Veras Mantel (2017) - full transcript

Veras Mantel is about a successful writer who is prevented from leaving her house by agoraphobia. Sinister threats from a fan eventually lead to her uncovering the secret of her illness.

The day, as such, was over.

Only the darkening rays
of the remaining sun,

radiating from a yellow glowing
segment which was rapidly diminishing.

For the brief time in which it finally
expired, the sun reached into her room,

and illuminated the sheet of paper
on the table for the last time.

Next day she took the sheet
and rolled it to a narrow pipe.

(literature prizes)

Too long to hold between
thumb and small fingers.

But she forced the paper into her hand,
wanted to have it so that

its surface
was turned to face outwards.

To this end, she folded the tube several times
into an uncontrollable zigzag,

which she crumpled tremblingly,
spasmodically, into a fist.

Vera Godin.

Good afternoon Mrs. Godin.
My name is Rüttgen.

I’ve just spoken to your publisher,
and she gave me your number.


Its about the
award ceremony next Sunday.

Will you be giving an excerpt
from your current book?

The listeners are very eager to hear it.

I’d like to read the Summer passage
from “Walking on Falun”.

Oh, that’s already four years old
and every listener will know it.

Couldn’t you oblige us with a taste
of your present creation?

What are you writing currently?

I do not think that my publisher
would approve

if I read something
from an unpublished novel.

But I would approve.

And who are you?

I am a really big admirer of your art.
I’ve been following your career

and your books over many years,
and thereby you yourself too,

so there’s virtually a special place
in my heart for you.

Mr. Rüttgen, where did
you get this number?

Rüttgen, Ritter, Ratmol, as you like
I have many names and no name.

What's all this about?

If you call me once more,
I’ll call the police.

Oh yes! Our glowing anarchist, former
squatter and punk, calls the police.

What a change.

Now listen to me.
I can take care of myself very well.

I don’t need any police for that.

I can handle guys like you alone.

But only inside your four walls.

What do you mean?

So when was the last time
you walked beneath the open sky,

ran around with your friends,

played football or bathed in the lake?

The real adventures are in the mind.

Never outdoors, your whole life long.

Whyever should that be?

That’s no secret, my readers know it,
and so does everyone who knows me.

What else is left to you
but to come to terms with it?

And the readers,
they love consuming the art of lunatics.

It is an illness, nothing more.


You can’t leave your house.

So what?

But you are right, it is a nice house.

It matches your writing style very well.

What do you want from me?

Go away!

Barbara, please pick up.

What are you doing?

You know that you cant go out.

We’ve certainly tried that often enough.

And this man,

who was he?

Do you have any notion who he could be?

Bruno, you absolutely have to
do something to stop it.

Vera needs guarding, around the clock.

Unfortunately I have to disappoint you.

That’s because not enough has happened.

There is simply no proof.

He was in the house, isn’t that enough?

I’m afraid this can’t be proven,
I’ve had a look at the tracks.

They’re useless,
could have come from anyone.

This very often happens to people
who are in the public eye.

Ms. Godin, Do you have a professional
contact that you’ve known for one or two years,

who is approximately the age of the
person you saw?

I dont get to know many new people.
if I do, then I receive them here in the house.

Go through them one after another in your head.
Try to think if any of them might be him.

We must be prepared for him to appear again.

It must have been a terrible shock for you.
But I’m there for you, you know that.

Promise me, Bruno,
that you and your bloodhounds

will do everything in your power
to stop this monster.

Promise me!

I promise.

I love you.

Your smile still makes me feel reverent

Just like the first time I ever saw it

It’s a knowing smile,



and wistful.

I knew immediately it would take me
some time to unlock its secret.

And have you?

No, not at all.

You see,

that’s how operate, we women.

No, it isn’t contrived

its too authentic for that.

It comes from very deep within.

Nice that you think that way.

That's why I'm with you,

because you look at me like that.

Maybe I even smile like that just for you,

because you let me.

I’m hungry.

Shall we?

Yes, let’s, before it gets cold.

You’ll be astonished. It doesn’t look like
anything special, but it tastes amazing.

I was quite surprised myself.

I'm curious.

These aren’t just noodles,
they’re a poem.

Thank you.

Have a taste first.

Hmm, they are really quite exquisite.

I’m glad that you like it.
I’d been worried that

you might have no appetite
after everything that happened today.

Let's talk about
something else, please.

I have already told you
the most important part anyway.

As you wish.

It's just that I'd like
to do something for you.

That’s not necessary.
I can do it alone.

Besides, I’ve asked Korell,
and our windows and doors

are secure enough
that no one can get in.

Look after your clients
they need you more than I do.

Do you remember how it was
when we moved in here?

I had to be brought here under
anesthetic from my own flat.

That was very humiliating, you know.

Yes I do.

Especially after the countless attempts
to do it the normal way.

And now it’s happened again,

albeit because of fear.

I never want to go through
anything like that again.

That’s exactly why
I would like to stay here with you.

I must have control
over my own world.

If I'm still dependent on you,
I just feel more needy,

and I cant bear it,
do you understand that?

Yes I understand.

And you will do it alone.

Like you always have done.

She spread herself out at the trench of time
and spat out the bitter pill of infinity.

Time was what she unfortunately didnt have,
but what she needed

to process the stroke of fate
that had so suddenly thrown her off

the long established
predetermined tracks of her existence,

and led to a new,
totally unknown territory.

“Poor girl“

“has to stay at home“


who's there?

It’s only me, darling.

Oh Barbara, it's you.

I’m just going through the fan mail
in case there’s something suspicious there.

Great, I hope you find something.

Its really incredible
what some people are writing,

but rather more touchingly naive
than threatening.

Dont say that, too much kitsch
can also be quite threatening.

I can still remember a time
when you were very enthusiastic

about the attention of your fans.

Now I have to work on all your
fanmail by myself, and you know

how important that is
for your success.

Thanks you very much for that,
but was there something else?

I'm busy with something.

Is everything alright with you?

I'm just saying,

I work my ass off

to get everything back on an even keel.
And how do you thank me?

Barbara please, not now.

I have to check something.

Then do your checking nicely.

By the way, the options
on your new book

have been requested
by each of the Big Five publishers.

What? You're kidding me.

No, it's true.

The last of them, Geo Print,
officially expressed its

interest early this mornig.

You’re a sweetheart,
I love you!

You know what that means?


The brightest star in the firmament,

which I'll pluck for you from the sky.

I'll do so gladly, for my love,

with wings of a butterfly.

What happened?

There was that man,
that awful man!

Now, dont tell me
that you cant do anything.

There are specific guidelines
that must adhered to,

precise minimum requirements for a watch.

And they would be?

A physical attack
has to have taken place,

which can be proven.

What exactly would that be?


a violent attack
which has caused an injury, for example.

I knew it, he has to strangle me first
before any action gets taken.

A small injury would suffice.

Such as?

Well, for example, if the bruise on your hand
were to come from the offender,

that would suffice as
medical evidence for a watch.

So if you report your injury with
your family doctor, then I can speed up

the procedure and you’d have a guard
outside the door the next day.

I believe that can be arranged.

I hope it’s clear to you
what this also means for my person,

and I’m convinced that you
will address the facts of the matter

with the utmost care and precision.

You can rest assured

that I’ve had
plenty of experience with that.

That’s what I was thinking.

Because me and your publisher
go back a long way as friends,

I feel a special obligation in this case.

Thank you very much.

He doesn’t look like a policeman.

More like an office pen pusher.

No, no office.

Like a creative.

I also work in an office.


I have to go.

I’ll come along,
then we can introduce ourselves.

Good morning.

Oh, good morning.
I hope I didn’t startle you,

Ive been standing here since
5 o'clock in the morning.

Were you informed in good time?

Yes we were. Mr. Korell personally
informed us of your arrival.

Glad to meet you Mrs. Godin.
I’m security officer Hadek,

and I’ve been briefed in advance on
the special nature of this assignment

and familiarised with the key details.

Good morning.

Erik Godin, I’m the husband.

Nice to meet you.

If you need something,
dont be afraid to ask.

Dont worry,
everything’s provided for us.


Yes of course. You’ll be guarded
around the clock in four shifts.

I can’t do this alone.

Oh yes, of course,
three other colleagues.

There’s a police van parked around the corner.

We can get all our requirements there,
including toilet facilities.

And all this is for you sweetheart.
That’s great.

You’ll be meeting the others soon,
and they’re at least as nice as me.

Well, we are reassured.

I have to go now,
I'll call you later today.

And I hope you have
a pleasant first working day.


A nice man, your husband.

Yes, he is.

And I also wouldnt know
what I’d do without him.


Hello, Hadek here.

I’m just off for a minute to buy
cigarettes. Are you OK with that?

Yes, just go.

But please hurry.

I’ll be right back.


Little bird, little bird cannot fly,
On staying home she can rely.

Whats up with you?
Was somebody here?

Yes, there was somebody.

What happened dear?

That man with the creepy voice
was there again.

Calm down, I'm with you.

I was only five minutes away.

We’ll talk later.

Bruno, you have to ensure

that there’s a reliable guard
standing in front of the house.

The phone call could have happened
even with the guard in position.

The door was open!

But the perpetrator
was not in the house.

What luck. Because he simply had to
go through the open, unguarded door.

This is certainly not in line with
the regulations, and it’s inexcusable.

Something like that
must not happen again, I’m relying on you.

It won’t happen again.

But there was someone else.

We should focus on the stalker
and how we can get rid of him.

Excuse me Vera, but did you
want to say something more?

Leave it, its our business

Vera, who was there?

There was a woman in the house.

A woman?

Yes, she must have come into the house
while Hadek wasn’t there.

Can you describe her?

Unfortunately I only saw her
from the corner of my eye,

but it was a woman, I'm sure.

Hadek claims
that nobody had been in the house.

He searched it as soon
as he got back.

I am convinced that
it can all be cleared up.

And whether this woman was there, or whether it
was maybe just the shadow of a curtain,

we can’t give the explanation in retrospect.

If the police are relying on Vera’s testimony
to justify the provision of full security,

then we also should
take this statement seriously.

You see, with such indiscriminate
statements we’ll just lose credibility.

But I know for sure, she was there.

Of course, with these nightmarish
scenarios that you’ve been experiencing

it would certainly be possible
to create your own interpretation

Dont get me wrong, I know
that you have all your wits about you.

But you also have
a lot of imagination.

You need it for your profession.

Thank you.


you are a highly emotional person,

almost like an antenna
for external forces and impressions

And your illness protects you from
being overwhelmed by them.

I know what I saw.

Yes, I am convinced.

I know how strong you are.

And I believe you.

Like Barbara, I only want
the best for you.


Who are you?

And how did you get in here?

Can I help you?

Do you hear me?

How could you let
anyone into the house?


She’s in the house.

There she is.

Who’s supposed to be there?

The woman who just went past us!

What woman?

But you saw her?

That cannot be,
where are you?

Where are you, damn it?


if you state once more
that you've seen this woman,

then Bruno will have to make
a note in his files.


your man doesn’t seem to be bringing us
any luck, why haven’t you replaced him?

Hadek is an excellent policeman and
he deserves a second chance,

as all of us do, dont you think?

But of course we’re only human.

Anyway, he was at his post today
and didn’t make any mistake.

nothing really happened.

We’ll see about that right away.
Ive got a few more questions for Vera.

Does it have to be done this way?

She’s not really in a fit state
to answer questions.

Yes, we have to proceed

Mrs. Godin has apparently seen something
that security officer Hadek could not see.

How are you darling? Can you talk
briefly to the Commissioner?

Ms. Godin.


can you describe exactly what
you saw just now in the anteroom?

I saw her, I’m certain of it.

Who or what did you see?

This woman, she was in my studio.

How old was this woman? How did she look?

She was moving like a robot and didn’t react
when I spoke to her, as if she wasn’t there.

How did she leave the house?
Through the door?

I don’t know any more,
she was quite simply no longer there.

Please believe me,

I know what I saw.
I'm not crazy.

No, you arent.

Its just all
a bit much at once.

So what now?

The way it’s looking,
I can’t maintain the watch operation.

That's what I feared.

This isn’t pleasant for me either.
I requested the whole thing after all.

Does it taste okay?

I can understand if you have no appetite,
but it’d do you good and give you strength.

You dont know how it is
not to be taken seriously.

I can imagine it.

Do you believe me?

I think you saw something. Yes.


It just sounds highly improbable.

Barbara doesnt believe me,

but what about you,

my husband?

You're such a great person,

with such a great imagination.

I need a little rest,

I’m going upstairs.

He is so strong, there’s
nothing I can do to fight him.

Only in my mind of course, because
I would never dare to contradict him.

He is educated and wise,

always one step ahead of me

and knows what I want to do,

as if he could read my mind.

But he is also good to me,
gives me food and drink,

even though the portions are meagre.

I'd love to see the sun again,

the day with its colours.

I can hardly remember when I was

last allowed out,

out of this room.

What’s that?

Who are you?

Talk to me!

He gives me food and drink.
Sometimes it is too little,

sometimes it is not good.
But he gives me food.

Indeed I should be glad,
and grateful that at least

he lets me go out of the cellar
and upstairs from time to time.

If I only could help him.

Where is the cellar?


I sleep and rise at the given times.

Even if there is food
or I have to wash myself

the times are always the same.

It's better that way, otherwise
he gets angry and I feel bad.

One day, I overslept,

only for 20 minutes,

but I was so tired.

For three days
I got no food, only water.

And then I still got beaten

to make sure I got the message

Sometimes I dream of
the green meadows,

how I run through them
barefoot in the summer.

Like in that time in the country,
in front of my aunt’s house.

I can still remember, because that
time there was so beautiful for me.

If I could just experience it once more!
But he will not allow me to.

He is always very angry when I speak about it
and then things are bad again.

But this isn’t the worst life,
here in this room.

Finally, I have everything I need
and I dont have to be afraid,

because he protects me

from the evil neighbor’s boy,
who used to beat me up so often.

I can’t understand this at all,
though I am an architect.

I think the room
doesn’t correspond to the plan.

It must have been added somehow to
the lateral ground at a later time.


She was held prisoner by him.

By whom?

When she writes of him
then she calls him only “him” or “he”,

never his name.

When do you think
they lived here?

Judging by
the clothes and objects,

around 15 years ago.

Could it have been
the woman you saw?

I'm pretty sure it was her.

Anyhow, she drew
my attention to that room.

And there she stood,

in middle of it.

To have seen the ghost of
this woman is somehow

hard to believe.

I don’t want to imagine it at all
I am too much a realist for that.

Perhaps there is something
like energy fields,

which can’t be measured.

And they arise from
people’s emotions,

and remain there,

somewhere in the ether.

I know this is an attempt
to explain it with science,

to make it to a technical concept,

that is simply too fine
for our measuring instruments.

And only you can perceive them,

with your highly sensitive
artist’s antennae.

Maybe it is like that.

But whatever it’s called,

I have to find out who this man was

and whether hes still alive.

He always comes early in the morning
at the same time, on the dot of seven,

and stays till half past.
In the evening his timing isn’t so precise.

He comes at around seven o'clock

Then he often smells of the pencils
that he says

he was sharpening all day
to draw neat lines.

Then, his fingers are sometimes quite grey.

Are you the woman
who wrote the diary?


Again I drove past your house
and imagined how you’d be sleeping inside.

I know you don’t want to hear this,
but my longing for you

made my chest contract
so tightly that I could hardly breathe.

The image of how you lie in your bed,
next to your wife,

giving her a good night kiss,
hugging each other, sharing your lives.

I hold no grudge against her, while
she is certainly a wonderful wife for you,

who manages to enrich your life
with her creativity.

Erik, I wouldnt write to you,

if I didnt know for certain that
there is something between us.

Something special, this inexplicable
attraction which is so strong,

that it always leads us to each other.

Are you still awake?

Were you worried?

I wrote you a message.

Where have you been so long?

I don’t understand,
Didn’t you read it?

I know you’re going through a lot,
right now but I have my problems too.

Oh yes?

Yes. Problems with the building clients,

who call the usefulness of
the architectural profession into question,

and would rather rank it along with
the work of designers or hairdressers.

And then you had to discuss this problem
till two o'clock in the morning.

You won’t believe it, but
other people have their problems too.

You’ve already said that.

I know that doesnt interest you at all.
You also have just so much going on.

But out there there are
other people with other lives.

Whats up with you, whats your problem?

Dont you want to talk about it?

I dont know what you mean.

Dont you want to
tell me about the woman?

with this inexplicable
attraction between you?

Sorry? Which woman are you talking about?

Why are you lying?

Leave me alone!

Are you sleeping with her?

I dont know what you mean.

Where did you get that from?

Is that all you want to ask about?

Are you sniffing round my private space?

In your private space?

I thought I was your private space

Sorry, I didnt know there was
something even more private.

She’s a trainee from the office,
it doesn’t mean anything

But it sounds quite different here.

The little girl seems to be
very much in love with you.

What can I do about it?
I didn’t encourage her.

But you don’t appear to have made
your relationship towards her very clear

Look at me when I'm talking to you!

Whats the matter with you? Aren’t we
getting a little overexcited again?

Let me go!

Just shut your mouth!
I cant bear your whining any more.

Where do you want to go?

Come to me!

What do you want here?

Wouldnt you like to get up?

Get out of here,

this is my bedroom!

It is also my room,

it’s for both of us.

You have the studio
just for yourself

And I think going there is better,

it’s familiar to her.

Stop it!

Get out of here!

Now be sensible,
it's for your own good.

Let me go, let me go, let me go!

Well then, go.

You have the right to remain silent.

You have a very nice studio here.

And as I know, you have enough to do.

I think you’d better focus
on your work for the moment.

No, you cant do that.

Are you mad?

It’s not really clear
who the mad one is here.

You need some rest anyway.


Hello Barbara its me. Can you
please come and get me out of here,

you cant imagine what’s just happened.


are you in there?

There’s no point,
where are you going to run?


Come out now.

I'll get you anyway.

Open up, damn bitch, open up!

Shut up, you bastard!

Poor Vera,

everyone’s against you.

What’s the plan now?

Would you like to try again?

Leave me alone!

There’s no point.

You can’t do it.

When are you finally going to
understand that?

You can not escape from me,

I am here and you are there inside.

I’ll kill you!

To do that, you’ll have to come out.

I’m quite close now, looking at you.

Would you like to kill me?

I hate you!

You hate me?

But I'm the only one who’s there for you.
Taking care of you.

Its me, the one
you write your books for.

It’s me. Your biggest fan.

You're nobody,

you dont exist at all.

You know best of all that I exist.

Or do you already believe in

what the others are trying
to convince you of?

You're right, it’s better
if you do work.

But think about your audience,

you mustn’t disappoint them.


Its me, Barbara!

Where are you?

Vera, are you there inside?



who’s there?

Oh, what on earth are you doing?

Come on, help me,

you're too heavy for me.

Im here now.

You’ve come at last.

What happened then?

Erik and Korell locked me in.

Korell was here?

Yes, he came back.

Where is he now?

He’s here.

Where is he?
I haven't seen him at all.

I’ve locked him up in the cellar.

And then there was
that terrible woman again.

You locked him in the cellar,

but why?

But I’ve already told you.

He and Erik locked me up
in the studio against my will.

Both of them had completely changed,
ice cold.

Those men weren't human beings,

they were machines.

Oh, no way. I’ve known Bruno
for over twenty years.

Believe me, he wasn’t the same
as usual. And he hurt me.

You say you've locked him in the cellar.

Well then, let's see how he is doing.

No, don't do that, he’s dangerous!

Oh that old man was never dangerous.

Even if he wanted to be so
for me, back then.

I warn you, he's dangerous.

Bruno, are you in there?

Thank you, Barbara.

Your protégé probably had a small
anxiety attack, and she imprisoned me here.

They twisted my wrist
and dragged me out of my bedroom!

That was after she got hysterical and claimed
her husband wanted to do something evil to her

Thats not true, he's lying!

The two of them dragged me
out of the bed for no reason

and locked me up in the studio.

Do you actually know how crazy that
sounds? Or is this true, Bruno?

I was just doing my duty.

I had to look after her.
She was in a condition

in which I feared
that she would hurt herself.

This is complete nonsense.

Yes, I was tense, but my mind was clear,
and I’ve never done anything to myself.

Excuse me,
I have to go to the bathroom.

Come on, lets go upstairs too.

He hurt me!

He only did what he
thought that was right.

I’ve known him now for
half an eternity,

he’s completely harmless.

Come along, I’ll look after you.

Maybe it's better if
she rests a while up in the bedroom.

Yes, I think so too.

Well, how about getting some strength back
during a nice comfortable sleep?

But I'm not tired,
I want to stay awake.

Perhaps it really is better for you.

it’s better if we
listen to Bruno in these circumstances.

What does that mean? I dont want to!

Now be reasonable.
It's completely for your own good.

Let me pass, immediately!

Stop it! Will you just stop?

Let me go!

What are you doing?

You can see me?

Hi sweetheart.

How are you?

But child, you're
supposed to stay in bed.

Who the devil are you again?

Vera, dont you recognize us?

It's me.

You’re awake again my little one, right?

You're awake.


Its me, your mother.

The one who suffered pain to
bring you into this world

the one who raised you and
protected you, through good and bad.

Please remember what we talked about.

But you were always my precious child

and made me proud, and never ashamed.

You are someone very special.



you are my artist,
highly talented, unique.


I think that's enough for now.

You'll catch cold.

That's much too dangerous
in your condition.

You can’t do this.

subtitle editor:
Kathy Freeman