The Truce (1997) - full transcript

This is the true story of Italian Jews returning home from Auschwitz after the war. It deals with their experiences in readjusting to life and their fears about what they will find at home.

[Men shouting indistinctly
in German]

men shouting in German]

[Man shouts in German]

[Dogs barking]

[Explosions continue]

[Man speaking German]

[Wind blowing]

[Horse snorts]

[Man speaking Russian]

[Crowd murmuring]

[Metal rattling]

[Man shouts in Russian]

[Metal rattles, horse neighs]

Face-to-face with freedom...

we felt lost...

emptied... atrophied...

unfit for our newfound liberty.

We are free!

We are free!

[All shouting]

[Woman sobbing]

Oh, my God!

[All shouting]


[All shouting]

[Man speaking Russian]

[Indistinct conversations,
engines revving in distance]

[Indistinct conversations]

[Speaking Russian]

[Woman speaking Russian]

They are sending me
to a hospital.

To remember.

[Indistinct conversations]

[Silverware rattling]

[Woman coughing]


[Vehicle approaching]

[Man shouting in Russian]

[Indistinct conversations]

Daniele, you come, too.

Come with me!



Easy! Easy!

There will be
other trucks coming!

MAN: Where are we going?

Away from the front.
There's still a war going on.

[Indistinct conversations]


See you in Italy!

[Engine revs]

In Italy!

[Train approaching]

[Bird cawing]

[Fire crackling]

[Steam whistle blows]

[Crowd murmuring]

[All shouting]

[Man speaking Greek]

[Woman speaking Polish]


[Crowd murmuring]


[Speaking foreign language]

Direction no good.

[Speaking French]

We go north to Cracow
instead of south.

[Mutters in Greek]

Excuse me.

What else did they tell you?

I have not courage to speak.

People go hungry in Cracow.
Russians, too.

[Speaking French]

Worse than in
my country... Greece...

houses, roads.

[Speaking German]

[Speaking French]

Russians don't know where
to put people like us.

Maybe they put us nowhere...

or maybe they do
like the Germans.

[Metal screeching]

[Steam hissing]

[Conversing in Polish]

[Both speaking Polish]

[Speaking French]
We go.


Go where?

Where are we going?

We go. Take.

[Hissing continues]

But... they are your things.

Of course they are mine.
I organize and you carry.

[Speaking French]

Then after, you, too,
will share of what is inside.



[Man shouting
in foreign language]

[Indistinct conversations]

[Horse whinnying]

[Vehicle passing]

[Speaking Greek]

Look at you.

You'll go nowhere like that.

[Speaking Greek]

[Indistinct conversations]

[Vehicle approaching]

That's much better.

Thank you.


How old you are?

Almost 30.

What is your work?

I am a chemist.

And a fool.
He who has no shoes is a fool.

When there is war,
two things to remember...

shoes, then food.

Because who has shoes
finds food.

Instead, who is like you
ends up in a ditch.

But the war is almost over,

and perhaps everything
will be easier.

War is always.

[Bell chiming]

[Singing indistinctly
in Italian]

[Men singing in Italian
in distance]

[Singing in Italian continues]

[Horse whinnies]

[Speaking Russian]

There are Italians in there.

I-I am Italian, too.

[Speaking Russian]

[Man speaking Russian]

This is the Russian barracks,
not a hotel.

[Singing in Italian continues]

I come from Auschwitz.

I am sorry.
I can't let you in.

Why you say no?

Where are you from?

Elada, Greece.

Oh, that's great.

You're not even Italian,
but Greek.

No, I really can't.

There isn't even enough food
for us soldiers.

Soldiers, civilians...
what's the difference?

We are all hungry,
homeless, alone.

Please. One night.


All right.

Just one night.

And, uh... as for you,
don't talk too much.

Many of the men inside,
they fought in Greece.

If they spot you for a Greek,

you won't be able
to get out alive.

All right?

Thank you.
Thank you very much.

[Indistinct conversations]


It's better
if I do the talking.

As you like.

[Indistinct conversations,
men laughing]

[Clears throat]

I am a Greek.

My name is Mordo Naum.

You really Greek?

[Speaking Greek]

[Speaking Greek]

[Speaking Greek]

- Fuckyos.
- [Laughter]

What did I say?

Fuckyos, too.


But you are...
mon dieu... is it really you?

Me? Who?

[Silverware rattling]

Don't remember?


Hey, friends, listen.

Bright night with moon.

High on hill,
a beautiful, abundant villa.

[Speaking French]

I walk in with man
from my squadron.

In kitchen table set
with cheese, eggs, wine.

[Speaking Greek]

Then, suddenly,
sound of footsteps upstairs.

[Speaking French]

He appears!

[Laughs] The sergeant!

Maybe not you.

But it was you.
I remember.

Six men us, six men them.

We have guns, they have guns.

And then...

[Speaking French]

So much food.

Say no more.

This guy's hungry.


So I say to him, "Why shoot?

"If you shoot, I shoot.

"All dead.

It's stupid to die like that."


It's the death
of a horse's ass.


Come. Sit with us.

Thank you... all of you.

Thank you.

What is this?

Hey, when I arrived,
I hear a song.

Who was singing?

Carmine Crocco,
at your service.

Sing, Carmine.

You sing, and we'll suffer less
while eating this, uh,

how do you say?

- Shit.
- [Laughter]

[Speaking Greek]

[Singing in Italian]

Her name is Iriness.

I want to marry her, I swear.

[Singing in Italian continues]

Oh, you Italians...


[Singing in Italian]


[Men singing in Italian]


How long have you been here?

20 days.

And when are they sending you
back to Italy?

[Chuckles] Who knows?

Nobody knows anything here,

not even if we are prisoners
or allies.

Before, we were
Russia's enemies.

Now we are their friends.

It's total chaos.

Have some wine.

Thank you.

Thank you.

And what is happening in Italy?

Do you... have any news?


We know that Italy split
in two

and that we Italians
are killing each other

and that the cities
in the north are being bombed.

Are they still bombing...

Turin? I don't know.

You're from there, hmm?

Thank you.

[Indistinct conversations]


[Man shouting in German]

[Shouting in German continues]

[Shouting in German continues]

[Mumbling in Polish]

[Speaking French]

Wake up.

[Speaking Polish]

We are here too long.
Is time to go.

Go? Go where?

[Speaking French]

To work. Or do you want to
stay here and be a kept man?

Kept man? Kept by whom?

[Mutters in Greek]

Kept by whom?

[Metal rattling]

[Birds chirping]

It's not good
if Russians feed you.

Bread not earned
makes one a slave.

But I am a free man,
like all Greeks.

For the Russians...
under the czar or Stalin...

slavery is normal.

And you know why?

No. No, I do not.

You tell me.

[Crowd cheering]

[Horse whinnies]

Not all Russians
are Europeans, like us.

You know,
many Russians Asiatics.

And Asiatics,
in exchange for a quiet life,

accept all, even tyrants.

We Greeks, never.

Were we afraid of Kyrus?
Were we afraid of X erxes?

So why be afraid of Hitler
or Stalin?

And even our own
Alexander the Great,

for that matter,

came and went.

They will, too.

History is one, world is one.

Everything repeats itself,

[Man speaking indistinctly
over loudspeaker]

[Indistinct conversations]


Eggs cost 5 zlotys,
fried cakes 10,

undershirt, 40,
pants much more.

How do you know?

Because I never sleep.

I ask for prices in barracks.

I think first about problem,
not after.

Your turn.

- What is?
- To sell.

Oh, no.
I am not a merchant.

I have...
I do not know the language.

Shirt is "Koszula. "

Cost... 50 zlotys.

You ask 100.

"Sto zloty."

Sto zloty.

- "People" is...
- Panowie.


"Shirt" is "Koszula. "

[Indistinct conversations]




Gut Koszula.

Gut Koszula.


Sto zlotys.

Koszula. Koszula?

[Indistinct conversations]

Panowie! Panowie!

Koszula! Koszula!

Sto zloty.

Gut? No gut? No gut?




Ah. [Chuckles]
I speak little Italian.

But I understand.

I have clients
importing goods from Italy.

Why do they look at me
like that?

For that... that...

[Crowd silences]

Tell them that I was
in Auschwitz...

that I am a Jew...

and that I need to sell
this shirt to eat.

Go on. Please.

[Speaking Polish]

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

You said
"polityczny prisoner"...

"politic," not...

[Speaking Polish]


Why... didn't you tell them
that I am a Jew?


At Auschwitz, not far from here,
there was a camp

full of innocent people...
men, women, mothers, children...


Burned in crematoriums.

Enormous. Enormous.

Why don't you translate?
Go on... translate.

[Speaking foreign language]

Never mind Auschwitz.
People don't want to know.

People want to forget.

And I must accept that?

We have to live, and to live,
we have to eat.

But you are good for nothing.

Wait a moment.

[Bells chiming]

Excusez- moi.

Parlez- vous Francais?

[Speaking Polish]

Sprechen sie deutsch?

[Speaking Polish]



[Woman speaking
foreign language]

No beans.

You don't deserve.

[Woman speaking
foreign language]

[Exhales deeply]

[Woman speaking
foreign language]

Maybe he's Demetrius.

Friend of mine.

Businessman from Thessaloniki
like me.

[Silverware rattling]

Demetrius was convinced
that in every animal

there is a man who sinned
in another life.

In cockroach, he said,
there is always a soul

that lived by traffics
and frauds.

Do you believe
in reincarnation?

We Greek call this

the rapport between body
and soul, you know?

Yes, I know.

Now, for example,
with my belly full,

I have desire
to talk about God.

And that's the rapport
between body and soul?


[Silverware rattling]

When I die...

where goes my soul?

To Heaven or to worms?

This is mystery, huh?
What do you say?

To the worms.

[Man shouting in Russian]

You work for us!
We win the war for you!

I don't like it here.

Well, what counts is
that we found the railway.

Which way to Italy?
Who knows?

By the time the train comes,
the Germans will be back.

What... what are you doing?

I'm going.

What do you mean,
you are going?

I carried your sack every day,
and now you leave me alone?

I see you understood nothing.

Understood what?

All the things we said.
Too bad for you.

One day you will understand.

[Dog barking]

[Mumbling in Greek]

Fool! Fool!


At the moment of farewell,
I felt a solitary wave

of friendliness
towards the man

streaked with tenuous gratitude,

respect, animosity, curiosity,

and regret that I should not
see him again.

[Shouting in Russian]

I don't speak Russian.

Wait. No, wait. Wait.
Where are you taking me?

No. No. Wait.

Wait. Where are...
Wait! Wait!

[Grunts] Where are...
where are we going?

[Engine revs]

I'm Italian.
Where are we going?

[Vehicle approaching]

[Bird cawing]

[Man coughing]

[Engine revs]

[Man speaking Russian]

Me Italian.

[Speaking Russian]

[Man grunting]

[Woman breathing heavily]

[Man shouting
in foreign language]


[Speaking French]

[Shouting continues]

[Woman screams]

in foreign language]

You, Colonel Rovi,
are responsible

for the discipline
of Italian refugees.

- Remember that.
- [Woman sobbing]

[Speaking Russian]

[Horse whinnies]

[Sobbing continues]

Excuse me. Colonel Rovi?

Who are you?

I am Italian, too.

I am hungry.

We are all hungry!

Besides, look what a mess
with all these women here!

The Russians
don't fool around!

Men and women
in separate areas!

Separate! Separate!

Tell me exactly...
what can you do?

I have a degree in chemistry.

[Laughing] Really?
Degrees are very useful here.

Well, I was told
you decide everything,

that you are the Italian
camp leader, Colonel Rovi.

Sure! Of course!

You got a problem?
Go see Colonel Rovi.

And I'm not even a colonel.

You see this jacket?

It belonged
to a Russian officer...

a dead Russian officer.

I peeled it off of him.

He didn't need it anymore.


Thank you.

[Vehicles passing]

Chemistry, you said?


All right. Come with me.

Come. Come.

I'm supposed to discipline
the Italian refugees.


Easier said than done.

It's not easy
to discipline a man here

when over there we are stuck
with more than 100 women.

It was getting worse and worse,
and finally,

Iook what the Russians
decided to do.

They made us separate
the two sectors of the camp

with barbed wire.

[Woman speaking
foreign language]

But was that necessary?


You know these things.
You are a scientist, no?

Hormones squirm,
freedom reawakens the senses...


The camp commander.
His name is Egorov.

What kind of a camp is this?

Are we Russian prisoners?
What are we?

This is a transit camp.

Technically, it's a camp
for the rehabilitation

of displaced persons
liberated from the Nazis.

So when will
they send us home?

Come on.

It's all set.
I told them you're a doctor...

which is even true
in a certain sense.

This... is a Bunsen burner.

It is. And so?

There was too much oxygen.
The flame was blue.

At that temperature,
the pot would have cracked.

All right. Come on.
Come on.

So, Maria Fyodorovna,
this is the doctor.

Ah... [Chuckles]

[Speaking Russian]

She's saying you'll have to
catalog all the medicine

that's sent to the camp.

That's what the pen is for.

Thank you.



A nurse will be coming
who speaks our language.

For two months she was with
Italian prisoners in Russia.

So, stay there.
I see you later.

But I...

I help you to do your work.

Your name?


Primo. Like this?

[Chuckles] Number one?

Yes. Right. Like "one."

[Man moans]


He's suffering!

He's dying!

He's got epilepsy!

All of a sudden,
he got attack!

Nurse, do something!
He's slipping away!

He's got the shakes!


Easy. Don't give up.

What's she doing?

[Moaning intensifies]

- Hold on!
- Easy!

[Speaking Russian]

Wait! My hat! My hat.


[Speaking Russian]

He said he's fed up
with Italians!

Every day they are pulling off
something else!

[Indistinct conversation]

And you!
What are you doing there?!

Get out and work
like the others!

Orders from Moscow!

But I... don't...

I have to work here? No?



[Crying] My poor hands.

My poor hands.

I'll never play again.

They've become like stone.

You find out only now?

Yes, only now.

At Auschwitz, I didn't care.

There, every day,
I thought of dying.

But not now.

Now I think of living!

Take these. Go on.

[Speaking Russian]

Take them!

[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

["Cheek to Cheek"
by Fred Astaire playing]

Whoa, whoa, whoa!

Am I dreaming,
or do you hear what I hear?

That's Irving Berlin.

It's coming from there.
Let's go and see.

[Whistles] Hup!

** Oh, I love to go out
Fishing **

** In a river... **

Madame, do you remember me...
the doctor?

[Speaking Russian]

Look, look, look, look.

Your pen.

- Ahh!
- Remember?

Italianski doctor.

Yes. Infirmary.

[Speaking Russian]

Rabota... doctor.
I come back.

[Speaking Russian]

But see... I am...
Thank you. Thank you very much.

I... I am very happy.

This is really hard
to believe.


For me,
Russians are very strange.


** And I seem to find
The happiness I seek **

It sounds just like...

Fred Astaire.

I remember the film.

Ah, music.

You see,
it knows no boundaries.

It knows no wars.


Russians are very strange.

Oh, come on.
It was beautiful.

Who invented
the "Russian roulette"?

The Russians. Eh?

It was a good idea, huh?

He didn't have a cane,
so he used his sword.

Cesare, would you happen
to have a cigarette?

The Katowice
rehabilitation camp...

April 1945.

The Red Army spearheads
towards Berlin.

Most of the soldiers
that were here

have left for the front lines.

Their departure
was my good fortune.

For lack of men, today I was
called back to the infirmary.

Acetylsalicylic acid.

That's for lowering a fever.

This is...

a intestinal disinfectant.

And this is a pomade
for skin burns.

This... [Clears throat]

Is, uh, potassium permanganate.

It's for, uh...

when a man goes
with a woman who's...



Not exactly.

The medical term
is gonorrhea.

You are... a strange doctor.

Strange? How?


- Galina.
- Yeah?

[Conversing in Russian]

She said we...

invited to her apartment...

tonight at 9:00
when she finish her, um...


Me too? Are you sure?


Yes, you too, Doctor.

[Floor creaks]

[Water running]

[Speaking Russian]

There was no one here.
I thought I would wait.

[Speaking Russian]

Ohh! [Chuckles]


[Speaking Russian]

[Conversing in Russian]

Galia! Galina!

[Speaking Russian]




[Speaking Russian]


[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

Oh... [Chuckles]

[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

"To youth."

[All speaking Russian]

[Singing in Russian]

I didn't expect of you
that you look at me

when I'm naked... Doctor.

[Man speaking Russian]


You see...

she screwed the both of us.

She told me to come here, too.

[Chuckles] She just forgot
to pass out the numbers

like in a cathouse.

Leave me alone.

Are you in love or something?

She's a hooker.

Please, stop it.

All right. I'm wrong.

But how can you fall in love
and get serious here?

Oh, did you take
a look around?

A lot on his mind he's got.

All that counts
is getting back home,

and you get lost
behind a pair of panties?

Fuck yourself...


You... and me, too,
for wasting time with you.

Primo. Primo.
Come on, huh?

Laugh a little.

If you want to
get your ass back home...

article one...
you must laugh, huh?

Article two...
concerning women...

Eh, forget it.


What's happened?

[Indistinct shouting]

Berlin has fallen!

Hitler is dead!

[Singing in Russian]


["Cheek to Cheek"
by Fred Astaire plays]

** Heaven **

** I'm in Heaven **


** And my heart beats so **

- Ah, Fred Astaire!
- ** That I can hardly speak **

** And I seem to find
The happiness I seek **

** When we're out together
Dancing cheek to cheek **

- ** Heaven **
- [Cheering]

** I'm in Heaven **

** And the cares that hung
Around me through the week **

** Seem to vanish like
A gambler's lucky streak **

** When we're out together
Dancing cheek to cheek **

** Oh, I love to climb
A mountain **

** And to reach
The highest peak **

** But it doesn't thrill me
Half as much **

** As dancing cheek to cheek **

** Oh, I love to go out fishing
In a river or a creek **

** But I don't enjoy it
Half as much **

** As dancing cheek to cheek **

** Dance with me **

** I want my arm about you **

** The charm about you **

** Will carry me through to **

** Heaven **

** I'm in Heaven **

** And my heart beats so
That I can hardly speak **

** And I seem to find
The happiness I seek **

** When we're out together
Dancing cheek to cheek **

[Applause and laughter]


[Mid-tempo foreign music


[Singing in Russian]

[People singing along
in Russian]


[Speaking Russian]


We are going home!
We are going home via Odessa!

We go home!

[Singing in Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

- [Speaking Russian]
- Uh-huh.

Galina went home...

- Mm-hmm.
- To Kazatin.

[Speaking Russian]


- [Indistinct shouting]
- Yes, we're going home...

but where are
the railway cars?

- [Speaking foreign language]
- [Speaking foreign language]

And the cars...
when they're coming...

[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

Are they coming or not?
Ask him!

I understand
they are coming... but when?!

[Speaking foreign language]

We've got the engine,
but no train.

And we still have to wait
for the trucks

from the other camps...

Let's go and scrape up
some food for the trip.

[Slow classical music plays
in distance]


Nice music. [Whistles]

Let's go.

I'm Italian. Italian.

[Laughs] You are not Italian.
I know Italians.

Before the Anschluss,
I lived in Villach,

very near the border.

Italians have black hair
and passionate eyes.

Your eyes have no passion.

You are Croatian.

We are very much Italian...

but we come from a place
where one forgets passion,

family, country,
culture... all.

Where is that?


Uh... come here.

Please, come.

Oh, sit down.

Please, sit down.

Sit down.


So... eat.

And drink.

Please. Yes?

Thank you.


When Hitler declared war...

around the world,

I sent him a letter.



"Dear Herr Chancellor,

"you make a great mistake.

"Thousands of innocent people
will die,

"and you will lose the war.

One cannot battle
against everybody."

I signed the letter
and awaited for an answer.

Did it arrive?


but the S.S. did
and destroyed the whole house.

I leave Austria
with my husband.

He did not want
that I write that letter.

He was a good man,
my Hermann...

and that is
all I have of him...

that violin.

Nice remembrance.

[Train whistle blows]

Here... for you.

- For me?
- Yeah.

You are pulling my leg.

You play the violin?

- Yes.
- Then play.

What did you do?

- What?
- You took...

You stole it.

The old lady never played it!

It was just collecting dust!

You took? [Laughs]

- Nice going.
- Primo!

- Daniele! Daniele!
- [Plucks strings]

[Indistinct talking]

[Train whistle blows]

The train, with its cargo
of hope, finally left.

We felt we were in good hands,

removed from all doubt
and uncertainty.

At Odessa,
a ship was waiting for us.

Well, the problem is,
once in Odessa,

we still have
a hell of a trip ahead of us...

across the Bosphorus
and the Dardanelles.

Hey, I was on the Bosphorus.

- You?
- Yeah, when I was a sailor.

I remember at night,
with all the lights,

it was beautiful, you know.

Yes, yes,
but after this, uh...

- Bosphorus.
- Bosphorus.

Bosphorus. Yeah.

How many days by sea
to reach Italy?

It depends.

It depends
on the weather conditions,

on the route we take...
it depends.

But I can tell you who
the first will be on shore...

and the first to have
a good meal...

and the first,
if you don't mind,

to have a good... ahh!


You're kidding. You?

Yeah! Me!

Get out of here! Go on!


Now, D'Agata...

I am from the south...
from Messina.

And so?

And so, from my house,
I can see the sea.

- Eh? So, when you go away,
- [Plucks strings]

Remember to look up
at me and my family,

Iounging on the balcony
with a...

with a big bowl of pasta
and fresh sardines...

big like that, eh.

Like your wife.

- Ferrari!
- [Laughter]


if you don't see me...

...maybe it means I don't have
my wife and kids anymore.

Come on, D'Agata,
what are you saying?

What am I saying?

What do you mean?

Are you sure our families
are still alive?


Where were you all this time?

In a hospital.

I had pneumonia.

And now?
How do you feel?

In Venice, we all lived together
in a light-blue building... parents
on the top floor...

...and the children
and the children's children

on the two floors below.

I'm the only one left.

In all... 31 people.

Why was I the only one spared?

Why did God want this?

God cannot exist...

...if Auschwitz exists.

[Whistle blows]

[Speaking Russian]

Where are we?
Where are we?

In Russian territory.

[Speaking Russian]

Everybody down.

The Russians
have requisitioned the train.

When are we leaving here?

- I don't know.
- When are we gonna eat?

The Russians give us
nothing to eat!

I'll go
and see what I can do.

Just keep calm.
Just keep calm.

[Indistinct conversations]

[Mid-tempo music plays]

Is this your family?

Hey! Hey,
you never do this again.

Oh, come on, a pickpocket
needs to practice.


I got cold hands.
One loses his touch, no?

Doesn't look that way.
You got velvet hands.

How is anybody
gonna catch you?

And yet it happened...
thanks to an old bitch.

I was on a train,

razoring off her pocket
little by little...

gently, like an artist,
you know...

when suddenly a woman nearby
starts screaming, "A thief!

"Hey, look, a thief!
This is a thief!

I captured the thief!"...
to me!

I have come up against

the worst category
of humankind...

the altruist.

Instead me...

the one time
I should have run away,

I realized it
one minute too late.

You are a pickpocket, too?


I'm a Jew.

A mattress maker.

I was born unlucky.

The day the Nazis came
for us in the Ghetto,

I had three pieces
to deliver.

So I pulled down the shutter.

I see the sky clouded over,
black as ink.

I said to myself, "If it rains,
goodbye, mattresses."

So I open again and I look
for a canvas cover and...


And isn't that when they...
caught me?

Oh, Unverdo,
what are you playing?

I'm telling
a very moving story,

and you come up
with that music.

Change the mood, huh?
Make us cry.

[Chuckles] It's true.

Sorry about that.

[Upbeat music plays]

[Whistle blows]

[Whistle blows]

[Wheels screech]

[Speaking Russian]

We can't go to Odessa!
Everybody down!

The line is disconnected!

Come on! Hurry! Hurry!
Walk! Walk!

Come on! Everybody down!
The line is disconnected!

We can't go to Odessa!

We are going to Staryje Doroghi,
to the Red House!

[Indistinct conversations]

- Look out.
- Yeah, I saw it.

Odessa is here.

We are more or less
in this area.

And we have to go up here...
near Minsk.

Up north.

Up north?

Up north?

Instead of getting closer
to the sea,

we go farther
and farther away.

The war is over.
What do they want from us now?

The tracks start up again
in Staryje Doroghi.

That's why
they are sending us there.

Do you understand?

We are looking for
a railroad track

that is not interrupted.




We are off to Minsk.

We're off to Minsk.

To Minsk, to Minsk.


From Minsk to Odessa
is a long way... look, huh?

Eh, we'll get there.

Yeah, when?



The goddamn track
is interrupted.

[Speaking German]

[Speaking German]

The German prisoners
asked for bread.

We refused because our bread
was precious.

But Daniele did not refuse.

Daniele... the sole survivor
of that raid

in the Venetian Ghetto,

and who,
from the day of liberation,

subsisted on his own grief...

took out the bread he had,
placed it on the ground,

and waited for them to come
groveling to his feet.


What do you mean you were
Jewish, but you didn't know it?

Yes, I-I knew it, but...

what it meant to be a Jew,

I learned only at Auschwitz.

Why did they arrest you?

Not for being a Jew.

I-I was in the mountains
with a group of partisans.

We were beginners, really...
mostly students, professors.

I-I never fired a shot.

We were men...

without practical experience.

It's a grave mistake...

which cost us dearly.

Me too.

I was already in jail in Milan.

I'm a pickpocket, you know.

I know. You told me.

A good one.

The Germans said
they would free anybody

who chose to work in Germany.

I chose, and here I am.

But why me
in a concentration camp?

For you it was different,
I think.

You were an instigator,
a partisan, and a Jew.

No offense, but...
like the rest of you.

But me... why me?

Do you realize who is
the only innocent lamb here?

Yours truly... Ferrari...

Fucking Nazis.

But that's enough.

Leave me here, please!
I give up!

I've had it!

I swear that if I survive,
I go straight.

Swear! I swear!

[Crying] But leave me
here now. Leave me here.

Come on, Ferrari. Home.

Don't give up now.
Come on, eh?

We'll get home. You'll see.

Yeah, with that leg of yours.

[Chuckling] Yeah, yeah.

there's smoke over there.

See? And if there's smoke,
there's people, eh?

Come on, come on.
Come on.

You see, eh?
What did I say?

Where there's smoke,
there's people.

All I see is a cabin
with nobody around.

They're probably sleeping.
It's late for farmers.

There is a light inside.

That's it...
that's it.

Here we stop, and then we make
ourselves a nice roast chicken.

Roast chicken, your ass.
What roast chicken?

- He's right.
- Leave it to me.

You can't rob from these people.
It's like robbing a church.

Who's robbing?

Ho! Ho!

We Italianski!

Nice Italianski!

[Speaking Russian]


Friends and yumma-yumma.

Uh, Essen... make food.

ALL: Aah!


That son of a bitch.


You know languages.
Do it! Go on!

Make them know what we want!

I don't speak Russian.

Who cares?
Make something up.



Peace? Peace? Peace?
No war with us.

We are hungry.

[Speaking German]

[Speaking French]

[Speaking Russian]

Psst, Primo...

Wait, wait.

Give them our plates
for chicken.

Insist on the chicken. Insist.

These are for you...

[Speaking French]

You give us a chicken.

[Speaking French]

[Speaking Spanish]

- Shh, shh.
- [Speaking foreign language]

[Speaking foreign language]

Chicken. Chicken.
Hen. Hen.

[Clucking like a chicken]



[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]


[All speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

[Dog barking]

[Speaking foreign language]

[Thunder rumbling]


since you speak Russian now,

convince them to...
to let us go inside.

That's a good idea.

Go ahead.

[Fire crackling]

All right.

Another piece.

No, give me a bigger piece.

It's too small. Look.


Me too. Give me a piece.


[Thunder crashing]


[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking Russian]

[Rain pouring,
thunder crashing]

[Birds chirping]

Never trust a farmer.

Ha. For them,
everything's around the bend.

Son of a bitch.
I could kill him.

Let's stop here.

Yeah, let's stop here.

No, no, no.
Let's keep going.

Let's keep going.

Ho, look.

- Come on.
- What's up there?

Big building.
I don't know.

[Harmonica music plays]

The Greek.

[Music continues]

You know him?

You don't forget Jews
like that.

Who is he?

A man who, in a single day,
was for me...

in the morning, a master,

at noon, a teacher,

and by dusk,
an older brother.

[Music stops,
chickens clucking]

[Speaking Russian]


[Speaking Greek]

[Birds chirping]

[Speaking Greek]

I knew you'd come...
sooner or later.

Did you understand anything?

Look at the women.

[Women laughing]

They work for me.



[Speaking foreign language]

All beautiful, huh?
You like them?

You have need for a woman?

A woman.

Make it two.

- Make it six.
- Seven.

10 rubles, friends...
clean, safe, discretion.

You for free.

[Chickens clucking]

Where are we?


Here... where are we?

Staryje Doroghi,
and this place here...

everybody calls
the Red House.


We made it... the Red House.

It's about time.
The Red House.

Yes, the Red House.
Maybe we can get some rest.

The Red House.
Finally, it's there.

Thank God.

But, uh, oh...

Tonight, we stay here
with the ladies.


[Indistinct conversations]

Rovi, when the last train
came through here,

the czar was still alive.

Hey, Rovi, Colonel Rovi...

This is all your fault.

My fault?
Orders from Moscow.

Moscow, your ass.
You brought us here.

Take a look around.
This is a train station?!

It's true. You said
there would be a train here.

If the tracks are here,
a train will come, no?

Come? Come when?!

Everybody's going home
except for us.

What the fuck do we do now?

Rovi, Colonel Rovi,

the man responsible
for all the Italians.

Responsible for my cock!

Perhaps we ought to see
where we are

before we arrive
at a definitive conclusion.

I'll be seeing you, huh?

Daniele, drop it in
the baggage deposit, please.

[Indistinct conversations]


MEN: [Chanting]
Irina. Irina. Irina.

Irina. Irina.
Irina. Irina...

[Speaking Russian]

Shut up.

Pay no mind to them, Irina.

Let me help you.

Irina. Irina. Irina.

- Whoa!
- Whoa!

Let me talk to her.
Just a minute.

Irina, Irina...

Some moloku you put.


Da, da.




You don't know
how beautiful you are.

[Indistinct conversations]




[Plays notes]

[Plays notes]

This is something
I composed many years ago.

I wanted to become
a conductor.

But the examiners
at the conservatory

say that I copied it
from "I Pagliacci."

You hear?

[Plays notes]

These four notes are the same.

Four little notes in a piece
of nearly six minutes.

And so they failed me.

Was it fair?

It's the same.

Do you know this?

[Plays notes]

[Singing in Italian]

[Birds chirping]

[Dog barking]

[Man speaking German]

[Yelling in German]

We dedicate this to nature.

We have forgotten
how beautiful the world is.

[Birds chirping]

["Spring" from Vivaldi's
"Four Seasons" plays]

The days passed by
in an endless indolence...

as sleepy and salubrious
as a long vacation,

broken only at intervals

by the painful thought
of a distant home

and the enchantment
of our rediscovery of nature.

It's calmer in the middle.

What does she see
in that hick?


Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Let me see.

Two queens.

I may steal, but cheat, never.

Ho! Alpine soldier!

Stick to your mountains.
The water's deep here.

He's jealous.




What a beautiful calf.

It's so alive.

[Mooing, bell ringing]

- [Indistinct clamoring]
- Quiet.

Quiet! Whoa! Don't push!

There is enough
for everybody!

Go on, take this.

Ferrari, anybody coming?


Here. You're sure?

No. Not to her.

She ate enough in Auschwitz!

You broke bread
with the S.S.!

You mustn't give any to her!

Get out!
Stay away from us!

At Auschwitz,
the worst thing they did to us

was not to deny us bread...

torture us...

take our lives.

The worst thing they did...

was to crush... our souls...

our capacity
for compassion...

...filling the void
with hatred...

...even towards each other.

[Singing in foreign language]

[Speaking Russian]

[Speaks Russian]

[Men yelling indistinctly]

En route, my ladies.

[Singing resumes]

[Indistinct cheering]


Along the road
that skirted the Red House,

the victors came straggling by.

The good soldiers
of the Red Army...

gentle in peace
and fierce in war...

were going home.

[Men singing
in foreign language]

[Cheering continues]

[Horns honking]


Hey! Hey! Hey!

[Speaking Russian]

[Speaking French]

Mordo Naum,
where are you going?!

Where are you taking
all those women?!


I have the right
to leave before you!

My country's part
of United Nations!

Yours, no!

What do you mean,
"Yours, no"?

You Italians
have lost the war!

What?! And the war was won
by you Greeks, maybe?!


[Speaking French]

[Yelling in foreign language]

[Birds chirping]

[Leaves rustling]

The forest around the camp

exercised a deep attraction
upon us.

Perhaps it offered to all
who sought it

the inestimable gift
of solitude.

[Owl hooting]

[Birds chirping]

[Children laughing]

[Woman speaking
in foreign language]

The children at Auschwitz
were like migrating birds.

A few days after their arrival,

they were swept away
to the gas chambers.

[Bird caws]

[Chirping continues]

[Match strikes]

[Owl hooting]

[Indistinct cheering]


[Cheering continues]


[Whistle blowing]

[Engine chugging]

[Horn honking]

[Indistinct conversations]

We had resisted.

After a year of Auschwitz,
anguish and patience,

after the wave of death
following the liberation,

after cold and hunger,
after sickness and misery,

after senseless transfers,

after the idleness
and the nostalgia,

after all... we had won.


IRINA: [Crying] No.

Don't cry, Irina.
I'll come back.

I swear.
I swear I'll come back.

Let go. Let go! Let go!

[Whistle blowing]

Irina, what are you doing?

- Cesare...
- Crying over that hick?

- Cesare...
- He isn't worth it.

Everything passes.
Even the war has passed.


Are you crazy?!

She's crying on me.
What can I do?


Get on!

I'll be back!

Sooner or later, for sure!

[Plays soft music]

Good luck to everybody!

Be seeing you
sooner or later!



Do svidaniya!

[Lively music plays]

[Whistle blows]

[Lively folk music plays]

[Whistle blows]

[Whistle blows]

[Whistle blows]

I finally understood
why you were spared.

God wanted it that way.

I don't have a very close
relationship with God.

He spared you because
he wanted you to write.

To write?

Write what?


If what you say is true,

that I might be alive
in place of another...

then writing would be
an atrocious privilege.

[Whistle blowing]

[Metal clanking]

[Speaking foreign language]

[Clanking continues]

We had arrived
in German territory,

there where it all began.

We felt as if we had
something to say...

enormous things to say
to every single German,

and that every German should
have something to say to us.

[Sparks crackling]

[Clanking continues]

[Clanking continues]


[Breathing heavily]


Oh, Primo!


Oh, Primo.



[Crying] Primo!





You who live secure
in your warm houses,

who return at evening to find
hot food and friendly faces,

consider if this is a man
who labors in the mud,

who knows no peace, who fights
for a crust of bread,

who dies at a yes or a no.

Meditate that this took place.