Strings (2004) - full transcript

Hal Tara is the son of The Kahro of the city of Hebalon and heir to the throne. When The Kahro kills himself, Hal is chosen to taken his place to rule Hebalon. But the discovery of The Kahro's suicide letter, that his father's death was no suicide, and was conducted by rivals of the city known as The Zeriths, Hal disguising himself as a commoner leaves the city and sets out to find the Zeriths and avenge his father. But Nezo, The Kahro's evil advisor who discovered the Kahro's body sends a warrior known as Erito to join Hal and to kill him. Entering the Zerith's camp, unaware of his identity, Hal falls in love with Zita, a Zerith female warrior, unaware Nezo has evil schemes to take over ruler ship of the city and Erito's wife Eike and Hal's sister Jhinna have uncovered his evil plot.

Leave me.

Hal, my son,

when you read this letter I shall be dead.

I leave you the throne of Hebalon.

You have not yet been to war

and been part of the evil

that has darkened our lives for centuries,

the ancient hatred between us
and the Zeriths,

in which I myself played such a large part.

I cannot forgive myself.

I wish to die, Hal.

Do what I could not.

Create peace and justice
between ourselves and the Zeriths.

But beware of Nezo, my wicked brother,

and his treacherous henchman Ghrak.

As for your sister,

do not let her leave your side.

Guard her more closely than your life.

My son, it is time now
that I cut my head-string

and end my life.

A life that has taken so much,

but given so little.

"My wicked brother..."

You get a mention too, Ghrak.

What an honour, Nezo.

This is our chance.

So you think that death will set you free,
dear brother?

It won't be that easy.

Your miserable suicide
will be our little secret.

So, what shall we tell your beloved son?

We'll tell him, that this night
the Zeriths have murdered his father.

No, not just the Zeriths, but Sahro,

their brutal and much-feared leader.

You see, dear brother?
You and I are bound together.

And you will be the one
to rule Hebalon.

Not your spoilt, gilded, self-obsessed,
arrogant and childish son.

Let us fetch the golden boy.

It's time for him to be off
and avenge his father's death.

Hal Tara,

you pitiful wretch,

what is yours shall be mine.

Have I not waited long and patiently.

I have lived in your shadow like trash.

Like the dirt you tread
on with gilded feet.


Erito! What are you doing here?

You have to come with me...

It's your father.

My father? What has happened?


Hal! The Zeriths have murdered
our father.

Look! Their mark.


They have cut him down, all of him.

Not one of his strings is left.


The Kharo is dead.

Close the gates, seal all exits.

Hebalon has asked for peace,

but Sahro and his fanatical
horde of Zeriths

have sent us a clear message.

There will be no peace.

No one can feel safe now.

Tell the people to stay indoors!

Hebalon is at war!

Mother, I'm stuck! I can't get down!

Come on. That's it. This way.

Hal Tara, this is ridiculous!

Keep the mask on! You're Sahro!

Come on!
This mask doesn't make me Sahro,

and it doesn't make you a mighty warrior.

Hal. Stop.

Listen to me!

What are you doing?

What are you doing?

If I had really been Sahro, you wouldn't
just have lost your hand, there.

You'd have lost your head-string.

I almost had you.

This is serious business, Hal.

You're the Kharo's son, not a warrior.

I am a General.

Let my men take care of the Zeriths.

Stay here, Hal.

You're going to be the Kharo.

Dream on, Erito. You wooden head.

Hal, my son,

when you read this letter I shall be dead.


What is happened?

- Nothing.
- But your hand?

Mind your own business.

Erito will take care of it.

Attention, you lot!

You're in luck, Sir, we've got pretty much
everything in stock right now.

Hands, feet, good strong knees,
sturdy thighs.

Stand still for the General!

We found this one up North
of the Nordessa Forest.

Good climate up there,
so he ain't got no rot on him.

What do you need?

- A hand.
- Who for?

- Hal Tara.
- Oh well, take a look at this one, then.

Pure oak that is, last a lifetime.

Ready for painting, Haven't seen hands
good as that in a long while.

I'll take it.

The whole world wounds with you,
my children.

The unthinkable has happened,

and a great disaster has overtaken us.

Lie still, will you?

We have searched the entire city.

We fear Sahro slipped away
before we closed the city gates.

Lie still, I tell you!

With all my love I suffer with you,
my children.

I too am sick with grief
at losing my beloved brother

but Hebalon awaits its new Kharo, Hal.

- No, no!
- Just shut up!

No, no.

Off with it!
Lie still, I tell you! There. Done.


- Your hand's on its way, Sir.
- Fine.

- Your new hand.
- Excellent.

If anyone is to find Sahro, let it be me.

Let me offer my life to avenge my brother!

I'll have no one say you weren't man
enough to avenge your father.

- Me?
- Yes.

I am ready.

For what?

Erito, pack up our gear.
We leave immediately.

What are you talking about?

Maybe a whole army can't find them,
but we two can.

We'll travel in disguise.
Find me some slave's clothing.

And a Hodu-painter.

- But it's tonight that father is to...
- You're to be crowned Kharo, am I right?

Who is giving the orders here?

You cannot go and find the Zeriths

I'll find them.

And just how do you think they were able
to enter a city like Hebalon undetected?

So far, so good.

But what about Erito?

We'll never get him on our side.

We won't only get him on our side, Nezo.

We'll get him to do our dirty work.

Father, come and watch!

Hal is being painted.

Why are you being painted, Hal?

Don't you want to be gold anymore?

It's so that the Zeriths
can't recognise me.

Why mustn't the Zeriths recognise you?

Isn't it passed your bedtime?

Dad, Hal's scared of Sahro and the Zeriths.

I'm not scared.

Erito and Eike, isn't it passed
your children's bedtime?

Yes, it is.

Mommy, I can't find my sleep-bird.

It's right here.

Maybe I should have chosen
another piece of wood.

Something darker, smoother...

She's perfect, Erito.

She's done.
I couldn't wish for a more wonderful child.

But her hands...
Are her fingers too delicate?

Should I have...?

Don't worry yourself.

Leave her be.

Who will stand by you,
Eike, when your time comes?

I have been through this before, my love.

Take good care of Xath and Daya!

You speak as though
you will never come back again.

Promise me
that you won't find any Zeriths.

I have to go. Orders are orders.

I wish you were staying here.

Mommy, where is it?
I can't sleep if I don't have my bird.

It's right here.

The little fellow's bird.


Hebalon will not be at peace until the
last Zerith has forfeited his strings.

When I step through
the city gates tomorrow

no one shall enter or leave until I have
found Sahro and avenged my father's murder.

While I'm gone,
Nezo shall rule in my place.

Don't be afraid, Jhinna.

Remember what father always used to say

that Sideon guides our strings together.

When the gates have closed behind me,
no one will enter Hebalon.

You are completely safe here.

- Hal, you mustn't go.
- I have no choice. Jhinna.

Let go of my strings!

Don't leave me.
It will be the death of me.

Let go of me, Jhinna!

Help me!

How can they live like that?

They are slaves,
the army has taken their strings.

- But what about the children?
- They are for breeding.

New slaves, new strings.

Let's make camp for the night.

- Erito.
- Ghrak?

Some good advice
for a silver-stringed Lord...

I have no need of your advice, old man.

You're getting it anyway.
Don't return to Hebalon with Hal alive.

Are you threatening me?

No. I am delivering a message.

If Hal returns to Hebalon alive,
you'll never see your family again.

I don't take my orders from you.

Perhaps this will remind you
what happens if you disobey Kharo Nezo.

Xath, my boy...



Erito, where are you?




You were dreaming.

No dream.

A nightmare.

Can Zeriths really jump like that?

Go back to sleep.
It's a long way to the great market.

And we have a hard journey before us.

"Strings in heaven, myself on Earth.

Thus should it be
from the day of our birth."

You shouldn't be in here, Xath.

Neither should you.
And I'm looking for my bird, that's all.

- Xath? Daya?
- Quick. Tangle.

Where are you?


What a tangle you're in.

You have to sort us out, Mom.

Is this getting you all knotted up?

- No it's me. I'm tangled up in your...
- Now then. This string belongs...

Tell him to stop tugging
on my head-string, mother!

Don't move, stay still!

I can't when he's moving around
the whole time.

This one.


Hal, my son,

when you read this letter I shall be dead.

I leave you the throne of Hebalon.

This is your fault too, Xath,
because you're so clumsy.

I miss Daddy.

Sweet, sweet Ola.

You're doing your best to cheer me up?


- Jhinna.
- What is it?

I want you to read this.

"When you read this letter,
I shall be dead..."

It's his farewell letter.


Your father wasn't murdered.
He took his own life.

"Bring about peace and justice
between ourselves and the Zeriths."

- We have to get away from here.
- It can only be Nezo.

Are you listening to what I say?

What is it?

Hal and Erito must see this letter.

Meet me by the city gate
just before midnight.

- Make sure no one sees you.
- But Eike, we can't get out.

And Who is going to be at your side
when life comes to the new one?

Then you'll have to help me.



The city gate, just before midnight.

It'll be fine.


As far as I can see you lot
never do anything

but sit here and wash
your husbands' clothes.

Can't they do that themselves?

You know what, Zita, once you feel
your strings twanging with love

you'll want to go through fire and water
for your beloved, you can be sure of that.

And through piles of dirty washing too?

And when there's talk of the sun,
see how her strings quiver.

That's what happened to Zita, too.

What did I tell you? You're in love, Zita.


No, I'm not.

What are we doing here?

- Searching for the Zeriths, right?
- Yes, but...

We need to ask the One-Stringed
for counsel.

The One-Stringed?

I thought all that was just old
superstition and mumbo-jumbo.

Maybe. I'll go in alone.



Visit a One-Stringed,
find out all about the future,

don't miss out on the truth.

I am looking for the Zeriths.

I will pay well for reliable information.

Zeriths? Don't know nothing about them.

I have come to ask for your help.

I don't know what to do.

Kill the boy!

Did you here that, everybody?
The rumours are true.

The Kahro is dead!

Down with the Tyrant!

May he fall, never to rise again!

Well now, I hear you're looking
for the Zeriths,

or am I mistaken?

Slay him!

He is bound to his father's destiny.

In thrall to generations of wickedness,

tyranny and lies!

This, I see clearly.

You are becoming entangled in his net,

but he is not worth obeying.

Set yourselves free from your doubts

and fears.

Take him down to the Lake
of the Thousand Dead Warriors

and there let him atone

for the genocide!

Let him be an offering for peace!

Are you one of those
freedom fighters, then?

Maybe. And you?

I think I've seen you somewhere before.

Let us be on our way.

But Erito,
this girl says she knows where to find...

Let's get going. We've to get to the Lake
of the Thousand Dead Warriors.

The Lake of the Thousand Dead Warriors?

Didn't the One-Stringed say that?

We must cross the Nordessa Pass
before daybreak.

Did they say that?

Run over there!


Who goes there? Halt!

Eike, where are the children?


And where are you going at this late hour,
my pretty?

What have you done with Eike?
Let me go!

What do you think happens,
when you set your self up against me?

It can't be worse
than having to look at you.

You think you can fool me, do you?

Silly girl.
That sort of thing can get you killed.

Let her go!

Don't forget what we agreed, Nezo.

But she can compromise us.

We had a deal, Nezo.

- What's he doing here?
- Saving your life!

Take her away!

Hal shall learn the truth.

Everyone shall learn the truth
about my father's death.

And then we'll see how popular you are
in Hebalon, Uncle Nezo,

you and your crippled friend.

If father had known
what a miserable traitor you are, Nezo,

he would have hanged you
with your own sick strings.

Is that you, Jhinna?


Help me...

What's happening?

Listen, they are singing.

It's time.


Don't be afraid.
I'll take care of everything.


Bless her!

Holy Sideon!

Holy Zion!

Connect this body to All Life!

Fasten her strings good and tight!

They're so thin and fine...

- Can you reach them?
- Yes.

It's coming to life.

Careful of the head-string, Jhinna!

That's the most important one.

The head-string.

Look how beautiful she is.

Thank you, Jhinna.

Take the woman and the child and throw
them in to join the rest of Erito's brood.

I'll be back shortly.

This is The Lake
of the Thousand Dead Warriors.

My father has spoken of it.

He won a great victory over
the Zeriths here, didn't he?


where are you?

Help me!

Bring in the slaves!

I am the Kharo's daughter.

I order you to set me free!

The Kharo is dead, Jhinna,

but I am alive.

I am alive.

Do you understand, Jhinna?

I was your father's Commander-in-Chief.

I was good at it.

Your father's favourite.

He had promised me
something very beautiful... you.

When you had grown to womanhood,
you were to be mine.

What are you saying?

I was the most important men in Hebalon.

Have you never heard tell
of the great battle by the Sideon River?


The Three-Day Desert War?


What about the battle by the Lake
of the thousand Dead Warriors.

Does that mean anything to you?


That was the battle I lost.

The Zeriths had defeated us
North of the Nordessa Forest.

Your father was filled with rage.

As we were retreating, we came upon
a caravan of Zerith women and children.

Your father could not handle his defeat.

In his rage, he blamed me.

He ordered me to slay women and children,
and when I refused, he attacked me.

He cut all my strings
except my head-string and one arm.

Then he abandoned me by the Lake.

If I got home, I was to allowed to live.

Defeat enraged your father.

Overcome by evil and darkness,

he killed them all.

But they are all women and children.

My father would never ever
do such a thing.

But he did.

I had to get what I could get, afterward.

During the long campaign,

the army had used up
all the decent spare parts from slaves,

and only old, worn-out ones
were left, Jhinna.

I had to take what I could get.

He is no older than your son, Erito.

Did my father really killed them all?

Suppose this hand reached out
and caressed you tonight?


Then this one?

It can be yours, If you want it.

I'll be Hebalon's Commander-in-Chief again,
with you by my side.

I can be put together
any way you choose!

Let the slaves go! This is wrong!


I can love you the way you are.


No, Jhinna, you can learn to love me.



Erito, what are you doing?

Stop! Erito.

I have to do this.

Forgive me.

You don't understand?


What don't I understand?

Answer me!

What don't I understand?

Spare my life, Hal.

Spare me. For the sake of my children,

for my boy.

I've always trusted you, Erito.

I have never betrayed you,

and now you turn on me.






Take him away.

Take your hands off me!

Come on. Come on, I say!

No, let go of me.

Anything you want to say in your defence
before you die?

What have I done?

Come now,
we know you're spying for Hebalon.


Then explain why you're carry
a Hebalonian sword?

I found it out by the Lake.

He's lying!

Look at me. I'm just a poor nomad.

My father is dead,
and I'm travelling West to escape the war.

What war?

They say that Hebalon is planning for war,

to avenge my... The murder of the Kharo.

Shall we bring him along,
or should we finish him here?


- Well...
- You...

Still some kind of freedom fighter?

Were they rough on you?

Just a little.

Does your life hang by a thread?

I don't care who you are,
you deserve better treatment than this.

You've saved my little scumbag
of my brother's life,

and for that I'll always be grateful.

My name is Zita.

Where are you taking me?

Wherever we decide to take you,
we need to know whose side you are on.

So tell me, stranger with no name,
whose side are you on?

My own.


Meet your new husband, Ghrak,
Commander-in-Chief of the Hebalon army.

I'd rather die.

As you wish, Kharia Jhinna.

Aren't they beautiful?


They are dancing the story of our people.

Those are the Siads from Abagos.



Our lost city.


Once, we all lived as one people
in the city of Abagos.

The Hebalonians came and drove us out.

They destroys everything,
murdered and raped.

Since then,
we have had to live as fugitives.

- Is that true?
- Yes. Didn't you know?

Hebalon is built upon the ruins of Abagos.

We have never given up hope
of one day reclaiming our city.

How on earth did he do that?

I've never seen anything like it!



Do you want to know our secret,
how we leap,

then come with me!

Now look up.

Can you see where you end?

No. Can you?

I end where you begin,

and where you end, I begin.

In that way we are all connected.




We are guiding each other.

When you learn to be guided by Love,

then you can use its strength,

with dwells in all life

not just your own.

Then you can do as we do,

move like the wind.

Now, you try!


Is that you, Zita?

I could tell it was time.


Listen to me!

Sideon came to me last night in a dream.

He said, many strings will fall to earth

and the sky shall burn.

But he who shines like gold

will guide his people through these times.

Who is he? I asked,

a stranger everywhere,
both at home and abroad,

to himself and to others,

he answered and then he was gone.

Now I can let go.

You must take over.

He who shines like gold.


Sahro, yes.


Going around spying on us, are you?

Tell us who you really are, or I'll..


You are Sahro.

So tell me your name,
now that you know mine.

Gladly. I am Hal Tara of Hebalon,

son of the Kharo whom you murdered,
and I have come for my revenge.

Let's just kill him!

He who shines like gold...

Let me kill him!

Remember, Hal.

If you are not bound together in Love,

then you are tied by hate.

Come on now, you...

Let him go.

You heard what the lady said.

Take him out into the desert
and let him rot there.

Welcome home, Erito.

Where's Eike?

Where's my family?

Where's Hal?

He is dead.

I swear on the strings of my un-born child.

The Zeriths took him.

Really? And where are the Zeriths, then?

Closer than we thought.

They have a secret route
through the Nordessa Forest.

They're camped West of the Lake
of the thousand Dead Warriors.

Where is Eike?

Nice work, Erito, very nice.

Your first task as Commander-in-Chief
of the Hebalonian army

will be to wipe them out for all time.


You? No, my friend,

you are relieved of your command.

Say hello to your successor.


Erito! You are alive!


Look! Look, our child!

Dad, Dad!


I've got it...

I've got your sleeping bird.

Here, here come, come...

I can't reach.

Reach out!

Where have you been?

I looked everywhere for you.

Erito, Erito listen.

Where's Hal?

He's coming back to save us, isn't he?

Isn't he?

Hebalon is a closed city!

Only slave-drivers will be let in now.


Get him!

Lay hold of his leg-string.

He's heavy, this one is.
Has to be solid mahogany.

I am Hal Tara, of Hebalon.
Take your hands off me!

You shut your trap!

Do you realise who I am?

I am the son of the Kharo.

This idiot's got desert fever.

Let go of me!

We've got him,

make ready?

Come on then, time is a-wasting!

Hebalon's off to war,
and the army needs new strings.

Come on, Kharo son, push!

Show us what you are made of!

Push, you miserable creature!


Put your back into it,

put, you...

I recognise you, Kharo son.

I do recognise you. You have my hand.

Shut up down there!


What a sorry pair we are, Ola.
Soon, we'll be done for.

You poor sad old bird,
why can't you fly?

If you could only fly, Ola,
the two of us would be saved.

Come on, Ola. You can do it.

Set us free! Come on.

Set us free.

I can take you to freedom.

I am all you have left, Jhinna.

Your brother is dead.

The Zeriths took him.
You must believe me.

No. In heaven our strings are touching.

- Jhinna...
- Hal's and mine...

It feels as though someone is playing
the most wonderful music on my strings.

As though they are vibrating...

Just listen!

I can tell he's alive and
that he will return.

Wait and see.

Tonight I dreamed of Sideon!

He was disguised as an old Zerith,

his voice sounded like the wind blowing
through the dry grass on the great plains.

Some people are bound together, Ghrak.

Like Hal and me,

like the man who loses his hand
and the slave who gives him a new one.

If you feel, then you'll know it's true.


And to whom are you bound, Ghrak?

My father, who robbed you
of your strength and beauty?

To Nezo?

To those from whom
you took your body parts?

Not to me.

Whatever you do to me,
I will never ever be yours.

Well then, I cannot help you.

Goodbye, Jhinna.


Take them down there!



Is that really you?

How did you end up here?

That's a very long story.

Listen carefully!

Jhinna and I
found your father's farewell letter.

He wasn't murdered, Hal.

He took his own life

so that he could leave the throne to you.

So that you could accomplish
what he never could.

We have found the Zeriths.

I have deployed the army forth
and we should defeat this evil.

But there is also evil
within Hebalon itself.

This is what happens
when you betray your own people.

You should have listened to Ghrak.

Now I have no choice.

Everyone has a choice.

So the whole thing is a lie.


Our whole life.

It is we who are the enemy.

We are our own worst enemy.


Something is happened to Jhinna.


Zita was right.

Hebalon belongs to the Zeriths.

I end where you begin,

and where you end, I begin.

And in that way we are all connected.

When you learn to be guided by love,

you will be able to use the strength
that dwells in all life.

I got him, dad.

Don't move, stay where you are.

I'm letting go of the grille.

Stay where you are...

Hal, you are alive!

No, Jhinna, stay with me.

Promise me you'll do
what our father said, Hal.

He asked you to live in peace.

You must do that.

In peace and love, Hal!

Promise me.

You must!

Yes, I promise.

We are bound together in heaven,
the two of us.

It is you who plays that beautiful music,
isn't it?


Jhinna, no.


Oh no! Hal, look out!

It's over, Kharo Nezo.

Too late, Hal.

Thanks to you, the army has long
since been sent against the Zeriths.

It was so nice of you
to locate them for us.

Don't delude yourself.
You're a son of Hebalon!

You're like me, like your father,

you can't run away from that.

So come on then,
you miserable coward, kill me!


I am like my father.

In the last few seconds of his life.

I am beginning where he ends, I shall have
the strength to do what he did not.


I've promised a friend to use this hand
to something good.


Can you see them?

We are surrounded.

The Hebalonians are just
beyond the forest.

I told you, we should have killed him.

Summon our men.


They must have a special route.

We'll never get in there alive.

Oh yes we will.
We'll burn our way through.

Why isn't anything happening?

Why aren't they attacking?

All we can do is wait.

How long are we going to wait?

Mother, what are we waiting for?

Hush, now!

Look. The sun is coming up.

That's not the sun.

Take up your positions!

Fill the traps with water.

The moment is at hand.

Move out!

I want Sahro taken alive!

Onwards I say.

Kill men, women and children.

Let no one be spared.

This night will see the end of the Zeriths.

By dawn, Hebalon will be victorious
and they will be ashes.

Search the forest,
search under every stone!

Find them!

But remember.

Sahro is mind alone.

The camp is abandoned.
The Zeriths must have fled.


They are here!

Up there, in the trees! Take him down!

Well, what have we here.

I want him alive.

Make way, there!

A woman.

Well, you're going to die anyway.

Ghrak! Let her go!


I said, let her go!

Call back your army. It's over!

No. We're only just begun.

The Hebalonian weapons are too powerful!
We can't make it!

Torch the Hebalonians strings.

Use the fire!

Drive them back against the burning trees!

So come at me, Ghrak! Let's have this.

Burn the Hebalonians strings!

You're finished, Ghrak.

It's over.

We won, Zita.


Our home is totally destroyed...
for the second time.

No, Zita.

I have found your home.

Your real home.


Oh, Hall!

She is free now, Hal. Truly free.


Come on, Ola, you can do it.

Set us free!