Escalation (1968) - full transcript

1968, London. Luca (Lino Capolicchio), the son of an Italian rich owner, is living his 'swinging' years away from duties and responsibilities while his father wants him to be introduced to the family business at any cost. Luca is first forced to return to Italy, then he is kidnapped by his father's collaborators, jailed into a sanitarium, put through the electroshock and other torments. Then, when 'normalized' Luca marries a woman who in reality is a psychologist paid by his father to brainwash him and turn him into a perfect businessman. He discovered everything and killed her. But the transformation already occurred: Luca is now a cynic and amoral individual, ready to lead family's industry with the iron fist.

Luca, let's go to the party tonight.

Flower no, Buddha yes.

Am I dreaming or is it you,
Augusto Lambertenghi?

It is me.

How are you, big boy?
- Tell me, what is it?

I'll keep it short. We now have 1400 people
working at the company.

- And I can't do it alone.

People are wondering where my son is.


you have to come home.

Sorry, no. Here in London
I can do as I please.

No intrigue, no compromise, only fresh air.

Also, I don't feel like
becoming a businessman.

And lastly... lastly...
I can't think of it now.

Luca, listen to me.

Your grandfather worked hard,
building all of this.

As for me, what can I say.

I believe I did what I could,
to move us forward still.

But if you're not coming back,
all these years,

who did we put in all this work for?
Can you tell me this?

Why are you asking me this?
No idea, I don't care.

You don't care? Not this time.
This time you're coming along.

You are a Lambertenghi.
We are looked up to.

It doesn't work like that.

Listen, Luca.

Let's just give it a try.

If you don't like it,
I'll gift you a journey to India.

I swear.

No, no, I'm not coming home.
I repeat: I'm not coming.

Yes, you will.

And Buddha says no.

Come here, let's go.

Let's have a look.

Doesn't look too bad.

Turn around.

Let's see.

Close your eyes. Surprise!

Do you like it?

Tell the driver
my brother is coming.

Luca! What are you doing?
Did you forget the tie?

Do me a favour, Luca,
take off that rubbish.

Don't be silly.

It's because of the fumes.
- I said don't be silly.

Don't you smell the fumes?
- Enough Luca. Take off that handkerchief.

Come here, come.
No, close your eyes.

Eyes closed.
Hold on, don't look yet.

Right here.
Open your eyes. Have a look.

Take a look at
what your father does for you.

Show some enthusiasm, Luca.
Don't make that face.

And put down that bag, will you.

Let's see who you are.
Have a seat.

Right here.

Well, how do you like it?

Fine, it's fine.
- Press that button.

No, the black one.

Now you're a real entrepreneur.
Press the other one.

No, the white one.
Now watch.

There she is.

Miss, this is Luca Lambertenghi.

Thank you. You can leave.

Whenever you push the white button
she'll be right with you.

Good morning, Mr. Lambertenghi.

Good morning.

Hello? Hello Miss?
- Good morning Mr. Lambertenghi.

Good morning. Listen,
I'm not available for anybody.

Mr. Luca would like to speak with you.

Send him in.

I'm really sorry,
but I can't do this anymore.

I feel constrained.
I'll go mad if I can't leave.

So we still have a deal.
A journey to India.

But first the trial period.
That's the deal.

But I need the fresh air.

Why won't you let me live my life?

Do you know what I do here all day?

Yes, I do. You lock yourself in
and watch films.

While the Tansania contract
is collecting dust.

Won't you understand
I have different plans?

Different plans...

Do you have any plans at all?

It can't be helped.
I'm talking to a wall.

Thanks for listening, very kind.
- Don't mention it.

Who would you like to speak to?

Mr. Luca has been stabbed.


Excuse me, sir.
Five already?

Miss, have you fed the chickens?

What is going on?
- I came in and he...

Get out.
Nothing happened. Everybody out.

Let's just say,
something like this happens again.

Do you want that?
Everyone talking about us?

I tried talking to him, unsuccessfully.

He just sits there and talks nonsense.

Speaks of inner contemplation.
Who knows what that means.

I know one thing for certain:

He's insane.

See, father? You don't know what to say.

Then I'll say it:
We'll put him in an institution.

Being watched for a while won't hurt him.

When he's back to his old self,
we'll get him out, poor man.

Where are you taking me?
- I'm not allowed to tell you.

Let me out.

I'm not mad, I swear.

I beg you, let me out.

We will, don't you worry.

Here. It's alright.

This is fine.
You won't need the glasses.

We'll play a nice game.

We'll put one right here,

It came off.
We'll make it stick.

And one goes here.
Very good, just like this.

You have visitors.

How are you?

Did you sleep well?
It's us. Don't you recognise us?

He should rest now.

Why don't you try and sleep?

As you see we wasted no time.

Your son didn't flee to India,
he's in Switzerland.

But India gave me a great idea.

We'll have him back here in 56 hours.

Obviously such an abduction
requires a perfect team.

First-class personnel,
various aircraft,

technical equipment, cars.

This will make our undertaking...

...a lot more expensive, right?

I don't care.
Just get him here and fast.

What's the situation?

He's a babysitter from four to six.
In the park.

...and that's how they started
the custom of burning the corpses.

The corpse is laid down on a log pile,
and the fire started.

And the corpse turns to ash.
There it is.

You see?

These are the holy sites of Benares.

These are the temples,

and these the pilgrims,
ascending ever higher.

Take a good look.

These are the stairs,

this is the temple,

there are more temples here,
and these are the pilgrims congregating.

Please. Please.

This way.

What are you doing?

Don't be like this.

We are sorry.

Yes. Maybe we overdid it.

But that only shows how much we love you.

Look at this, Luca.
When you return to the company,

it's yours.

What do you say?
- Luca, look at this.

Say yes, Luca.
Come on, say yes.

Your own fault. I won't let this go.
You'll have to give in eventually.

Come on.
What an imbecile.

Well, what can I say.

My son is like those people
who have to see you every three months,

to be allowed to work.

There's one difference:

My son doesn't want to work.

I'm sorry. I understand how you feel.

But I don't know what I can do.
I'm a psycho-technician.

My job is a different one
and I wouldn't know...

No, wait before you decide.

Listen, I'll give you free rein.

You may work as if in a clinic.

Experiment on your own patient.

You can start as soon as you please.

When would you assign the patient to me?

Luca, let's see your room.
Come in, darling.

May I introduce you to a friend?

Is he the Buddha fanatic?

I am me and I am not a fanatic.

These obsessions are usually symptoms
of fanaticism or decadence.

Decadent is the world you live in.

We live in a world of progress.

Yes, intrigue, compromise, malice.

Who are you, anyway?

What's your star sign?

And you?

What's the point in flying to the moon,
if you return to a destroyed Earth?

That is just reality.
Everything else is utopia.

For example you say you love music,
because music is contemplation.

That's right?

And you say you love peace,
because peace is love.

I'm sorry, but music is just
a collection of oscillations.

And peace is just a state of quiet
based on interests.

That is all.

Yes, but I'm not convinced.

Yes, I'm interested in your son.

There's a lot to analyse about him.

So you accept?

You promised Luca to send him to India,

but you never intended to do it, is that

You have to be honest with me.
- Go on.

There's your first mistake.
You should have asked him:

"Luca, why do you want to go to India?"

And he would have replied...
- Fair enough, you are absolutely right.

But it's the end result I'm interested in:
he needs to integrate as quickly as possible.

Now if you'll excuse me,
I have work to do.

One more thing:
It'll be best if you don't come here again.

I don't want him to notice anything.

You will send me recordings.
I'll get in touch.


In summary that's what responsibility means.

Everybody is responsible
for their decisions and their actions.

Which leads to?
Hmm? What does this lead to?

Which leads to...

I don't know.
- But it's so simple.

Everybody being responsible for themselves,

leads to everybody being responsible
for everybody else. Clear?

I have but one responsibility:
Not to hurt anybody.

Look Luca,
the problem is...

You light it.

Luca, what are you doing?
Do you want to burn yourself?

So, if one is in a situation
to have to make a decision...

Tuesday, October 6.
Good day.

First off, thanks for the present.

I think I found your son's weak spot.

To be sure you have to offer him
that promised journey to India.

Chances of success are between 35 and 40%,
analytically speaking.

The stakes are high,
so I think we should give it a try.

I await your further instructions.

Valeria! Come here!
- Luca, what are you doing?

What is this madness?

Hello Carla Maria, this is Luca.
Yes, finally. Yes, to India.

I wanted to ask you something.

Be honest. Do you think
I am avoiding responsibility?

Today I'll show you
the guru breathing technique.

Today I make the rules.

You have to count.

That's enough, Luca.
Don't overdo it.

Stop it Luca, stop.
You're acting like a child.

Did you see? More than three minutes
and twelve seconds. Now it's your turn.

Come on. Don't make a fuss.

Sit down. I'll count.

No, that was pitiful.

Again. I'll show you how it's done.

You have to focus on a spot.

And imagine being that spot.


Come on, again.

Not bad for the first time.
- I could have gone longer.

Do you want to try again?

What are you doing?

Thursday, April 13.
Good day.

I was right. Luca's fallen in love with me.

I'm calling the shots about 75%.

But in light of this sensitive development,

I await your further instructions.

Regarding his behaviour...

Miss, please call my daughter.

Did anybody see you?
- I don't think so.

Father wants you to continue.
He trusts your work.

And Luca falling in love...

That doesn't bother him.
But to make sure Luca doesn't suspect anything,

if the deal is still on,

you have to act as if you didn't know.



After the loss of youth,
the souls find each other...

followed by harmony, a created symbiosis.

Remember, son: the soul is eternal.

Our life is nothing but a deep sleep and forgetting.

We nourish the soul.

Star of our lives...

Listen, my son.

I'm making you an offer.

Wait, my son, listen to me.
- I can't.

Why are you running away?
What are you afraid of?

Is she young?
- Young, pretty, sweet...

No, it's impossible. I have to go.
It is decided.

You're missing out.

She is delightful.

Here we are, you'll see.

So? Do you like her?

Too thin.
- Thin?

She's the sturdiest girl in the village.
Thin, thin...

Come on, get up.
Quickly, get up.

Have you ever seen such a fair maiden?

Turn around.
Have a look at this.

Such grace.

Look at those eyes.
And that birth mark.

Do you like her?
Look at that braid.

And that neck.

So? Will you take her?

Yes or no?

And I tell you:
The man is the head of the family.

The woman obeys him.

Luca, my bathrobe.

You may take off the band-aids.

Luca, the stockings.
Come here.

Today's schedule: inspections till twelve,

after that: meeting about contracts,

then lunch with the Simer sales people.

We're late.

- Stop. Call the maid.

Why are you throwing away money?

To find out if she steals. Let's go.

Meanwhile the little gentleman
has come out of his hiding place...

...his companion smiling at him...

Luca, I've thought a lot about this.
The old ones are inefficient.

Hey, why are you switching it off?

So, at a certain age they have to go.

To the sea, to the mountains, recuperate.

They have worked so long,
now they get to enjoy themselves.

Come here, darling.

Open up.


Take it off.


Now answer me.
What happens when they become old?

Like you said, they become inefficient.


Your father.
- What about my father?

He's getting old.
Meaning, he could make mistakes.

You have to support him
in running the business.

I'd have to...

Come here.

First: you must become a shareholder
as soon as possible. I'll take care of it.

Good. Come.

Second: the prices have to go down.

This is done through technical
and industrial change.

X becomes X+Y.

This allows us to reduce cost.
Are you following?

Tell me what you think about it, Luca.

Luca! I'm asking what you think about it.

Carla Maria, I can't stand it.
Let's talk about it tomorrow.

I beg you.

So? X becomes?


I agree.
- Very good.

This is how I like you. Come, darling.

Luca, tomorrow's going to be a long day.

Why are you doing this to me?
Just why?

I am not even opposed.

I just don't see a reason.

Luca has integrated perfectly, don't you think?

Yes, we have made huge progress.

But he could still slip away from us.
It happens.

But why? I don't understand why.

Simple, we haven't reached 100%.

He's missing a tangible incentive.

And you're sure making him a shareholder...

Of course. He would gain a much greater
feeling of responsibility.

And that would benefit everybody.

To Luca Lambertenghi.

My shareholder.

You can enter his office now.

And this is how we lower the prices
and overtake the competition.

Don't you think if it was that easy
I wouldn't have tried it already?

It's a very simple procedure.

Is it? Let's hear it.

On one side you have X
and on the other X+Y.

Can I tell you something?
You won't take offence?

This is nonsense.

But well thought out, I must admit.

I bet your wife put you up to this.

That's not true, the idea is genius.

And if you won't believe it, I'm leaving.
No, we're leaving.

Luca, you are too nice.

Why should we leave? Why?

You have the same rights as him now.
You can do as you please.

Don't you agree?

Darling, escalation.
Do you understand, Luca? Escalation.

We'll ensure escalation within the company.

But I want to make a child with you.

I'll say it again: a child is a problem.

And we have enough problems as it is.

You understand that, right?
- Please, let us make a child.

I want...
- Stop it, Luca.

I said, stop it.
- I can't do it, Carla Maria.

You don't want to make love to me,

you don't want to have children,

why did we get married in the first place?

We have to take care of this first.

Then we can think about a little Luca, I promise.

A baby Luca, with no moustache. Satisfied?

How can I be satisfied if you won't...

Come here. Lie down.

First: We're not leaving.

Second: shareholder meeting on Tuesday,
no, rather Wednesday.

But if you prefer Tuesday...

This was her idea, I take it?
And don't tell me it wasn't.

I'm certain she sent you.

No, Carla Maria has nothing to do with this.

I think she does.

Don't you see she wants to take over the factory?

Look what she's made you become.

That's enough. Stop talking like that.

Stop it, you fool.

That psycho bitch...

What are you saying?

You don't believe me?

Here, listen to this.

Thursday, April 22. Good day.
- Listen to it.

As expected. He's become weak
and fallen in love with me.

I have 80-85% control over him.

Today we're collecting mushrooms.
We're buying sports shoes, trousers, let's go.

Get up.
Carla Maria, go, go.

I thought we were having dinner at Valeria's?

No, not today. We're taking a trip.
A trip collecting mushrooms.

Come on, get up!
The early bird gets the mushroom.

Do you think we'll find any?
- It rained yesterday.

After rain you find the best mushrooms, right?

Come on, this way.

Luca, stop joking.
Watch your manners.


Alas, Carla Maria, this one is poisonous.
Throw it away.

But have a look at this one.

You're great.
- Naturally.

Yes, I'll ask him now.

Luca, are you listening?

Luca, the Saporitos are calling.

- Tell them I'm busy.

They want to know what time we're picking them up.

Well, when we get there.

How is it?

Not bad.

What about you? Aren't you eating?

Why don't we take the Saporitos to a strip?

If you like.

You can imagine my fright,

when this thing came at me.
It was so strange, so big...

Luca, that's enough. We're leaving.

I'm sorry, we're leaving.
- That's fine.

Has the cramp subsided?

Your Luca is making you a lemonade
and then he'll keep you company.

It's alright, I'm getting up.
- No, don't even think about it.

I'll be right back.

Are you feeling better?

Get the thermometer.
- Of course, darling.

Call the doctor.
- Straight away, darling.

At eleven?
Can't it be done earlier?

Please tell him it's urgent.

He will be here in two hours.
Try to relax a little.

No. I'm feeling better already.

Hand me a magazine.
- Straight away, darling.

Come on, Buddha,
make Carla Maria well again.

Hiccups again, darling.
Stay like this, I'll be right back.

Hold on.

Don't lose heart, darling,
you'll be better soon.

Would you like me to sing to you?

What time is it?
I'll have to call the doctor again.

You told me two hours.

It's past twelve and the doctor hasn't come.

My wife is feeling awful.
Terrible, in fact.

Is he coming or not?

These doctors are impossible.
He's on his way in any case.

How are you feeling?
Shall I sing for you, darling?

No, we were out shopping.

No, Carla Maria isn't around.

No, I'm sorry.
She just left for the Saporitos.

Hold on, listen. Valeria...

No, no, never mind.

Easy, darling, easy.

Is Carla Maria still at yours?

No? You haven't seen her?

But she left here at nine to visit you.

Sorry about the time,
but is Carla Maria with you?

And you have no idea where she is?

Where could she have gone?

I don't know who else to call.

I just don't know what's going on, anymore.

the evening before,
I mean, before she vanished,

were you intimate?

No, we went quietly to sleep.

Did you perhaps have an argument?

No, we went quietly to sleep.

So you didn't argue?

Was your wife ill?

What do you mean, "was"?

I'm sorry. See...

When a person goes missing,
we have to investigate their behaviour,

look for reasons, observe reactions.

Yes, I'm coming.

Excuse me, I'll be right back.

You see?
He's nervous.

I'm not saying this as a criminologist,
but as a sociologist.

We in America, when we're searching for a woman,

we'll stick to the husband.

And there you go,

he's restless, he smells a trap.

I'm telling you, we're on thin ice.

A: We only have a suspicion.

B: The Lambertenghis are influential,
this could get us into a lot of trouble.

So it's over at twenty to.

I'm sorry.

I'm afraid you've gotten yourself
in quite a lot of trouble.

- Yes. Why didn't you mention the maid?

The maid?

Just happens to have been let go a few days prior.

- She was stealing.

What was she stealing?

Tigers, elephants, a crocodile once.

What now?

Now I want my lawyer to be called.

I understand. You don't want to answer.

Will you tell me why you came home at two?

That was around two.

As Carla wasn't home, I called the Saporitos.

So tell me where you were before two.

At home.

I went outside for half an hour.

For half an hour? Where?
- To the station.

What did you do there?
- Bought an aspirin.

An aspirin?
- Yes, I couldn't sleep.

Then what?
- Then I called the Saporitos.

And why, Mr. Lambertenghi,
didn't you do this earlier?

Well, we...

I was only just informed.
Please excuse this.

I will take care of everything,
don't you worry.

That's fine.

Now stow that away.

To the mortuary?

Of course. I'll be right there.

We'll remove the blanket, can you handle it?

My god, how horrible.

You don't seem convinced?

The face...

It's unbelievable. Why is it in such a state?

This woman fell into a canal eight days ago.

Just around when your wife vanished.

The water disfigured her completely.

But maybe, if you take a closer look...

Maybe I'll have to see her again, to be sure,

but I can't cope with this right now.

I am sorry. Even if it may not be my wife,
I can't cope with this.

The birth mark!
Of course, the birth mark!

Carla Maria had a birth mark, just on the...

Yes, it is her.

It is Carla Maria.

There you go. My condolences.

She left the house to visit some friends.

She slipped at the canal and fell into the water.

Since she couldn't swim, and so on...

The autopsy found no injuries on the body.

That's it.

Psycho-technician, young,
beautiful, burned and scattered in the sea,


First: Changes in the company are decided by me.

Second: We're doing the funeral as I said.

But Luca, I...
- Give me a light.

You always told me people judge what they see.

So I want blacks.

Carla Maria liked them.

We're making fools of ourselves, Luca.
Come on.

The ice coffin is enough.

But no blacks. Really, no.

Chin up, Luca, chin up.

Luca, life goes on.

The plans,

that are waiting for us in the future...