Brother of Sleep (1995) - full transcript

In the beginning of the 19th century, Johannes Elias Alder is born in a small village in the Austrian mountains. While growing up he is considered strange by the other villagers and discovers his love of music, especially rebuilding and playing the organ at the village church. After experiencing an "acoustic wonder", his eye color changes and he can hear even the most subtle sounds. Elias falls in platonic love with Elsbeth, the sister of Peter, a neighbor's son, who has longstanding homosexual feelings towards Elias. After Elsbeth, out of frustration from Elias' not returning her love and instead being obsessed with music, chooses to be impregnated and marries someone else who lose love she had spurned for Elias. The village burns and most villagers, including Elsbeth, evacuate to the closest town. Elias remains behind. Having heard of "the prodigy in the alps", a music master seeks out Elias and invites him to an organ challenge in the town where the villagers relocated. Elias performs there and amazes the audience which includes Elsbeth. She is unable to meet with Elias before he is rushed to a waiting carriage. She calls to him and he hears her, but it is too late. Elias is taken on a brief tour by his mentors but soon returns to his spiritual site near the burnt village where he takes his own life (with Peter by his side), having decided to not sleep anymore. Elsbeth later returns there, a widow with a young daughter, hoping to find Elias but instead discovers his spiritual site has disappeared.

Go on!

Keep going, midwife!

We have to keep going!

We have to go faster, midwife.

If we're late, Papa's gonna lock me away.

God Almighty, my shoes hurt.
My feet are swimming in blood.

I don't want to get locked away.

You're here at last! Thank God!

We've got to go up! Upstairs!

10 guilders

I know your sort.

And 30 kreuzers for my worn-out feet.

Your mother has to suffer
because of you!

Don't lock me away!
You shouldn't have dawdled!

Are these a midwife's hands?

Look at them!

They're nice and tender,
too beautiful for midwifery.

That's what someone wrote me once,
but he wasn't your sort.

He frequents civilized people's homes.

He has 2 uniforms
and brightly polished boots.

It's starting to come out.

By the Blessed Virgin it's the last
time I'll help a child into this world

It's the last time!

Jesus! It's out of the belly! Scissors!

Don't you know what scissors
look like, you dimwit!

Couldn't wait, could you?
Looking forward to this misery?

Don't die on me, little creature.

Blessed Virgin of good council.

Make its heart beat, I beg of you!

I beg of you!
Why doesn't this piece of flesh

Come to life?

Give him to me.

Give me the little boy.

Joseph Alder,
what name do you give your child?

He shall be called Johannes Elias.

What do you ask
of the united church of God?

Eternal and everlasting life.

I ask you, Johannes Elias:

Do you renounce all impure spirits,

In particular the demon Asmodeus?

Oh Lord, let Johannes Elias grow up
to be a man.

And as you opened the deaf-mute's
ears and mouth.

Open as well this unworthy being's
ears and mouth.

So that he hears your word
and declares his faith forever.


Johannes Elias.

I baptize thee in the name
of the Father.

And the Son.

And the Holy Ghost.


I anoint you with the Holy Chrism.

For you are one of God's people.

And you eternally belong to Christ,
who was anointed priest.

King and prophet forever.


Elias, is it true

That you're the Reverend's kid?

Did he take her from behind?

Yeah, from behind!
And is it true

She's hairless like a whore?

You'll burn in hell
till your flesh melts.

Push off!

And you, too...

Peter! You bastard!

Don't touch me!

It breaks my heart, too.


Do you hear that, Seff?

I know you're not asleep.

It's past midnight,
and he's still singing.

Something's wrong with Elias.
Because he sings?

I felt it when he was born.

You know, when he looks at me
it makes me shiver.

Somebody else's look
should have had you shiver.

They say the devil has cold sperm.

He's so brash that he takes on
the form of a Reverend...

Shut up! Damn it!

Your sin has brought us the boy!
But he is still our boy!

And you're not gonna lock him up again!

There's madness in your eyes.


Stop it!

Is something wrong, Elias Alder?

It hurts when you press down
on the piano.

Oh yeah?

It hurts, you say?

He shows no respect for the music.

And tells me it hurts!

I refuse to be reprimanded by you,
you bastard! Monster!

And don't destroy my instrument!
Hands off!

Take your hands off it!

You Satan!

Stop it! Stop it!
You're killing him!

Come on, Elias.

Sir, I am ready to sing.

Hell's bells and buckets of blood!

What? You're laughing at me!


Go ahead and laugh!

And grin!

With your hideous face!

What am I doing here
in miserable Eschberg?

Hey! Don't you know I could have become
the Prelate of Feldberg?

No, you don't.

You don't know anything.

I'll pump the bellows.
You can't play the organ alone.

Come on! Play it!
Or the air will be gone.

Burga! It's Mother!

She's all white and can't stand!

Jesus! Get towels, smelling salts
and the crucifix! Fast!

Elias is coming, the devil's son!
The devil's son!

Look at the face he's making!
How he walks!

You stay here, boy!

Let go, Father!
I have to go to Elias!

I've told you time and again
to stay away from him!

You bastard. Bastard!



Her name is Elsbeth.
Hold her in your arms.

It's an Elsbeth.

It's an Elsbeth after all.

A daughter.

are you getting dressed up for him?

Our Reverend Father is going mad.

Last Sunday he forgot the blessing.

He doesn't say prayers anymore.

You think I don't notice?
I know what I see.

Yes, but you see the wrong one.
Lukas is standing

next to Father, dear sister.

So they see we approve him
as a new family member.

Nobody has asked me yet, dear brother.

Leave it.

I don't like it that way.
I want to wear it loose.

As you wish.

It's a quarter past.
Alright, Mother.

You don't lock your door...

What about your hair?
That's how townswomen wear it.

You can't go to church like that!
Yes, I can!

We're decent people.
Put it up in a bun!

No, I won't!

You're so old-fashioned.

So terribly old-fashioned!

That's it, Philipp!

She takes a breath,
and her voice deepens.

That's it!

And this is Elsbeth laughing.


And when she goes red with rage
it sounds like...


Till I have all the pipes.

It will sound like
the trumpets of Jericho!

Then... It's Peter.

No Peter... That's too bad.

God bless you, Peter.
God bless you.

There's Peter.

God bless you.

God bless you.
God bless you.

Peter's here.

The boy walks with his mother!
And not a word!

If my Fritz was still alive...
God bless his soul!

Then he'd show you who's a man!

And you especially!
God bless you.

God bless you. Frau Alder.

Start pumping!

Is he already drunk
at this time of the morning?

Pump it!

Pump it!

And then they left him.

He's saying the blessing without
the mass.

We must tell the Bishop.

It was a short mass.

You're dismissed.

Are you true Christians?

Are you human beings?

Aren't your cattle
holier than yourselves?

They're dreaming by the water.

They love the open air.

And worship the woods.

And you seek God
between these decaying walls?

He isn't here!

Seek Him in the beings of creation,
in the flight of birds.

In blades of grass.

And when you've found Him,

Put Him in the laps of women.

For it won't be long before
Eschberg... One more word.

And I'll throw you down
so your brain splatters!

Lukas, wait.
I left my prayer book inside.

Find one for yourself.

Have you seen Elias?

Give it to me, Philipp.

I found it when I took the holy water.

Since when is holy water here?

I can hear your heart beating.

Then... have a nice Sunday, Elias.

When are you coming anyway?

Hey, you!

The two of us still have a lot to do!

I'll go by myself.
Not so fast...

How far are you with the pipes?

What do you mean?
I've run out of linden wood and glue.

How much do you need?
What? Huh?

How many cords?
12 planks.

How long?
16 feet.

16 feet?

Why do you turn around?
Your face is all white.

Oh? Perhaps I've got a fever.
I keep to the straight and narrow.

Hearts must be tethered like goats.
Shut up!

No Kyrie, no Gloria, no Credo!
Nothing! The mass isn't valid.

But you played the organ well,
so God will accept the mass.

I'm quite a lowly minstrel of God.
I'm actually an inept organist.

No, not at all.
Oh, yes, I am.

Jesus probably gets an earache
when he hears me play.

You're always hitting the wrong keys!

What do you mean?

You could let your assistant,
Elias, play.

Now you've ruined his Sunday.

Aren't you thirsty, teacher?

That woman's got an udder.
Those are breasts, blockhead!

What's it say?

It says...
What does it say?

The cour... tesan.
What does that mean?

It's Moorish and it means
"a girl cowherd".

There's enough udder to drown in!

Women tend to leave him cold!
You bastard!

Look at that!
It's none of my business, but...

You ought to do things properly.
What do you mean?

You know just what I mean.

Damn it all! Get moving, will you!

It's a hopeless case!
The ears. What ears?

Come on! It's the ears.
A storm is brewing.

So it won't budge.
There's no cloud in sight.

Animals hear the clouds
before we see them.

You don't believe me?

Sure, I do.

Now what?

Tomorrow is cloth market
at Feldberg. Want to come?

It'd be nice. I can't let you go alone.

Elias, don't forget!

It's raining after all.

Give me a hand.

I don't believe it.

Stop dreaming. Elsbeth.


Can a woman love two men at once?

If she wants to be a whore.

In her heart.

You have Lukas. That's been decided.

Perhaps my heart doesn't beat
for Lukas.

I truly wish I could write it all down.

But I can't.

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ.




Give me the water jug.

Elias, I have to...

See a man about a dog.

I have to pass water.

It was like a stream.
Now I feel better.

You're always so quiet.


It's like inside I never stop
talking. Oh!

I wish I could see inside you.

And what would you see?

I don't know.

I can't see inside.

Give me your hands.
My hands?

Your hands.

You have soft hands.

And no calluses.

I have to show you something.

You see that big, smooth rock?

It isn't like other rocks.

It has no veins,
and it's as smooth as milk.

It's alive. It makes sounds.
And look at its shape.

When God passes over the stars,
he passes through here.

This rock is the impression
of his overpowering foot.

Your face is very hot.
I'm thirsty.

I found it when I was a child.

And since then I've known
that things happen here.

You know something. Elsbeth.

I believe you can reach heaven
from this very place.

You're so strange, Elias,
so different.

When I am with you
I realize how alone I am.

We have to go on.

I have to show you something else.

It was in spring, two days before
Easter, when I realized

That I can make everything resound.

You frighten me.

You're no holy man! You're a thief!
He steals our milk!

He doesn't even fight back!

Let him eat mud!
There's sure enough of it!

The teacher's coming!
Stop it! The teacher's coming!

He's drowning him!

Get inside!

Thanks to you and to your mothers,
who gave birth to you.

You thank those who mock you!
Where's your sense of honor?

Hunger can make a man into a dog.

I'm truly astonished.

You don't earn an honest living!

Strike the person who strikes you!

Eat up!

Praise the Lord God!
Forever and ever.

Praise the kind teacher. Oskar!

Be seated.

Where did we leave off?

The Alder family has made it
a habit to be unreliable.

Simple-minded Elias arrives late
to pump the bellows and daydreams

And Philipp forgets his duty.
What subject?

The study of the human race, sir.

Original sin.

Philipp, come here.

My name is Philipp!
Philipp! Quiet!

I'll go by myself.

Beyond description
is the greatness of God.

But how can we understand
why he created men so unalike?

One is intelligent, and this one here

Is incredibly stupid.

One is handsome, the other is ugly.

Still another is of very
high intelligence.

And this one is an idiot.

Why these differences between humans?

Their character, their build,
their sex, their talents.

Does God love injustice?

No, children.

This creature is weighed down
by an unbearable guilt...

The guilt of generations
long before his time.

Sins upon sins!

That is original sin.

Let's pray.

Our father who art in heaven...

Didn't your sister learn
any manners at home?


She drove off with that bastard.

It's her baking day today.
I can't see any smoke.

If I'd made the world
I'd have given women just one heart.

And you call yourself a man!

Lovely lace,
skillfully crocheted needlework.

For a wedding... or a christening.

Lovely embroidery.

You've made a good choice.
Here are bed sheets...

Do you buy things from Mongolia?
No, but we've got lovely ribbons.

The fragrance of altar of roses.

Let me tell you straight out:
Take your paws off!

It will cost you 2 guilders.

It's beautiful.
Of course.

Lovely ribbons!

Wrap it in wax paper.

Wrap it? In wax paper?

I see.

It's a present for my love, you know?

Should I know?

China! All the way from China!

Get up!


I've been looking for you all over.

Can't you tell me where you are?

The Lord is coming.
What's that?

Alms for the poor!

Tobacco for Father.

Good night, Elias.

Good night.

What's he got that I haven't?
Tell me!

Your eyes!
You frighten me!

You're mocking me?

Let me go inside. I warned you!
You're promised to me.

Only death is promised.
We'll see about that!

You crude man!
Think I'm crude? Just wait!

If you touch me
you'll never see me again.

Go home now.

When the snow melted
and it got warmer, this one split.

I told them.

Mr. Oskar, It's the third
to the last pipe in the last box.

He just laughed.

Where were you all day?

You went to Feldberg with her.

Pump the bellows.

Are your hands so insensitive?

The other one.

The one before.

Why are you always thinking of her?

You can become famous with you music.

The birds in the sky
and the fish in the sea.

Know each other
by the beat of their heart.

That's what the charcoal burner,
Michl, told me.

They find each other...

Even if they're weeks apart.

Man rushes from one lover to another...

Without knowing that God already
made a choice.

One single person for him
from the beginning of time.

That person has the same heartbeat.

The same sound.

The same breath.

How do you know that it's Elsbeth?

Didn't someone come before her
of the same sperm.

With the same heartbeat?

Now it's got a soul again.

And a voice.

I'll give the organ a name.

I'll call you


My little one.

My love.

What did he do to you?


Pull it to the side.

Lukas, I've gotta talk to you.
What for? Not there.

My father's getting impatient.

You ought to talk to him
about the marriage.

It should be before the first snow.

And Elsbeth?

Since when do women have their say?

Is that the new fashion?
God Almighty!

Oskar Alder's hanging
from a rusty chain.

He hanged himself!

Out of the way!

Put her hands in the cold water.

Get the Reverend.

What a horrible face!

Is his soul in hell?

Come. Come with me.

I tell you this...

Eschberg is going to awaken...
very soon.

Get the curate.

Get the curate, fast!

Who died?
Read the introit.

But who died?
I don't know a thing.

Oskar Alder, for God's sake.

I knew him well.

How sad. Why wasn't I told?

I beg of you. Read the introit.



You have requested to have your child.


What is he saying?

Are you prepared to raise him
in the one true faith?

For God's sake. What are you?

Did he go mad?

This is the text.

You have to read this.
Don't tell me what to do!

It's a Requiem, not a christening.

Elias! You're the organist now.

I'm so pleased.

Of course, my boy.

Don't you know me anymore?

The only thing he really loves
is music.


Come in.
Come in.

Did I surprise you?

I know your step.

You don't turn around?

Is there nothing to say?

Tomorrow is Sunday.

The time has come.

I'm going to play.

That's all you have to say?

I'll make music for you and me.
Is that all?

You only want to play
that damned organ?

What kind of person are you?

Your foolishness, your music!

Your music!

It's of no use to anyone!

A man has calluses!
He dose hard work!

I don't understand. Of course!
You never understood anything!

What do you want from me?

What I want?

I want you to love me.

I can't go on like this!

What's wrong?

I'll come tomorrow
when everyone's at church.

That woman is hot!

God! Have you got an ugly face!

How useless the music is!
It's so weird.

For pig's ears like yours.
From far away.

People will come to hear
our Elias play.

Hold me tight, Lukas.

Hold me.

With your strong arms.

I want your strong back.

Take me!

My boy!

That's my boy!

They're all waiting.

For you.

They're all standing there.
They won't go home.

Long live Elias!
The women are crying.

Long live Elias! It's a miracle!
Rip splinters from his shulter.

And say, "Look!"

"I've got a splinter from the house"

"the great Elias Alder grew up in."

Why did you create me,
Johannes Elias Alder?

Why do you gloat over my grief.

The monstrosity of my eyes,
my hands, the sorrow of my love?

I shall never stop loving Elsbeth!

I shall oppose your divine decisions.

You will no longer wield your power
within me.

If I, Johannes Elias Alder, perish.

It will be my will, not yours!


Michl, I'll give you all I have,
but bring back Elsbeth!

I'll give you everything you want!
Be quiet...

She has the same heartbeat as me.
Bring her back to me!

I love her! I love her!
You never really loved her.

I've loved her since
I can remember. She is my life.

My morning, my moon, my evening,
my night... everything!

Your night? What do you mean?

You aren't able to love anyone.

You're the loneliest man in the world.

You all only love your women
for the length of a thought.

At night you close your eyes
and forget all your oaths.

He who loves does not sleep.

Hey, you strong little man,
where's Elias?

I know you're in there.

Let's leave this place.
We'll visit cities.

To the French part of Switzerland.

You'll play in big churches.

Eat with silver forks
and drink from cut crystal...

...Ride in a carriage...

...Instead of sitting here

Year after year and rotting alive.

I hate this life.

I hate Eschberg.

I hate Eschberg!

Have you heard anything about him?
He's stopped playing.

Nobody knows why.

He's stopped?

He doesn't go out,
and they say he doesn't sleep.

If I knew he loved me...

If only I knew!

What false dreams and stupid hopes!

You should have talked.

What kind of people are you?

Stubborn to death.

On Christmas Eve it's said that

The angel Uriel comes down to earth

And he walks over mountains and fields.

and he's barefoot.

But he doesn't stop

Until he finds two people
he brings together...

And two he separates forever.

You'll see. When the days
grow longer you'll forget Elias.

Look at this!

In France they hang
their Christmas trees upside down.

In those days a decree went out
from Caesar Augustus...

It's a shame you've stopped playing.

...That all the world
should be enrolled.

What's the matter with Elias?

What do you want from him now?

I thought you had a fever.

Even if he laughs at me,
I don't care. I love him!

Everyone should know.

That I love Elias.
That you're a whore!

Stay here!

Are you mad?
Stay here!

Or you're gonna get it!

You're gonna get it!

Open up!

Now you're gonna get it!

You'll hear my voice, and my speech
will be the thunder of heaven!

God never wanted man
to live here! Never!

Or did he want him

With his stupid cow-face?

Is his stupid face the expression
of the divine breath?

Or him? Or her? Yes, cast down
your lustful eyes! Everyone knows

About your sexual excesses!
Why aren't I preaching

Is that proper procedure?
You wretches!

You reptiles,
who call yourselves Christians!

The jaws of hell will open up,
and the burning breath

Of the Evil Prince
will blow in your face!

And your skin will drip

Like honey in the sun!

Can't you hear?
There's a fire!



Eschberg is burning!

Get out! Get out!

Rescue the cattle!
Let me out!


Let's get out of here!

Calm down.

Elsbeth, calm down. I'm with you.

Come on.

One, two, three, four, five, six.


At school letters are written.

At school we laugh and clap.

Till the teacher starts to slap.

Ow! Teacher, that hurts!

I shan't be back tomorrow.

You whore!

No one's gonna take Elias
away from me! No one!

Everything will be different, Elsbeth.

Everything will be alright.

I'll ask Father for my inheritance.

Next year we'll have our own farm.

It will radiate its bright shine
down into the Rhine valley.

I can work with my hands. You'll see.

Of course...

We'll have stringy flour, rock-hard
bread, and we'll be hungry...


Didn't he say "the burning breath?"
Yes, "burning breath."

Maybe. Sure, you heard it. You coward!

Leave me alone! Repeat what
the charcoal burner said!

"Burning breath," yes.
Think it over first.

He may be a dreamer,
but he didn't burn down the village.

3 days ago he asked for bread.

Then he threatened to burn down my farm.

He was angry. Are you protecting him?

Of course not.

We've come to settle with you, you pig!

I'll drive the axe right down
into your heart! No!

Let him burn... like our farm.

Come here!

Put him on the cart!

We need wood.
Put him on there!

More brushwood.

So? The "burning breath." huh?

He isn't saying a word. How strange.

No one has to leave.
Not a single one of you.

Those who still have a farm
will look after you.

He who doesn't share his bread
will answer to me.

The house will be rebuilt.
I'll give you the timber.

You won't have to pay interest!

You can't do this to me!
Lukas, my son-in-law.

I beg of you, Lukas!
How can I support a child?

You'll live at my place.

You have no place to live yourself.

I don't recall having dismissed you!

You're still my maid!
But where shall I sleep, master?

I beg of you. Don't leave.
We need a sexton.

But when the Reverend goes...

Reverend! Keep them from going!
What will we do here alone?

Can anyone tell me what's going on?
I'd really like to know.


Don't ask.

That's how it is.

Sir, I fear the road leads nowhere.
It must lead to Eschberg.

As you wish.

Holy Cecilia!
What happened here?

Whoa! Easy.


Yes, you.


Where is the Reverend's house?

He's gone,
because he's out of his mind.


But your mother knows where he lives.

No, she doesn't.

Excuse me for not introducing myself.

Friedrich F├╝rchtegott Goller.
Cantor and director musices.

In Feldberg, By order of
the imperial Governor, I am traveling.

To inspect all the country's organs
and to register them.

Let's go to the church.
As you wish.

Why are you laughing?
I'm not.

That's for laughing at me.

Look at this, Elias.

Women's stuff!

Show him how you play, Elias.
Go and show him!


He actually taught himself
how to play the organ?

And he can't read the notes?
If Oskar, the teacher, was alive.

He could testify to it.

Leave the boy alone. He can't find
his peace.

But if this isn't a swindle,
it's a miracle.

Mr. Alder, your son is
a natural-born genius.

He isn't going to Feldberg!
He's staying here!

But he has to go!

And it shall not be
to your disadvantage.

Why not?

Are you one of the girls, Philipp?

For the citizens of Feldberg.

The following announcement
is to be made:

The archepiscopal curacy
of the cathedral wishes

To announce the annual
organ competition.

In the art of improvisation.

Using the cathedral's organ.

Furthermore, the archepiscopal
curacy of the cathedral announces

The performance of an extremely
unusual natural-born genius.

A man by the name of

Johannes Elias Alder.

From the remote mountain village
of Eschberg.

Who was never taught to play music.

Will play toccatas and preludes today.

To the citizens...

Am I going to die?

What a thought!

Where did you get the money?

We have credit.

The apothecary is a good man.

He made you lie down, didn't he?

I have to go.

Highly esteemed ladies
and gentlemen and our nobility.

The lots have been drawn.

The competition begins with...

Gottlob Huber, the son of
Governor Gottfried Huber.

Candidate Huber will extemporize
the choral...

"Christ Lay in Death Throes."

A choral adaptation,
pedals and keys as one.

Please, let me enter.

Please... I know the man
who is playing today... Please!

10 kreuzers! And that's final!

Let me enter.


Isn't she from the South Gate?

You spend time at the South Gate?
How shameful!

Assessor, sir! Assessor, sir!

Please, talk to him.
I have to go inside.

It's alright. Let her enter.

Is he hot?
Despite the cool temperature.

The next candidate...

Johannes Elias Alder.

Candidate Alder will...

Extemporize the choral
"Come... Oh Death. Brother of Sleep."

I don't know the melody of this hymn.

Then play anything. But play!

He thinks he can play this organ?
He's just skin and bones.

He sure knows how to stink.
I can smell him here.

You're the master of this hour.

We'll drink from cut glass.

He has to tell him how to play
the organ first.

That is blasphemy!

You'll answer for this.

That's for sure!
Not so fast. Give him time.

The heavens have opened.

A miracle!

This is impossible.
Excuse me.

Long live Elias Alder!

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen,
this is a holy place. Silence!

Quick! Open all the doors
in case there is a stampede!

Move aside! Leave him alone!

Move back. You'll crush him.

Let him be.

Let me through! I know that man!

Come on. The carriage is waiting.

Let me through. I have to get through.

He's exhausted.
He has a long way to go.

I have to get through! He's my friend.

Let him go.

Did you see the women?

My God, their faces!
Their faces, Elias!

You're a very famous man!

You know what that means?
It means money. We'll be rich.

First we'll buy ourselves
silk trousers.

And those fashionable top hats.

Didn't I always tell you that?
They'll come from afar.

And you'll ride in a carriage
lined with damask.

And we'll eat with silver forks.
Didn't I always say so?

Where are you going?

I want to go home.

But this is the way home.

Not to Eschberg.

What are you doing?

I will sleep no more.

Elias, you frighten me.

You frighten me so.

Why are you doing this?

Say something! Say something!

Talk to me.


Don't leave me.

I beg of you, upon my soul!
Stay with me!

You're so beautiful.

You're so beautiful.

The rock is gone.

Which rock, Mama?

There used to be a beautiful,
smooth rock.

As smooth as milk.

And it looked like your little foot.

Only much, much...

Much bigger.