Susu (2018) - full transcript

Two Chinese girls take a film transcription job at a heritage English countryside mansion. Discovering entangled family secrets about the Kunqu Opera star Susu, they find it almost impossible to escape, physically and emotionally.


Delivery from Castle House.


Is anyone home?

Your food is here!


I have your order!

We may be fragile or broken,
but still a new life.

Instead of hiding their flaws,

we celebrate them and make them into art,

giving them new life.

It's the meaning of my work.

So, mending.

Excellent presentation, Qi'an.

- Thank you.
- Who is next?

Light, please.

I hope you enjoy my presentation
about the jewels of the Magna Graecia.

From the south of Italy,
the ancient Greeks left us…

Lucky you.
You can go out this evening!

This evening?
I've got work to do.

Money is more important.

Look at how delicate
these curves are

and also how beautiful
they come into this picture.

What happened to your hair?

I did it this morning.

It's red, so it should help me
avoid bad luck.

Well, it's certainly having an effect.

Also, this ring here is very bright.

It comes from the stones
of Mediterranean Sea.



You scared me!

It was you who went out just now?

Went out?
No, I was napping.

Ah, your mum called me this afternoon.
She said you didn't answer her call again?

I couldn't. I was at work.

Hmm. Well, how was work today?

Hmm? You look very pleased.

I've got a weekend job.

The one I mentioned,
as a researcher for a private collection.

Is that it?
Not even an interview?

Perhaps they need someone urgently.

You're always the lucky one!

Am I lucky?

I'm simply fed up
with being a waitress at bars…

A cleaner at a golf club
and a Mandarin tutor.


Well, you don't have to.
Your family is not short of money anyway.

Ah! Can you take me with you?

I don't want to stay here on my own!

I thought you were going to finish
your design work this weekend?

You're right… I almost forgot.


I'm worried that I'm going
to fail the course!

It actually looks nice.

It's supposed to be a flower,
not this awful scar-like thing!


Give it a background story…

Something edgy, unique.

"Scar is no more a scar."



Use the word "healing"
and it will become a piece of art.

It's him again.


Leave me alone.

Leave me alone…

I'm sorry.



It's all right.

It's all right. It's all right.

That's strange.
They know we're coming.

It's such a grand house!

Of course!

I heard it's a…

… "grade-one-star-listed country house."


And all this is private?

Owned by one person? One family?
Or some noble English family?

I can't believe this…
there's no signal at all?

Let's walk around a bit.

You must be Qi'an and Aimo.
I've been expecting you.

I'm sorry about the front door,
it's being repaired.

No problem.
Nice to meet you, Shirley.

Nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you, Aimo.

Ladies, please, come in.

Thank you for allowing me
to come with Qi'an.

You're most welcome, my dear.

It's always nice having
young people about the house.

Ah, part of my teapot collection.
All English, I'm afraid.

But please, have a look.


Ah, this is a water ink painting.

Yes. It's nice, isn't it?


My Chinese sister-in-law.

- Really?
- She lives here?

She lived here.

She was very… talented.

The portrait is of my father, Anthony.

Now, he was a remarkable man.


So elegant.


This tea set was one of Susu's favorites.

Where is she now?

She died.

A long time ago.

I'm sorry.

Please, have some more tea.

Do you live alone?

It's very quiet here, Qi'an.

My brother's son, Benjamin,
he runs an art studio in London.

And he sometimes comes
to spend the weekend here.

Other than that, it's just…

Oh! Margaret.

Let me introduce you.

Margaret is my loyal friend.

Well, she's almost like a sister to me.

She lives close by
and takes good care of me.

She makes sure I don't starve, don't you?

This is Qi'an and Aimo.

Nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you, madam.


So pleased to meet you.
I have made you some scones.

- Thank you.
- Thank you.

It's lovely.
Thank you, Margaret.

My pleasure, my lady.

Just like you,
Susu used to love them so much.

Oh, look at this.
The fireplace.

It's 800 years old, you know.
Even older than the house.

Those Biblical figures
used to upset poor Susu.

This way, ladies.


Oh. There is door here?

Oh, amazing.

Yes, it's known as a servant's door.

The servants used it
to come through to serve the food

and then go back to their quarters,
but my father changed it completely.

Please, this way.

My father was a famous collector.

He turned this house into a museum.

Are these all genuine?

Yes, of course.

In fact, our collection is more extensive
than the film museums in London.

There is no phone reception here.

Excuse me, do you have Wi-Fi?

No. We only have a landline here.

This way, please.

This is our Steenbeck.
A most wonderful editing machine.

Have you used one before?



Before she came to the UK,

Susu was quite a famous actress
with the Kunqu Opera.

We filmed her singing here in this house.

This is one of her films.

The rest are up there.

What I need you to do is
to identify and collate each film,

make a note of the lyrics
and translate them into English.


But please, take your time.

There is no need to rush.

Sure. We can manage. Don't worry.

Your beloved Opera.

It's been such a long day.
I am exhausted.



I really don't want to stay
in this side of the house.

It feels like this place is haunted.

I have to get this bit done first.

I don't want to spend
too much time on it.

Okay, don't stay up too late.

Getting more sleep
will help your skin problem.


I know.

Have you finished?

What time is it?

Is anyone there?

Open the door, please!

This is Dirk! Please!

I need to talk to you!

It's important!

Have you just finished?

Where have you been?

A man was knocking on the back door.
I went to check.

Who was that?

Never mind.

- Good morning.
- Good morning, ladies.

Good morning.

Good morning.

Ah, what a big meal.
Thank you, Shirley.

You're most welcome, my dear.



Thank you.

I heard a man knocking
on the backdoor last night.

He said his name was Dirk.

Ah, yes.
Dirk Cain, our neighbor.

The poor soul suffers from insomnia.

Have some tea.

Thank you.

- Insomnia?
- Mm.


So, all the doors are
properly locked at night?

Of course.

Oh, my dear.
Dirk is perfectly harmless.

Unfortunately, Qi'an,
there is nothing we can do,

except put up with his silly nonsense.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is
there's nothing for you to worry about.

You're perfectly safe here.

- But...
- Sure, it doesn't bother us.


No, thanks.

Yeah. Thank you.

Miss Ross?

Joia, please.

Hi, Margaret.
Nice to meet you again.

How do you do?

As well as the projectors,

we have a wonderful collection
of cameras here.

Oh, this is beautiful.

Ah, yes.

Bolex 16 millimeter.

We have an original here,
you know, from 1933.

It was one of my father's
most treasured possessions.

How wonderful.


Oh, let me.

How do I put it?

Opera and film are my passions.

If the stage was my lover,
then film would be my soulmate.

Interesting. Hm.

I know you are very intelligent, Joia,
and you're always welcome here.

Although, the collection
is not officially open to visitors.

I don't want to be a nuisance,
but this time, could I stay here?

It would only be for a day or two.

Yes, Benjamin mentioned that to me.

What can I say?

He's very fond of you.

He's lovely.

I did think he'd be back
for the weekend, or not?

I've many questions.
I'd like to interview you and him.

I need to know all about Susu's story,
about your story.

All of your stories.

Ah, Qi'an, Aimo.

Uh, let me introduce Joia.

She'll be joining you in the workshop.

- Hi.
- Hi.

I'll see you all later.
I'm going to prepare some dinner.

Thank you.

Please come in.

Kunqu is a real heritage
to all mankind.

You speak very good Mandarin.

I lived in Beijing for a couple of years.

You are a writer, linguist
and also teach history of music?

Not quite!

I'm writing a biography
about a Kunqu star, Susu.

She used to be the lady of this house.

When I first saw you in the corridor,
I was shocked by the resemblance.

She moved to England in 1982

and got married
to Anthony Stuart's son, Charles.

That's when she gave up
her career in Kunqu.

She was so beautiful.


Unfortunately, she took
her own life 20 years ago.

Oh, my God.


It seems it often happens with beautiful,
gifted, yet mysterious people.

No one knows why.

I had a chance to talk
to one of your neighbors earlier today.

A guy named Dirk Cain.

Hm, he seems rather popular today.

Does he work in the church?

- No, he's just a warden.
- Oh.

No wonder he seemed so talkative.

He seemed to think
that Susu was still alive.

Well, the poor man…

he's obviously very confused.

I suppose he must have
mistaken Qi'an or Aimo for Susu.

I did.

Although, I think I like the idea
of the dead still existing

in the minds of the living.

It's sad and rather poetic.

Yes, but is it Kunqu?

I hope you're not going to put that sort
of commercial nonsense into your book.

It's supposed to be a serious biography,
not a romantic novel.

I don't care about being commercial,
but the truth can be romantic.

More romantic than fiction, sometimes.

You wait till I finish.

Once I get to it, even you'll be amazed.


And thank you for letting me stay here.

I'll try and be worthy of your generosity.

Yes, I'm sure you will, my dear.

Thanks, Margaret.

I'd like to propose a toast.

To arts.

- To beauty.
- To art.

And beauty.

Anyone there?
Open the door, please! Open the door!


Wake up!


Wake up!




Hello, Joia.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry to surprise you.

It's okay. No, don't.
You might cut yourself.

I'm sure Margaret will have
a dustpan and brush.

Secret chamber.

What are you doing here?

A tour, I suppose.

Night at the museum. You?

I just couldn't sleep.

I'm thinking about
going back to the workshop

to do some more work, maybe.

Oh, no, darling. It's getting late.
Let's try and get some sleep, shall we?

I was just like you, you know.
Working overtime.

This will seriously
affect your metabolism.

It was just a nightmare.

I think that most people,

when they have these bouts of insomnia,

I think we've all had them…

usually your thoughts go
to the darker moments in your life.

Just don't let this control you.

Are you staying here for long?

Not at all.

Actually, I was going to ask you
a big favor.

If you could give us a lift
to the station when you go.


Thank you.

You don't believe
in ghost stories, do you?

Not really. Why?

If we search all the rooms,
we'll find Susu's.

The one where she died.

Unless, of course, you think Dirk
could be right and she's still alive?

Do you want to go on a midnight adventure?

I think I'd better go back
to develop a good sleep habit,

as you suggested.

Yes. You're right.


Good night.

Good night.

Qi'an! Qi'an!

Wake up!

Wake up!

Was is that dream again?

Has it got worse?
You didn't sleep well last night, did you?

Don't scratch it.

I've told you those creams
contain hormones,

which only make you
feel better temporarily.

They make the problem worse
in the long run.

And they might leave you with spots.

Oh, no! I left the cream in the corridor.

I need it now.

You should watch where you're stepping.

Please put me down.

I'll ask Margaret to clean that up.

Would you please put me down first?

Oh, yes. Of course.

But your feet are cut.

Not everyone is convinced
that running barefoot is wise.

I'm sure…

barefoot and a bathrobe

is not best way to meet new people.

And this is for when
the bandage comes off.


I have plenty.

Thank you.

I was looking for you.



Aimo, Benjamin.

Benjamin, Aimo.

Hi, Aimo. Nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you.

What happened to you? Are you okay?

Oh. I'm okay.

Good morning.

- Morning.
- Good morning.

Good morning.

That's all the lyrics in Chinese,

with the start
and the finish times of each one.

I will translate them
when we are back in London.

It shouldn't take more than two days.

This is excellent.

You've done well.

Um, when's the next train?

I wouldn't rely on the weekend schedules.

Very often, services are cancelled
at the last minute.

Oh. I can't believe Joia left last night.

Wasn't she going to stay for the weekend?

Must be some emergency.

Well, it would be better
if you left tomorrow.

It'll be a nice countryside break
for you Londoners.

It's not that I didn't want to call, Mum.

I couldn't, there was
no signal in the house at all.

We're leaving tomorrow… okay?

Great. Bye.

She must be worried about you.

Finally we get reception here.
Do you want to call home?


My parents are too busy to speak to me,
especially during weekends.

I hear you run an art studio.
Where is it?

What do you make there?

We are a small company
and we hire talented artists

to reproduce Pieter Bruegel's paintings

and we sell them on the internet.

That's nice.

Let's go outside.
It's nearly stopped raining.

Yeah, sure.

You're one of the girls
from the Stuarts' house.

Listen to me.

That writer, she died
in a car accident last night.

She must have seen something
in the house,

something about Susu
she wasn't meant to see.

Do you know anything?

Who are you?

Why are you here?
Tell me, tell me now!

Dirk has been mentally ill
ever since I can remember.

People said he was in love with Mother.

I think he must have mistaken you for her.

You two do look alike.

Apart from my family,
no one has any interest in all these.

Your family has been living
in a different world.

Perhaps a better one.

They were not living
in the same world, unfortunately.

My father is very normal, but…

Mother was an artist.

Is that a problem?

As long as they know about each other,
and they communicated…

I'm sorry.

What for?

I know about your mother.


Everybody knows.

It was quite some time ago.

I'm sorry.

There should be
a hairdryer in the bathroom.

No, she can't.

It will make the skin problem
on her neck worse.

Ladies, I have made winter noodle soup.

Sounds very nice, Margaret.

Yes, Benjamin has loved this,
ever since he was a small boy.

What's in the soup?

Oh, some special ingredient, of course.

My little lizard.

I hope you will enjoy the taste.

Oh, Opera.

Opera must have done something
that made you unhappy,


Margaret, would you take it away, please?


Poor Opera.

What could you have done to deserve this?

We may not stay a week.

Why shouldn't we stay?

Oh, I don't know, it's just that…

Well, you might not get on
with Alexander.

Or I might not get on
when it comes to that.

We haven't seen each other
since we were kids.

I didn't even
know you had a brother.

I'm not surprised.

Oh, Benjamin. You are here.

Hi, Aimo.

- How are you doing?
- Fine.

Qi'an's packing.

We are leaving
the first thing tomorrow morning.

Sorry about dinner.

Shirley can be rather headstrong.

It's okay.

I didn't know there was such
a wonderful private cinema here.

Are you watching a film?

A film?

Yes. Why not?

Can I join you?

Sure. Come, take a seat.

- Comfortable?
- Yes, thank you.

You must sleep.
Plenty of rest is what I prescribe.

Did Malcolm…

Did your father ever tell you
that I was adopted?

I know why you're going.

You've been hearing
those voices again, haven't you?

They're not voices.


I wish I would've told you about it.

Lot of old rubbish anyway.

But I don't
expect you to understand.

As a matter of fact, I have had
a strange feeling about this trip.

It's one of the main reasons
I've decided to go.

Please don't do this. Don't.

Please don't do this!

Get away from her!

Stop crying!

What are you afraid of?


I will call the police.

She seduced me.
You don't know the half of it.

How dare you!

Don't make things worse for yourself.

You should consider yourself lucky.

Do you really think
you could get a room at this price

anywhere else in London?


Wake up.

You're awake, aren't you?

You shouldn't leave the facemask
on too long.

It'll dry out your skin after 15 minutes.

Hello, you've reached Aimo.

I can't take your call right now.

Please leave your name and message.

I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

The car was completely burnt out.

How dreadful.

She was such a nice girl.

Do you have any idea
what could have caused the fire?

A lot of different things
in a car can start a fire, sir.

It'll be a while before we know
what happened.

Yesterday Dirk told me
she had an accident.

What? Dirk?

How terrible.

Excuse me, sir.
I'm sorry to interrupt.

But could you give me and my friend
a lift to the station when you leave?

If it convenient.

Sorry, miss. I would,
but it's against regulation.


Why didn't you tell
the police what Dirk told you?

And what's the hurry?
I haven't packed yet.

Benjamin could give us a lift later.

I'm in a hurry.

You can stay and consider
your options if you want.

What's making you so angry?

You're making things awkward for me.

It's Benjamin, isn't it?

What are you thinking?
Can't you just say it?


What should I say?

And I don't understand,
what are you thinking?

Trivial stuff.

Trivial stuff?

Of course it's hard for you
to understand me.

You passed your exams with flying colors,
while I failed to graduate.

Your mum calls you every day
and cares about you.

And… when we go home,
you'll return to Beijing,

while I end up in the same small city
that I hoped I'd escaped from!

This is my life.

And this is why you always
look down on me, isn't that so?

That's enough. Stop it.

This conversation is getting us nowhere.
It makes no sense to me.

Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.

Well, anyway…
We are not the same kind of person.

You know what?
I really feel sorry for Henry.

I'm sorry about the argument
between you and Qi'an.

Let her be.

Actually, I recognized you very early on.

I've been in the bar
where Qi'an works a couple of times,

and, uh, you were there every time.

The anonymous job post,

well, actually, this job.

Did you set it up especially for her?

I didn't think she was
happy working at the bar.

Do you like her?

There's no need to be
embarrassed like this.

I'm just not that into you.

I used to believe people of talent…

people with dreams, people with money…

they don't really care
about anything except themselves.

They're just arrogant
and feel superior to others.

So I didn't expect that…

she would be angry with me,

let alone run away by herself.

It's cowardly.

But I…

feel relieved.

It's the first time I feel
that she's the same as me.

It's such a beautiful room.

This is Mother's boudoir.

It's been kept like this
ever since she passed away.

I guess she enjoyed arts?


Playing poker or mahjong?

I have a present for you.


It's a Beijing Opera robe.

Or Kunqu,

or Yueju.

It's beautiful.

I'd say it was almost tailor-made for you.

Try it on, Aimo.

The opera robe is not for every day.

I do enjoy role-play,
but Kunqu is not my thing.

Anyway, I need to go.

Would you give me a lift
to the station, please?

Hello, you've reached Aimo.
I can't take your call right now.

Please leave your name and message.
I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

- Qi'an.
- Hi.

Oh, my darling, what happened?

Uh, I'm really sorry I'm back here again.

Is Aimo still there?

- Aimo?
- Yeah.

No, she went to the station
to catch you up.

Didn't you meet her there?

No, I tried to call her,
but just remembered

there's no signal or reception here.

Well, I told you, she went to the station.
She'll be on the train by now.

Then I will go back
to the station and, uh...

Why don't you come in
for a cup of tea first?

The next train's not due until after six.

Okay. Thanks.


Such a beautiful name, don't you think?

I've had him for years.

Doesn't make a sound.

No trouble.

Makes a better pet than most.

He's quiet.

No strange needs.

And the best thing is…

he can't live without me.

I'm his only parent and protector.

But I overlooked something.

Just like his mother,

he can be easily led into misbehavior…

after all.

Oh, God.

Tell me you didn't do anything to her.

Don't talk to me in that tone!


My apologies.

What a mess.

Anyhow, Qi'an's my guest.

I must insist that you
treat her more kindly.

I love you, Shirley.

She's not your mother!

Then who are you to me?

Are you awake?

I've always wanted
to introduce you to my mother.


This film was made by my father.

They were very much in love.

I loved them too.

But I watched Mother kill herself
and couldn't stop it.

Not sure if I wanted her to live.

I was frightened.

So I made despicable…

cruel mistake.

It's all my fault.

It's all my fault.

He is having a heart attack.

What are you doing?

What are you doing?

The rain has stopped.
Why don't you close the umbrella?

I know.

What's happening to me?

What was in the tea?

You'll like it here, Qi'an.

Where is Aimo?

Would you like to stay here with me?

I hope that's all right.

Very good, Father.

Shirley and Charles are both disabled,
but they never appear together.

Anthony Stuart doesn't
have a daughter, Shirley.

She is really Charles.

He's got a cross-dressing fetish.

He's a recluse, so nobody asks about it.

Even if he does,

does that have anything to do
with Joia Ross's car accident?

I think she found something
in the Stuarts' house.

That's why she was killed.

Look, do you want a drink? Tea? Water?

Do you have any evidence, Dirk?

Twelve months ago,

a girl from the village takeaway

Are you saying you know
something about that case?

The Stuarts' garden is very big,

but I'll have some evidence, very soon.


Before we go any further on the subject,
I'll remind you that's a private garden.


What would your GP suggest?

Just do what you've got to do,
and then get rid of her.

Father, do you still remember Mother?

Benjamin, she is not your mother!

You disappointed her in every way,
and she killed herself.

Hold on, Qi'an.

I'll look after you in just a second.

You ignored Mother all the time.

You locked her, trapped her,
you tortured her.

- No.
- You forced her to abandon me.

So, now you leave me with no choice.

Look at you.

Incapable of being a man.

Just a sort of half-monster.

Please, don't be like this with me.

You're my only anchor.

But to me, you ceased
to exist a long time ago.

Mother lived through you,
do you understand?

But even she got fed up
with decrepit old you.

Mother and I have both agreed
the time has come for you

to rot here, in the dark,

by yourself.

You killed your wife.

Now you want to kill your son?

I don't have a son.

I have nothing.

I brought you up these 30 years.

I'd forgotten
what a cold-blooded animal you are.

A bloody bastard!


So what?

You and Mother were very much in love?

You and I loved each other?

We both have the same father!

Everything here belongs to him.


They live here.

They die here.

And they rot here.

Very poetic, but I must confess
that I've gotten

very, very tired of your non-stop talking.

That's why I brought Qi'an here.



What you're doing here
is merely giving this great collection

some fresh blood.




Open the door!

- Don't you realize…
- Let me go!

…that's an antique?

Sorry the conversation took so long.

I'm going to have to clean
that wound to prevent infection.

No, Benjamin.

I think I should leave now.

Aimo may be back in London.

I don't think so.

- Open the door!
- Shh, shh, shh!

Quiet. Shh.

Quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet.

You won't be going anywhere, Qi'an.

Sir, you're back.

Please just put it down there.

I'll feed them myself.

Course, sir.

Good, isn't it?

Good you're back.




Benjamin, darling.
Is there anything else I can do for you?


Would you give these a clean, please?

Don't worry, darling. Consider it done.

You're the best, Margaret.

- Always.
- Always.

You'll need this.


Don't you realize they're genuine?

So rude. So mean.

Do you have any idea
what you've done here?

God, this hurts.

Why would you do this to me?

You are the real beauty.

But the beauty is no longer
from the sensory aspect,

but the sacred, extraordinary, surreal.



And I am the inventor

of the best manifestation of this beauty.

Don't… touch… me.


Don't touch me.

I told you, Benjamin.

Don't touch my hair.

You're too naughty.

You've disappointed me so much.

Do you all want me to die?

Mother, don't lock me up.



- Where's Benjamin?
- Oh, dear Lord!

Didn't they teach you
any manners at that bible school?

My apologies, Margaret.
I need to speak to him.

- Where is he?
- Do you have an appointment?

My God! Mind your dirty boots!

Benjamin! Where are you?






No, no, no, no.

Shh, shh, shh.

Don't be afraid.

He was just a complication.


And now, everything's been resolved.

I feel so light.


noticed you…

for a long time.

Longer than you could realize.

It's great

to have you here.

It hurts.


Help me.

Father Dirk.

I won't be able to make it if I stay.


Could you take me away?

I can't.

I can't just take you away
like this, Mrs. Stuart.

There's no escape.

There is no salvation.

Besides, you have a lovely boy.

♪ I wanna hold you ♪

♪ I wanna kiss you ♪

Qi'an, come for a drink
after work with me.

Thanks. Next time.

Are you sure?
Shall I leave the lights on for you, then?

Yes, please.


Don't be too late.

I'll see you tomorrow.

See you tomorrow.