El guardavías (2004) - full transcript

Pablo is a villager, son of a signalman and an illiterate woman. After the mysterious death of his father, he is sent to the city to finish his studies. 35 years later, grown to be a literature teacher, but alcoholic and unemployed, he receives the news of his mother's death. He decides to return to his home village...







I'm not going.

I'll go.

- Hello.
- Hello. Is your father there?


Good morning.
Are you Mr. Pablo López Prieto?

Sign here, please.

Thanks. Bye.

Who was it?

I haven't been there for 35 years.

Well, you have to go now.

Your mother, without a doubt,
was a brave woman.

To stay and live alone
in that town...

You... down below!

For God's sake,
clear the way!

Please, continue.
Go ahead.

It's incredible that your mother
lived here on her own.

Yes, mom.

María Prieto Fernández.

Let God Welcome Her.

How long are you going
to stay here?

A few days... I don't know.

Your mother,

in the solitude of this big cemetery,

was always very proud of you.

"My son is a teacher",
she always said,

and her eyes filled with light.

It's strange that you
never came to see her.

That's life.

Well, if you need something,

you can find me
in the neighbouring town.

Was there somebody?

Was there somebody with
my mother all these years?

Your mother was one
of the strongest,

good and generous women
I have ever met.

But she was also
the most stubborn.

She lived alone,

but those of us
living in nearby towns,

well, we know that after braving
the first years of solitude,

while she was trying
to convince herself

that she wasn't wrong
about her son,

she avoided attacks from
drunk men,

house burglars and crazy people
that came near town

with the healthy intention
of raping her.

After that, you mother found peace,

and she even had a few lovers
that protected

and loved her.

You've got lots of space
to play here.

You've got a ghost town
of your own, Jon.

Leave me alone.

What happens now?

- Nothing. What's going to happen?
- Then that's it.

That's it? What!

- Leave me alone.
- Well then shut up.

Stop it, Jon.

We don't have to start
doing silly things now.

The only one doing silly things
here is you, so shut up.


If she's stupid!
Don't blame me for that.

- I only said that...
- Forget it!

Jon, shut up!

- Dad, can you pass that?
- Yes, honey.

Listen to me.

I'm going to ask you
something important.

Don't leave town,

don't enter abandoned houses,
and most importantly,

don't go down to the
train tracks or to the tunnel.

Why not?

- Because it's dangerous.
- Dangerous?

But you were the one who said

that the train hasn't used these
tracks in more than 35 years.

Jon, it doesn't matter how many
years the train hasn't come.

He's told you not to go
and you won't go.

I'm talking with my father.


What are you afraid of?


What are you afraid of?


I think you are.

We've come here to say goodbye
to your grandmother

and I don't want anything
happening to you.

What can happen to us?

Nothing, honey. Nothing
is going to happen to you.

You just have to be careful
where you go.



- Listen to me!
- Leave me alone!

- Listen to me!
- No!

You don't have to suffer
from my mistake.

I'm sorry.


Why didn't you tell him
that he wasn't crazy?

Daddy only wanted
to feel well.



- Hello.
- Hello.

I've gone to the city
with the professor

to visit the school
where you will be going.

It's beautiful.

You'll be happy there.

They'll take care of you

and love you.

When you finish you'll be
smarter than the teacher.

You'll see.

Come here, give me a hug.

You will be a great man.

I love you so much.

He'll get over it.

Go and play, will you?

I won't tolerate that behaviour
with Clara anymore.

We already have enough
with your marks at school.

You do?

And what does she care
about my life?

If you don't even
care about it...

Every day you are more rotten.

God, let's see
when you get over it.

You are not seting a good
example for your sister.

Don't include Laura in this.

You two are the ones
setting the bad example.

- What do you mean?
- You know...

No, tell me
what are you trying to say.

That you're never available,
or you're busy,

or you're lying drunk
on the sofa.

Or you spend the day
with her and...

who has taken Laura to school
for the past year?

You know I can't, that I have been
unemployed for more than a year.

Before it was because
you were working.

Well, yeah. But it's different now.

I know that everything
is different now.

- You don't have feelings anymore.
- What?

I'm here, aren't I?

I'm finally here!

To see your face in the graveyard...

What are you talking about?

You're always the same expression
on your face. Ignoring everything.

But on the other hand, you took
little time in substituting mom.

You don't have a clue,

not a fucking clue of what it's
like to live without your mother.

Your snack is on the table.

- Have you finished your homework?
- Yes.

You can read me
what you've done later.


I would love
to read and write.

I can teach you
if you want.

I want you to succeed.

You should study

and do something you really like,


So, what did you learn today?

That Spanish conquerors from America

brought that tomatoes
and potatoes here.

Who told you that?

The teacher.

That teacher
doesn't have a clue!

Then how would we know how to
make a potato omelet or tomato soup?

Brought from America!

The book also says that.

Well if it's in the book,

and they ask you about it in
the exam, then you write it down.

But you have to know

that potatoes and tomatoes
are more Spanish that tobacco.

You're finally back!

Tomorrow the doctor
will be coming to town.

I'm going to take Pablo
and have his throat checked.

Why don't you come?

You could ask him
about your headaches and...

Don't worry.

I'm okay.

Really, I'm okay.

You want me to make you
something to eat?

Yes please.

Today, in the tunnel,

I've heard again
that voice that shouts:

Look out!
You down below!

For God's sake, clear the way!

Hello, son.


Take a seat, Pablo.

Listen to your father.
He has something to tell us.

It's hard to explain, really hard.

But I'll try.

I've been seeing ghosts
for a while now.

It all began when one night

I was sitting outside,
under the moonlight,

and I heard a voice shouting:

"Hey! Look out!
You, down below!"

I stood up and looked up,

but I saw no one.

Then I looked at the tunnel,
and saw a man.

- Who?
- I don't know.

He covers his face with an arm,
and he moves the other arm

shouting out loud:
"For God's sake, clear the way!"

I took a lamp,
and ran towards the man,

asking him what was going on,
what had happened and where.

I ran so close to him that I
thought we were going to collide.

And then, suddenly, he was gone.

I came back here and telegraphed
in both rail directions.

"I've received an alarm."
"Is there any problem?"

"Is there any problem?"

From both directions they told me:

"No, everything is ok."

It could have been the wind,

that produces sounds
in telegraph cables.

I'm telling you that it was
as real as this hand.

Six hours after
the first appearance,

that terrible accident
happened inside the tunnel.

And later on, they took out
the wounded and dead people.

Since then,
I hear the bell ring all the time,

and I go out,
but there's no train,

and then that voice
shouts again:

"For God's sake, clear the way!"

And that man looks at me,
with his hands over his face.

What is he warning me of?

What's the danger?
Where is it?

If I telegraph announcing:
"Danger! Be aware!"

They will say: "Where?"

"I don't know,

but for God's sake, be aware!"

They'd fire me!

Why didn't that man tell me
what was going to happen?

Why, instead of looking at me
without saying a word,

didn't he tell me those people
were going to die?

I could have prevented it.

Since then,

I've seen pale, wounded

and bleeding kids.

They look at me with sad faces

and then disappear
inside the tunnel.

I can't stand it anymore.

I'm going crazy.


My love. Look at me.

You are not crazy,

just tired.

Just tired.

My love.

Don't be afraid. I'm here,

with you.

I'll always be by your side.


I was worried about you.

And you leave me alone
with your son, who is unbearable.

He needs his mom.

They don't accept me.

They are afraid of me
substituting their mom.

Don't say that.
Give them time.

- Julia only died three years ago.
- Only?

It's already been three years now.

She was everything for us.

I know.

- And how are you feeling?
- I need a strong drink.


- What?
- Why do you act like that?

- Like what?
- Why do you treat her like that?

- Who?
- Clara.

She's not our mom.

It doesn't matter!
Dad loves her.

What do you know...
You don't understand anything.

Death in the tunnel.

A ghost story and appearances

cause another terrible train accident

in the darkness of the tunnel

of the Fraile Muerto railway station.

Authorities close the train rail.

Inhabitants of the town


to say a word

and abandon their houses.

Look out! You down below!

For God's sake, clear the way!

Calm down.

It's nothing, honey.

Your dad had a nightmare.
Go back to sleep.


Come here.

Go to bed.

Damn it!
There's no signal.

Laura, get out of there!


Damn it.

- Laura! Are you deaf?
- You're hurting me!

- What if something falls on you?
- Jon!

Dad said we weren't allowed
to go into the houses.

There's a bike inside.

It must be full of shit!


- You already have one in Madrid.
- And?

Okay, but stay here.

It's cool!

It seems that the kids
are beginning to have some fun.

Come on, Pablo, give me the egg.
There's no time.

Hurry up!

- Pablo! What are you doing?
- Leave him alone.

You didn't touch the eggs, did you?

You know that inside the eggs
there are little baby birds.

Get down. Pablo!

Hurry, Pablo, your mother is coming.

Your mother
doesn't like you doing this.

Jump, Pablo.

Sometimes my father would
stay at the train station

without wanting to see anyone.
He would send us

these letters saying that...

he needed to watch for the ghosts
that came out of the tunnel.

What are you talking about?

My father...

was a man who suffered a lot.

This is my father's
book of codes.

Is it you?

Look out! You down below!

For God's sake, clear the way!


- Hello, son.
- Hello.

- How are you?
- Good.

I've found this photo today.

- Do you like it?
- Yes.

Give it to your mom so that
she puts it with the other photos.


Don't lose it.

Your lunch.


Give your mom a kiss.


What does it say?


What happened to you?


Look at this.

He failed.

He'll still pass.

What do you mean?

It's only an exam.
He didn't fail the whole course.

It can't be.
I don't get it.

Pablo spends
the whole day studying.

Then he has a problem.

Do you have a problem, son?


You see? He doesn't have
any problem. Stop worrying.

Come help me, Pablo.

Stop worrying?

You want our son

to end up planting beets?

Maybe he needs to work and not
to spend so much time at school.

What's wrong with you?

Do you want him
to be ignorant like me?

You are not ignorant.

You know more about life
than anyone.

He has to go
and study in the city.

He has to be a great man.

He doesn't need to do that
to be a great man.

He has to be
an educated man.

If he doesn't study,
he won't be good for anything.

If he doesn't work,
he will be a lazy man.

What happens
when I'm not around anymore?

I would take care of him.

- But you...
- What?


You think I'm crazy.

You think that all this happens
to me because I'm crazy.

You think I'm crazy.


We should return.


You go first.
I'll catch up.

- I don't want to go alone.
- It's close to where we are.

Keep going straight and you'll see
the town behind the hill.

You go. I'm coming!


What are you doing?

- Where did you go?
- For a walk.

- Today you've drunk too much.
- Yeah.

- What are you doing?
- Why didn't you tell me this?

- What?
- About your father.

- Where are the boys?
- Around here, with the bike.

You should take advantage
of these days and relax.

I've been unemployed
for more than a year.

Don't you think I've spent
too much time relaxing?

- You know what I'm mean.
- What?


Why don't you give classes
at the school here?

You think they'll accept
a drunken teacher like me?

Well, if it's
a drunken teacher like you,

- they'll make an exception.
- I know.

Why don't you go out
with your boss,

that guy, he has a good position
in the ministry.

The honourable place
where you work

to bring bread to this
unfortunate family, day after day.


Talk with him
and get me a small grant

to restore the beautiful school
of this damned town.

- Your town is so beautiful.
- Oh, yeah! Is it?

It's run-down right now,
but yeah, it is beautiful.

Then we'll open the school,

we'll take advantage of the occasion

to return to our origins

and we'll rescue
from the terrible ashes

a mother

who abandoned her son
so that he could become a man.

An illustrious
literature professor.

Yeah, that's what you are,
an illustrious literature professor.

Your mother didn't abandon you.

She gave all she had
so that you could be someone.

She loved you.

She loved you more than
anything in this world.


Where's you sister?

- She's here.
- No, she's not here.

What do you mean
she's not here?

Where's your sister?

Damn it! Here.
I told her to come here.

Where was she coming from?

- We were over there in the road...
- What road?

- I don't know... over at the crossing.
- You went over there?

We were riding around on the bike
and she wanted to get back and...

How dare you leave
your sister all alone?

Maybe if you paid
more attention to her...

- Where's a flashlight?
- In the car.

Laura! Laura!


Jon! Find your sister!














- Jon!
- Clara?

Where are you?


Are you all right?

Help me get out of here.

Take my hand.

Are you hurt?

No, it's nothing.





We still don't know anything.

Have you looked everywhere?




What happened, Jon?

What do you mean?

What happened yesterday?


Why did you each
go your own way?

I told you, she wanted
to go home.


- I met someone.
- Who?

A girl.

A girl?

Yeah. It's really boring here,

and I spend all day
arguing with my dad.

It's been really hard
for your father to return here.

You think it's normal that dad has
never come here to visit his mother?

He had his reasons.

Do you think it's normal,
yes or no?


How's the girl?


That's all?

Be strong

and remember
everything I've told you.


You'll make it.

I love you.

- Where are you going?
- Stay here.

- Where are you going?
- To the tunnel.

- Shall I call the police?
- Don't call anyone.

- Why not?
- Because Laura will appear.

Let me go with you.

No, stay here
in case she comes back.

She's not here, dad. We've spent
the whole night looking for her.

- She is not going to turn up.
- Why are you so sure of that?

It's just that we've looked
for her and she's not here.

Well, and why isn't she here?

Why are you like that?

Since mom's death
you're not the same person.

You abandon everything. Your work,
your family, your friends,


You're buried with her.

I'm sorry, son.
I'm really sorry.

Go to the tunnel.

When rounding the tunnel's
curve, I saw him at the end,

as if I were looking
through glasses.

I didn't have time
to change the speed,

but I knew he was
a very careful man.

He didn't seem to pay attention
to the whistle,

so I shouted
as hard as I could:

"Look out!
You, down below!

For God's sake, clear the way!"





I've found you at last.
Where were you?