girl of 14) Does that
turn you on? A girl of 14? No? How about 12 ? Shall I shave
for you? (puts on the courtesan dress for Oscar's party) Listen,
face reality, my dear life-strategist, you can't have a 36-year-old
pregnant woman for the rest of your life! I warn you! My breasts
are going to swell and sag, folds of flesh will cover my stomach,
my face is going to change - it will droop into deep folds
like a fan, my whole body will decline, I'll rot away, I'll
deteriorate! It will give you a chance to prove your love
to me. That's when I'll need your love. Make your decision.
It's your last chance! Leave me! Go away! Go away!
stop it! Stop it!!! I made up my mind a long time ago. When
I first saw you in Tobelbad. When we first touched one another.
On that blessed evening of 4th June, my whole life changed.
All that counts from now on are the moments we are going to
spend together. It started for me very suddenly , I have to
admit. During that moonlit walk we took along the little stream
that night ... Alma my soul, my life, I cannot live without
you. If you have any feeling at all for me, you've got to
abandon everything and come to live with me. Alma my blood,
my body, my life! I can't exist without you. I'll marry you.
You'll be my wife. Alma Maria Gropius. Alma Maria Gropius!
Alma leaves. Father Hollnsteiner starts his description of
Manon Gropius' agony and death.
The music of Mahler's First Symphony calls everybody to Kokoschka's