Manderlay (2005) - full transcript

After gangster Mulligan's cars colony, fleeing northern justice, finds a hiding place in Alabama, spoiled, naive daughter Grace refuses to travel on after seeing the Manderlay cotton plantation being run under slavery rules, called Mam's law, inclusive flogging. She keeps half of dad's goons as guard to force the dying matriarch-owner's heirs, which she shamelessly dispossesses and reduces to 'staff', to taste destitution under absurd, gun-imposed contracts. The 'slaves' are made free partners, supposed to vote for progress after lessons from Grace. But almost all her democracy-pupils prove fickle, dumb and selfish, except old Willem. Her and their ignorance in Southern planting and crafty Dixie ways means more problems are created then solved. By the time dad returns to pick her up or abandon her for good, she's the one who has learned and changed the most.

It was in the year of 1933

and Grace and her father were heading
southward with their army of gangsters

After Ieaving Dogville
they had returned to Denver

only to find that the mice had been well
and truly playing while the cat was away

and new forces had taken
over their former possessions

The result was a particularly
unappealing retreat

that had brought them through
the state ofAlabama this spring

in search of new hunting grounds

No, they will not
admit it! But it's a fact!

Deep down inside there isn't a woman
alive who doesn't nurture these fantasies

whether they involve harems

or being hunted through the
jungle by torch-bearing natives

however much they go on and on about
civilization and democracy sexy it ain't!

Grace and her father had
resumed their Iegendary discord

even as they pulled out of Dogville

and although Grace had
been employing the technique

of Ietting things go in one ear and out
the other for a pretty Iong time now

she was, to be frank, somewhat weary
of her unbearably overweening daddy

who still believed any nagging woman could be
pacified with the good old bouquet of carnations

I bet you wouldn't have had the guts
to talk Iike that if mother had been alive

No, you are right, my girl, I would not!

we're going, boss

Miss, Lady, can I talk
to you? Can I talk to you?


They going whip him! I knew they would!
Itjust ain't true! He ain't stole nothing!

They put that Rhenish wine
from Mam's bedside table in his cabin

just to give 'em somethin'
to whip him for! That's the Iaw

One bottle and it's a whippin',
that's "Mam's Law!"

what are you talking about?
who... who are they going to whip?

- Timothy!
- why?

That's how they do us slaves...

- SIaves?
- Yes, Ma'am

Surely you've heard of slaves?

That's what we is at Manderlay

this godforsaken place!

That's how I got out, when a whippin's in
the offin' they take out a section of the fence

Listen, Grace! It's a Iocal matter
and it's not for us to poke our noses in

why should we not "poke our noses in",
just because it's a Iocal matter?

It's certainly not our responsibility

You think the Negroes wanted
to Ieave their homes in Africa?!

wasn't it us who
brought them to America?

we have done them a great wrong, it's our
abuse that has made them what they are

Untie him!


'Fraid not, Iady! SIavery was
abolished seventy years ago

Ifyou won't obey that Iaw ofyour
own accord, we will compel you to do so!

Mam! Help me get her inside!

water for Mam! Quickly

Spare me your hypocrisy,
you dumb old slave!

Get out, Ieave us alone!

Ifyou're Iooking for sympathy,
don't expect any from me

Listen, I'm very old

and unfortunately, dying

I should Iike to ask you for a favor

If it involves allowing you to go
on exploiting these people Iike slaves

I'm sorry, I'II just have to say no

- No matter how "dying" you are
- SIavery is over now, I can see that

It had to come one day

All right, I'II probably refuse
you, but you might as well ask

There's a book,
it's under my mattress

I should Iike you to
retrieve it and burn it for me

- It would be best for everyone
- I'm sure you think so!

But it's my view that anything no matter what, is
best served by being brought out into the open

I beg you, one woman to another

woman to woman,
makes no difference to me

the sins of the past are sins I cannot
and do not wish to help you erase

And now I must Ieave you, I believe
my father's men have unlocked the gate

so now everybody can
come and go as they please

PIease Iet everyone else
know on the plantation

that from now on they can all enjoy the same
freedoms as any other citizen of this country

And the Constitution can
be found at any courthouse

And here's a tip for
when you sue the family

there's a weighty written evidence
concealed in this very room

She's dead

The old devil!

Oh, I'm sorry,
I didn't mean it, Missy!

No, no, if any of us deserves
an apology it's not me!

I'm afraid

There's nothing to be afraid of!
we've taken all the family's weapons!


I'm afraid ofwhat will happen now

I fear we ain't ready for
a completely new way of Iife

At Manderlay, we
slaves took supper at 7

when do people take
supper when they are free?

we don't know these things

Free men eat when they're hungry

free women, as welI

Considering the times and the situation

Grace's words in the dead woman's
room on meal times for free citizens

might have seemed a trifle over-spirited

we should not believe that there
Iay any contempt in these words

for the wretched and
starving people ofAmerica

Grace rejoined the gangsters

who had indeed concluded their disarmament
of the plantation's powers-that-had-been

though their findings were meager:
the shot gun, and an old toy pistoI

All right, we can go

No, Iet's just wait a moment!

what are you waiting for?

For them to come and thank you?

Or for them to burn
the whole place down

and dance some tribal dance on
the ruins by the glow of the torchlight?

You are a bigot, daddy
and you always have been

we owe these people we
brought them here, we abused them

- we made them what they are!
- I admit, I don't do deals with the Japs

You can't trust them when there's
big money at stake, but a bigot?

- why don't they come out?
- That's exactly what you said Iast time!

- Last time?
- Remember when you were six

you thought it was so sad that your
beloved Tweety was all shut up in a cage

and nobody could persuade
you not to Iet him out

Tweety was a proud Iittle bird

well, his dignified exit didn't
do Tweety a hell of a Iot of good

we found him the next
morning underneath your window

- Frozen to death
- I know

he'd been bred as an indoor bird,
he really didn't have a chance

And what do you think
those Negroes in there are?

How many generations do you think those
families made their homes behind that fence?

I bet you most of them have taken up
employment in their former jobs with the family

contracts and alI

Of course now they'II get a few dollars
for their efforts, but they'II soon drink that up

and maybe they'II borrow
a bit more from their employers

who have, no doubt, opened a Iittle
store full of colorful wares just for them

And of course they'II never be able to pay
back the money and they'II be trapped yet again

what you did was
all very noble, my girl, but...

when push comes to shove you've just made
everything far worse, just as you did with Tweety

So all we can do
is hope there's no frost

what you said about
contracts and Ioans

- That's fraud!
- Fraud?

- See, I've read that freed slaves
- Yes

- Are given a mule and a plot of Iand
- Yes

- So that they can establish themselves
- Yes

Yep, that's true,
but when it came down to it

the fellow who owned the mule and
the Iand had rather keep it all for himself

so nothing really ever happened with it

Anyhow, it may take them a while to
gather the evidence against the plantation

for when the family goes on trial...


There are times when you seem
even Iess with it than your dear mother!

No, I seem to have
underestimated 'em

we've at Ieast one man with
a genuine thirst for freedom

And he's gettin' out,
and he's in a hurry

Yeah, he's high tailin' it, all right

Yeah, it's Gramps!

Pardon me

Not a Iot of dignity there...
he's scared out of his wits!

would it be possible to have
a word with the young Iady?

Yes, yes

Don't mean to inconvenience you

That's exactly what you're doing

You're not inconveniencing anyone, this
is a grave day for everyone, I know that!

I just thought we must have
seemed a might bit ungratefuI

we should Iike to thank
you properly for what you've done

- It'II only take a moment
- Yes of course

Ten minutes and then
I'm going, not a second Ionger!

Grace was conducted through the wretched
Iiving quarters bestowed upon the slaves

with their pitiful, Ieaky cabins

Her actions would comprise an unconditional
enrichment of these people's Iives

There was no doubt about that...

or was there?

Actually, Grace did not see so
much of the glow she had hoped for

The glow that could have convinced her that no
one would end up Iike the Iittle pale yellow canary

These were human beings but of the kind on
whom pain had been inflicted, Grace thought

as she was suddenly interrupted
by a strangely exotic accent

when we were slaves we were not
required to offer thanks for our supper

and for the water we
drank and the air we breathed

Nobody needs
to say thank-you, but...

But what?

You mean there's somethin'
we ought to be thankful for?

I didn't mean
"but" I meant "and"!

And, there's no reason to be grateful
for anything as natural as your freedom

I'm the first to apologize for everything you
and your people have been subjected to...

See, those gates should have
been unlocked seventy years ago

Only seventy years ago

but before that, of course,
they were completely justified?


no, no, you misunderstand me

what can I say?

You need to say nothing at alI

we've heard ofyour kind

A society Iady, who spends
her time rescuin' wretched nigras

I should Iike to say thank you! Missy
done give her time and effort to helpin' us

time I bet she could've spent
on all kinds of different things

'Cause, t'was perfectjustice when God
made some of us slaves and not others

A nigra is vile by nature

Oh, I know it ain't popular to say so!

And it ain't 'cause
of Burt that I say so

No, Victoria did not base her perception
exclusively on her experience of her husband

though God knows it weighed heavily

Burt was a useless eejit whose character
Victoria, regrettably so far in vain

had done her best to improve by hitting him
with any implement to hand on any given occasion

no matter how much he had
threatened to take his own Iife

by throwing himself
into Manderlay's deep welI

Grace Iooked at wilhelm the
old house slave and understood:

He had not brought her
here for anybody to thank her

he just wanted her to see them all!

The unfortunate flock that he very
rightly feared would have few chances

beyond the perimeter fence

Iiving proof of the devastating
power of oppression

Listen up, it's all been put on paper

we just needed to check the wordin' first,
bein' as these things are Iegal and bindin'!


what are these?

They're the contracts, Ma'am!

The family has been so
considerate to offer us all employment

Grace was not a Iawyer and unqualified to assess
the validity of the contract she held in her hand

But she feared that unfortunately any judge
in the county would deem it fair and proper

it appeared to Grace
that instead of "employee"

they mightjust as well have
retained the old term of "slave"

A body would only sign it if he or she
was utterly ignorant of Iife in a Iiberal society

or if he or she
really had no choice!

Folks, I suppose that you're
in urgent need of cash, Mark?


I once knew this fella' from a Iittle
township nobody'd know the name of

so there ain't no grounds
to mention what t'was called

he had cash, not piles of it

we are prepared to Iend you some money
as covered by this other piece of paper

and we also can set up
a Iittle store here, ifyou Iike

after all, it's a Iong way to town

And ifyou buy enough for all of us,
I betcha Iiable to get a real nice bulk discount

and the goods'II be
cheaper than in town!

Ain't that right, Miss Grace?

I have no idea

PIease sign, everybody!

Sign here

All right, Iet's go!

- No, turn it off
- Damn it!

Daddy! You said that I didn't have
the power to help Tweety and you were right

I was a child then...

So, what is it this time?!

This time I have the power to act!

You said so back in Dogville

That your power would be mine, too!

And that I could use it in my own way!

That power was
to carry on the family firm

that I was open to new ideas

The power you ask for now will undoubtedly be
applied to something that's foolish at best and...

Daddy! You promised!

You were a bastard to mother, but when
you promised her something, she got it!

Ok, you've been
given what I promised you

Maybe things haven't
been split right down the middle

but this is as far as I am prepared to go!

I want nothing to do with your plans

And you won't be able to get in touch with
me if anything goes wrong and you need me

as usual, to get you out of trouble,
because fortunately, my dear

you'II have no idea where I am

- Daddy, I'd Iike to take Joseph, as well
- No

I need a Iawyer
to sort out some paperwork!

No, no, never, never

I'd never Iet Joseph go

He's the only man I know who can draw up a
contract so there's only one possible interpretation

and though I haven't
needed that talent as ofyet

I still might need it one day!

I'II give you Viggo and Bruno for him!


I've given you my best
associates and you know it!

Daddy! I was meant
to have been given half!

- If mother had been alive
- Oh, damn it, Grace!

So, that very day and into
the early hours Joseph employed

the celebrated unambiguous phrases
his previous employer and given him

so wretchedly Iittle
opportunity to practice

New contracts needed drawing
up and old ones needed nullifying

all with the astonishing goodwill
that parties always evince in the company

of rapid-firing machine pistols

These are the deeds of gift, you transfer the
property to the former slaves in joint ownership

The Iast document is your contract
of employment by this community

Employment? I don't quite
get what you mean by that...

It'II be without pay and the right
of termination is rather one-sidedly

in the hands of the
employer, but nevertheless

Manual Iabor... for you
and your family and Mr. Mays!

Hard Iabor

Say something, Bingo!

My father's back ain't so strong, he climbed
up to reach the chandelier, one Christmas day

And he fell off the
banister and struck a table

well, that's what happens
when you've got chandeliers

when I consider that your understanding
of the worth of other human beings

has reached the desirable stage

you and Mr. Mays and
your family will be allowed to go

Go? And Ieave our home?


and I assure you that even starting from
scratch your prospects will be a Iot better

than your former
Iabor's would have been!

with regards to the
presence of me and my men

we'II only act as your counselors

The guns are merely a precaution in
case of any threats to the new community

we intend to stay here, but
only until the first harvest is home

after which any of the new
shareholders who wishes to do so

may cash in his or her
deed of gift and receive a dividend

All right, will you
collect your deeds, Mark...?

Nobody was particularly enthusiastic or
confident about these Iate night Iegal formalities

But Grace could see beyond this

And if she saw Iittle else than
fear and disquiet in all these eyes

at Ieast she saw
gratitude in one single pair

namely in wilhelm's mild, old gaze

Burt! I got a deed of gift
here that ain't been accepted

will Mr. Burt approach forthwith
and take delivery of his deed of gift?

Mr. Burt? Mr. Burt?

Burt had actually prepared his
escape from his ferocious wife

Despite her Iack offaith in his abilities

Burt had succeeded in meeting
a woman through the fence

and she had agreed
to help him to abscond

and there he was waiting at
the agreed place at the agreed time

"A helping hand", the woman had said

what a peculiar coincidence that
two women should come to the aid

of the Manderlay
slaves at the same time:

Grace; and Burt's "helping hand"

and the similarities between
them were also peculiar:

young; beautiful; white in male company

actually male
company in alarming numbers

where's the nigger?

Grace had moved into the freed
plantation: among its new shareholders

She was there as a guard, no more

But no one could stop her
from using this beautiful spring

to make her own Iittle observations
on the people of Manderlay

In the hope of spotting the burgeoning change
in character that freedom ought to bring

But unfortunately
she saw Iittle ofjust that:

She saw Victoria for the third time, Iooking down
the well in hope of a glimpse of the body of Burt

She saw FIora and EIizabeth
swooning for Timothy as ever

She saw the men spending
their time on card games

playing for tufts of blue
cotton under their Ieaking roof

And she saw how everybody would ignore
the eager Mark whenever he opened his mouth

not knowing that he was notorious for never
being able to give an intelligible answer to anything

we called him Putting head,
but his real name wasn't Putting head

Grace saw Victoria beating her
eldest son, for stealing a moldy cookie

And she saw the unstoppable,
irrevocable hierarchy of the beatings

Victoria beating Ed, Ed
beating Milton, and Milton, willie

who finally vented his frustration
further down the food chain on CIaire

who far too rarely managed to make
use of the window with the outside handle

that her Ioving father Jack had
installed as an emergency entrance

which also allowed her to fall asleep every
night to her favorite view of the twinkling stars

Every noontide Grace witnessed
with pity how the former slaves

were arrayed on the parade
ground with its mysterious numbers

and marks beneath Mam's balcony

as if nothing at Manderlay had changed

However, one of them did not submit
to this all-too-soothing power of habit

Timothy of course

In a flash his exotic pride
almost took Grace's breath away

This day Grace walked on past the old "Peach
House" where the whites were now detained

put to work on sundry more
or Iess needless Iittle repairs

on her way to the
barn housing her gangsters

So, how's everyone doing?

I'm afraid the men got nothing to do

And it's not so good for the moraI

In situations Iike that your father
always came up with something!

I bet he did! But it's
patience that's required

But not this much patience, Niels says,
Niels's grandpa was a cotton grower

And he says the cotton
should've been sown ages ago!

The soil doesn't Iook ready

Might be because nobody's ploughed it!

Maybe things are different here
from where your grandpa Iives?

No ma'am, don't reckon so

well, if it should've been sown, surely
the people here would be the first to know

As she did not want to impose

Grace's intercourse with the former slaves
had been Iimited to brief greetings and the Iike

But now it was time for
a talk with some meat to it

Excuse me, sir? Mark?
May I ask you something?

It's about planting the cotton

I've been around for sowin'
and harvestin' and birth and death

Right, so when should
the cotton be planted?

There're strict rules for that...

you can't mess
around with that sort of thing

Manderlay's always been renowned
for the precision of its harvest

the swallows always
migrate right afterwards

they settle here for the night
on their way across the marshes

But the planting?

It's a science, my dear Iady

And the weather, what you might've
expected, plays a fear-some role

Yes, yes, and when
will it be time this year?

Not too soon and not too Iate

Yes, but when? Should the
cotton have already been planted?

I'm not the sorta fella' to pass on
information unless I'm damn sure of it

Iess the facts of the matter are
one hundred percent, in other words...

the facts need be beyond dispute

Do you know when to plant?


I'd better ask wilhelm,
is he in his cabin?

This morning he went
down to the bath house

he'd gotten a Iittle frayed around
the edges, as they say, it's a funny thing

I'm sorry... I'II go find him myself

Excuse me wilhelm,
I've come about the fields

The fields should've been ploughed
and harrowed three weeks ago

and the cotton planted two weeks ago

But does everybody know that?

Oh yes, but I reckon they thinkin' somebody
else oughta go out into the fields first

In the old days Overseer
Mays would've driven us out there

Maybe it's because
nobody really trust you, Missy

Yeah, but wilhelm, they could
be doing something else instead

repairs to their homes

they badly need it

The cabins have
always been a sore spot

But Mam said we ain't
got no material to fix 'em up

But we're going to need what we make on the
cotton, how else will people survive on their own?


iffolks felt they
was given something

Something brought out
by this, these new times

That made their Iives better in
a convincing way, right here and now

I don't know what
that might be, but...

But we don't have time for that

we've been forced to sow Iate before

The harvest might be improved ifwe planted
it a bit Iate, even says that in Mam's Law

Mam's Law?

Oh, yes, Mam's Iaw

It's all the rules for running the plantation

But we weren't allowed to read it,
it was just for Mam and the family

Only for Mam and the
family, Grace thought...

Certainly no more...

And there on Mam's bed skimming through the old
book well filled with bizarre and vicious regulations

she came upon a page
that Iooked strangely familiar!

A table with numbers
from one to seven

Somewhere Grace had
seen something similar, for sure

Mam's Iaw revealed it alI

The Manderlay plantation
with its glamorous front mansion

and pitiful rear where the slaves had
their quarters had been kept in an iron grip

by these very numbers!

They represented the psychological
division of the Manderlay slaves

Sammy was a Group 5:
a CIownin' nigger

The formidable Victoria was of
course a Number Four: a Hittin' nigger

No wonder her husband Burt had found
it necessary to accept "a helping hand"

even if it was another color from his own

wilma and Mark were Losin' niggers

wilhelm was a Two: a Talkin' nigger

FIora was a weepin'
nigger, et cetera et cetera

there were pleasin' niggers
and crazy niggers by the dozen

The final category, Number One proudy niggers
consisted nowadays ofTimothy as expected

who was of course
not there, and EIizabeth?

No, it said seven, not one

she was a pleasin' nigger,
also known as a chameleon

A person of the kind who could transform herself
into exactly the type the beholder wanted to see

This was how the slave system had
been kept alive for so Iong at Manderlay

Bondage even through psychology!

As Grace in deep thoughts
gazed across the fields of Manderlay

she recalled another page in Mam's Iaw

dealing exclusively with the weeding of the
paths in the romantic "OId Lady's Garden"

The name of the narrow band
ofwoodland that skirted the plantation

"Trees and tree trunks!" Grace thought

So there were materials
at Manderlay after all!

Excuse me,
may I ask you all something?

Isn't it true that somebody
who's even poor and colored

can still take the trouble
to maintain their home?

How dare you?

Do you think colored folks prefer
holes in their roofs and wallowing in mud?

well then, all you need
to do is to mend those holes!

But I told you, there ain't never been the
materials for that kind of thing at Manderlay

No materials? That's not true

when I'm in the fields
I see timber wherever I Iook

just waiting to be turned
into boards for a roof

or an extension or maybe
even a whole new cabin!

That be Mam's Garden,
you can't cut that down

And why can't we cut
down the OId Lady's Garden?

Have you really spent that many happy hours up
there on your knees weeding her romantic paths?

That's true, there's Ioads of timber

we ain't seen it as anything
but the OId Lady's Garden

I don't know what you think,
but to me it sounds Iike a splendid idea

And at a stroke these seated, reclining, resting
people had turned into people going full tilt

walking, running, working people

without anyone having to threaten
them in the slightest with "The Lady's hand"

as Grace had been
told the great whip was called

And Grace had won a kind of victory

a small beginning of something
that would one day erase

all the negative inherited
behavior patterns at Manderlay

But, as Grace had suspected, the
appetite for improving the Iiving quarters

unfortunately exceeded
that for preparing the fields

But a few of the former
slaves had volunteered

And with the white
family and Grace herself

they made up a sort of gang
to prepare the soil for the seeds

Under the gaze of a demonstratively hostile
Timothy with his mysterious white handkerchief

He wasn't born here?

He's a Munsi

It's a Iine ofAfrican royalty,
it's a very proud Iine

He don't drink, either,
or gamble Iike the others be doing

with their Iittle blue
tufts of cotton money?

T'was Mam's Law

we weren't allowed no real money

Grace knew about the clever
system of currency in Mam's Law

Not real money you
could use in the outside world

The Munsi don't gamble
'cause don't believe in winnings

They believe you have to be humble to your
crops and only take what's absolutely necessary

I've never heard of these Munsi before,
but I do believe I once heard of the Mansi?

They different, they was
slaves ofAfrican kings, they gamble

they is true mischief, Timothy say

- So Timothy has prejudices as well?
- what?

Oh, nothing, I was just thinking aloud

Oh, so you've find company, FIora?

No, no, I was on my way out anyway

Timothy, Iet me tell you one thing

I know you don't Iike me and
don't trust me, and I can see why

Although our ideals differ,
you have a pride within you

that I believe will one day be
the salvation of everybody at Manderlay

Let me tell you one thing, too!

You got fine words, a posse of gangsters and
your white skin, somethin' folks here seem fall for

But I ain't fooled

You're not interested in us

Not as human beings

After all, it's tough telling people
apart when they're from another race

we whites have committed an
irreparable crime against an entire people

Manderlay is a moral
obligation because we made you!

Luckily, I'm just a nigger
who don't understand such words

and now, ifyou'II excuse me,
I've come here for the company of my girI

and that ain't nothing for you to see

black hides meetin'

and if I were you I'd Ieave
now before things get too nasty

Grace regarded Timothy's
hostility as a challenge

And the very next day she
took a step to dispel his claim

that as a white she was incapable
of caring for blacks as individuals

She had had a chat to Venus,
about her somewhat maladjusted son Jim

And Venus had revealed that Jim's behaviour
was merely that of a budding but frustrated artist

Tell me, have you seen Venus?

Nobody here wants your charity!

I have something for Jim!

I've had a really good Iook
at his face, since our Iittle chat

And you're right, it does
possess an artist's sensitivity

This is far too much

No, no, no, go on,
call him! This is for him

Jim, come on out here
with me and Miss Grace, baby

These are for you,
because we believe in you

Now run along,
and paint your fantastic pictures

and never mind those closed minded folks
who think they know what art is meant to Iook Iike

give them hell from me Jim!

Excuse me, but I ain't Jim,
I'm Jack, that's Jim!

It is tricky, as a matter offact I've
never been able to tell them apart either

They're both colored
and they both got curly hair

why Iook any deeper than that?

To be honest Grace had never been quite
sure which was Jim and which was Jack

A blunder that would, in her
former Iife among her fellow whites

merely have occasioned a Iittle Iaughter

in her Iife at Manderlay it was disastrous

But Iike her father, she did not take
Iong to transform a defeat into anger

energy and a counterattack

This is what has
created all this resistance

Even you regard it
as almost sacred, don't you?

I must admit it's played
a right important part of my Iife

And that will be my next move!
They should be allowed to see it

and to understand that it
can't do them any more harm

I wouldn't advise it, Missy

Presenting it to them would be Iike showing
a child the rod with which it's been beaten

I agree, it must be made public,
but we ain't all ripe for it

All right, then we shall have to
see about ripening you, and quickly!

And I'm not talking about the
couple of cozy meetings I've organized

to which hardly anybody turned up

I mean teaching with a timetable,
old fashioned hands on schooling

All right, I've got something for you to do at Iast,
and it even involves bossing people about...

At noon tomorrow I'm going to give my first
Iesson to all of the former slaves of Manderlay

And it'II be your job to
make sure that they're there

No excuse for not showing up!

And the family?

No, they're pretty
well teaching themselves

Are you Iistening to me?

It's 'cause Niels just got a great hand!


who are you?

My name is Doctor Hector

Do excuse me a moment,
I'II have to pay my way out of this round

God knows, I don't believe you possess
any cards of real significance

You have a poker player's face

You see here my entire enterprise

I'd never gained access
to Manderlay before

so when I drove by today,
I saw the gates were open

I took it as a sign of new times

what exactly do you do?

I entertain, party games,
card games and the Iike

well, nowadays mainly the Iatter

You play for money?

Oh, but I do more than play

I cheat!

And you have no objections to
revealing this business secret ofyours?

Oh, to some people, but not to you

No, you see, ifyou and I establish
the business relationship I am anticipating

you'II be happen
to know exactly what to expect

And what can I expect?

Eighty per cent

Now, you certainly know
all the problems that arose

when our beloved new
deal was imposed in '65

the plantation owners had
plenty of Iand but nobody to work it

So they contracted
with their former slaves

But they just didn't have the same hold
on the rascals as they had in the old days

Of course, they Iend them money

Then quite a few of the nigras
actually saved up and paid off their debts

so the plantation owners got worried

- I bet they did!
- Oh, yes

See, that is where my idea came in

I went from plantation to plantation
with the full backing of the plantation owners

to entertain their employees, and they were
sorely in need of diversion, Iet me tell you

we just had a Iittle game of cards

And if anyone was
close to repaying his debt

I would take their shirt off their back!

And I'm prepared to offer you
that very same service today, Mam!

You are not convinced

Let me give you another
token of my profound Ioyalty

I have here a Ietter from
a man by the name of Stanley

He asked me to smuggle it out

I thought perhaps you would
Iike to see it before it is mailed

Listen, Mr. Hector, Iet me
just say that I've never met a man

whom I have instantly despised so wholeheartedly
both for his personality and his occupation

Does that mean you
are turning down my offer?

I never want to see you here again!

All right, well, I am disappointed

I shall nevertheless bestow
upon you my thought for the day

I indulge in word games

I Iike to give my clients something
to Iaugh or think about when I Ieave

The best technique for a card
sharp is "dealing from the bottom"

Look as ifyou're dealing
from the top of the deck

but instead you just take the
bottom card, one that you know

"Take from the bottom" means
something else entirely in social terms

but it is what I do,
I "take from the bottom"

won't be hard to find
me ifyou change your mind

The Ietter was aimed at a Mr. Miller, one of the
truckers who picked up cotton from Manderlay

and the plantation's only real contact with the
outside world, it was short and to the point

"we are being held prisoner by
gangsters and coloreds at Manderlay"

"inform the police and please
come to our aid with all due dispatch"

Indignation is a rare
emotion for a gangster

but a state ofjust that was what Grace's
men experienced while they herded

the colored people in
for their Iesson that day

as Grace had reported on Doctor Hector's
cheap trick of "taking from the bottom"

And it was hardly the sophisticated ambiguity
of the term that had affected them so dramatically

welcome to our Iesson

yes, I call it a Iesson as the term "meeting" seems
to have scared some people out of attending

I was coming, but I was Iate!

Very Iate, you hadn't made
it by the time we finished

In the old days we could hear
the bell from the old clock in the halI

T'was easier to keep up with time,
but we never hear it no more

Probably because nobody winds it up

But, now for the topic of
this Iesson: working together

Only four people from your
wing helped to prepare the fields

and only five helped to plant

I'm not a shareholder in this enterprise but if I
had been and if I had also been one of the five

I would've felt cheated

Democracy means
government by the people

But as it's not practical
for everyone to sit in congress

a method by which people may
express their views is required

this method is called a ballot

All right, so Iet's try it out

we should choose a problem,
anything anyone can't decide on?

If I may suggest a small matter?

please do

I reckon the Iittle broken rake
is mine, but FIora reckons it's hers

That's an excellent suggestion,
it's a great example

I assume you all know of this dispute and
all feel able to have an opinion on it, right?

who does the community
think owns the rake?

It could turn out to belong
to both parties equally

now that would correspond
nicely with the subject of this Iesson!

working together,
sharing together, all right?

So, who thinks it's EIizabeth's rake?


I think it's EIisabeth's rake

All right!

SIowly the point of Grace's edifying
discourse dawned on the majority

Most of them thought the rake was
definitely EIizabeth's a few that it was FIora's

and nobody that it could be shared

I still remain undecided whether
the rake is EIizabeth's or FIora's

Right, so, not too surprisingly,
neither party receives Mark's vote!

From now on a Iittle broken
rake belongs to EIizabeth

That's what ballots are Iike,
there are winners and there are Iosers

But the community has spoken

And now Grace embarked on a
protracted explanation of FIora's difficulties

raking without a rake

and that owning things together
could have its advantages

To make sure that everyone
understood the democratic principle

the meeting carried out
another ballot at Jim's suggestion

I wanna talk about the fact that Sammy
being Iaughing so Ioud of his own jokes

and they ain't funny

and I been tryin' to get some sleep, and
I can't get no sleep, cause he Iaughs so Ioud

Maybe perhaps there can a be
a time when he can stop his joke

and stop Iaughing,
so we can get some sleep

You can't vote on a man's Iaughter,
you can't vote on a man's Iaughter surely

I'm hearing that it's
at sundown at sundown

That's what I'm hearing,
so Iet's do a vote

All right, so that's settled

That's democracy?

Finally wilhelm proposed that it would
be practical if somebody was responsible

for winding up the clock with
its small but penetrating chimes

And for mysterious reasons the probing
though fairly passive artist, Jim, was appointed

despite the song and
dance his mother kicked up

Grace wound up the Iesson by announcing
that the topic for the next day would be

"our anger and how to communicate it"

Maybe somebody would at
Ieast tell me what the time is?

Just ask Timothy,
he always know what time it is

he can tell by
the sun, he always do that

Or you can always
ask wilhelm, he's so old

He's from before
the clock ever got here

So wilhelm and Timothy, each made
his own suggestion as to what the time was

And they were astonishingly close

wilhelm thought it was eight minutes to,
Timothy thought it was five minutes to

and Grace rejoiced quietly at this natural
ability that they found so straightforward

But rapidly two factions emerged

one which insisted it was eight minutes to

and the other would not hear
of anything but five minutes to

And they were thus able to draw on
the day's Iearning and put it to the vote

The result was five
minutes to by a small majority

and so it was decided:

the official time at Manderlay
was five minutes to two

Grace's first Iesson of the day
took place in relative good humor

but the second one, the one that
had unfortunately proved unavoidable

was severer in character


Daily ration offood
for slaves from category 7

oh, no, 1 ... is, er...

Six ounces of solid food, and
they've always been given just that

no matter how Iittle
there was in the stores

That's a Iot Iess than
category seven, for example

why should a proudy "nigger" have
Iess to eat than an eye-pleasin' one?

How can the way your head seems to be
arranged have anything to do whatsoever

with the amount
people are given to eat?

I really don't know either,
not precisely, do you, Mr. Mays?

It could be just to
punish them for their pride!

No, I just did what it said

It mattered a Iot to my mother
that we follow these rules

I know of many places where everybody
got quite a bit Iess than 6 ounces

and where they began to eat dirt

It's a kind of custom coloreds
have when food is scarce 'round here

but it was forbidden under Mam's Law

That's not what we're discussing here

don't you see what an affront
it is to divide people up Iike that?

Folks is different

oxen and rabbits don't need
equal shares offodder neither

both parties would
come down with a belly ache!

Stop! All right, I'm not at all satisfied
with what I've heard here today

You're all speaking
up for this foolishness

I'm going to have to penalize you, because
so Iittle effort has been made in these Iessons

That evening Grace thought that her idea
of making the whites make up their faces

which had seemed so just and edifying
in her flash of anger that afternoon

was perhaps a tad too
much in the wrong direction

Even though Philomena herself in
her own childhood would not have dreamt

of going to the toilet without
the entertainment of her black nanny

Look at your Uncle Jim, he's
in the bathtub Iearning how to swim

Can we clean our faces now?

Yes, yes, of course!

Ah well, here comes the dust

so none of this will matter any more

what do you mean?

There's gonna be a dust storm

and the plants have
only just begun to grow

it couldn't be worse!

But Manderlay's fields have
never been harmed by a dust storm

'Cause the
windbreak was still in place

Grace was not inclined to go into what the former
overseer meant by these mysterious words

And soon she had convinced herself
that they had no meaning at alI

apart from spreading
disquiet and despondency

The next day's Iesson on the
importance of unleashing one's anger

met Iittle understanding
from the assembly

It was when they wound
up with a series of ballots

and the community had rapidly
decided to use wilma's potatoes for seed

as she was so old and
did not have to eat that much

that they heard the wind

The dust had come at this time
for as Iong as anybody could remember

But every year from time immemorial
it had spared the newly planted cotton

as the plantation had been cleverly
shielded by a narrow band of trees

known in common parlance as
"The OId Lady's Garden"

In the midst of the almost Biblical
darkness that descended on Manderlay

Grace knew all to well that even
hand in hand with all the races of the world

no army of gangsters
could counter this

Nature's extravagant
demonstration of power

All she could do was watch
as row upon row of the seedlings

she had so welcomed disappeared
beneath the devastating dust

Nobody could do a thing

but apparently it did not
mean that no one would try

for now Grace
discerned a rider out there

He was riding Iike crazy

As he progressed across the fields, wherever
he spotted a pile of dust beginning to grow

he would break it
up with his horse's hooves

whether it would make the slightest dent
in the grand scale of things was hard to telI

but it was a battle

no matter how senseless
it might be: heroic and dangerous!


Come back! Come back!
Timothy, Timothy!

He's gonna be all right,
he knows these storms

Miss Grace, you's head over heels
for him, you's a fool, Miss Grace

- where did you find him?
- He was behind the house

Is he alive?

I do believe I know what
you mean by that question

But what does it mean to be alive?

I mean is he breathing?

Forget it

Is he dead?

we colored folks can be awfully
hard to kill ifwe want it that way

That very afternoon strong
Timothy was back on his feet

surveying the buildings
for damage caused by the storm

The dust had struck a devastating blow:

Unfortunately, hardest hit were the food
stores in the dilapidated "Peach House"

which had Iost its roof

Almost all of their
provisions were now inedible

On top of that the pneumonia
brought by the dust was inevitable

The dust had got in everywhere

particularly where no new boards
could have provided weatherproofing

namely through the cracked glass in
the window on the stars above CIaire's bed

"Valuables", not to mention cash,
were non-existent at Manderlay

since the elegant clock miraculously
still ticking merrily away on the mantelpiece

turned out to be, not Swiss

as Mam believed

but a copy made quite Iocally
and worth practically nothing

"The freed Enterprise
of Manderlay" was bust

wilhelm and Grace were therefore under no
illusions that anybody would attend class this day

But then, one by one the
Manderlay flock began to appear

I'm happy you're all here

But I don't really have
a Iecture for you today

I'd just Iike to say

how badly I feel about
this hopeless situation

But of course words
aren't much use to you

No, Missy has
Iearnt that much at Ieast

But as regards hopelessness,
it is something we do know a bit about

There are a million plants out there beneath
the dust, ifwe can save but fifty of 'em

perhaps we can grow a small quantity
of great quality and get a better price for it

I reckon we should make a move

And that is how the greatest disaster
turned into a stroke of Iuck for Grace

and how the people, with a common
foe, the dust, as their excuse

suddenly found themselves working shoulder
to shoulder with their deadliest enemy

to achieve the common goal
as free, grown-up Americans

Stanley and Bertie had
sown the fields with Iittle sticks

so that people could tell where
to uncover the tender seedlings

while FIora ever so
childishly kept teasing Grace

with her digs at Grace's supposed
romantic feelings towards Timothy

Good night, old wilma

Good night, child

we can Iie down and talk
for a while 'fore we go to sleep

No, thank you, wilma

I'm not weary enough to go to bed yet

A Iittle walk helps

A walk when a body ain't
sleepy is a very good thing

I do the same myself

Good night!

Good night!

That everything seemed as moving along on
its own could be nothing but welcomed by Grace

But her Iack of an active part to play
had suddenly Ieft her in a kind of a vacuum

and allowed other things
inside her to claim attention

human things Iike
instincts and emotions

An ominous sense of homelessness
and Ioneliness struck Grace this evening

As she wondered about, Grace suddenly found
herself outside the wooden rear of the bathhouse

without warning the homelessness transferred
into a strange desire to move up that rusty pipe

against the flow of dirty water into where
naked bodies were being washed in cheap soap

BIack skin

male and black manhood

what Grace had felt at the bath
house was undignified, shamefuI

Her mind was meant to be
devoted to policy at Manderlay

a matter in which these thoughts
had no business whatsoever

Grace had forced herself to sleep
to rid her thoughts of those black bodies

an achievement that was actually
possible thanks to the stubbornness

that flourished in Grace's family

But the cotton seedling in her
Iove-starved body did not give up

It manifested itself as a dream

Grace was in southern climes

There were women in exotic
costumes and men in turbans

Even in her sleep she hated with a passion
any idea of allowing that her father might be right

But it was a harem!

A group of black slaves appeared,
bearing a huge charger piled with dates

And in a twinkling Grace Iay among
the dates, trembling with pleasure

as a flock of Bedouin satisfied
her one by one with their noses!

And it was even more confusing
when Timothy appeared

and was both the slave bearing wine,
hands shaking, and the Sheik himself

whose authoritative hands tested
the size of Grace's most intimate orifices

I must have overslept

I'm sorry, CIaire
has had another turn!

Yeah, she's running a bad fever
again, she had anything to eat?

Oh, sure, pork
chops and baked chicken

She's taken a Iittle oatmeal
but it's hard to get it into her

she had this trouble with her Iungs
Iast year when the dust come, too

but there was far more dust this year

Honestly Missy, you oughta go back
home to the clean air and Iarders full offood

we're all in this together,
no matter how hard it gets

And hard it will get

I've seen what's Ieft around here though
some folks are still fillin' their bellies

You're right,
we've got to talk about that

Come on, it'II be all right, Rose!

I propose that we
ration what we have Ieft

and spread our provisions over a month until
we can harvest more from the vegetable gardens

And as I hear there are so
very few beans and potatoes Ieft

I think we should give them to
Rose who needs them for CIaire

what's Ieft will be shared
out equally among the rest of us!

Excuse me, the rest of us?

- That goes for us too?
- Yes, of course it does

we've already eaten things
your father would ever have put up with

Joseph swears they couldn't
been described as food at alI

Iegally speakin'!

Your father used to Iet us obtain
stuffwhen the coffers were empty

Surely we could steal
something from somewhere

but I suppose that's
no good either, Miss Grace?

I'm afraid you're one tough cookie

Maybe I am

Sadly the most nourishing
fare the estate could still provide

had not improved
CIaire's condition much

but she needed meat,
and Timothy knew it

and so henceforth they would have to do
without the Ioyal old donkey on the treadmilI

It was not a good portent of the Ievel
of morale that the gangsters were now

trying hard to fix the car
from the ravages of the dust

But Iuckily Joseph, a Iegal expert with the ability
to interpret the most incomprehensible of texts

had met his match in the
1923 Ford owner's manuaI

As time went by the scattered cotton
plants at Manderlay grew side by side

with its denizens' hunger now that
the Iittle that was Ieft of the donkey meat

was reserved for CIaire

And Grace found herself in the
peculiar situation ofjoining wilma

and the other women in what had been
completely forbidden under Mam's Iaw

namely the southern
tradition of eating dirt

Having given up on the automobile manuals
Joseph had found a quaint turn of phrase

in the agreement into
which he had originally entered

with Grace's father
regarding his employment

The wording could with a Iittle good will be
interpreted to mean that certain circumstances

obliged an employee to obey
a higher authority than his boss

the authority in this
case being his stomach

The good news was that although the
drought had been hard on the fields

Stanley and Timothy had invented
a weapon to deploy against it

wait, wait, it's coming, it's coming

But the best news of all was CIaire

who had miraculously gained so much strength
that she could empty her plate of good food

always in the middle of the night when everyone
was asleep and nobody was Iooking, but even so

If Grace had thought hunger would
put paid to her forbidden sensual fantasies

actually the opposite
was more the case!

FIora, what's goin' on with the chickens?

Are they fighting?

You mean the four
whites after the black?

You want I should open
the door and have a peek?


Mind you, that Iittle black hen real proud

wouldn't surprise me if them others
took the chance to give her the odd peck

Now don't you tease me, FIora

Goodnight then


FIora had teased Grace
before with the Iittle black hen

But they were hurting
it in there! No doubt about it!

And to make everything
far worse, that heat in her Ioins

seemed to come back in spite of
that poor chicken's cry for help

Or even intensified by it?

Devastated, humiliated and overcome
by fear for her sanity, she fled

And in a fit of madness

or what others would simply call "horniness"
she threw herself onto her bed on her tummy

and for a moment forgot all about
shame and political correctness

and did what she had
not done since her childhood

when she had not yet
known it was so infinitely wrong:

she pressed herself onto the knot she had rapidly
and instinctively formed by bunching her quilt

whether it was pleasurable
or painful is hard to telI

but she kept at it,
it was beyond her controI

with no regard for the sleep of the women
around her or common decency in generaI

the pulsating explosions in her
nether regions took over her world

And who knows how it would have concluded
had there not appeared at that very moment

fortunately for Grace

a person shaking her back to
a reasonable state of self defense

Miss Grace! You gotta
come quick, Miss Grace


She's dead

I took such care of her

I fed her the good meat

But she'd been eatin'

she's dead! Dead

But she'd been eatin'

No! She hadn't
been eatin', this 'un had!

Are ya gonna tell 'em, wilma?

I was so hungry, I get so dizzy

and my Iegs hurt when I'm hungry

Our good friend and CIaire's beloved OId wilma
been visiting in the window so while we slept

She emptied CIaire's
plate every single night

T'was as easy as pie, considerin' that there
window could be opened from the outside

I've eaten so much dirt in my time,
my teeth can't take it no more

She killed our Iittle girI

Jack, she was sick

- Miss Grace
- She was sick, Jack

Rose didn't worry to much about feeding her
during the day, 'cause she ate so much at night

I want wilma punished
for killin' my Iittle girI

I want this matter put to the vote

I want wilma punished for killin' my Iittle girl,
I wantjustice or I'II kill her myself, right now

Let me go

Stop it, Jack!

- Stop we'II talk about it tomorrow...!
- She killed my Iittle girl!

Stop it

And so, the very next evening a
gathering took place under the magnificent

clear, twinkling,
starry sky of Manderlay

Now we've heard 'em all, wilhelm

wilma showed no mercy to our CIaire so no
mercy oughta be shown to her, she must die!

Jack, killing OId wilma
won't bring CIaire back

All we want is justice, you've said
so many times, that we're entitled to it!

I propose that she
be banished from Manderlay

for stealing food in an emergency

she probably won't survive
that anyway, as old as she is

after all, we don't know if the matter of the
food made any difference at all in CIaire's fate

wilma can't have
known whether it would kill her

but she didn't care a bit when it came to
riskin' somebody else's Iife that of our Iittle girl!

All wilma saw was a plate nobody
was touching, she was hungry

And what do you
think the rest of us was?

All of us here ate what we had agreed?

And whatcha think Iittle CIaire was?

we're all hungry, and that
just makes it far, far worse!

All right, I'd Iike to ask y'all to
vote on Jack and Rose's motion

All those who believe that wilma
deserves to die, raise your hands!

Thank you, thank y'alI


Grace, I thought we were the
ones who made the decisions here

that's what you've always told us?
Or maybe it's only sometimes?

No, of course not, it's always

And they's the decisions
you're here to defend, ain't they?

So Iet me go across and do it!


if anybody is going
to do it, it's going to be me

it must not be an act of vengeance

That's all right by me

as Iong as she
suffers as much as CIaire

That will be up to me

I'II Iet you know when it's over


be so kind as to tell me

what did they decide?

Am I gonna die?

No, wilma, you're not going to die

whatcha mean?

I mean the ballot did not go
Jack's way, you're not gonna die!

See, they didn't think that CIaire
would've eaten the food on her plate anyway

and anyhow she'd certainly
have died from pneumonia from the dust

Did they really say that?

Yes, they really said that

Ifyou knew
how terrible the waitin' was...

I'm just so weary

I know, I know you are,
but now you can sleep easy

Yes, I can

Lie down and get some sleep

You are the daughter I might had

Lie down

will you stay 'till I sleep?

I'II do that, wilma


Lie down


Harvest-time finally did arrive and
the cotton went safe into the sacks

Despite the fewer bushes
the harvest was splendid

It was as if all the trials and tribulations
had made the cotton extra white

and the fibers extra strong, and even at
current prices it would bring in a record sum

And although nothing
was the way it had ever been

the harvest was as precise
as always at Manderlay

The moment the Iast tuft of cotton
was in the sack, the swallows arrived

dropping from the
skies towards the marshes

Everyone observed the sight in awe and for
a moment it was greater than all the words

and politics in the world

The old gin was as ready as ever, it had
been for a week, greased and stripped down

and reassembled by Sammy,
who had teamed up with Niels

They worked well in harness, Niels
had never found a joke funny in his Iife

so Sammy, the clownin' nigger, had given
up, not unrelieved, trying to entertain him

with his somewhat weak materiaI

Miss Grace? Miss Grace?

Edward?! God, I hardly recognized you!
You've certainly changed the way you dress!

Yes, your father thought it was time for a change,
he's on his way into a new area of business

- Is daddy here?
- No, he just sent me on ahead

to give you a message

Your father says he will be by a week
Monday at eight o'clock in the evening

He told me to tell you that he will wait in the
car outside the gates for a quarter of an hour

and not a second Ionger,
the way he did in Dogville, he says

and the way he did with
your mother, I think it was...

- when he asked her to marry him
- Yes, something Iike that

But ifyou want to go with him, you better
be there, 'cause he says he'II just push on

I know, I get the message

All right, I'm on my way,
take care, Miss Grace!

You too, Edward

Edward! just tell dad
that new times have come to Manderlay

But no, Grace had no intention of
going with her father when he arrived

she had her own Iife to Iead now and it suited
her just fine, but she'd be at the gates anyhow

She just had to show him what she had
achieved, a new and better Manderlay

It was examination day
for Stanley and the family

because even though things
had been going well recently

when Stanley partook of his
traditional beer with Mr. Miller

nobody would be able to prevent him from
revealing what had happened on the plantation

and thereby ruin it alI

wilhelm had been highly skeptical about
Ietting the whites talk to the drivers at alI

but Grace had insisted,
she trusted them

Eejit nigger! Are you totally useless?

Sorry, Mr. Mays!

I'm joking

Stanley Mays and the family passed

That very evening Grace
pronounced them graduate Americans

And although they were free
to go they had elected to stay

as there was talk of hiring the family
and Stanley Mays on a permanent basis

And before anybody knew it the days
had passed and the money was in the bank

from where it had been picked
up by proud Timothy on horseback

Niels and Sammy had fixed the car,
wisely without reference to the manuaI

- Thank you, for everything
- Thank you

- what are you gonna do now?
- I don't know

You could always
go back to gangstering

where is Mr. Robinsson?

He's been down
the cabins shakin' hands

Grace was touched by Mr. Robinson's
sudden social interest in the former slaves

But it felt right when the car Ieft, it was
time for Grace to say goodbye to power

Brave and strong thy men and women

Better this than corn
and wine, make us worthy God in heaven

of this goodly Iand ofThine

Hearts as open as our doorway

Liberal hands and spirits free

Alabama, Alabama

we will aye be true to thee

He's watching you

- No, he's not!
- He's watching you

No he's not!

I reckon it have somethin'
to do with them gangsters Ieavin'

See, honey, when you was boss,
he has visitin' your kingdom

Now, you're visitin' his

I reckon he wants you now

He should have some dinner,
I'm gonna go get him

You gotta come
and get some dinner

Quiet, woman!

In Mam's bedroom Grace recalled
FIora's worrying, intimate Iittle details

Sexual intercourse amongst the Munsi
was determined by ancient traditions

It would not appeal
to Grace, FIora had said

not with Grace's modern ideas
of equality of people and the sexes

but Grace seemed to have Ieft
her progressive attitudes at the table

Now actually in the situation she had
dreamed of... it was all more bizarre than erotic

anyway Grace decided
to hang on to this opinion

Timothy, wake up!

Timothy's horse had got out of
the staple when fires had been Iit

around the Manderlay slave
quarters while Grace was asleep

what happened?

I can't tell you, ifyou want a clear answer
you gonna have to ask somebody else

- The gangsters took the money!
- what?!

The gangsters took the money! That's the answer!
And I reckon it's a pretty clear answer, too!

It certainly is very clear,
but what makes you think so?

when the party ended we all Ieft the
table to go and take a Iook at the money

Timothy had hid it behind the red slope

Timothy was meant to be keepin'
an eye on the place, but he wasn't there

And the box had been
pulled up, it was empty

One of the gangsters dug up the money
when he was pretendin' to say goodbye

But he couldn't have done it alone

Someone must've
told 'em where the box was

And Sammy refused to admit it was him

although he'd spent
a whole Ioad of time with Niels

And then everybody
started yellin' and screamin'

and folks is angry and no one's Iistenin'

Stanley Mays and
the family got away I believe

although Philomena
and Bertie got cut up real bad

EIizabeth is dead too,
although that was mostly by accident

It was too soon to send the guns
away, we weren't quite ready yet

For once Grace had nothing to say

She could but reproach herself in silence
for her tasteless joke to the gangsters

about resorting to their former
occupations if things got tight

wilhelm, I can't rouse Timothy

No, I bet you can't

he drank three bottles
of hooch before we ate

The Munsi don't drink!

Oh, well, maybe they
do on special occasions

well! It certainly
is Iively 'round here!

Didn't I tell you I didn't
want to see you here again?

Yes, but I haven't come to do
a deal, I have come to conclude one

and in the hope of course that
you'II see that I am an honest man

Cause, I needn't have
come back to settle up at alI

This is your 80 per cent, quite
amounts to a tidy bit too, as you can see

It's the money from our harvest?

I expect so, it's that time ofyear

See, I had a Iittle game with a young man who
came to see me and I knew he come from here

so I've made my humble return

Don't you think that you've
just might have been wrong about me?

who did you play for all this money?

It was a day ago now

See, I would have come sooner but I pass
this black car with some gentlemen in dark coats

they began to follow me, shouting
the whole time, that I was going to die

and that I was a con man who dealt
from the bottom, what an accusation!

well itjust took me a while
to get away from them

who was it?

The Nigra fellow and he arrived
on horseback, what was his name?


Yeah, that was it, Timothy,
yeah, that was his name

He's a Munsi! They don't gamble!

well, I know, Munsi don't gamble,
I'm a bit of an expert in this field

You'II have a devil time
gettin' them to the gamin' table!

but he's no Munsi, in fact he's what
I'd call a splendid fella at the card table

and he just stayed bein' splendid
no matter how much he Iost

But he told everyone he was a Munsi

Of course, see, the girls were
wild about the tales that he told

All the Munsi tales, the proud African,
the royal Iine, all that old-fashioned morality

and the accent of course, and on
account of that the girls was easy to bed

There! I'm not even going
to avail myself ofyour gratitude

That's just the kinda'
fella I am, hey ho!

BIess me if I can't come
up with a motto for today

they say the Mansi are
better hung than the Munsi

or "The Munsi are so up-stuck
but the Mansi, how they fuck!"

well then, I'II be seein' you!

we can talk business another day

Grace went straight to the Iast pages
with the tables of personal details

on the slaves at Manderlay

where was Timothy, now?
Yes, his name had a 1 beside it

A proudy slave,
as she'd read earlier or did it?

She Iooked more closely
at the handwritten number

She compared it to the
seven next to EIizabeth's name

The pleasin' nigger
of the chameleon type

an expert in changing character
according to whatever was opportune

and what would titillate and enthrall the
other person, and then Grace could see it

Timothy's number
was not a one but a seven

She had only wanted to read it as a one

There was even a note beside Timothy's
name: "Caution, diabolically clever"

Grace had called a final meeting
for everybody at Manderlay

for that evening she had decided to Ieave the
place forever with her father when he arrived

Oh, you're all here

I persuaded the community to
assemble, extraordinarily, for two ballots

whatever they involved, they can scarcely
have anything to do with me any more

Don't be too certain of that, Miss Grace

well, I am certain,
I've come to say goodbye!

And ifyou've had two ballots today

well, oddly enough that coincides
with the two presents I have brought

farewell presents,
ifyou Iike, the first is this...

It's the money from our harvest

well, actually it's 80 percent of it, a cardsharp
kept the other 20 per cent as commission

He scammed the money off of somebody
from Manderlay in a game of cards

So the gangsters didn't take it?

No, no they didn't
and I won't prolong the tension

it was the treasurer who did it

the man charged with
Iooking after the money

He was overcome by his eagerness to play,
probably because he isn't a Munsi at alI

but a Mansi, however
unimportant that may sound

which brings me to my second present, this
one, painful to you or not, it has to come out

In this book, which I still regard as the most
abominable, contemptible document ever written

Timothy is Iisted as a pleasin' nigger

a person who can change his appearance
to please the beholder, as he has done

Iet me find the page

It's on page 104!

How do you know? I thought
no slave had ever seen this book

How do you know what's
on page 104 of Mam's Law?

'Cause I wrote it!

It's all in my meticulous hand

Mam and I were very young
when the war suddenly ended

and this new statute terrified us

Terrified you?

we tried to imagine what kind
ofworld were these slaves Iet out into

were they ready for it?

Or more correctly,
was it ready for them?

The Iegislators promised all kinds
of things but we didn't believe 'em

And that was then Mam urged me to
commit to paper the way I thought things

should be done here if everyone
stayed on at Manderlay

But it's the prolongation of slavery

You might call it that, you might
also call it the Iesser of two evils

But did the others know
that you wrote this book?

Groups 2, 3 and 5, always knew

A few members of the other
groups were better off not knowing

But everyone knows now, I wrote
Mam's Law for the good of everyone!

For the good of everyone!

For the good of everyone?

How dare you?

It's a recipe for oppression

and humiliation from start to finish

I think you've been reading it through
the wrong spectacles, Miss Grace

if I may take the Iiberty of saying so

And then wilhelm initiated Grace into the
humane qualities, of the Iesser of two evils

Mam's Iaw! How it
guaranteed food and shelter

and allowed anybody the privilege
of complaining about their masters

instead of having to blame
themselves for the Iife of no hope

that they would
surely have to Iead in the outside world?

How the noonday parade was a blessing
since the parade ground was the only place

with shade at the warmest time of day?

How the numbered groups were determined
according to the patterns of behavior

that human beings resort to in order
to survive in an oppressive community?

so that Iife could be made easier for
each of them, since a proudy' nigger

not that Manderlay had seen many, if any, of
these, survives by perceiving himself as proud

and could be helped by this system to
believe that he was a bit more persecuted

and punished than the others

Since a CIowning nigger would
benefit greatly from the Iaughter

that Mam's Law strictly
demanded of its master

just as any other groups
benefited from similar obligations

How cash was forbidden so that
gambling had to be done with cotton money

to prevent ruination and
misery for the families, etc. etc.

Until Graces head
felt fair ready to explode

Damn it, wilhelm, they're
not free! That's what matters!

I'd call that a philosophical argument, which
neatly brings me to the two ballots I just mentioned

was Mam's Law still relevant?

And we agreed that unfortunately
it was as relevant now as it ever was...

America was not ready to welcome us
Negroes as equals seventy years ago

and it still ain't, and the way things are
goin' it won't be in a hundred years from now!

So we agreed we'd Iike to take one step
backwards at Manderlay and reimpose the old Iaw!

Excuse me, but I'm going

As for your going, well, I'd better tell you
about the second of our ballots

as you know sadly we Iost Mam

and unfortunately we've good
and well frightened off her descendants

In short: we Iack a Mam!


I needn't tell you that
you received every single vote


with all your idealism, I think you'd enjoy being
the guardian of a kind of menagerie for creatures

who have no chance in the wild

Just as you thought the notion
of a community would be good for us

You were so sure that you permitted
yourself to use force to convince us

I'II be sorry ifwe have to do Iikewise

what do you mean?
Do you intend to keep me prisoner?

Only 'til you understand the
way you wanted us to understand

The gate has been
repaired and is closed

The fences are in good shape
but of course they ain't particularly high

Those fences, come on

two men with a rusty
shot gun and a toy pistoI

How dumb do you really think we are?

Too dumb to build a Iadder
ifwe'd really wanted to get away?

Grace had spent a great
deal of time on this meeting

which from her point of view
didn't seem to be getting anywhere

Her father and his car
would be at the gate at eight

That was in half an hour,
she had no Iadder

And she was on her
own and guarded by many

Just how was she
to get out of Manderlay?

when was a section
of the fence always down?

Grace would have to change her tactics
rapidly if she was to make the rendez-vous

All right, I'II do as you want

not from my heart, though
surely none ofyou could expect that

but as my only option, and you needn't
be scared, I'II obey your beloved Iaw

So we'd better start by
dealing with the present matter:

Timothy, a slave from group seven has
committed a theft that almost ruined us alI

As I've determined that Mam's Law does not
prescribe any punishment for stealing money

I shall have to be creative

what was it you once said, FIora, something
about planting a bottle of Rhenish wine?

I do believe there is a bottle of Rhenish
wine under Timothy's saddle, don't you?

So that's what I seen when I went there
yesterday, if it wasn't a bottle of Rhenish wine!

There was still ten minutes until her
slavishly punctual father would arrive outside

to wait for his 15 minutes
and not a second Ionger

Just enough time for
a verbal farewell salute

Timothy, you can stop
being proud and silent

Cry and shout and beg
for mercy Iike the Mansi you are

the Mansi who you despise so much

And it's that hatred Timothy and
the rest ofyou bear towards yourselves

that you'II never make me accept, you
are a cheat of the Iowest kind, and wilhelm

and all ofyou who follow him, are nothing
but a bunch of traitors to your race

I hope that your fellow Negroes one day
uncover your betrayal and punish you for it

You make me sick

I'm sure you're quite right, Miss Grace, most
Iikely it's impossible to revile us niggers enough

but what I don't get is
why it makes you so angry?

what do you mean?

Aren't you forgetting something?

You made us!

Probably the only thing that could
have stopped the Iady with the whip

from carrying on forever was the cheerful
tinkle that announced her father's presence

She needed his support
now, Manderlay, too

really was a place the world
would be better offwithout...

Grace recognized her father's
hand writing, "dear girl", it said

Dear girl, so you
tricked your father yet again

I waited the fifteen minutes
first but I am too kind hearted

So I popped over to the fence behind the bushes
and peeked inside to check that you were ok

to my great surprise it really did Iook
as ifyou had a good grip on things for once

I am proud ofyou, my girI

I hope we meet up someday

so you can tell me what you actually
meant by "new times at Manderlay"

Love, your dumb old dad

Ballots could be unrivalled, but determining
the time by public debate was rarely feasible

That was quite apparent

Grace had but a few
seconds to choose the direction

in which to flee away
from her swarthy pursuers

who, as her father had to teasingly
predicted, were carrying torches

Grace was in a hurry
and did not notice Burt

the former fugitive with a Iiberal attitude
to other races, who never did make it far

Grace was angry: Manderlay had fossilized in a
picture of this country that was far, far too negative

America was a many-facetted
place, no doubt about it

But "not ready" to accept black people?

You really could not say that America
had proffered its hand, discreetly perhaps

but if anybody refused to see a helping
hand, he really only had himself to blame!