11b 1947 SEX AND CARICATURE
U.S. Alma in a beauty-saloon in Vienna in 1947. The ghosts
of her former suitors, Gustav Klimt, Alexander Zemlinsky and
Max Burckhard, are giving her a cosmetic treatment. Lili Leiser,
her former friend, is giving her a manicure treatment, while
her personal servant, August Hess, is singing from her Lieder
»Der Erkennende« - or some silly operetta song.
TV NEWS Just
in from New York, Alma Mahler-Werfel, the widow of poet Franz
Werfel, who died in 1945, landed at Tulln airfield near Vienna.
Before her marriage to Franz Werfel, she was married to composer
Gustav Mahler. Alma Werfel is the daughter of landscape painter
Emil Jakob Schindler. During her stay in the USA, she acquired
American citizenship. Representatives from the Ministry of
Education and the City Council attended her reception.
LILI LIESER Are
you just in Vienna for a visit?
and it's definitely going to be my last visit to this goddamn
LILI LIESER Why?
What do you find so unpleasant here?
Is that some kind of euphemism?
LILI LIESER I'm
means »optimism«. Madame Alma has always been
very optimistic -
will you shut up! - He is a very lovely object, my August,
as you can see, but he didn't exactly invent the wheel. I
don't think he could even have invented a toothpick. - When
I say »euphemism« I mean »euphemism«!
Got it, you lovely beast?!
Madam. But of course.
here, August. Let me smack you on your buttocks. (August offers
Alma his buttocks. She smacks him.) Oh, what a stiff little
buttocks you have! Oh yes! Oh yes! - Come now! Give your Alma
a sweet little kiss. (August does so.) There's nice little
August! And never open your mouth to say anything, unless
you're ordered to! Got that?
ALMA I should
never have set foot in this goddamn Austria so soon after
the war. My visit to Vienna was a pure disaster. A nightmare.
My famous villa in Grinzing was hit by an American bomb of
all things ! Gustav's and later Franzl's precious desk was
completely destroyed. All their manuscripts are lost forever!
Ashes to ashes! Dust to dust! My two Wunderkinder! And on
top of it one has to endure being blamed for marrying two
Jews. Those Austrian authorities! Nothing has changed here.
It's all so sad, so terribly sad!
LILI LIESER It's
good you have this lovely object to console you! What did
you say his name was - Dumb August -
ALMA Oh no!
Nice August, we call him Nice August, though Dumb August could
fit him just as well. (She caresses his head) Don't you think
so, August? Isn't he the loveliest thing on earth?
LILI LIESER I
hope you don't allow him to tie you up forever just because
he may be the last August that still happens to be at your
LILI LIESER There's
always a last August. Didn't you know that? But why should
the last August make you give up all the potential Septembers,
Octobers, Novembers and Decembers that may still be waiting
U.S. ALMA I
don't quite understand you...
LILI LIESER You
were embracing August as if he were the last man on earth.
Or have you taken up fidelity all of a sudden?
We're growing used to one another, aren't we, August?
LILI LIESER Or
maybe the fact that a new object draws your attention, doesn't
mean you have to throw the old one into the garbage.
LILI LIESER One
day you could use him or even desire him again.
knows... Who knows...
LILI LIESER Women
who are proud of being faithful all their life to only one
man, can't really be interested in men's overall intelligence,
they are dead to all other men who might wake up their spirit.
a minute ...
LILI LIESER Such
women are dead long before they die.
a minute! Wait a minute! You remind me of someone I knew...
LILI LIESER You
also remind me of someone I knew, but who could that be?
U.S. ALMA But
you must know who I am!
LILI LIESER Sorry,
I've no idea!
in Vienna knew me back then !
LILI LIESER Can
you give me a hint?
I entered a parlour full of people, everyone would fall silent.
Deadly silent! People would hold their breath! You could hear
a pin drop! The atmosphere in the room would change at once...!
LILI LIESER Sorry,
I've no idea.
a moment! I've got an idea! Do you mind, Madame? May I look
under your skirt?
Klimt looks under Alma's skirt.
are you doing?
with great astonishment:) Ahh! My god! I can't believe it!
under Alma's skirt:) Oh my God! Oh my God!
you see what I saw?
the matter, for Christ's sake? What do you see?!
ZEMLINSKY & KLIMT She's
not wearing any underwear!
(He also looks under Alma's skirt:) It's true! It's true!
It's her!! It's her!! She's come back!!
her!! It's her!!
at her chin! Is that the arrogant chin that made all men in
Vienna drool? Is this the mouth that made every Viennese man's
these the lips I know not how oft? Where be your jibes now?
Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were
wont to set the table on a roar?
happened to her skin?
siren with the blue eyes!
ALL The siren
with the blue eyes!
him! It's him! I knew it! He's come back! The Crown Prince
of Austria! I can see him! Standing there on the mountain
top. Looking at me with his yearning eyes! Poor thing! Poor
crown prince! My man-child! He's fallen in love with me! I
can feel it! I can sense it! He wants to have a child with
me! I know it! I feel it! - Quick, quick, quick, young lady!
Hurry up! Hurry up! My lips! My lips! My lips! Paint them
red! Dark red, blood red! Make them look like they used to
! And powder! Powder! Powder! Quick! Quick! Don't hesitate!
And rouge! Put rouge on my cheeks! More! More! We have to
restore my youth!
LILI LIESER »The
crown prince of Austria«?
ALMA Of course!
He wants to marry me!
LILI LIESER Is
that the only person you recognize here?
ALMA Oh no!
He's brought his entourage! The court musicians with their
bandleader, the great composer Alban Berg! He dedicated his
Wozzek to me!
LILI LIESER Really!
He dedicated his Wozzek to you?
I inspired him! I was his muse!
LILI LIESER And
why are you telling this all to me, of all people?
LILI LIESER Don't
you recognize me?
Helene!! August! Do you know this woman?
who is she?
is Helene Berg! You moron! You ignoramus! Alban's wife! The
natural daughter of emperor Franz Joseph! Bow to her! Kiss
her hand! She was one of my best and most important friends.
I invited her and Alban to spend vacations with me and Franzl
on the Italian Riviera. That's where I introduced him to Gerhart
Hauptmann - (She discovers Burckhard) Gerhart! There you are!
Gerhart himself in body and spirit!
I'm not Gerhart... I'm Burckhart...
yes Gerhart! Now you're playing the shy one. But back then
you lost your self control, didn't you? Hard to believe, isn't
it ? In the presence of his wife he told me: »Alma«,
in my next life I will be yours!« And you know what
she answered? »Don't bother, Gerhart, Alma won't wait
for you. She'll have a thousand young men before you. «
LILI LIESER My
God! You haven't changed a bit!
is it? What's she muttering, August?
LILI LIESER How
can a person be so blind, so deaf, so vain? This woman drives
me crazy! (to the men:) Why don't you say something ? Have
you lost your tongue? When you stand before this woman you
lose your balls. Tell her who you are! - All right. I'll do
it. Alma! This is not the crown prince, this is not Alban
Berg, this is not Gerhart Hauptmann and I am not Helene Berg,
the natural daughter of emperor Franz Joseph!
LILI LIESER No.
are you then?
LILI LIESER I
am the silly creature who was stupid enough to use her good
money to help finance the printing of Alban Berg's Wozzek.
ALMA I knew
you had something to do with Alban .
LILI LIESER Yes,
I did. If it were not for my money, he wouldn't have been
able to dedicate his opera to you.
LILI LIESER Yes!
Although you failed to mention it in that unbelievable, monstrous
pack of lies you dared to call your autobiography.
What is she muttering?
LILI LIESER I
am not muttering, Alma! I am telling you the truth. Once and
for all. The entire truth to your face. You think you can
cheat the world forever? You can't! All you can do is cheat
yourself. (pages in Alma's autobiography) That mysterious
Mr. X you met in Tobelbad... You really thought the world
wouldn't find out who he was? You silly cow! It was Walter
LILI LIESER He
not only kept all your letters, filled with your secret appointments
with him when Mahler was still alive. He also kept copies
of his own letters, which you made the effort to cosmetically
censor in your autobiography.
boring! I always said that Walter was insipid!
LILI LIESER The
whole truth is in the open now. And I will add a few more
details, about your foul dealings with Kokoschka, your pathetic
intrigues with Werfel
a minute! Wait a minute! How can you possibly know all that?
You couldn't have been more than a child in those glorious
days. You are still just a young chick!
LILI LIESER No,
Alma, I am almost your age.
God's sake! Who are you?
LILI LIESER I
LILI LIESER Yes.
that can't be true...!
LILI LIESER It
is true, Alma. It is true. The Lili Leiser who worshiped you
like a Goddess. Who took you to Paris when you were running
away from Kokoschka, who accompanied you to Berlin when you
decided to hunt down Gropius. Lili Leiser who was so desperately
in love with you that she spent all her money in torrents
to finance your extravagances.
ALMA Oh Lili!
Lili! Lili! Lili! How happy I am to see you! You look wonderful!
How did you preserve your skin so well?
LILI LIESER It's
not my skin I've preserved, it's my soul.
really? How did you accomplish that miracle?
LILI LIESER It's
very simple. I just didn't allow my mind to become a dunghill
for every passing prodigy to unload his spiritual garbage
onto. And I didn't allow my belly to become Men's toilet either,
a receptacle for the sperm of every fucking genius or semi-genius
who happened to cross my path.
U.S. ALMA I'm
full of semen. I'm full of semen! And I'm proud of it. I'm
full up to my head. My brain is floating in a sea of sperm!
It's dripping from my ears, from my nostrils, it's oozing
out all my pores. Whenever I blow my nose, ten thousand little
geniuses land on my handkerchief. You want to lick it? You
want to swallow it? Yes! I'm coarse, I know. Coarse and disgusting.
But I wouldn't trade my life for yours. Not for all the money
in the world! You dried up lesbian spinster! You are not a
woman at all. Your cunt is nothing but a dried-out, sclerotic
piece of shit! A dreary wasteland. A senseless collection
of encrusted mucous membranes! You should write on it: »Ladies'
toilet. Use only for pissing.« You poor creature! What
do you want from me, hmm?! What do you want?! I have lived
a full life. I have eaten and I have drunk and I have made
love until I couldn't anymore. And now I am on my way ! I'm
on my way to eternity. A creamy feast for worms! Take and
eat, for this is my body, given unto you! They will burrow
through my body, from my inside they will rummage through
me, and they will eat and devour me. And I hope there won't
be a single female worm in the bunch of them. I hope they
are all going to be thick stout male worms. They'll penetrate
all my holes, and they will slither and swarm inside me, and
bite and tickle me, and tear and crumble me to pieces until
I roar with pain and laughter! It will be wonderful! Oh
God! Oh my God, I'm coming! I'm coming! My God, I'm Coming!!
And God will whisper: Yes, Alma! Finally! Finally!!
I love you! I love you, Alma! You're the pride of creation!
Yes, Father, I know! I've always known! Thy Kingdom
come, Thy Will be done! - Alma! Alma! I've always
been jealous of all your men, but now you are mine! You're
mine! Only mine, my daughter! You are mine for ever!
- Yes, Father! For now and ever, father! Lead me not
into temptation, but deliver me from evil! My kingdom is not
of this world! Father, why didst Thou forsake me?! Father!
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do! They
know not what they do!! - What's going on there?! What's that?
funeral, Madam, a funeral!
ALMA My funeral!