Senso (1954) - full transcript

Venezia, spring of 1866, in the last days of the Austrian occupation. A performance of Il Trovatore ends up in confusion due to an anti-Austrian demonstration, organised by Count Ussoni. His cousin Countess Serpieri falls in love with vile Austrian Lieutenant Franz Mahler, but the times are changing.

Venice - Spring 1866

The last months
of Austrian rule in Venetia.

The Italian government
has allied itself to Prussia

and the war of liberation
is imminent.

Foreigners out of Venice!

General La Marmora
has mobilised the army!

Long live La Marmora!
Viva Italia!

Viva Italia!

Where are the stewards?
This is a disgrace!

Please go and see, General.

lf this continues, we'll have no choice
but to evacuate the theatre.

Please go and see, General!

How amusing. This is the kind of war
the Italians prefer.

A shower of confetti
to an accompaniment of mandolins.

You're a coward!

I’m ready to prove that
the Italians want to fight!

And if you are a gentleman...

Let me go!
You have no right to lay hands on me!

Viva Italia!
Power to the Italian Army!

- Where are you going?
- To the foyer. It’s terribly hot here.

I don’t think this is the best time.

Leave me alone.
You know I always do as I please.

Even so, I won't allow you
to wear these flowers.

It all began that evening.

It was the 27th of May.

My cousin, Roberto Ussoni,

who'd been among the organisers
of this demonstration,

was also an important figure in
the Venetian underground movement.

l was terribly worried he'd
endangered himself

by challenging that officer.

I was already
thinking of ways to help him.



It was madness
to expose yourself like this.

You shouldn't have done it.

All I know is that I lost my head.
When that cad said those words...

- What will you do now?
- He has accepted my challenge.

At least, so it seems.

- We'll fight a duel.
- No, you mustn't!

To take on an officer,
in your position...

the consequences would be so...

Something must be done.

You must get out of this theatre
right away.

Go home.

Go there or to Marsenza's,
wherever you want...

Wait for me to get word to you.

I beg of you, Roberto,
you must be careful for everyone's sake!

I know. Don't worry.

But did you see? They rose up tonight.

There's still a lot to do,
but they're stirring.

Let's go, Roberto.
We'll go by way of the pier.

- Farewell, Roberto. Go!
- Farewell, Livia.

- Go!
- See you soon.

This is La Marmora's statement.
We haven't published it in the newspapers.

It’s utter nonsense.

And it would only
further agitate the Venetians.

There are still people here who don't think
much of him and his provocations.

We are truly sorry to have halted
the performance, dear Count,

but we cannot allow La Fenice
to become a hotbed of sedition.

I wholeheartedly agree.

But please believe me, this must be
the work of some agent provocateur.

- There can be no doubt about that.
- Of course. It has been a delightful evening.

Ah, Countess Serpieri.

There is going to be a duel.
I mean it.

They've challenged Franz Mahler.

Maybe they wish to recreate the battle
between the Horatii and Curiatii.

You are very close to the man
who made the challenge, Countess.

Please, Your Excellency, let us not dwell
on this unfortunate incident.

That young man is a distant relative,
but we never see him.

Aren't relatives the people
we all know least?

I know him very well.

This will be no battle
between the Horatii and Curiatii.

My cousin isn't interested in politics.

He is completely apathetic...

when it comes to this kind of thing,
I mean.

He must have had other reasons.

That Lieutenant Mahler...

I have heard a lot about him.

This doesn't surprise me.

All the ladies in Venice
are talking about him.

There you are,
the ladies must have spoken of him.

That's how so many stories are made up.
Isn't that right?

Is this an officer under your command,
Your Excellency?

- Mahler? Of course.
- Yes, he is.

I would love to meet him.

Given that all the Venetian ladies
are talking about him,

I’d love to be able to speak with him too.

Countess, this is a favour you shouldn't
request from one of your admirers.

Lieutenant Mahler
is far too dangerous a rival.

- Would you care to sit down?
- No, thank you, Your Excellency.

This isn't the first time
I’ve seen Il Trovatore.

Besides, Austrians love music.

We Italians, on the other hand, come to
the theatre for very different reasons.

We have arrived;

There's the tower where
the State's prisoners languish.

Ah, the hapless man was brought here!

Go...leave me,

and don't fear for me.

I can save him, perhaps

Fear for me?

Sure and ready is my protection.

- Shrouded in this dark night...
- Countess, Lieutenant Mahler.

Countess Serpieri.

I’m near you, and you don't know it.

- Would you care to sit down?
- Thank you.

Moaning wind,

you who blow here.

- Do you have a good view?
- It’s fine, thank you.

Do you like opera, Lieutenant Mahler?

I am very fond of opera,
Countess Serpieri,

as long as I am fond
of that particular opera.

And you?

I’m very fond of it.

l simply dislike it
taking place off the stage.

l dislike it when people
act melodramatically

without considering the serious

of an impulsive action,

or of an action dictated
by unforgivable thoughtlessness.

May I speak to you
very truthfully?


Honesty is the one thing I appreciate.

lf I’ve heard aright...

a duel should take place tomorrow.
Isn't that so?

And it's up to you to accept or to refuse
this challenge - isn't that so?

l wish to know.

I wish to know as well.

Don't accept the challenge.

It isn't right to risk one's life for...

Why are you so concerned
about my life?

It’s a matter of principle.

Don't worry.

Neither my life nor your principles
are at any risk.

This foolish incident
will soon be dealt with by an arrest.

What do you mean?

..waken in him the memories...

What wonderful music.

Will you return tomorrow evening?

If you'd allow me to...

I don’t feel well.

I must go.

Please, don't move.

Good night, Your Excellency.

- Are you depriving us of you company?
- I don’t feel well.

I’m so sorry.

Good night.

- Let's go.
- lf you don't feel well,
we should wait a while.

- I said, let's go.
- As you wish.

Good bye! Why so soon?
Won't you come with us?

Your Excellency. Colonel.

They arrested Roberto
as soon as he left La Fenice.

That's impossible!

He was with Donà and Meneghini.
All three have been arrested.

We must do something, immediately.

Why don't you tell
your husband about it?

- If he'll only look into it...
- Leave it up to me.

Go to Marsenza's.
I’ll send you word.

But leave now.
Don't take any risks.

- Good night.
- Good night.

Did you hear?
They've arrested Roberto.

Listen, I’ve never asked
anything from you,

but this time you have to do something
to free Roberto.

You can do this.
You have influence, you know people.

I’m sure that lieutenant
must have reported him.

- He didn't want to fight.
- Fair enough.

Why would an Austrian officer
fight an Italian civilian?

It would be absurd.

If your cousin
had a modicum of good sense...

Can't you see
what the outcome might be?

Yes, I do. And I want
nothing to do with this matter.

They were right to arrest him.

And you'd like to involve me in matters
that don't concern me in the least?

I’ve had it. Don't mention this
to me again, do you understand?

It’s childish tomfoolery!
What do you all think you'll achieve,

Roberto was sent into exile for a year,
along with many others.

I had a strange foreboding about what
his departure would mean...for me.


I hope to see you soon,
my guardian angel.

Go to Aldeno as soon as you can.
Please tell Cavalletto.

We need secure lines of communication.

I hope to come back soon.

Garibaldi is in Desenzano.
Just think, Livia, the time is nigh.

May we meet again as Italians!

Roberto, take care.

But when I saw that officer again,

l understood that he was
at the root of all my fears,

and that for many days I’d been
apprehending a possible meeting.

Countess Serpieri.

What do you want?

- May I escort you?
- No, thank you, Lieutenant Mahler.

But there's a curfew
and it's already late.

Would you have me arrested
because I’m still walking about?

I’ve never had anyone arrested
over so little.

What do you think about
Roberto Ussoni's arrest?

Oh, so he's been arrested? I thought he was
only asked to go for a change of air for a while.

They sent him into exile,
as you know perfectly well.

You believe it's my fault,
but you're wrong.

I hope you believe me.

Besides, Ussoni will be pleased.

He was born to sacrifice himself
for a noble cause.

- And what were you born to do?
- To be what I am.

To be what you are...
Good night.

Wouldn't it have been better
if you'd told me that first evening

that Ussoni was your lover,

and that you hoped
I’d do anything to keep him in Venice?

A true gentleman.

would not take advantage of the fact
that I’m alone to insult me.

- I have asked you not to follow me.
- But I’m not following you.

- So you're not following me?
- Consider me your shadow.

- Thank you, but mine will be enough.
- Mine will protect you much better.

Look, don't follow me!

- Is he dead?
- Yes.

How did it happen?

Come, quickly.

- What's this?
- Go and look.

He's dead! Quick, take him away.
Two men over here.

These damned Venetians.
Every night, they kill someone.

Go! Take him away! One either end.

Quick, quick!

Poor wretch. I knew him.
He hadn't been long in the Eighth Company.

Thank you.

You see,

it isn't very pleasant
to be part of an army of occupation.

You have to live
among men who hate you.

And since we're young,
far away from home, alone...

we end up courting their wives,
their girlfriends, and...

Yes, I understand.

Good night, Lieutenant.
I’m not afraid any more.

Please don't bother to walk me home.

Good night.

But there's something
I’d like you to know.

Roberto Ussoni is not my lover.

He's my cousin.

And he's the man
I admire most in the world.

Do you admire him
more than your husband?

My husband and I

have very different
views regarding the Austrians.

He's prepared to accept them, and is
willing to accept favours from them.

I’m like my cousin,

a true Italian.

Good night.

Countess Serpieri.

We walked for a long time, together,

through the deserted streets.

My preconceptions had vanished.

Time stood still.

All that remained
was the hidden pleasure

of hearing him talk,
of hearing him laugh.

of listening to the sound of our steps,
in that silent city.

- Where are we going?
- Wherever you'd like.

I don’t even know where we are.

- We've arrived somewhere.
- That's my house.

That's where I live.


No, not alone, with other officers.

We often sit around in our shirtsleeves,
drinking beer, talking about women.

- But everything's about to change.
- Why?

Because I’ve met you.

- What have you found?
- A piece of broken mirror.

Why are you looking at yourself
so closely?

Are you that taken with yourself?

Yes. I never pass before a mirror
without looking at myself.

Why is that?

I like to look at myself
to make sure I am...


Is that the only way you can be sure?

Also when I see a woman

who is looking at me the way
you're looking at me right now.

''It is Judgement Day

''the dead rise again...

''to eternal joy...

''or eternal suffering.

''And we remain in an embrace

''and nothing matters to us,
neither Heaven, nor Hell.''

- Do you like these verses by Heine?
- No.

- Why not?
- I don’t like their meaning.

What a shame.

But with war about to break out...

You think there will be a war?

Yes. However strange it may be

that people will die over matters
that don't concern them.

Do you believe in war?

I believe that a country's freedom
should be defended

even if it costs you your freedom
or your life.

And so we shall be enemies?

I don’t believe that.

I suppose it is a failing of mine

that I’ve never been interested in war,
in politics,

in the loss or gain of territory,

in all those terribly serious matters
for which men ought to be ready to die.

You see, I believe that even if one man
was born on this side of a river

and another man
on the other side of a mountain,

it doesn't mean God put the rivers
and mountains there to keep them apart.

You talk like a child.

How can you be a military man
when you hold such opinions?

It seems absurd that you're an officer.

Yes, I agree with you.

Everything's quite absurd.

I must go now.
It’s almost dawn.

- Livia, that's your name, isn't it?
- Yes.

When can I see you again?

No, that's impossible.

I’ll wait for you.

By now it was dawn.
The city was coming to life again.

And I was beginning to feel
almost ashamed.

How could I have spent
the whole night with a stranger,

an Austrian officer?

I was an Italian woman,
a married woman,

a woman who had never
behaved frivolously in her life.

And yet, four days later,

four days spent in the vain hope
of meeting him,

I was going to him.

l had managed to persuade myself
that he alone could help Roberto.

It was my duty to ask him.

Not bad, eh?

Do you want a game?

I’ve been waiting for days...

and you've finally come.

Let us not bother with heaven and hell.

From that day on, we often met.

We would go to a rented room that Franz
had found in the Fondamenta Nuove.

You see,

in these rooms,
there is always some little noise.

The swish of a curtain,
a fly banging against the window..

Had you ever noticed that?

No, Franz.

One notices it only later,
as a memory.

Only then does one remember
having heard it while in an embrace.

Is that so, Franz?

Later, you realise that you'd heard it
all along,

without paying attention.

But later...

this tiny detail becomes important.

Can a detail be that important?

It’s the sense of adventure.
It’s as important as...

As what?

The colour,

the scent of your soft hair
on the pillow.

Had you never noticed this, my love?

No, Franz, not until now.

I keep forgetting...


I keep forgetting that the past
doesn't exist for Countess Serpieri.

There is only the present,
and the future.

Only the present, Franz.

Only today? Not tomorrow?

- Will you hand me that hairbrush?
- Yes.

You see, if they told me that there
would be no tomorrow for me,

that tomorrow would never come...
after a moment like this...

I would feel as if a doctor had told me,

''You are about to die.

''You only have a few hours left.''

And now I know it's true.

It is just now, just now, Franz.
There is no tomorrow.

Every time you leave, you say,

''Farewell, Franz,
'we will never meet again''.

But each time, I wait for you with
the same confidence that you'll return.

You may think you will never see me
again, but I’ll keep waiting for you.!

Maybe you will.

But you've had so many love affairs,

during which the room
was filled with sounds,

with the noise of a fly
banging against a window,

which you only noticed later on.

So you got up

and you gave that poor insect
its freedom,

with the same elegance with which you
freed yourself from the woman's heart.

But don't worry,

when it comes to us

you won't even have to make
that small effort.

I’ll do it for you, Franz.

I’ll get up,
I’ll open the window,

and I’ll let your heart fly out,
as free as a butterfly.

Would you give me those hairpins,

I will no longer be acting as your maid.

You will have to get your own hairpins.

Franz, remember me by this.

What a splendid medallion.

Keep it by your heart.

I’m leaving now.

I’m leaving.




- Would you let me leave like this?
- No, my love...

I knew you wouldn't go.

One afternoon,

while I waited for him in vain
in that room,

I realised for the first time

that I wasn't in control of my feelings,
as I’d always believed.

I must go out, and no one else is home.

Shall I leave the door ajar
or will you answer it?

Are you sure the lieutenant
hasn't left a message for me?

- A message?
- I’m sure, ma'am.

But perhaps you'd gone out
and no one was home.

What can I say?
Maybe he's left.

There was a captain who came here a lot

and he was suddenly transferred.

In fact, you wouldn't happen to know
anyone who could help me?

They want to turn my house
into military accommodation.

Don't they have barracks for that?

Ma'am, see if you can help me.
It would be in your interests, too.

I know you can do anything, Countess.

I know you very well, you see.

One of my sisters
spent years working for...

You're leaving?
But what if the lieutenant should arrive?

Besides, Countess...

what if the lieutenant has really left?

Who will settle his bill?

I’ve never said anything,
because I know him well, but...

think of all the laundry I have to do.

Thank you, ma'am. That's better.

Excuse me,
is Lieutenant Mahler around?

Is he in Venice?

Yes, he's still in Venice..

- Do you know when he'll be back?
- I don’t know, ma'am.

- I’ll wait for him.
- Please do.

Do sit down.

Do you like our dwelling?

She won't say whether she likes it,
but she comes here anyway.

Two pairs of underpants,,

three shirts,

two smart shirts,

and two sheets.

Here you are! The gentleman will
come by tomorrow to pay his bill

But the lieutenant, didn't he say
where he was going?

How should I know?

- He didn't come back last night.
- He stayed out?

- All night?
- Probably not all night.

But he didn't come back?
You didn't see him?

How should I know?
Perhaps he was with Kati or with Nena.

Don't lie to me.

Well, if you want to wait for him,
please do.

Are you sure he's not nearby?

- Or in the barracks?
- Nothing's certain.

I can assure you of that.

In fact,
it's the one assurance I can make.

But if you're patient... And since
you're a friend of Franz's, you must be.

Ludwig said he left Franz an hour ago.

They were playing billiards together.
We don't know where he went after that.

Why can't you keep your mouth shut?

Pay no attention to him.
He doesn't know what he's talking about.

Why don't you sit down?

Franz will be here in a few minutes.

We never know what he's up to,
or where he is.

He's always out somewhere.
He's hard to pin down.

That's just the way he is.

We lived in the same apartment
for three months, once,

in Innsbruck.

Girls were always
coming around to see him.

And even if he was home,
he refused to see them.

- Countess! We're leaving.
- What is it?

The count has ordered us to pack.

You must have misunderstood him.

What's happening here?

You could have told me about this.
Don't I matter at all?

The Prussians have invaded Holstein.

This means the war has begun.

- I think it would be wiser...
- No, it can't be!

This is so sudden.

- What do you want?
- Instructions from the countess.

There's no hurry, Laura.

I was dismayed
by my husband's decision.

But I managed to convince him

to delay our departure
by at least twenty-four hours.

Lieutenant Mahler, please,
from the Eighth Company.

The Eighth Company
is no longer here, ma'am.

They're at the Misericordia barracks.

Oh, Countess!
I was bringing you an umbrella.

The count told me to.

But I didn't know where to look for you.

I thought I’d start out
at Countess Marcello's, or...

But you're all wet.
What terrible weather!

Even the sky has gone mad.

It’s the war's fault.

I remember as if it were today
that in '59...

The count was worried.

I said you must have had things to do
before the departure.

A man came looking for you.
I had never seen him before.

I didn't tell the count.

He said it was urgent,
that you had to go see him.

You have to go to
Campo San Geremìa 349

and ring three times.

- When did he come? Who was he?
- I don’t know him. You'd just gone out.

He wanted to go looking for you.

I’ll be back later. Give me the umbrella.

What shall I tell the count?

Whatever you want!
I don’t care!

I really don't care!
Tell him everything!

Tell him!

There was no call for you to spy on me.

I’d have told you myself.
I’m tired of lying.

It’s true, I have a lover.

l love him. I want to be with him!

Livia, At last!
We were waiting for you. Come in.


Livia, how wonderful.
At last!

Oh, it's you. I didn't know you were back.

You could have told me.

Livia, we were able to
cross the border last night.

I must get in touch
with our friends in Venice.

- There's no time to lose.
- Why didn't you trust me?

- She wanted me to believe that...
- You can't understand.

You can't understand.

I’ve already been very clear with Livia.

Now I should tell you what I said to her.

I have absolutely no intention
of accepting the position

the Austrian government has
recently insisted on offering me.

Livia, how are you?

I was born in Venice,
I was brought up here.

My business affairs are tied to this city.
My loved ones are here.

Now, it's clear that
whatever the outcome of this war,

Venice will go to the Italian government.

The French Emperor
has vouched for this.

As a result of all this,
I wish to help you.

You can trust me.

As you can see, mine is a practical offer.

It isn't dictated by enthusiasm
or by ideals and beliefs I don’t share.

I understand.

And what do want in return?

I told you, I want to be able to stay
in my country

without being harassed.

- I can't promise you anything.
- I see.

But, one day,
you could testify in my favour.

...and a ruby ring.

A gold chain with a watch...

Livia, would you be prepared
to leave for Aldeno tomorrow?

Nothing would please me more.
For days, I’ve been telling Livia...

I know, it was my fault.
I wanted to wait for you.

I was sure that you would come back.

That's fine, Livia,

but now there's no time to lose.

I’ll be leaving Venice tomorrow.

I must reach the headquarters
of the Italian Army.

They'll instruct me
on the role of the volunteers.

We've set up a good communication
network. Luca is already in Aldeno.

I’ll be there in four or five days,
if everything goes well.

You must take charge
of the money we've raised.

Give it to me, Andrea.
They need it urgently.

Our volunteers are living off charity,
like hermits.

It’s a decent sum.

You must have contributed as well.


We've been waiting for this moment
for a long time.

And now it has arrived,
it feels like a surprise, doesn't it?

It comes as a shock.

We must all behave as if the lives
of our fighters depend upon our actions.

We no longer have any rights,
Livia, only duties.

We must learn to forget ourselves.

I don’t care if I sound bombastic.
Italy is at war.

It is our war!

Our revolution!

Roberto's words,

his trust in me,

had given me the courage to leave.

The first days spent in the peaceful
surroundings of our villa at Aldeno

reminded me of the periods
of convalescence

that follow a serious childhood illness.

- Laura! Laura!
- Yes, I’m coming. Just a minute.

When the dogs started barking,
I noticed someone on the balcony.

l noticed someone on the balcony.

- I didn't hear a thing.
- Now be quiet. The countess is asleep.

- Who is it?
- It’s me. Laura.

- What is it?
- Countess, you must forgive me.

But the gatekeeper...


...has seen someone on the balcony.


He's sure he saw someone
on the balcony.

Yes, it was me.

- Have you lost your mind?
- Yes, in Venice, when you left.

- Is the door locked?
- The door...

- Laura?
- Yes, Countess.

It was me.

- Go to bed.
- You see, you fool?

- Did they see me?
- What were you thinking?

How could you?

Why do you keep all those dogs? To
keep away your enemies or your lovers?

Why did you decide to come here,

I didn't decide anything. I just came.

I suddenly felt I had to see you again,
so I came.


So you'd have me
get torn to pieces by your dogs?

No! No! No!

Go and hide over there.

Go, over there.

I... I don’t believe you risked your life
just to see me again.

There was a time
when I would have believed you,

before you began to miss
our rendezvous,

before those agonising days

when I couldn't find you anywhere.

I am younger than you,
Countess Serpieri,

and not as smart as I’d like to think.

When I began to realise
that I’d fallen in love with a woman

who would never be able to love me,

my first reaction was to disappear.

That's why you didn't see me again.

But it made no difference.

When I realised that you were the one
slipping away from me,

that you'd left Venice,

all I could think of
was to find you again.

You must have some other reason
I don’t understand.

For what other reason would a man
risk his life to come here?

But can't you see?
We're at war now!


I’m so tired.

All I want is to look at you,
to be with you.

That's why I came,
that's all I can think about.

I would have believed you, once.

If you don't believe me,
I’d better go now.

No, wait!



Come here, Franz.


- Stay here.
- Here?

- All right.
- Please.

Don't make any noise.


Countess, what's going on?

Be quiet, you fool.

Ah! Countess. What a scare!
I knew something would happen.

I was fretful all night. I couldn't sleep.

- Was it really you on that balcony?
- Simone!

Look everywhere!
See if you can find any footprints!

Make sure no one is hidden
in the garden!

That's good, Simone!
Keep looking around with the dogs.

Do you need me, Countess?

No. I don’t need anything.
Go on, go to sleep.

Keep looking.

He must have fled
when he heard the dogs barking.

- I’m going back to bed.
- Good night, Count.

Giuseppe, look behind the stairs!
Be sure to have a good look!

I’m sorry.
You must forgive me.

We're no longer in Venice.

I’ve changed.

I can think straight again.
My mind is clear.

- Livia, listen to me...
- No! We're no longer in Venice.

You made me lose
my sense of shame, my dignity.

- But why?
- It’s true, I lost all my dignity,

for a wretched, illicit love,

a shameful love.

Livia, my love.

We're no longer in Venice.

Fine, we're no longer in Venice.

We're agreed on that.

- We're agreed on that.
- May I sit down?

Yes, seeing as you can't leave
until they've tied up the dogs.

Thank you.

I’m so sleepy.

I haven't slept for three nights.

I love the smell of summer.

I love the smell of ripe wheat.

This place is full of that scent.

I’m so tired.

There's a gentle laziness in the air.

What did you say?

The dogs have gone away.

You speak so quietly,

that I can't hear what you're saying.

Did I mishear you?

I thought that you were saying...

that you were saying...


Dear Franz...

I’m so alone...


stay with me.

You misheard.

Forgive me.

I misheard.

I said you had to leave now.

You must leave. You must leave.

What did you say?

I said that the danger was past.

You can go now.

How long...

How long has it been
since we last saw each other, my love?

That's what I was dreaming
you would say.

I told you to leave.

Leave. Leave. Leave...

Is that it?

Is that what you really want?

I was hoping you'd ask me to stay.

Oh, Franz...


Yes, Franz.

Please stay.


Franz, wake up, my love.

It is almost dawn,

and you told me you had to be
in Verona before nightfall.

Who is it?

It's me, Livia.

Franz, wake up. It’s daylight.

- What did you say?
- You must go away now.

The sun will be high soon.

And if they see you...

Close your eyes.

- I didn't close them all night.
- Why?

I was watching you sleep.

That's why I slept so well.

I dreamt I was home.

I was a child, and I played at being
a soldier with a wooden sword.

- I must go.
- I wish you could stay!

- I wish I could...
- What do you wish you could do?

I wish I could stay in your arms,
just as I did tonight,

for the rest of my life.

Farewell, I must go.

- I must go. I must go.
- No!

The sun's coming up. It’s already late.

You wouldn't want them to see me
climbing down your window?

No, no!

Don't go yet.

I’ll hide you.

I’ll have you with me for another day.

With me. Wait. Wait!

Let's hurry!

Come along, hurry.


Come, stay with me a while.

No, the maid must find me in my room.

- But it's still early. There's time.
- Don't speak so loud.

I won't say another word.

You know, it's not bad here.

I could stay here my whole life.

Then why don't you stay?

Have you forgotten that I must go to war
and become a hero?

Oh, no. No.

Try to forget that.

If only one could forget.

If only.

One of my friends did an incredible thing.

Which one?

A companion. An officer.

What did he do?

He managed to bribe a doctor,

and got himself declared
unfit for military service.

He went for a check-up, you see?

The doctor pretended
to find him a heart defect,

which required a quiet, restful existence.

So they sent him home,
free from any further obligations.

- But how can this be?
- I told you. He bribed a doctor!

A huge sum.

I didn't think such things could happen.

But, after all, those of our generation
were spoiled like children.

We like elegant uniforms
because they suit us.

The gold braid, the tabs,

the sound of the marching band
that accompanies our heroic parade.

But then here's the other side of the coin -

being far from our women,

being hungry, cold, tired.

When it comes to raising a glass
to future victories, we're all there.

But we're not willing to pay the price
of the victory we're toasting.

- The loss of an arm, an amputated leg.
- That's enough!

A face so disfigured
that it causes others to recoil in horror.

No, Franz! No!

And why? War.

Tens of thousands of men
ready to kill each other,

for no reason, no purpose.

Reason has nothing to do with war.

What is war, after all,
if not the most convenient means

to force men to think and act
in the way that most suits their leaders?

Why are you silent, dear?

What are you thinking about?

That war is horrible. Horrible.

I’ll be back as soon as I can.

So many troops went past last night.

Even the heavy artillery.
The whole house was shaking.

They're going from Innsbruck to Verona.

- Ah, they're going to Verona...
- Count!

Count, should I report
last night's incident?

No, better not.

I bet someone found out about the wheat
and is trying to get us into trouble.

None of the men can have spoken.

Still, let's have some men
keep watch at night.

But...look over there!
Isn't that Le Ronghe?

- Yes, it is! That fire is at Le Ronghe!
- That's one hell of a blaze!

Let's go and see!

Look, Count, look at that dense,
dark cloud over there!

It looks like a barn is burning down!

We must send someone
over there right away!

To Le Ronghe! To Le Ronghe!
Look, sir.

It’s coming from Mangini's house!

It can't be! His house is behind the hill!

It’s further away!
It must be the stables at Piovene.

Come on!
Let's go to the granary to look.

It’s just some slag piles, I expect.

Can't you see
all the smoke, Countess?

That's Mancini's house!

No, it's very clear from here.

Perhaps it's a military camp.

It’s best to be sure.
You two, come with me.

This is not good...
Let's look out the windows!

Let's hope no wind will rise
All that wheat...

Listen, the bells!

What are they waiting for?
For the whole country to burn?

Sir, we can't see a thing here.
Let's go to the other side.

What's happening here?
The door is locked with a key. Let's move it!

Look! The view is much better from here.

Romagnano's patriots.

They will challenge the Austrians.

Have they lined up close to the houses?

These idiots are endangering us all!

And that's why they are setting fire to our farms?

Antonio! Call Giuseppe!


Tell him to prepare the carriage! Hurry!

- Countess?
- What happened?

That gentleman is there.

- And Luca has returned from Romagnano.
- Countess!

Good news.

Marchese Ussoni
has arrived at our headquarters.

It's will just be a few hours now...

We are waiting for further orders.
Garibaldi is in Salo!

Two of our representatives met with a spokesman
of the General in Trento yesterday.

Garibaldi congratulated the patriots.

He didn't think there were so many of us.

His troops arrived and they saw
the work had been done already!

We don't need help to protect our country!

Sure. Tell me more.

- Come back later. This evening!
- Countess!

Ussoni told me, you have to

give me the money collected in Venice.

There should be more than 3000 florins!

I don't know.
I haven't counted it.

I'm sure you're right.

This evening!
Come back this evening, OK?

- That can't grow to such proportions
in such short time!

They haven't told me anything.

Nothing! They must take me for an idiot...

- Count, the carriage is ready.
- Good.

- I'm going there.
- Yes, and hurry!

- Good day, Count
- Good day..

Antonio, my hat! Quick!

- Take Luca outside.
- Good day, Countess.

- Until tonight.
- Very well, Countess.

How did you get here?

Laura! Isn't that her name?
The maid.

I thought it was you who'd sent her.

How extraordinary!
She came to collect me,

brought me here
and gave me breakfast.

My God!

- She knows you're here!
- What harm can it do?

This is what ladies' maids are for!

The count is looking for you.

We're leaving.
I won't be back for lunch.

Very well.

- What?
- I said, very well!

At your service, Countess.


What are you thinking?

I was thinking...of something.

Tell me what.

This morning, in the granary...

you told me of that friend of yours...

who they sent home...

because a doctor had said
he had a bad heart.


Couldn't you do the same?


Yes, Franz, you.

You want me to play the cripple,

bribing some crook
to pass me off as unfit?


You think me...

of something so contemptible?

And even if I was...

it comes at a price.

How much?

2000 florins.

2000 florins! Impossible.

- More than I’m worth, is it?
- If you could...

If you found a way...

You could stay close to me...

- At Trento, couldn't you?
- No... No.

Regulations state
that the discharged soldier

must remain close to his regiment.

- If only you could!
- I have to leave, It’s late.

lf I’m not in Verona by tomorrow morning
I’ll be declared a deserter.

- No!
- I could be shot.

That would solve all our problems.

- We have no time!
- Wait! Wait, Franz!


Close the door!

Quickly! Come here!

My love! Is it yours?

Your husband's?
Whose then?

I can't tell you!
You'll think I’m insane!

I am! I am insane!

Oh, my love! My love!

My darling....

My poor, sweet love!

My poor, poor darling.

- Who is it?
- It’s me. Countess. May I come in?

Don't come in!

- Don't come in!
- It’s me, Countess...

I said no!

Have you counted it?
Is it enough?

I know you have given me
your heart...

and not only your heart.

I don’t feel guilty
accepting the money.

I’d feel guilty not accepting it.

Do you believe me?

Countess! Countess!

- The count will be back any minute
- Yes, I realise!

Tonio saw him down in the village
and he told him...

I told Tonio to wait in the kitchen.
I had the gardener called too,
with an excuse.

You need to avoid
the terrace...

Ada's putting the washing out.
l tried to call her into the house, but...

Luca's here, too.

I showed him into the sitting room.

- He's waiting.
- Very well!

Write to me as soon as you can,
I beg you.

I have written the address here.

Give the letter to a civilian
and have them take it to Luca,

and I shall receive it directly.

- I must hear from you!
- I’ll write.

Don't forget.
As soon as possible

Go now!

Send word when all is settled,
and I will come to you at once.

I cannot live like this.

You shouldn't love me.

No one should.

I was irrevocably tied to him.

For him, I had forgotten...

and betrayed all of those
who were fighting,

in an attempt to realise

my long unfulfilled dreams.

Marchese Ussoni.

You should take a route
around our left wing,

just outside of Valeggio...

But there will be serious obstacles.
It will not be easy.

- Thank you!
- Good luck, Marchese Ussoni!


Can you take me to Oliosi
near Montevento?

- It’s dangerous...
- Don't worry, we can find a different route.

Here. There we go!

Which way should I go
to get to Oliosi?

The roads to Montevento are blocked.

There are battles going on.

Try to reach that hill,
turn left,

you'll come to a large, square
farmstead called Ca' Pasquale.

- Here.
- That's it.

From there,
continue going left, maybe...

Take the road to Maragnote
and on to Menso.

We can still get to Sant'Ambrogio
avoiding Oliosi.

Thank you, Lieutenant.

- Are you from the south?
- Naples.

Good luck, Lieutenant!

- I’ll take the reins.
- She goes slowly, mind.

I have to get over the hill.
It’s absolutely imperative!

l have safe conduct signed by
General La Marmora in person.

To arms!

I had received
a letter from Franz.

He had been discharged,
and was in Verona.

But he urged me to stay
where I was.

The journey was dangerous
and he feared for my safety.

Battle had commenced
on all fronts...

and the news that reached Aldeno

confirmed hopes of an Italian victory.

You can see the canons firing
from Sant'Ambrogio!

- He said the Austrians are leaving Verona!
- No, they left yesterday!

Luca's here!

Let's hear what he has to say!

Here he is.

What did he say?

The Austrians have fled Verona!

We'll get the lot of them!

Viva Italia!

Good day, Countess.

Are the Austrians leaving Verona?

Yes, Countess.
We're advancing all along the front..

They've called for
reinforcements at Trento,

and they're leaving Verona!

And this time
they'll be gone for good!

Viva Italia!

And we have no part to play?

The time has come to act
for us as well...and Marchese Ussoni.

We've heard nothing of Marchese Ussoni.
No news...nothing.

We can do nothing.

We must await orders.

But Countess,
we can't wait any longer.

Even having heard nothing,

our troops must move in
and occupy the area.

There's no more time to lose!

We will not participate.

Garibaldi will be coming here!

Countess, just think, Garibaldi!
Bloody hell!

What's going on?
What are you doing?

Officer, what's happening?
Where are you all going?

We've been ordered to retreat.

Come on! You can do it!

Who are you?
Are you injured??

Everyone is retreating, Lieutenant.
Yes it's true. It’s a disaster.

Not us. Eh, lads?

Everyone here's staying put, Lieutenant!

Lieutenant! Orders to retreat!

- Everyone out!
- Understood, Lieutenant!

Always last to know, eh?
Come on, lads!

Come on, lads!

I decided to leave. At dawn.

Before patriots could take over
the surrounding area,

and before the Italian troops
could reach Verona.

I knew I would never return
to my house, my people.

And yet, I felt neither regret
nor emotion.

The walls of the carriage
were burning,

and the sultry air suffocated me.

I had Franz's letter with me.

And I re-read it over and over again,
even though I knew it by heart.

''My darling Livia...

''You have saved my life.

''The money was sufficient,
for now at least

''to satisfy the rapacious doctors.

''I have been discharged
and they are keeping me in Verona.

''I have a beautiful room
overlooking the river Adige,

''on Via Santo Stefano,
number 149.

''I miss you day and night.

''But don't come just yet.
Stay where you are.

''The journey would be too dangerous.

''Love me always...

''as I love you.''

-.From there take the road to Ala.
- Drive on! Make way!

Do you have safe conduct
to enter Verona at this hour?

No, but I am Countess Serpieri.

My husband is an Austrian officer.

I am here to meet
relatives in town.

Very good, Countess.
You may pass.

But I must warn you, tonight the
streets of Verona

won't be safe for a lady.

Thank you.

- Quickly! Via Santo Stefano 149.
- Yes, Countess.

Well, what a lovely surprise.

Oh, Franz!


I am here.

Has something happened?

I am here, Franz.

l told you in my letter
not to come.

- Did you not receive it?
- Yes, but I came all the same.

- I couldn't bear the anxiety any longer.
- What anxiety?

- Anxiety over what?
- What might happen to you.

You knew I was safe.

You knew how...

with your money.

You know it bought me safe passage,

calm, wellbeing,

peace and amusement.

But I wanted to be sure...

to see it with my own eyes.

Fine! Now you have.

You shouldn't have come.

It was a bad decision,
and now you'll be sorry.

You see?

I am no longer an officer,

or a gentleman.

I’m a drunken deserter..

who reeks to high heaven

of cowardice and vice.

But now I’m here, Franz.

I will stay with you always..

I have left everything for you.

Take me in your arms, Franz.

I haven't washed or shaved
in a few days.

I wouldn't want to disgust you
by coming too close!

You'd get dirty.


- You're not alone?.
- Don't worry about her.

She comes for a couple of hours
each night to keep me company.

Do you want to meet her?

Don't be shy.

After all, she belongs to you.

I pay for her with your money.

Clara! Come here.

I’d like you to meet
a great lady.

The Countess Livia Serpieri.

She has made a long journey.

As you see,
she is exhausted.

She's travelled amid the soldiers
returning from battle.

Men who haven't been lucky enough

to have what I have...

a rich benefactor.


Get her something to drink.

Wash it first!

Stupid girl.

It’s for a lady.

Ladies don't drink
from unwashed glasses.

Didn't you know?

Guests must be treated
with respect.

You don't want it?

Are you unwell?

What are you waiting for?
Help her you fool!

Lift her veil!
Take off her hat, her gloves!

Countess Serpieri is a lady!
A high-class lady, and important lady!

Can't you see?

An Italian aristocrat.

- Haven't I told you about her?
- No!

You don't remember?

You didn't listen because
you thought I was just crowing.

You didn't believe me
when I said that a real lady

like the Countess Serpieri

was in love with me.

It’s true!

She said to me,

that she didn't know
what love was

before she met me.

Why are you saying
these things?

To hurt me or to hurt yourself?

I beg your pardon,
but I didn't hear you,

you're speaking so quietly.

Did you hear
what she said, Clara?

No, I didn't hear anything,
and I don’t want to either.

- I’m going.
- You're insane!


you must forbid her
to leave at this hour.

Invite her to sit down
to table with us.

Ask her.

Please, stay.

Don't mind him.
He's drunk.

Who exactly
do you think you are?

Do you have such
a high opinion of yourself

that you can't sit
at the same table as a whore?

What difference is there
between the two of you?

I’ll tell you myself.

She is young,
and beautiful,

and men have to pay for her.

You, on the other hand...

What? Why are you looking
at me like that?

I don’t like being looked at like that,

Do you think I’ve gone mad?

No! I’m not mad!

I’ve never been as lucid
in my entire life.

Listen, and try to understand.

Try to see me as I really am.

Not as you imagine me to be!

The image you have created of me
is mere fantasy.!

It’s all in your head!

It has nothing to do
with who I really am.

So, who am I?

How do I live?
By what means?

With money I procure in two ways.

Money I get from women,

and money I steal, cheating at cards.

I am a master of both arts.

That's how I make my living.

l have other charms, too.

I am a deserter
because I’m a coward.

And I don’t mind being either!

What matters to me is that
my compatriots won a battle today

in a place called Custoza,

when I know that they
are going to lose the war.

And not just the war.

And that Austria, in a few years,

will be finished,

and a whole world will disappear,

the world to which we both belong.

The new world your cousin speaks of
holds no interest for me.

I think it's much better
not to be involved,

and to take your pleasure
however you can.

And, for that matter,
so do you.

Otherwise you wouldn't have
given me money

to buy yourself
an hour's worth of love.

- No!
- That's enough!

It’s too late. It’s over.

I’m not your knight in shining armour!

And I don’t love you anymore.

I wanted money, I got it.
That's all.

Oh! And I forgot.
I’m also an informant.

It was me who betrayed
your cousin to the police.

Of course, you knew this,
but pretended not to

to save our love affair!


Go on! Go on, my lady!

Run! Run away, you whore!

Run! Run away!

Break your neck!
Don't look back!

..with devastating precision.

Afternoon report of the Fifth Corps -

After heavy fighting,
Santa Lucia was taken.

At 7 pm, Custoza was won.

The enemy has certainly
put up an admirable fight.

The first of the offensives
were particularly forceful.

Officers set their men a fine example.

I’ve come to fulfil my duty

as a loyal subject.

The countess is Austrian?



I don’t understand.
Is it addressed to you?

Right then, I don’t have much time,
let's see to this.

The letter is from...

Franz Mahler,
of the Third Artillery Regiment.

And, so?

It’s quite clear.

He bribed doctors
into saying that he's ill.

He is a deserter.

Ah, I see..

The officer was your lover,

and now you're taking revenge
by getting him shot.

Think carefully, Countess.
To inform is a vile treachery,

and your actions will see a man killed.

Lieutenant Schneider !


carry out your duty!

Show the lady out.

Arrange this order to be executed!!

Highest priority!

Do you understand?
Highest priority!

Immediate execution.

Order - arrest immediately.

First Lieutenant Franz Mahler.

Residing in Stefanstrasse 147.