Down to Earth (1994) - full transcript

The film tells a story of Mariana, a nurse who leaves Lisbon to accompany an immigrant worker in a comatose sleep on his trip home to Cape Verde. The devoted Portuguese nurse took a journey only to find herself lost in abstract drama. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food



That guy Leao...

- What do you want?
- The tall guy's had a fall.


- Yes.
- Mariana!

She can't sleep.

They give you sleeping pills...
for cirrhosis.

- It's dry.
- It's not cirrhosis.


I don't know how you manage
but it's no use, you won't listen.

Can I have it a second?

I always get home a mess.

He's strong.

What do you think? 60?

Just look at the litres of blood...

...I got off the sheets.

He's alive. Well...

He's from the Cape Verde Islands,
about 30 years old.

No ID, no family, no friends, nothing.

At work they say he didn't talk much.

No-one knows what happened.
He fell.

They say he was sad.

His name is Leao.

He's been 2 months in a coma.

he's been discharged.

The ticket's bought.

Leao's going home.

A cheque and a letter

from his village,

all anonymous,

a woman's letter.


Put him in the shade.

We're being met.

- It was all arranged.
- No-one tells us anything.

Now he feels at home.

Good luck!

- Are you going?
- Our mission's not over.

- But...
- No war here.

- What do I do?
- That's your problem.

We're to be in Cu?to
by nightfall.

Relax, we'll be back with medecine...
Within a week.

- What?
- In seven days we'll be back.

I thought you'd forgotten.

- Is he dead?
- Are you a relative?

Sidonio Pais.

- Do you want medecine?
- Don't need medecine.

He isn't dead.
His name is Leao.

You know best.

Don't you know him?

I'm from Amadora.
I'm here to see my wife.

- Where's the hospital?
- The other side.

Too fast?

Shaking you up?

Trust me, Amalia.

You know a lot, you're a witch.

Don't worry Mariana. He's OK.

You know me but not him.

Maybe he's from up there.

- Someone's expecting him.
- What? A welcome committee?

He's there, can't you see?

He's not mine.

I was told to bring him.

Where there's life
there's hope.

I was at San Jos? for 6 years.

- I'm at Santa Maria.
- Another world.

I had a nightmare
they wouldn't come.

Plusenix, Paviomix, Rimpamix...

much more modern...

Nice and modern.

What's that?

Thank you Mr Smith, Mr Kline,
Mr French. Thank you Mariana.

No-one comes home.

Every day I see them leave,
they never return.

Someone wanted him here.

No good comes of being ill here.
I can't do much for him.

What are the visiting hours?

Don't hold your breath.
This was a leper's colony.

People come.
They never leave.

Everyone has a Mum and Dad.

Some don't want to know.

It's a slow death.

- Where did you find him?
- By the market.

Bring me that new Triplice.

What a bore!

- I've so much to do today.
- You've no treatment!

Just chores.
Today, it's the vaccines.

I've to make couscous,
and cake.

- What's for lunch?
- Soup.

- Let me get on with my work.
- Get out! Get out!

Come here!

Wait till I get my hands on you.

This is trouble.

Amalia, new vaccines
for Tina and Tano.

Mega-doses for both.

Clean the needles.

Can you trust her?

She holds the place together.

- Does she sleep here?
- No. I close the door at night.

He closes it.

The boy guards us.
The girl's his soulmate.

- What about Leao?
- Are the needles clean?

Rascal! Out of there!

Mariana! Just you wait!

Ready now.



Good sandals
for the volcano...


Bayleaf and beef, delicious food.
Have some, Leao.

Have some of this food.

What are you doing?

Where's his serum?

Yesterday already
there was none left.

When did it happen?

She was under a tree,
she left everything open!

Everything's fine, just fine.

- There's no serum!
- Calm down Mariana.

- Tell her he can't be cold!
- This girl's crazy!

Leave him to me!

Amalia, give him some Xanax.
It's that leper business...

Are you staying
till the soldiers return?

It's a few days yet.
Please stay with me.

You'll be safer.

I live nearby.

Where did you spend the night?

- I told you they did.
- You deserve it.

I've waited for ages Edith.
I'm the youngest.

I'm too old. I can't wait.

You promised.

Is that her?

Her face?

Ugly as sin.

Those eyes.

Dark eyes, lying eyes.

Is he alive?

Love's tough. No balls.

Laughs like a death-head.

Is he dead?

He's called Leao.
Even in death he laughs.

Don't bother her any more.

Go away, you old madman!

Are you all right?

We ought to die as children
and be born old.

- Your music is lovely.
- Thank you,

Miss Mariana.

Everyone knows who I am.

Everyone says thank you Mariana.


You look sad.

The music's fine...

...which makes me happy.
It's my legs are weak.

That lady who was listening,

the pale one...

Serenades, I've never sung...

Don't you believe I'm happy?

Come and see my children.

For all you've done.

For Leao?

You'll see.

Take your shoes off.
The ground's hot.

Tina, my youngest!

All for you!

When I was younger,
with these legs...

I went from island to island,
playing, always playing.

Funerals, weddings,
from Brava to St Antao...

Music doesn't kill hunger.
Music doesn't kill misery.

Music doesn't kill tears.

Music is a bitch.
I worship her.

A man needs his reward.

A worker needs consolation.

I don't remember my first child.
The second's long gone.

Tcheka was born in Maio.

Kilim in St Nicholas.

Two's good, three's better.

Bassora was born in Santiago.

Tina is my only daughter.

I've more than thirty sons.





- Tcheka...
- Fatherless bastard.

My sons no longer come.
It's a disgrace.

- There's evil enough.
- Evil women!

When you were a girl you wouldn't
have me because you had no nails.

But no-one ever played like me.

Don't put a cross on my door.

Tina, don't let them.

We go from place to place...

Away from villages.

Even the dead dance!

Safe journey!

Remember to write!

Wish them well
so they remember us.

Are you leaving?

That's fate.
Mariana arrives, we leave.

We're going to Portugal,

to Sacav?m. Do you know it?

- Is it nice?
- Will you play there?

Music's an evil master.

We'll be navvies.
We've a contract.

The papers are all in order.

- We've got a patron.
- What about Tina?

She's staying.
When we've money...

When you've nothing...

...the tiniest thing seems a miracle.

You'll end up in a rathole.

Or worse,
dying in some hospital.

Nobody cares in Sacav?m.

Don't give in.

You ate our food,

you drank our wine.

Maybe it turned your head.

Not even the dead rest here.

Don't you hear them?

Is Leao your son?

Alina has more than 20 children.

She sold the pigs, everything.

In the coop we got credit.


We gave three goats.

I brought you your son.

You can't abandon him.

Thank you.

Bassora will show you home.

Maybe you had no-one,

or maybe you need no-one.

It's best not to leave
anything behind.

Your heart is wounded,

your heart speaks with sadness.

She bit you!

Putting the goats to sleep?

I won't hurt,

I'm just looking.

It's a bit swollen.

- What about your friend?
- He's going to Portugal.

To be a navvy like your Dad?

- Would you like that?
- No.

- Will you miss them?
- I'm too young.

I've got to get the butter.

Wait! I can't see.

- Who is the thin white woman?
- Miss Edith.

Edith? Who is she?

I know the music she likes.

Tina! Come here!

You do all the work,
it'll be a relief... be alone.

Leave her!

It's your fault. You killed him.

I only wanted to help.

- Tell your Mum I'm a nurse.
- I know.

The dog was wounded.

It could be dangerous.

I saw them stare...


My creole still isn't good.

I don't need help.


Edith, my name is Mariana.

She's boiling hot.

This is lovely but...

You need cooler things here,

so you can breathe.

Leave her! Let her sleep.

She doesn't want to talk to you.


I know you can hear me.

You can't stay here.

Come to the hospital.

She'll rest now.

I can come by if you want.

- She only speaks creole.
- Will he just rot there?

It's a question of revenge.

That dog saved my life.

I was attacked by a boy,

he was beating me,

the dog scared him off.

Whose is it?

They don't belong to anyone.

There's nowhere for them to go.

It's not hers, it was a man's dog.

Miss Alina? Good afternoon.

You see? I know your name.

- The vaccines...
- No-one's sick here.

They're for the kids...

This one yours?

- Have you got many?
- 20.

Be easier if they came to hospital.

I don't mind...

...if it means going round.

Leao's no trouble.

He's a relative, isn't he?

I don't see any improvement.

What's going to happen when I leave?

Look at your mother.


I've run out.
I'll come back tomorrow.

No, you don't need it.

He's his son,

our son.

Don't take him away,
he likes me.

He won't smell now.
He's dead and buried.

I only came to see how she was.

I made him a nice gravestone...
Was that wrong?

The cemetery's only for people.

Was it wrong?

He was family.

I forgot to put flowers.

You must put flowers,

he saved your life.

His tongue was all bitten.

I tried to put it back in his mouth

but I couldn't get it open.

His teeth were clamped down.

Do you know what I mean?

Have you ever seen it?

It's like people.

It's normal.


You can't apologize to a dog.

Dogs can't forgive.

- Don't make fun...
- I'm not.

I know who killed the dog:
The boy on the beach.

You know nothing!

You've had too much to drink.

Means there's less for her.

Did I do right, nurse?

You're beyond anything now.

- This how you treat patients?
- No. I don't pity them.


...except I'm not ill
and I didn't call for you,

did I?

Why are you here?

You know why.
Or didn't you hear?

You shouldn't have come.

What are you afraid of?

What do you mean?

You poke your nose...

I know your sort.

You've got the same expression
as her.

Still here!

- Look...
- She's your mother, isn't she?

Forget her.

She's so lovely, so young...

Just now, she smiled at me.

Or perhaps it wasn't a smile.

She's prettier than in the photos.

Speak Portuguese.

You didn't need to call.
I'm here.

Taste bad?


Leave me alone!

- Let me go!
- Sleep...

- Leave me!
- Go down and get him.

OK, it's over.

Now let me go.

I can't breathe.

Edith, he's asleep.

She should go to the hospital.

I've got nothing against you old man!

Filth! There's nothing
to protect here. Fuck this life!

My land!

Wake up Mariana!

Why won't you wake?

Wake up!

Dead man tried to kill...

Tried to kill Tano.

He's got a fever.
Was it you found him?

I was with my goats. Early.

The dead man went for me...

He came after Tano.

Who's Tano?


- Dead man after Tano...
- What's he saying?

He says
the dead man is after Tano.

- Dead man after Tano...
- Who hurt you Tano?

- You ask him.
- The dead man.

Tano, look me in the eye.

Don't be afraid.

Tina, where are you? It's dark.

Tina's here. Can't you see her?

- What's he saying?
- Don't worry. It's nothing.

This is ugly. We must sew it up.
Mariana, the alcohol...

Amalia, get me a Xanax...

Don't you miss clean sheets and baths?

I'm fine. Tell her to stop that.

Never mind. Amalia used to cook
at Tarrafal.

She made lunch and dinner
for convicts.

That changes a person.

He doesn't need you. I live alone.

I'll be here when he wakes.

Shit! I can't get this closed.

It's a knife wound.

There are teeth marks.

Why are you so happy?
Because you're alone?

They've gone off to Portugal.

Bassora was the one who liked you,
he wanted to stay behind.

- How old are you?
- 13.

Is Tano OK?

He could be worse.

But he's staying in hospital,
isn't he?

Are you pleased?

That way he won't go to Portugal.

If someone comes for him,
say he's very very ill.

You know what he's like.
What if he wants to go?

He doesn't.

You're the one
who doesn't want him to go.

You don't either.
You wouldn't wake up.

Read me this Tina,

it's in creole. That way I'll learn.

"Nha cretcheu..."
"My love...

"Our meeting will give us at least
30 years of happiness.

"I'm growing younger and stronger.

"I'd like to give you
10.000 cigarettes,

"a dozen fashionable dresses,

"a car and a house built of lava..."

I don't understand...

"And a bouquet of wildflowers.

"Most of all I want you...

"to drink a bottle of wine
and think of me.

"Here there's no end to the work.
There's more than 100 of us.

"On my birthday I thought of you.

"I hope you got my letter,

"your reply hasn't come.

"Every minute of every day, I wait,

"every day I learn new words for you.

"We'll have a language...
just to ourselves,

like silk pyjamas.

"I can only write once a month...

"and still nothing from you.

"Maybe next time.

"Sometimes I'm afraid
to build the walls...

"me with my axe and my cement

"you with your silence...

"a deep ditch pushing you...

"...further away.
Can't you hear me calling?

"It hurts inside...

" see what I don't want
to see...

"...your beautiful hair
like dried grass.

Sometimes I think
you'll forget me..."


I wanted to leave you a memento.

- You've forgotten Tano.
- He's wrong in the head.

Last night the devil...

- What did he do?
- Life doesn't want him...

- What did he do?
- He's wicked. Mariana says so...

We came for the lady, not you.

- Stop! That's over.
- You can't get rid of us all.

Aren't you going?

You're staying then?

I hoped you would stay.

We have to go. Not for long,
just to do this job.

Why? There's no point.

It's his house,
for when he's better.

You haven't seen him!

There are lots of things
you don't know.

He'll enter the house feet first.

Maybe he wants to be ill.

He's pretending!

Wake up!

Are you in pain?

Can't you sleep?

Dead man there tried to kill me...

And the dog? How did you do it?
With a knife?

Speak Portuguese! Don't lie!

I'll make you talk!
I'm not afraid of you.

I wasn't afraid on the beach,

you won't get away with it.

Nobody's going to help.

I think you're fine!

You've no scars, you're OK.

- Dead man there...
- What dead man?

Get up!

You're fine!

He's here. I can hear him.

Look at her.
She reminds me of...

- Shut your mouth!
- Those were the days...

- Think she saw us?
- No! She didn't!

Can it, cook-woman...!

You old whore, toothless hag!

You loony,
toothless thing...!

You're always in that hospital...

Kill myself over couscous...

- Better get eaten...
- You bore!

She's never hungry that one.

- You've hidden the wine Edith.
- Under the sink!

Pull out the bucket.

Letters, money...
I don't know...

What am I thinking of?

Let them all die...

...for generations to come...

Letters under skirts...

Stoning the police, kissing
the sergeant all I did for you.

Remember Xi?a, Edith?

I remember.

Now I'm sad,
let's deal with you.

I'm still pretty good.
Come on, you ugly old...

Youth on the march!

Go away!

Open up stupid. It's me.

I thought it was her.

You're so timid when you're sober.

If anyone asks,
say you're very ill.

Keep an eye out...

Where are you going?

Help me, Tano.

The living are as scary as the dead.

Where are you going?

Not long now...

Let the poor bastards
live as they wish. Tina!

Let the girls do as they please...

Tina? How was it?

They are comforted,

but now I am tired.

Don't hide from me...

I don't like you like this.

Celestina, I'm just fine...

Everyone will see!

I'm so happy with what you
did for me last night.

- It was wrong.
- No.

It was right.

Remember when I was ill?

You sang under my windows.

People were kept awake.

I was little then.

Tonight, neither of us will sleep.

Take them.

I want you to look after them.

Do what you want with them.

- What's wrong?
- What you said.

Where were you last night?

Here you are singing...

We don't need alms.
Don't you have anything to do?

Leave her alone.

Does Edith have anything for me?

I've been thinking about you.

Go! Father's waiting.

- Do you like it?
- It's lovely.

I could stay here with you.

Portugal? Who cares?

I must go to the hospital.

Leave the fucking hospital alone.

You hardly slept.

Yesterday you didn't worry.

Don't you remember
what you said?

I don't want to...

- You wanted it so badly!
- I was tired.

When I'm tired,
I don't make sense.

I've never seen such craving.


Was it me you wanted?

Forget it,

leave me alone, OK?

Are you always like this?

What can I say?
I like boys that's all.

She came after him,
she 20 was years old,

he was twice her age.

I never met him.

He was a political prisoner.

Afterwards, she never went home.

She's been here for years,
with me.

People help her.

She likes them, they like her.

We live here.

Now we get a cheque every month,
his pension,

to pay everyone back.
They know, they all wait.

They all want to leave.

Aren't you interested?

Who wants to leave now?

Bassoe? Tano?

They're waiting.
She's promised.

Who wants to stay? Leao?

He's dead.

Why did he come back?

He killed himself.

For her sake?

Did the dog kill itself?

Edith doesn't think so.

Do you?

Forget it.
I know what you like.

Shame on you!

Press hard!

You're shameless, all of you.

Speak Portuguese!

Tell me your name.

I'm meant to be dead.

You were very sick.

For two months.

- Leao, your name's Leao.
- So what, Mariana?

Try to remember something,

make an effort.

What do you remember?



your hands,
the smell of you.

Sleep now Leao,

you've made a start,

you're starting a new life.

They fooled me.

This land fooled me.


Laugh, if you know how...

You weren't there.

- When?
- When I opened my eyes.

I wasn't expecting it.

You let them kill the dog.

No-one wanted to know.

I'd given up thinking...
I don't know...

...that you had friends, family...

...a dog even.

- It's your fault.
- I thought you were too weak,

or that you'd given up.

I got tired.

I assumed your eyes were dark.

They are.

I was wrong.

Were you afraid?

I was.

You should have trusted me,

or else why did you bring me here?

You were alone there,
I was too.

I felt you'd be better here.

Why did you open your eyes?

I wasn't alone.
I remember everything,

I was never alone.

I don't understand.

Why are you doing this?

Come on!

Beg me!

Say it in creole.

I hurt you...

Just a little.

You shouldn't talk...

I cut you.

I preferred you when you woke up,

at least you weren't dumb.

It's not asking much...

- I just want...
- Bitch! Mind what you're doing.

Stupid cow!

Who do you think I am?

You bastard!

Pile of meat with a bad mouth!

I don't need you.

It was just a scratch.

I'm not asking anything.

- You don't need...
- Want me to say it in Portuguese?

I understand your language.

I know you backwards.

Did I ask for this?

More than you think...

I must have known...

But no! Stupid me!

- Your poor dog!
- What's that?!

You were better before.

What did they do to my dog? What!


I'm not scared of you,

I've no pity either,

you're vulgar.

You won't go out or talk or eat.

Maybe you were better in Lisbon.

Maybe you had a girlfriend?

You were happy then...

...but you went and got vertigo,

now you've shrivelled up.

Please. Take me...

Christ I'm in bad shape.

Who cares?

This place is too much for me.

Take me to hospital.

No more doctor,
no more medecine.

All that filth is over.

Go by yourself if you want...

What's happening?

I can't remember...

Don't go...
I don't want to see them!

They're playing for you...

I've had enough of your kind...

Out of my sight...

I never want to hear you again.

You'll dull him
with your devil's music.

Serenades I never sang.

You'll push him under,

like you pushed yourself into me.

He's my son not yours!

Alina's son Ces?rio has hepatitis.

Put the shoes on.


- Does it hurt?
- It's OK!

I'm not stealing!
I asked Medina!

Tooth ache...

It's for Tina...

Where is she?

- Tano! Stay!
- No.


I thought Tina was here.

Where is she?

She was tired.

Edith, where is she?

Tell me.

Can I help you?

My door's always open.

How can you help me?

Bassoe's Tina has a goat
called Mariana.

At night she goes to pasture...

...and in the morning she returns...

...with milk for the coffee.

Speak Portuguese!

You're using us!

I've got something of yours.

I stole it while you slept.

I just wanted to know...

Tear it up. Promise!

A letter?
I can't read.

It's definitely yours.

I can't write.

Who wrote your letters then?

"Nha cretcheu..."


This mountain always seemed easy
to ascend from the city...

Running, running...

Now, do you understand creole?

What happened?

What is she like?

I'd cry out for her at night,

but she never came.

I could make her laugh,

forget, sleep...

If you saw her laugh...

Do you understand
what I'm saying?

When you speak slowly.

She has the sweetest hair.

The loveliest legs...

the softest...

and the longest.

Ces?rio, you'll be fine
in the morning.

You can enjoy life.

Remember me?

I'm Mariana.

You remember me...


He's asleep.
You staying here?

Good night.

If you don't understand me,
how can I understand you?


Father! Let me play!

Play us a dance!

Dance, Mariana!

Dance, Mariana!

I won't let you escape.

Are you leaving?

Am I leaving?

Are you tired?

Are you?

What have I done?

Don't pester me.

He doesn't care.

Are you going back to Lisbon?

To a boyfriend?

No. There's no-one.

I'd have to die for you to like me.

You don't know me.

I need to know.


He's unconscious.

They're both in a bad way.

Remember Ces?rio? What next?

Edith! Edith!

When will my turn come?
You promised.

I want to die in Portugal.

Pierre Hodgson

Alexandra Brum / CRISTBET, Ida