6c 1924 THERE'S A GLOWING KNIFE
IN MY BREAST
Chauffeur PAUL is trying to fix the car. He is humming Ich
hab ein gluehend Messer - from Mahler's Lieder
eines fahrenden Gesellen:
«Ich hab ein glühend Messer in meiner Brust
O weh! O weh! Das schneid't so tief
In jede Freud' und jede Lust,
So tief, so tief!»
there any chance at all of getting this thing repaired?
doing my best, madam.
«Ach, was ist das für ein böser Gast!
Nimmer hält er Ruh',
Nimmer hält er Rast,
Nicht bei Tag, noch bei Nacht, wenn ich schlief!
O weh! O weh!»
not so loud, please! I'm trying to get some rest.
thing you say, ma'am. .
(He lowers the volume of his singing.)
«Wenn ich den Himmel seh',
Seh' ich zwei blaue Augen steh'n!
O weh! O weh!»
ALMA Do you
know who wrote that song you're singing?
PAUL Of course,
madam, Gustav Mahler.
ALMA Is he
well known in this... wasteland?
PAUL I don't
know; I know him from Munich. I was a student there.
I ask - what you are looking for in this wilderness?
part of a group of Austrian and German Jews, ma'am. Some of
us are disciples of Freud, others Siegfried Bernfeld's students.
PAUL I correspond
only with Martin Buber and Max Brod.
ALMA So you've
found your salvation in this country.
No, I'd better shut up.
say what's on your mind.
ashamed of my thoughts.
get out of here.
ALMA I beg
repair the car, and we'll drive away together.
m, from the moment I saw you----
laughs.) Oh, no!
old are you?
twenty, but you make me feel sixteen.
Don't make fun of me. I beg you. I'm forty-seven. I could
be your mother. I have no strength left for that kind of nonsense
anymore. I'm on the brink of a breakdown.
perfect . Break down! Break down! I am beyond despair myself.
We can start from zero.
are we now exactly? Can you tell me where we are?
on the way. Always on the way!
(picking up the song as he carries on his messing around with
" When I walk in the yellow fields,
From afar I see her blond hair blowing in the breeze!
O woe! O woe!"
can you keep quiet , please!
pleasure. Words are only barriers between people. Real communication
happens in glances. Yes. Let's be quiet now, and look at each
Is there anything immoral about that? (Alma stares at him)
I don't know what's happening to me. I'm trembling.
God! why do you do this to me!...
trembling too, aren't you?
am I going to do with you?
ALMA I hate
me. I'm sorry I started .
Shut up then.
PAUL I will.
You're right. I have to shut up. When I start talking, I don't
know what I'm saying. I'm a bag full of holes. To hide my
real feelings, I play the clown. Don't worry. I haven't fallen
in love with you. I was just playing games, like I always
do, trying to hide the truth from myself. I've never been
in love. Never. But it's so goddamn easy to pretend you are.
In love with people, with convictions, with beliefs. But Inside
it's all hollow. Why is it that we all spend our only existence
with the wrong people? Always saying the wrong words, always
doing the wrong things. You know what I'm talking about. We
are birds of a feather, you and me. Don't try to deny it.
Don't play games with me. It's boring. It's all so boring.
You don't owe me a thing, , and I don't owe you anything either.
And there is no chance of us having a relationship. So we
can tell the truth to one another. It's such a luxury! Wow!
Jackals start howling in the distance. Alma is startled.
Are you joking?
they're just crazy.
that's why they howl like that.
seem to be very near.
are. Look into the dark. You can see their shadows all around
rid of them ! Do something!
up a stone and throws it into the dark:) Hi hi hi! A lady
from Europe came to look for the bluebird in the east! Hi
hi hi! (He is howling at Alma like a jackal.) So you believed
in love, didn't you? You believed the love of others would
save you? It can't save you. All it can do is help you fall
asleep. But that's no salvation. And then there is always
the morning after. mornings are not the time of love. Mornings
are the time of waking up. And when the morning is without
love, the end of the day is without hope. I'll tell you what
I discovered about myself: when I'm making love, there are
at least four people involved. And I'm only twenty. I wonder
how it is when you are forty-seven! How many people are involved
when you're making love? Ten? Six? Two? Not even one.... I
see. It must be very sad, eh?... I don't ever want to be forty-seven.
Never! If I get to forty seven, something very bad will happen.
You know what I'm talking about. We're full of destructive
drives, aren't we. We have a strong death wish. We've come
to this country because of our death impulse, haven't we.
read every line your Franzel has written. Our Ahaswuerian
destiny starts with emancipation, which til now has forced
us to play a false game, until it came to Weininger's symbolic
death. And what did he do, your Franz, after he wrote
that sentence? Did he stop playing his false game? Did he
give up his Ahaswuerian destiny? No! It's all
words, words, words! He's coming for a visit to Palestine.
Then he'll return to his false games, and write a another
useless book or a some dispensable play. I even have a title
for his play: Paul among the Jews! You know why?
Because that's my name, Paul.
people down here are well read.
don't know anything about me, madam. I'm a clown. You're laughing.
You think I'm a pleasant joke. The truth is - I am an empty
shell. A dummy. A mock man. I'm a creature who must rage and
scream in order to know that he is angry. Sigh and weep to
know he is sad. Laugh and sing to know he is happy. I'll know
I was alive only when I'm dying. But you are different, aren't
you. You are the subject of glorious love stories. Gustav
Mahler, Oskar Kokoschka, Walter Gropius, Franz Werfel! Woofff!...
What exorbitant emotions and strong feelings your existence
is made of! What a miserable comedy. It's all so pitiful.
dare you speak about my life? You don't know anything about
cares about you? I'm talking about myself. I wanted so much
to come to this country! I wanted so much to go to Eretz-Israel!
And I said to myself: if you do something that important,
, you will finally become a man. With big ideas and a history
and morals. But here I am, and it hasn't happened. I'm the
same old tasteless stuff. So when I saw you I said to myself:
Alma! Yes! Fall in love with Alma! Yes! This will finally
fill you up and turn you into something ! She will give your
life meaning. Look at me: I'm still waiting for this great
event to happen, to be filled with love for you. I'm preparing
myself for the moment when my feelings will explode into flames
and my arms will open and you will fall into them! Yes, I
stay alert at all time, keeping an eye on myself so I won't
miss that moment when the useless lump that I am turns into
a legendary love hero whose mighty passion will quicken the
pulse of coming generations. People will say: there were mighty
lovers once on earth! Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra,
Bonnie and Clyde; Paul and Alma! They'll be naming us in the
same breath. In the meantime, you can take your Franzl and
go back to your petit-bourgeois life in Vienna...
sings:) «Ich hab ein glühend Messer in meiner Brust
it!... Stop it!...
weh! O weh! Das schneid't so tief
In jede Freud' und jede Lust,
So tief, so tief!»
it! You infantile man! I said stop it! You crazy loon ! My
God! Why the hell did I ever let him drag me into this nuthouse!
I want to get out of this insane country! I want to get out
of here! I want to get out!! I want to go back to Vienna!
- Leave me alone! Leave me in peace, you idiot! Don't touch
me! You mad jackal! Get out! Leave me alone! I want to go
home! To Vienna! Leave me alone! Let me die! I'm sick of myself!
You're a wonderful woman!
I'm not a woman!
are the most wonderful woman that there ever was. !
I don't want to be a woman! I won't listen to that dirty word
woman! I hate being a woman! I'm a monster !
PAUL I love
I won't listen ! Not that word! It makes me puke!
PAUL We all
I'm not a woman at all
I won't listen to that word any
more, you hear! I hate being a woman! I hate it. I'm not a
woman. I'm a monster! I disgust even myself. Leave me alone.
I love you! Alma, we all love you!! All of us!
no one loves me. No-one loves me, you hear? No one ever loved
me. And I don't either. I don't love anyone else either. I've
never loved anybody. Not plug-ugly Burckhard, not Klimt running
after me with his drooling mouth, not Gustav with his intolerable
stench, not Gropius boring me to death with his dullness,
and least of all Franzl, with his ridiculous bow legs and
his insatiable lust, wanting to have me everywhere, in every
imaginable and unimaginable position! You understand nothing!
You understand nothing at all!! I'd like to die, you hear?
Oh my God, I'd like to die!! O God! The only thing I want
to do is die!! I want to die! I want to die! I want to die!...
Franz! Franz! Where are you?