The Song of Names (2019) - full transcript

Several years after his childhood friend, a violin prodigy, disappears on the eve of his first solo concert, an Englishman travels throughout Europe to find him.

It is sometimes said that
both the shortest

and the longest distance in art

is that between the very
good and the truly great.

Well, tonight, David Eli Rapoport

may well cross that divide.

Those of us who have been privileged
to hear his promotional recording

are unanimous in declaring
the extraordinary playing

by this 21-year-old Polish immigrant:

"Music from the gods."

So great has been the impact
of this recording by Rapoport

on the classical music world

that one tends to forget

how little known his name still is.

And tonight will be his first-ever concert

on an international stage.

Nothing yet.

Oh, he's had an accident.

- There's no other explanation.
- We don't know that.

Martin, I'd like you
to telephone the hospitals.

I already have, Father.
Mr. Sanderson's doing it again now.

- Has anyone informed the police?
- It's too early for that.

How was he this afternoon?
Was he all right at rehearsal?

- He seemed fine.
- Did he take the violin with him?

- He takes it everywhere. He takes it to the loo.
- Oh... Oh!

stop working yourself up into a froth.

- Perhaps his watch stopped.
- A self-winding wristwatch does not stop.

- Well, it does if you drop it.
- Might have got stuck in the traffic.

- Did he say where he was going after?
- He didn't.

Dovidl does things his own way,
Mr. Simmonds.

Helen's right. He's probably walking here.
He likes walking in the rain.

With a Gagliano under his arm?

I'll keep an eye out.

Have you seen who's out there?

Peers of the realm, members of Parliament,

The Times music critic.

Such people are not to be kept waiting.

This means as much
to him as it does to you.

- Does it really?
- I know.

You don't know, Martin.

He could be lying in a gutter somewhere,



They'll have to be told.

Let me do it.

My lords, ladies, gentlemen,

it is with great regret I have to tell you

the performer you have come to see
is unable to be here this evening,

so the performance cannot take place.


may be claimed at the box office.


Take your pills. Don't
wear the same shirt twice. Sell music.

Oh, here, Martin. Hey, Martin. Here.

Taxi's here. You're late, by the way.

You'll miss the train.
And the music competition.

And if the estimate for the roof arrives,
let me know as soon as possible.

- Why?
- Because I might have to walk home.

Have a good trip.

King's Cross.

I have every confidence
that this year's finalists

will maintain the high musical standard

for which Tyneside is justly famous.

Vienna of the north.

So without further ado,

let competition commence,

and may music speak louder than words.

- Our final young musician...
- Can we go home now?

- Came from South Shields.
- One genius, maybe two.

Please put your hands
together for Peter Stemp.

Professor Flesch?

What do you think?

Too many flourishes.
You are not Kreisler, young man.

Kreisler is not Rapoport.

You will teach him? He is genius.

I am sent 10 geniuses a month,
Pan Rapoport.

If your son accepts that he has still
something to learn, perhaps I can teach him.

- You are staying in London?
- No.

I go back to Warsaw
to my wife and daughters.

If I can find somebody to take David,
I leave him here.

Do you know of Jewish family, Mr. Simmonds?

I can pay a little.

As it happens,
I do have a family in mind, Mr. Rapoport.

It isn't Jewish, but it is musical
and will cost you nothing.

This is English family?

It is. My own son is David's age.
They would share a bedroom.

I can promise you the tenets
of your religion will be fully respected,

its requirements met in every regard.

- You understand?
- Yes.

It's a good family.

I have something for you.

Be brave, son. I'll be back.

I don't want you in my room.
I like being on my own.

- It is not your choose.
- Wrong, clever.

It is my "choose."

I decide if it's all right.

And if it isn't, you go back to Poland.

And the Germans are going to invade Poland.

You'll have to wear a yellow star,
and you'll be bashed up by brownshirts.

What is "bashed up"?

You better not snore, that's all.

If I snore, I snore in tune.

I am musician. You play?

Piano... a bit.


A bit.

Everything for you is "bit."

I am genius.

I help you.

You will be "bit" genius.

Bet I could get you down.

- Also fight a bit.
- Bloody foreigner!

- You can't even talk proper English.
- Do you speak Polish? Russian?

- German? Yiddish? Hebrew?
- We're in England, stupid.

What's your name, anyway?

Dovid Eli Rapoport.

My family call me Dovidl.


Martin I. Simmonds.

I call you Mottl.

- Hello.
- How do you do?


So, what's all this about?

You didn't give Peter the prize,
and now we're having this posh lunch.

Not my decision.

So you would've made Peter the winner then,
if it was up to you?

Well, the girl is further along.

Peter needs more time, better tuition.

- Who's been teaching you?
- He gets lessons at school.

- I can't afford fancy teachers.
- We can discuss that.

You know a good cheap one, do you?

- Several good, none cheap.
- In Newcastle?

- In London.
- Oh, well.

I'll just have to sell the yacht,
then, won't I?

Well, I could help with
tuition during the holidays.

So you think Pete's that good, then?

He'll never be a Heifetz, but he could make
a living with an orchestra or teaching.

Who's been teaching you?

- School.
- Mm-hm.

And somebody else.

That thing you do with the rosin.

Oh, that's for good luck. I can stop.

But who is it?

Maybe I know him.

You don't know him.

He's a virtuoso, about my age.

It's not Pete you want, is it?

Come on, Pete, we're going.

Thanks for lunch.


I'll take you to him.

This is Mr. Simmonds, Billy.

He's gonna pay for me
to have lessons in London.

What did I tell you? I told
you you'd get discovered.

He says you've been helping him.

I showed him a few things.

- That's very kind of you, sir.
- Where did you learn to play?

Who wants to know?

Your best customer.

He never told me his name.

It was years ago.

- And where was this?
- London.

I used to play the cinema queues up west,
when they had cinema queues.

I was outside the Odeon,

playing the theme music,
you know, from the film,

and this cheeky little bugger comes up
and tells me I could do with some lessons.

"Oh, yeah?" I says. "Who from?"

"I don't normally give lessons," he says,

only he's saving up for
some trip he wants to go on.

I assume he demonstrated.

Takes the violin right out of me hands.

You never heard
nothing like it in your life.

Crowd starts chucking half crowns,
10 bob notes.

I give him half. Fair's fair, right?

- When was the last time you saw him?
- Important, is it?

He gave me a few lessons,

twice a week for a while.

One day, he didn't turn up.
Never saw him again.

Must have gone on that trip.

Did he say where?

He said something about
going home to play for the ashes.

His exact words were...?

Something about a song.

Going home to play a song.

For the ashes.

Helen, I think I might have found him.

- Did you hear what I said?
- Yeah.

Yeah, I heard.

You should get some sleep, honey.

I'll speak to you tomorrow, okay?

Germany has invaded
Poland and has bombed many towns.

General mobilization has been
ordered in Britain and France.

Hostilities have been going
on since early this morning

along the frontiers between
Germany and Poland.

There is no news about
the progress of either side.

The German Supreme Command announced
at half past 11 this morning

that German troops had
crossed all the frontiers,

that the German air
force had gone into action

and that the German navy
had taken charge of the Baltic.

According to the Poles, it was at about...

I'm sure your family will
be all right, David.

- Have you written home?
- I am writing letter.

Good lad.

Can I make more letter now?

- Permission granted, old chap.
- He hasn't finished his dinner.

Special dispensation.
Go and finish your letter, David.

It was earlier reported that
in a big attack about 9:00,

Warsaw itself was bombed.

- The Polish worry...
- It's not fair.

What isn't?

No bacon allowed in the house.

No milk puddings.

Special food for the genius,
and he doesn't even have to eat it.

If you'd like to take over preparing David's
food, you may have a say in whether he eats it.

And he's a liar.

He's not writing a letter.

It isn't very nice, Martin,
to tell tales on a friend.

My friends don't wet the bed.

Considering the position his family is in,

I'd say wetting the bed is the
least we can expect from him.

Why don't you go and
see if you can cheer him up?

Didn't seem all that down to me.

That's a wicked thing
to say. Go to your room.

Hitler alleging in his speech:

"Every bomb will be answered with bombs.

Whoever fights with poison gas
will be fought with poison gas."

I have cold.

They'll be all right.

We'll smash the Jerries up for you.

No one stands up to the British army.

Play you a game of chess, if you like.

Chess with you take my
mind off for two minutes.


I feel lucky.

Oi! You thieving little bleeder!

- Here.
- Great.

We make good team, yes?

- You want fight?
- Yeah.

Professor Flesch isn't here.
I've been waiting an hour.

Wow. I wonder where he could be.

Back in Hungary, probably.

He thinks the Waffen-SS are
coming over London Bridge.

Jozef Wechsler of Warsaw.

Gilbert Simmonds. I believe
Professor Flesch has mentioned you.

Dovid Eli Rapoport, also of Warsaw.

Your boy will need to find a new teacher.

You know Dr. Steiner of Leipzig?

I know of him.

He's in London now.

He has played Mozart with Einstein.

I learn physics, I go to Einstein.

Mr. Wechsler is not recommending Einstein
as a violin teacher, David.

- I practice alone.
- Mm.

And from who will you learn humility?

Not from you.

Let's see for ourselves, shall we?

Actually, Steiner's not a bad idea.

I do not need teacher. Only to practice.

Who will make sure you don't skip the
tricky bits when your fingers are hurting?

How about me?

- You are a boy.
- Older than you.

Fifty-five days older.

Boys, please.
It's a very mature undertaking.

I'm more mature than he is.

Well, then, if you're finished
demonstrating your maturity...


Suppose some difficulty were to arise

that I needed to know about, and
your friend asked you to keep it from me.

Wouldn't that be a conflict of loyalties?

My loyalty's to you, Father.

Very well, then. Let's give it a go.

Not a bad idea, huh?

Not bad.

- I might have been a burglar.
- Heh.

With his own key?

Locksmith by trade.

So how was your trip?

Made the train fare back.

And what did you find?

He was still in London in 1952.

Oof. There's a hot trail for you.

Whatever his reason for not turning up,
at least we know he wasn't dead.

Just because he was alive 30-odd years ago
doesn't mean he is now.


- This gonna be your new hobby, Martin?
- Mm-hm.

Finding David after half a lifetime
so he can crap all over you again?

If you'd lost a brother...

- Oh, please. He wasn't your brother.
- It's not a competition.

Everything is a competition.
Read your Darwin.

I don't want to have this
conversation right now.

I'm tired, and I'm hungry,
and I need a bath, so...

Okay. We'll have it later,
when you're fed and rested.

You can have it. I'll be the audience.

Where did he go in 1952?

- I thought you weren't interested.
- Historical curiosity.

Poland. He went to Poland.



- I didn't say you could stop.
- I've done enough today.

I decide when you've done enough.

- My fingers are hurting.
- They're supposed to. I'll tell him, Dov.

I mean it.

So same time tomorrow?

All right. Good night.

Cheerio. Cheerio, chaps.

- All right. Safe home.
- See you.

- Tittle-tattle.
- Baby.

Sorry to interrupt, boys.

Let's shed some light on the matter, eh?

Now you can see what you're doing.
Martin, how's the violin coming along?

- All right.
- What's he working on?

Pizzicato, Mr. Simmonds.

Good, good.
Well, you may as well keep at it

till Herr Hitler's Götterdämmerung
starts up.

You owe me one.

Just play.

Come along.

What are you doing?

- Do you want to get killed?
- It would have been like this.

This is what they went through.

My sisters, my parents.

- Martin!
- James!

Come on.

Look. Jozef Wechsler.

Have you learned how to play?

- David?
- Martin!

Come along, you two!

Here, sit yourself down.

Very good.
Here we are.

Boys, opposite.

You see him?

Over there.

- Oh, you lot took your bloody time.
- Yeah, well, we're here now.

Have a good night?

Where are you going?


There's a body.

What are you doing?

It isn't yours.

Don't do that!

Do you know what you
get for robbing the dead?

You get pound notes.

A firing squad, Dov.

I don't mind sharing.

Who do you fancy?
The ace of clubs has the best tits.

The four of diamonds has the best bum.

Your bar mitzvah's in 10 days, Dov.

You're supposed to be a man.

Looking at pictures of naked women
doesn't make you a man.

Neither does watching Shirley Smith undress
through binoculars.

That was a scientific experiment.

In what? Wanking?


Anyway, you don't look like a man.

Being a man doesn't mean that, does it?

What does it mean, O wise one?

Among other things, respecting the dead.

Why? Because they're dead?

This was a human person, Dov.

She probably went to bed planning to,

I don't know, make fish cakes.

And she ends up dead
in the rubble of her house.

Don't you feel anything?

Do you know how many
people died last night, Mottl?

I don't just mean in London.

Across occupied Europe.

Shot, bayonetted, blown up,

starved, burned alive, hung...

- That's not the point.
- Tens of thousands!

And nobody even knows their names.

So tell me, little man from NW3,

which ones am I supposed to feel for?

All of them, or just the ones
I trip over the morning after?

Come along, you two.

How old is the boy?

The boy is 13.

A man, Mr. Bailey, in David's culture.

Good fingers.

Thank you.

- Have you considered the luthier?
- Yes.

But nothing outrageously expensive,
Mr. Bailey.

Oh, agreed.

Shall we leave the
Strads to the millionaires?

I have something in mind.

This is a Nicolò Gagliano figlio.

The son of Alessandro Gagliano

made this violin in 1735,

the year of his father's death.

Many people think it's a tribute violin.

Happy bar mitzvah, David.

Thank you, sir.

See how she responds?

It will be a happy marriage.

Do you speak English?

I only... little English, yeah?

Is there a musicians' union in Warsaw?


David Rapoport. R...


No, I don't know how long.

Would have been here in the '50s... 1950s.


No, I think I need someone
who speaks English.

Thank you anyway.


Wait here. Back in a moment.

Thank you very much.

No news. I'm sorry, David.

I tried very hard.
It's difficult in Warsaw.

Are you sure you went to the right address?

Dzielna 21.

Your apartment,

the tenement your family lived in...

no longer exists, I'm afraid.

It's not the worst news, David.

Definitely not the worst.

Let's go home.

Come on.

David's family definitely survived
the ghetto. We know that much.

They were deported
before the uprising in '43.

Deported where?


I will not give up the search,
and you must not give up hope.

There are any number
of places they could be.

One of the DP camps.

Russia, possibly.

Why did you take Jozef Wechsler
to Poland and not me?

I play as well as he does.

The reason I didn't take you

is that I'm responsible for
you in a way I'm not for Jozef.

You're both Polish citizens...

Something we must rectify, by the way.

They could have kept you there.
Witness what happened to Jozef.

What happened to him?

His entire family's gone.
The Poles have kept him...

in an asylum.


Not in the shed.

Not in our room either.
And his violin's gone.

Is he likely to do anything silly?

Yes, Mother. Run away and join a band.

For God's sake, Martin.

Any idea where he might be?

Then go and find him.

Hello, Dov.

Mother thinks you've topped yourself.

Against my religion.

It's that thing I'm killing.

The varnished tyrant.

Why have I never seen this?

It's how I've kept them safe...

hiding them from everyone.

I'm not everyone.

Which one's Malkeh?

She's 5 there.

And Pessia was 9.

What was it like? That life?

Still life with Jews.

Boys playing football.

Old men praying.

Ritual baths for the women.

Malkeh was too young for that,
so she would stay at home.

I'd play her a lullaby at bedtime.

My father would wander
the streets every day, Mottl.


And every evening, except the Sabbath,

selling his jewelry,

these pieces he made at night
while the rest of us were asleep.

It's only presumption of death.

Why your rabbi won't allow
you to say kiddush, right?

Kiddush is the blessing over wine.

I can still say that.

This is the Kaddish.

Ooh... Don't, Dov.
They could still be alive.

Do you think I'd go
mad if I knew for certain?

Strip off and run naked through the streets
like Wechsler, waving my violin.

I don't think he did that.

Wechsler started out half barmy.

- And I'm not?
- You've got me.

- A stabilizing influence.
- Mm.

- Ordinary and boring.
- Good for leaning on.

- Like these rocks.
- Ah. Nice to know I'm good for something.

Stop fishing for compliments, Mottl.
This is my life crisis, not yours.

What about joint life crisis?
You know, joint suicide note.

We don't have to do it,
but it would drive my father nuts.

Do you think he'll ever recover?



Will he stay mad forever, do you think?

What do they do to lunatics in Poland,
I wonder.

Ice-cold baths?

Heap ashes on your head?

It's a place of ashes, Mottl.

It'd be exactly the right treatment.


I'm Martin Simmonds from London.

You came here with my father after the war.

Do you remember David Rapoport?

You played together during an air raid.

You are friend from Pan Wechsler?

A friend of a friend.

I was wondering if someone
we both knew had visited him.

Jozef has not much visitor.
His family is dead.

Just only the woman.


June 15 woman.

She comes one day every year.

June 15.

Pani Wozniak?

Anna Wozniak?

You speak English?


I was told you could help me.

What do you want?

I'm looking for David Rapoport.

You are Martin.

David came the year
your queen was coronated.

I lived on the same
street where he grew up.

It is how we met.

How long was he here for?

A few months. He was not
allowed a visa for very long.

And after?

This, he did not say.

They are allowed in private homes.

I took them down when David was with me.

It would not have pleased
him to see them, I think.

He's not a fan of religion.

What's this thing I'm supposed to witness?

- A ceremony.
- Another bar mitzvah?

Not quite.

Yeah, I suppose you need
one of those quorum thingies?

Oh, a minyan. No. Just a witness.

- Oh, a witness? So I qualify?
- Heh, heh.

Probably not to God, Mottl.

Only to me.

Do you think he knows
where your family is? God?

Oh, he knows. He just won't say.

- Would Jesus, if you asked him?
- Why? You thinking of converting?

Jews can't convert.

Wetting his head didn't
wash the Jew out of Jesus.

Ethnicity isn't soluble in water, Mottl.

It's a skin you're born in
and wear until the day you die.

Now, religion, well, that's a coat.

When it gets too hot, you can take it off.


This is perfect.

He's here.

The ceremony's for him.

Now, listen and don't interrupt.

Hear, O Israel and the God of Israel.

On this 19th day of Sivan,

in the year 5707, in London,

in the presence of Martin Simmonds,
also of London,

I, David Eli Rapoport,
son of Zygmunt and Esther Rapoport,

do freely and of my own will
renounce the faith of my forefathers.

- What are you doing?
- Converting. Be quiet.

To what?


I do most solemnly renounce and repudiate,
now and forever,

in the name of the surviving,

the reviled and discredited
faith of the perished,

the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,

the accursed faith of the despised, the
mocked, the persecuted, and the slaughtered,

the faith abandoned by Jesus.

Thus do I renounce Torah and Talmud.

Thus do I divorce myself
from the community of Israel.

And as I separate this garment,

so do I separate myself,
now and for all times,

from the beliefs, practices,
traditions, rituals,

and obligations of Zion.


Where was the ghetto?

- Under the ground.
- Mm.

Where the past belongs.

How long did he stay in Warsaw? For weeks?

Where was he staying?

For his first days, in a pension.

Not a very good one.

And then...

with me.

And one day, he disappeared.

Martin, I loved your friend.

It was probably a mistake.

You don't choose who to love.

Trusting him is a mistake.

You must stop looking for him, Martin.

It would not be good to find him.

- For him or for me?
- Both.

If he wanted to be found, don't you think
he would have come to you long ago?

My father thought he was dead.

Two months later,
he had a stroke, and it killed him.

David told me of your friendship,
not how it ended.

Why do you visit Wechsler?

I go in place of David.

He went there only once, to play for Jozef.

I was not permitted to hear it.
He sent me from the room when he played.

The only other time was in Treblinka.

He made me wait in the car
to play the song where the ashes are.

What song?

It was his obsession.

That's why he came to Poland.

This is where I waited.

None of this was here.

Only fields.

Some railway tracks.

His whole family was murdered here.

Did he ever talk about them?

Pessia would have been... 15.

Malkeh... 10, 11, I think.

They never appeared on any lists.

We always encouraged him to hope.

He never spoke of them.

To David, Jews were not Poles.

I am a Pole.

I live where he lived. I stole his life.

To him, I am one of the persecutors.

You were just a baby then.

You don't have to be guilty to feel guilty.

The morning after, I found a note.

He was gone.

He left everything behind.

What's everything?



His past.


His violin.

Wait a minute.

He left the violin?

I couldn't believe he did that on purpose.

Something so precious.

I rushed to the airport to return it.

He told me to sell it.

And send him the money?

- No. The money, I was to keep.
- And did you?

It was not mine to sell.

That is why he took it back.

I never lied to you, Martin.

He never told me where he was going.

When I was giving him the violin,
a flight was called.

Suddenly, he was in a hurry.

The flight was to New York.

Thank you.

God bless you, Martin.

I'm up here.


I didn't find him.

That's it?

Well, I found out where he went next.


New York.

- Next stage of the great quest.
- Mm-hm.

You used to like him.

Well, I used to like fairy stories.

You used to say he was fun.

Charismatic genius and all that.

Why are you wasting your time on him?

Our time.

I might be all he's got.

Well, I'm all you've got.

That was great fun.

He's pretty good.

I'm glad you're here, Mottl.

And the much-advertised Helen.

No interest in Israel, I assume,

but Mottl's here for me,
so you're here for him, yes?

A dance is a dance.

My brother, Dov the apostate.
Not soluble in water.

Shall I join up and shed blood for Israel,

I think they're only taking Jews, Dov.

There goes our reputation
for draft-dodging.

But they do take women. One up on God.

If you're an apostate,
why are you celebrating a Jewish state?

They give great parties.

- Never missed one yet.
- When was the last one?

516 BC.

Shall we?

We can dump him and go back if you like.

No, it's okay. Drop me off first.

I haven't seen him in lectures.
Is he in our year?

- He's at Cambridge, reading maths.
- Maths?

Music and chess equals maths.
Simmonds equation.

Dead and gone to heaven.

Am I supposed to be impressed?

Are you kidding? Maths and Dante.

Nice meeting you, Dovidl.

What do you think?

Impregnable fortress.

Best of British luck with that one,

Well done.

You should lock that in the dressing room.
It'll be safe in there.

Did Ulysses lock away his bow?

If it was pissing down in Ithaca,

- How do you think rehearsal went?
- How did it sound?

Great. Terrific. Magic.

It was crap.

Good crap though.

Great rehearsal, crap performance.

Crap rehearsal, great performance.

What are you gonna do now?
You've got four and a half hours.

- Get drunk?
- Oh, so droll.

International debut of David Eli Rapoport,
tiddly-fiddly comedian.

Isaac Stern meets Vic Oliver.
You know what you ought to do? Seriously.


I mean, totally.

Take my advice, kid. Get yourself laid.

- Is that what you're going to do?
- No.

I'll be having a haircut and a manicure:

Pulling my hair out in handfuls
and biting my nails to the quick.

See you in the trenches.

Yeah, can I help you?

I'm looking for a Gagliano.

Father, son, grandson?
Alessandro or one of the Nicolòs? What?

Nicolò, the son, 1735.

Well, listen, my English-sounding friend,

I'm sorry to tell you,
but I think that you are hunting dodoes.

I know of only two listed Nicolò figlios
that were made in '35,

and neither one of those
has changed hands in forever.

This one may not have been listed.

Oh, you're looking for a particular
unlisted violin? It's probably a fake.

Not a fake. It was sold
at Bailey's, in London.

My father, olav ha-sholom,
he used to do business with Adrian Bailey.

And fakes, he didn't sell.

Has anyone ever tried to sell you a...?

A Gagliano, 1735?

Are you looking for
the instrument or the owner?


A violin like that comes up for sale,
it doesn't come here.

- It goes to one of the big auction houses.
- This one hasn't. I tried.

When was...?

Four years?

Yeah, we got a call from a woman,

and she said Gagliano.

- My brother Hershel spoke to her.
- Did she give a name?

An address.

She wanted Hershel to schlep
all the way to Brooklyn to see it.

And not only that, she wanted him to come
a particular time, a particular day.

We both thought, "The husband doesn't know
she wants to sell this thing."

So he didn't go?

To a man my age and Hershel's age,
time is also a Gagliano.

Would your brother remember
the address in Brooklyn?

This is important to you, huh?

Crown Heights. Yeah.

Maybe I could find that address.

Yeah, don't go anywhere.

Sorry to bother you.
I was given this address.

Looking for a violin.

Go fetch your father.

Wait here, please.

You took your time, Mottl.

As you see,

I took off the coat...

I put it back on.

Say it, Mottl.

You have no fucking idea, do you?

Why did you do it?

I'm not sure you'd understand.

You know, when I abandoned the Holy One,

it took him four years to find me.

It's taken you 35.

Not bad.

Yeah, well, your God didn't punish you,
but maybe I will.

Oh, so will he, in time.

Blessed be his name.

My father put everything he had into you.

You ungrateful bastard!

Hebrew lessons, bar mitzvah,

the fucking violin!

That concert, he didn't even insure it.
He didn't think he needed to.

He treated you like a...
A favorite son for 12 fucking years,

and then you just
buggered off without a word!

He thought you were dead, Dov.

He lost everything that night.

And two months later,
he dies with your name on his lips.

Do you remember what you said to me
the last time I saw you?

"Get laid," you said.

So I did.

And in my eagerness,
I'd come out without cab fare...

and had to go back by bus.

Excuse me. Excuse me.

I'm sorry to interrupt.

Could you tell me where I am?

- Where are you from?
- Hampstead.



Your family?

Also Warsaw.

I'm from Warsaw also.

Before the war?

Before, during, after.

Ghetto, Treblinka, now here.

You survived Treblinka?

Yes. Some did.

Your family perished?

I mean, I don't know, but...

I know they were in Treblinka,
but we never...

Did you ever hear of them?

Zygmunt Rapoport?




Did you know any of them?

I am sorry, my young friend.

You want to know?

Take him.


Attention, please.


We have a Rapoport from Warsaw.

Get the rebbe.

Dovid, in our community,

we have a special duty given to us

by the Alter Rebbe in Treblinka

to remember the names of the dead.

These names were committed to memory

through a song.

Later, they were written down.

Rebbe, this is
Dovid Eli Rapoport from Warsaw.

He wants to know.

Welcome, Dovid.

I'm sorry to bother.

Please, take a seat.

Since there were so many names,

10 elders were chosen as
a minyan of remembrance.

But not many survived.

They set the names to music
to make them easier to remember.

This is oral tradition, Mottl.

It gave us the Torah...

passed down from mouth to
ear for a hundred generations.

It's the chain I cannot break.

How long does this song take?

Five days.

They do it in shifts.

Five rabbis, once a year.

I've only heard that done once.

So many names, Mottl.

Afterwards, I sat shiva. Full week.

No washing, no shaving, no diversions.

Just prayers.

The Almighty had remembered my family. I'd
abandoned him, but he hadn't abandoned me.

In return, I made him a promise.

I would compose a violin
version of the Song of Names...

and play it at Treblinka.

And I would devote
the rest of my life to his worship.

Do you know what one of the worst fears was
for Jews in the camps?

It wasn't dying.

It was dying with their entire family,

leaving nobody behind to
say Kaddish for their souls.

On Yom HaShoah each year,

I say Kaddish for them.

A concert no longer seemed important.

My life had changed.

If I had come back,
what would you have done?

I don't know.

I don't know.

I owe you a violin.

You owe me a concert.


I'm not a bright, new discovery anymore,
Mottl, you know?

I doubt anybody remembers me.

When I play now,
it's always in an empty room.

- No audience but God.
- They remember your recording.

Well, then let that be my memorial.

- That's not enough.
- It'll have to be.

It's not enough for me.
You owe me a concert.

And if you disappear on me again,
I will find you.


I have two conditions.


Hello, sir. Checking in?

- How do you know he'll be there?
- He'll be there.

Nobody changes, least of all him.

Yeah, well, he's got his
religion back, hasn't he?

He'll be the same selfish
asshole he always was.

- In a black coat.
- Here, can you help?

Can he still play?

- Well, that's the risk, isn't it?
- What's he risking?

This is exactly what your father did.

You'll spend every penny we've got.
He won't turn up.

You'll have a stroke. You'll die.
He won't even come to your funeral.

That's a bit morbid, isn't it?

True to form. It's now 10 to 8.

In artistic circles,
he's not even late for lunch.

- Has he told you the program yet?
- Mm-mm.

- No. It's one of his conditions.
- Heh.

Probably show tunes.

"Rusty virtuoso plays
the best of Broadway."

He wouldn't need to rehearse
for that, would he?

- Oh, you've seen him rehearsing, have you?
- Uh-uh. No. That's another one of his conditions.

He thinks that Dad is watching.

- He thinks that... God is watching.
- Hm.

Same old audience,
everyone he's let down before.



- David.
- You look well.

So that's it?

Thirty-five years and... "You look well"?

He's hungry. He's been
rehearsing silence all day.

No, I won't be eating.
None of this is kosher.

It's a kosher restaurant.

To them, not to me.

How's the hotel?

- Fine.
- Good.

So I know that we agreed
that you select the program,

but there are a few things
that we need to go over.

Such as?

That it won't include
"Doe, a deer, a female deer."

And that if you make a fool of me,
I will kill you.

Or I will.

So at the very least...

how long is the program?

How long was the original?

The '51 program?

- You're doing the '51 program?
- Isn't that what you wanted?

No, no, that's...

First part orchestral, Bruch.

Second part, solo.

Does it matter? He isn't gonna be there,
are you, David?

How's it going?

Still warm.

Want to feel?

You won't let me down, Dov?

No, Mottl.

I won't let you down.

Sorry, Mr. Simmonds.

It's the same freaking nightmare.
Where is he?

If I had to guess,
on his way to join a Tibetan monastery.

Did you think I wasn't coming?

Good evening.

I hope you didn't mind waiting 35 years.

Thank God.

- He can still play. I'll give him that.
- Yeah.

- It was good.
- It was crap.

Yeah, it was good crap though.

Wait 15 minutes.

Is it me, or is he being
just a little too compliant?

Oh, God.

My dearest Mottl,

you'll remember how I was forbidden
to say Kaddish for my family

until their deaths were confirmed
and the anguish this caused me.

It saddened me more than
I can say to learn from you

that my disappearance had caused
that same anguish in your father.

For this, I am truly sorry.

And above all things,

this time, I want you to be spared that.

Two months ago, when you found me, I told you
I no longer lived a life you would recognize.

I no longer thought of myself as an
individual, which an artist is required to be.

I chose instead to submerge myself
within a community of faith...

a body sharing a common history,

common values and a common memory,

to which the price of admission
is the surrender of self.

What you did, Mottl,
was return to me my individuality.

You thrust it back into
my hands like an unwanted gift.

I consider all debts paid today.

You have made me free,
and for that, I thank you.

But from the depths of my soul,
I must ask you not to find me again.

You must think of me now
as dead and act accordingly.

May the Holy One bless you and keep you
and your family always at his side.

Your affectionate brother, Dovidl.

Let him go, Martin.

How am I supposed to think of him as dead
when I know he's not?

Why, he's given you permission.

Probably the only
selfless thing he ever did.

- What's that prayer Jews say for the dead?
- The Kaddish.

Well, say that.

I can't. I'm not Jewish, I'm not his
brother and I know he's not dead.

That day he didn't show up...

when you left him after the rehearsal

and nobody knew where he went...

I'm where he went.

He was with me.

You're a better man than he is,
Martin. You always were.