Horse Money (2014) - full transcript

"The time is now, a numbing and timeless present of hospital stays, bureaucratic questioning, and wandering through remembered spaces... and suddenly it is also then, the mid '70s and the time of Portugal's Carnation Revolution, when Ventura got into a knife fight with his friend Joaquim." This is the synopsis from the press notes. The film is a sequel of sorts to Costa's "Colossal Youth" with Ventura again playing himself.


Ventura, did you bring some snuff?

They don't allow us to smoke.


The food sucks, no salt.

Ventura, don't forget your passport.

One never knows in a situation like this...

I thought you had emigrated,
to France, to Nice...

Those soldiers gave you a good beating.

Nobody likes me.

Not even the Armed Forces.

We're together through life and death.

Death doesn't scare me...

...'cause we will have our dues.

Remember our mates?


A typist.

He had a good family.

A good house in Zambujal.

One evening he finished his dinner,
tucked his sons into bed,

waited for his wife to fall asleep,

and then set the house on fire.

Never opened his mouth again.

Benvindo, your nephew Benvindo.

He suffered a lot from epileptic seizures.

He was stripping a construction site,

a beam fell on his head,
and he fell from the third floor.

He and his mate Daniel.

Daniel lay dead in the elevator shaft.


Had to sell drugs
to make up his wages as a paver.

His boss treasured him.

The junkies always paid on time.

One day
he knifed a policeman in a raid.

They handcuffed him
and took him to the station.

Now he needs a shot every day
to calm his nerves.


What will those soldiers do to us?


Our life will still be hard...

We'll keep on falling from the third floor.

We'll keep on being sliced
by the machines.

Our head and lungs
will continue hurting the same...

We'll be burned...

We'll go crazy...

It's all that mould
in the walls of our houses.

We've always lived and died this way...

This is our sickness.

If you don't kill me first
with your knife...

What is your name?

José Tavares Borges.

Do you know who brought you here?

The MFA brought me.
The revolutionary army.

Did you come of your own free will?

Has this happened to you before?

It will happen again, I know it will.

Can you describe
what happened to you?

It's because of the mould in our walls.

Where are you currently living?

In my shack in Fontainhas.

Do you sleep well?

Do you ever wake up
in the middle of the night?

A big black bird...

Appeared on my roof.

Where were you born?

Chão do Monte.
Águas Podres. Cabo Verde.

How old are you?

I am 19 and 3 months.

How did you get lost? Where?


Are you currently working?

Bricklayer. Retired.

Are you married? Any children?

Do you know who I am?

Do you know where we are?

I know a bunch of hospitals...

Miguel Bombarda,

Julio de Matos,

Santa Maria, Amadora.

Which season of the year are we in?


What date is it today?

March 11th, 1975.

Do you know who the president is?

Seems to be a guy General Spínola...

Did you go to school?

Are you able to read and write?

I hear a man crying.

Do you take any medication?

I used to shake a lot.
My boss took me off the scaffolding...

Are there any nerve-related diseases
in your family?

Are you aware of any illnesses
you may have?

I know my sickness.


Vitalina from Figueira das Naus?

Ventura from Chão do Monte.

Are you here for treatments?


It happened on June 23rd, 2013.

My sister Isabel showed up
with heart-stopping news.

I rushed to Assomada

to get my visa and passport.

I was so confused, so lost.
I couldn't recognize anybody.

I couldn't even recognize myself.

My face was all disfigured.

I couldn't even take my photo
for the passport.

I was blind, I was numb.

In Praia, I bought an airplane ticket.

On the night of the flight I nearly died.

A policeman took me
to the stairs of the plane.

The air hostess took me by the arms

and showed me to my seat.

I was burning with fever.

The girls sat me down
and gave me two big pills.

They undressed me.
I was left in my nightclothes.

Miss Filomena, sitting next to me,

helped me to the toilet.

I couldn't pee.

Went back to my seat.

Had to pee again,
she took me back to the toilet.

The pee kept on coming...

She had to ask for nappies from the girls.

I arrived in Portugal with a burning fever,



This was June 30th,


My husband's funeral
had been three days earlier.

Vitalina, your husband is here with me.

He has the same sickness as me.

Nervous disease...

He's skinny but he's alive.

you're on the road to perdition.

What do you do here all day?

I speak to the walls.

You're trembling, Ventura.

It's my illness.

Stop trembling.

It's from the pills they give me every day.

Don't give up.

Think about your Zulmira.

I already have enough saved
to buy her plane ticket.

Your fingers are so thin, so long...

Strong, white nails...


My fingers are paralyzed...

because of the shock.

I went to the hospital in pain.

The doctors had to cut off
my wedding ring.

It broke.

It rolled off onto the floor
and it was lost forever.

Where's your wedding ring?

A man with a steel hood
stole it from me...

he is also diabetic, but he is alive...

Notary of Santa Catarina

The marriage registered

with the number 1...

was dissolved
by the death of the husband.

Did you get Zulmira
a full wedding dress?

Yes, I did.

Did you buy her underwear?


Did you buy her the veil and the dress?


and shoes?

Yes, I did.

Wedding ring and cushion?

Lemon tree blossom.

Did you pass by my house
in Chão do Monte?

I did.

The house is demolished.

Not a stone left standing.

And my chickens, my pigs?

- The goats?
- Ran away.

My donkey, Fogo Serra?


My horse, Dinheiro?

The vultures tore him to pieces.

I'm feeling a bit better.

Republic of Cabo Verde.


Dear Sirs,

We hereby confirm the death of

Joaquim de Brito Varela,

on June 23rd of this current year.

We inform you

that the Funeral Agency Damaia, Ltd.

Is carrying out the funeral.

The ceremony is on hold

until the arrival of his wife.


We hope that you will help

Vitalina Tavares Varela,

resident in Cabo Verde

in obtaining her visa

from the Portuguese Embassy.

We are hoping

you will allow his wife

to be able to attend the funeral.

The Funeral Agency Damaia, Ltd.

Is carrying out the funeral

of Mr Joaquim de Brito Varela

which will take place
on Thursday, June 27th,

at the Amadora Cemetery,

around 3 pm.

Certificate of Death 171.

Name: Joaquim de Brito Varela.

Sex: Male.

Age: 56.

Marital status:
Married to Vitalina Tavares Varela.

Birthplace: Santa Catarina, Cabo Verde.

Last address: Santa Filomena street,

20 A, Cova da Moura,

Buraca, Amadora.

Hour and date of death:

9pm, zero minutes,

June 23rd, 2013.

Cause of death:

Buried in the Amadora Cemetery.

August 14th, 2013.

Cause of death...

Notary of Santa Catarina.

Certificate of Birth Number 1108.

Name: Joaquim de Brito Varela,

a male child.

Hour and date of birth:

zero hour, zero minutes,

January 10th, 1957.

Notary of Santa Catarina.

Certificate of Birth,

number 850.

August 6th, 1960.

Born at 4pm,

on June 20th,


Place of birth:

Figueira das Naus.

At the parish of Santa Catarina,

a female child

named Vitalina Tavares Varela,

legitimate daughter

of Gervásio da Silva

24 years old.

A bricklayer.

And Maria Mendes Tavares,

17 years old,


August 6th, 1960.

Notary of Santa Catarina.

At 10:30 hours,

on December 14th,


in this notary,

appeared the groom,

Joaquim de Brito Varela,

25 years old,


Resident in Lisbon, Portugal.

And the bride, Vitalina Tavares Varela,

22 years old,


resident in Figueira das Naus.

They commonly agreed

to celebrate their civil marriage.

By the power vested in me,

I pronounced Joaquim and Vitalina

husband and wife.

How are you doing, Ventura?

Feeling a bit better.

Are you a doctor or what?

Look at you, all dressed up, fancy.

Should have seen me in my teens...

Showing off your ruffle shirt...

Embroidered slacks...

High-heeled boots...

Razor in your back pocket.

I left the barracks
of the construction site...

I caught the subway train.

Got off downtown...

I walked to Estrela Garden.

It was a warm Sunday.

Me and my brothers bought
5 bottles of wine... We all got drunk.

I was thirsty, I drank from the fountain.

I saw him coming with a smiling face.

He wore...


passport in his pocket...

the red shirt I gave him

on his birthday.

It was his day off

from his boss J. Builder.

I've worked at J. Builder too.

You know the deal, Ventura...

the life of a Cape Verdean person
is always hard.


Whites cracked their whip on our backs.

Then I lowered my face...

he attacked me with his razor blade,

slashed my forehead...

so I cut his arm with my knife.

Paralyzed him right there.

I wanted to kill him with an axe,
but my brothers stopped me.

The soldiers picked me up,

put me in a jeep,
and took me to the hospital.

You see it all, Vitalina...

You're still alive.

You're still breathing.

Blood drips to the floor

but nobody sees the razor.

Ventura, you've ruined your life.

And mine too.

He is not dead.

That's a nasty stab I gave you.

93 stitches.

You won't die in your bare feet.

48 clips.

Untie me!

I must write Zulmira.
She must be worried.

You've sent me to my retirement.

How am I going to provide for my wife?


In Alto Cutelo
There are no more berries

The roots dried out
Can't reach the water

The water runs deep
Out of man's reach

The woman waits by the fire
for over a week

Her children on the road
Only one has a job

Her husband's gone to Lisbon
A long, long time

Under contract

Gone to Lisbon
Sold his land

He has to work in rain and wind

Shipyards, factories, scaffolds

Cheap labour
No matter how hard you work

Cheap labour
Shack without light

Cheated by his white brother

Exploited, cheated

One day, I'll go back home

We'll get to the water

The strength of our arms

My conscience

I am the one who works

I own the land
The power is mine

Berries up on the hill

Children running

A boat in the harbour

Children running

A boat in the harbour

Our Land

Ventura, come back!

"Constructions Amadeu Gaudêncio"

Anybody there?

Miss Sigela?

José Tavares Borges speaking.

How are you, ma'am?

May I speak to Master Ernesto?

Anyone there?

Is this the management?


My godchild Benvindo?

The doctor discharged you?

Feeling better?


I'll go only when I get my salary.

- How long have you been waiting?
- Over twenty years.

- And Correia?
- He grabbed a new life.


Took his wife and kids

and went abroad.

Your brother, Piskiza?

My brother Piskiza
is up there in the hood.

Also waiting for his salary.

And Germano?

Germano, poor devil,

he died, mauled by the machine,

his guts...

spread out on the floor...

his cap and jacket
are still in his locker.

Did they fire you?

No, they didn't fire me.

I had an epileptic seizure,

the ambulance came,

took me to the hospital.

I stayed in a coma for three months.

When I got back,

everything here was in shambles.

The boss had run away
with money and machines.

The firm went bankrupt.

I scream like a horse

Oh, those lovely gals

Doctor, what's wrong with me?

I am starving and I can't eat

I am so thirsty and I can't drink

I am so sleepy and I can't sleep

I miss the Achada São Francisco

I miss the Achada Bela Kusa

I miss our comrade Pepe Lopi

- No, Uncle!
- That's how I learned it!

This is how people sing it.

Pepi Lopi,
Achada Pepi Lopi, Uncle.

Wrong, Benvindo!
It's comrade Pepi Lopi!

Comrade Pepi Lopi!

Achada Pepi Lopi!

I scream like a horse

Oh, those lovely gals

Doctor, what's wrong with me?

I miss the Achada São Francisco!

I am starving and I can't eat

I am so thirsty and I can't drink

I am so sleepy and I can't sleep

Master Ernesto?

May I sit down?

I think I'll stand.

I always used to stand in the office.

I think I'll sit.

You say you're cutting my pay,
from 4 thousand to 3 thousand?

You say I'm not old enough?

You say I'm only 17?

I'm 19 and 3 months!

Master Ernesto, I would like
to buy bricks to build my house.

Eight hundred bricks.

I can pay one thousand a month,

8 months, 8 thousand.

I need cement, 8 bags of cement.

Thank you, see you next month.

What are you doing here?

I am hereto collect my widow's pension.

A letter from your husband.

- Get me out of the sun.
- No sun in here, boy.

- Put me in the shade.
- You're in the shade.

- Are you with the people?
- Viva the Revolution Army!

- Are you with us, Ventura?

- Viva the Revolution Army.
- Are you with the people?

- United we stand, united we fall.
- Always on the side of the people.

It's been more than 30 years
since I last saw you.

Thirty seven, I guess...

I heard that you've been ill...

You have better doctors now.

- Better doctors?
- Yes, better doctors.

Your time has come.

A lame nurse sticks a needle into me
every night.

I shit black.

Remember when you walked
into this infirmary?

"Good morning, mister Ventura."
"Good morning, mister Nurse."

- Who shaved you, who bathed you?
- Couldn't wipe your own ass, you fool.

- Not even a thank you!
- You stank of piss!

And your screams at night, in the corridors?
"Mother of Monsters!"

Let me be, leave me alone!

I didn't know how to greet you.

When I heard you were coming,
my guts slashed open!

You're in good hands.

- The fight has just begun.
- I'm not healthy enough.

I can't carry any more cement sacks.

Where does it hurt?

- My whole body.
- In matters of the flesh I am of no help.

Know your prayers?

Our Lord of Nazareth,
Son of the Holy Mary,

taste the Virgin's milk,

the Beast's gun is not yours.

- Prime minister, bankruptcy!
- You're worshiping Satan, boy?!

Saint Anthony, the warrior.

Sword of Abraham...

- Lucifer.
- Satan.

This is no joke, Ventura.
This is a revolution.

Do you think I like
being locked here with you for 38 years?

I'd rather be harvesting the grapes.

I'd rather be helping Father with mass.

But we weren't made for this.

Remember, Ventura?

We left the barracks at a snail's pace.

We left the barracks empty,
marched all night, our eyes closed.

When we opened them,
there was nothing else to do:

overthrow the regime.

Didn't you see the people
cheering in the streets?

Am I in jail?

Lisbon is sealed-off,
didn't you hear the reports?

Are you going to kill me?

You've died a thousand deaths.

What's one death more?

I've built a good life...

a good family...

You call this a living
with your miserable pension?

I've built lots of buildings,


- What for?

You've broken your body,
messed up your head.

You know nothing about my life!

Andrade Corvo Street.
Building site of the Telephone Company.

Your boss stopped the work
because of the coup, remember?

We took up positions
against the fascists.

You were up in the scaffolding,
I was ambushed in a corner.

I wore my steel hood,

you, your yellow hard-hat.

Guns aimed at the fascist police...
Scaring the shit out of them.

A swallow flew by and I looked up.

You were up there singing a song.

I wasn't the only one singing.
We all sang.

Masons, bricklayers, pavers...

It wasn't springtime.
It wasn't a swallow.

It came to me one night.

A big black bird...

flew over my shack...

on great black wings...

Mother of Monsters!

It wasn't springtime.
It wasn't a swallow.

You screamed and screamed...

It wasn't the fascists, it was you
dirty briefs, lost in the streets.

Open this door in the name
of General Spínola, the Cyclops.

You ungrateful...!

Can't you remember
nigger against nigger with knives?

You were dancing in Estrela Garden.

Did you wash the blood off my face?

Who helped you
when you were half dead?

- Did you hide the knife?
- Who took you to the Military Hospital?

Did you put 93 stitches in my head?

Was it you, boy?

You're a son of the people.

Is it you, boy?

Did you shoot those fascist policemen?

If you'd killed a nigger
you'd already be a general.

Can you see them so far away?

Hiding in those shacks...

Fontainhas, Damaia, Black Cat...

My children, my grandchildren...

My brothers.

Stand up, Ventura!

- The fight has just begun.
- I'm dying.

Relax, Ventura.

I'll never die.

- I don't know you.
- Don't you?

But your night does.
And so do the tiles of your shack.

And the step of your door.

- What are you afraid of?
- Losing my work contract.

You have yet to build your shack.

Can't fight no more.

Can't work no more.

You still have to bring Zulmira
from Cabo Verde.

Bought a wedding dress
with a veil and shoes.

You've met Zulmira?

Bought a gold wedding ring and a watch
for 7 grand.

- Seven grand?
- Yes, sir.

I lived a hell of a life,
working when ill, raising my children.

- Now I'm retired.
- Shut up, Ventura.

They're all grown up,
it's for them now to help daddy.

- I'm retired.
- Shush!

All your children are yet to be born.

I'm retired.

I'm retired now.

Where are you now?

I'm sleeping in the Company barracks.

But where are you now?

I'm at work,
on site at the telephone company.

Boss tells us there's no work today,
there's a revolution going on.

Where are you?

I'm scared.

In Estrela Garden.

I'm with Toti, João,
Lila, Nené and Zezé.

Lots of Cape Verdeans, lots of whores.

High on the hill

No more berries

Roots are dry

No water to find

River runs deep
The man can't rest

The woman waits for a week
By the fire she lit

Her children...

Her children on the road
Only one works

Husband went to Lisbon
Long ago

With a contract

Ticket to Lisbon
Cost him his land

Works in rain
And wind and cold

Up in the scaffold
Down in the pit

Cheap labour
Hard work

Cheap labour
Shack in the dark

Another day
In darkness

My conscience
And me

Worked all my life

No berries on the hill

Spare me the singing,
that won't beat me.


- Zulmira!
- Fight it, stay with me.

- This freedom trooper wants to kill us.
- Stay...

He stole our wedding ring.

Stole our life.

Says I'm not married to you.

Says we haven't got any children.

Says we won't get to live.

I hear you sing
but I don't feel you happy.

I hold you in your sleep
but I don't feel you at peace.

If you go now,
what will become of me?

I feel your belly bloated
but I don't see you eat.

You don't like rice,
chicken once in a while.

You were crazy for pork chops.

I used to fry lots of them in my shack,
all alone.

Before Zulmira arrived from Cabo Verde.

With you like this and me unemployed,
we won't be able to pay the rent.

Vitor has his own to raise,
he can't help.

Adelaide needs
her expensive eye surgery.

This is the story of the young life

and of the life yet to come
and of all things that will follow.

Stay close to me, time will fly.

The day will come
when we'll be able to accept our sufferings.

There will be no more fear, nor mystery.

You have no destiny, nor horizon.

You are, and you have nothing.

We'll leave this world together
and they'll forget us.

They'll forget our faces.

You shall sing no more.

This story is not over yet.

Our sufferings
will be joys for all the men to come.

They will say nice things about us.

It won't be long before we know
why we live and why we suffer.

We'll know everything.


We lay with the dead locked in silence.

See how I tremble?

This is what I had to tell you, boy.

Ventura, on your guard.
Pay attention!

I'm paying attention, Master.

I can't feel my arm.

The doctor has discharged me.