EXT. STREET - WEIMAR, GERMANY - DAY (JANUARY 3, 1900)
Credits roll over an overview of the city, panning in on a square just
down the hill from the
In the bright sunshine, a bespectacled, barefooted, apparently very old man judging by his bushy white lion's mane and walrus mustache, stumbles into the square in a long white Brahmin nightshirt. He is carrying a lighted COACH-MAN'S LANTERN over his head, which he holds up to the faces of various laughing townspeople--comic 19th century German stereotypes, a fat GROCER in an apron, SCHOOLCHILDREN, a WASHERWOMAN with a laundry basket on her head. And as he searches their faces, they tease him good-naturedly.
Father Time is loose again!
And who are you looking for,
Father? Have you lost someone?
Baby New Year, perhaps.
Baby New Year! He's looking
for Baby New Year!
Why? Has he lost his way, Herr
Professor? Or is he hiding
from you, perhaps?
Where oh where can the little
The Grocer facetiously searches about under his grocery displays and under the Washerwoman's billowy skirts, who screams appreciatively amid general laughter and camaraderie as the Madman shouts at the top of his lungs.
What did he say? Murderers! He
said, murderers. Are you sure?
A billy club twirling POLICEMAN enters the square to the shouts of the schoolchildren now playing "ring around the roses" about the bewildered madman.
Come now, Herr Professor.
Time to go home; Frau
Forster will be angry.
Let him be! He's celebrating
the centennial. The twentieth
century is only three days old!
Last time, the professor took
off his clothes!
Did you see his schmeckle?
Nasty Jew! Nasty Jew!
Casual anti-Semitism is so deeply ingrained in 19th century Germany that the SCHOOLGIRL'S taunt and her chasing the laughing SCHOOLBOY around the circle of singing children is accepted as good fun as the amused Grocer tips his cap to the Policeman.
The Professor called us murderers,
your honor. But who it is we
murdered, we don't know.
"Ashes! Ashes! We all fall
As the singing schoolchildren squat down around the encircled Madman, he raises the lamp above his head and shouts up at the heavens.
GOD! We've murdered GOD!
And as he smashes the lamp violently to the ground at his feet, the screen goes black for a moment. And out of the darkness the BIG BANG is simulated on screen as the madman's voice echoes through the expanding universe.
GOD IS DEAD! GOD IS DEAD!
EXT.\INT. NIETZSCHE ARCHIVES - DAY (JANUARY 3, 1900)
Wagnerian MUSIC accompanies a horse-drawn coach bearing the bemedaled GRAND DUKE OF SAXONY resplendent in full military dress of the period, spiked helmet etc. A banner over the front steps bearing the words, WELCOME TO THE NIETZSCHE ARCHIVES greets him as does FRAU LISBETH FORSTER- NIETZSCHE, a very well-preserved fifty-four year old widow, modishly dressed for her guest in a long black silk taffeta gown suitable to her role as mistress of the Archives and First Lady of Weimar.
Inside, the hall is cluttered with Nietzsche memorabilia, the famous
marble bust of the philosopher, sepia photographs pertaining to his career,
many photos of the Wagners, Bayreuth, Tribschen, and other objects of pre-twentieth
century German nationalistic pride.
INT. ARCHIVE UPPER ROOM - DAY
Off in his own world, passive, silent, remote, unresponsive, an expression of infinite weariness on his face, the MADMAN, still dressed in his Brahmin gown, sits on the bed in his invalid room as his old NURSE kneels washing his bare feet in a washbasin.
PETER GAST, a long-haired musician in his early thirties, sits at the baby grand in shirtsleeve playing some quiet Chopin pieces as LISBETH and the DUKE enter without knocking.
Yes, he's been a very bad boy
today, eluding his nurse and
wandering out into the street
again. Fritzy, you naughty boy,
we have a visitor. His Excelency
the Grand Duke of Saxony,
The nurse quickly dries the madman's feet in a towel and exits with the washbasin as Gast jumps immediately to his feet and, slipping on his jacket, bows obsequiously as Lisbeth introduces him.
Maestro Peter Gast, my sainted
brother's first disciple and
the only man familiar enough
with his extraordinary
vocabulary and ways of thinking
to decipher the feverish
hieroglyphics of his poor sick
The Duke all but ignores Gast, so taken is he with the Madman's appearance.
Mein Gott, never have I seen
such a dreadful picture of
Yes, he's been like this for
over a decade now. It was
exactly eleven years ago today
that he collapsed in Turin.
The Duke bows and hands a small NOSEGAY of lilacs to the Madman,
whose eyes light up as he smiles broadly at the Duke, reaching for the
nosegay and gazing at it with tears in his eyes as FLASH FRAMES from the
past are intercut throughout the rest of the sequence.
ARCHIVES/LION PARK INTERCUTTING
EXT. LION PARK - LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND - DAY (SPRING 1882)
The camera pans from a FLOWER CART full of lilac nosegays to various
fin de siecle types silently strolling arm-in-arm: top hats, parasols,
bicycles, park benches, a guide silently explaining the significance of
the famous LION STATUE to schoolchildren, a waiter setting up a small sidewalk
table, a strolling hurdygurdy or zither musician playing familiar STRAUSS
WALTZES which continue into the Archive sequences.
INT. ARCHIVE - DAY (JANUARY 3, 1900)
He's gone again, off into his
own private world unaware of
his condition or where he is--
. . . his saintly spirit dwelling in
distant from all human affairs,
enthroned in eternal timelessness
like a god on Olympus.
EXT. LION PARK - DAY (SPRING 1882)
FREDERICK NIETZSCHE, LOU SALOME and PAUL REE stroll animatedly past the famous LION STATUE on their way to the BONNET FOTO STUDIO visible on the fringe of the park. They are obviously having a wonderful time.
Nietzsche is a handsome young man of thirty-seven, sporting his famous brown walrus mustache and dressed in professorial garb--starched collar, string tie, velvet lapels, tiny wire-rimmed spectacles--his black derby tilted rakishly.
Paul Ree is a dark, graceless, somewhat effeminate young man in his early thirties, dressed all in black, rather like a Jesuit.
Lou Salome is a beautiful young woman of twenty, tall, thin, flat-chested, her hair bunned severely back, giving her a very boyish look. She wears a severe, high-collared, long, black, mannishly tailored suit-dress with white lace at throat and cuffs. A mannish-looking derby sits on her head, and she uses her wrapped parasol very much the way Ree and Nietzsche use their walking sticks.
LOU stops before the Lion Statue to buy a nosegay from the flower
seller and bowing formally like a man offers it to NIETZSCHE, who accepts
it, returning the bow and allowing her to fasten it to his lapel like a
INT. ARCHIVE - DAY (JANUARY 3, 1900)
On this eleventh anniversary
of your sainted brother's
collapse, please allow me to
kiss the hand of the First Lady
of Weimar and sister of our
national treasure. One can't
pick up a newspaper without
seeing the Nietzsche name. And
I understand that pilgrimages
to Weimar are becoming quite
Why, only yesterday two scholars
all the way from America called
to pay their respects. To think
that, outside the circle of our
family and intimate friends, no
one in Germany had even heard the
Nietzsche name before my sainted
brother's untimely collapse. And
now, the entire world is clamoring
for our books.
All true Germans owe you both a
great debt for your enormous
editorial undertaking, the
extraordinary lengths to which
you've gone to bring our national
treasure's holy books into
conformity with the spirit of the
Yes, enemies of the Reich may
call our editorial practices
unscrupulous, but considering
how unstable my poor brother
was during those last years
before his collapse, how he
Ah, yes, syphilis is a terrible
Syphilis? Absurd! More false
charges brought by enemies of
the Reich. My brother is an
an ascetic, celibate from the
Forgive me, madame, I was unaware . . .
Yes, he's been an invalid most of
his life, as far back as our days
together at Basel when he was
forced to give up his university
chair because of his health.
She caresses her brother's head.
Poor Fritzy Lamb. Still, it's my
own fault. I never should have
left him and run off with my husband
to colonize the jungles of Paraguay.
Never! That scraggly, smelly she
monkey with the false breasts
poisoned his body as well as his
Ah, the infamous Louise von Salome!
Yes, once she got through with him,
he was no longer my genius brother,
the creator of Zarathustra and his
many other holy books, but this poor
sad creature you seebefore you.
I should have known the first time I
saw that infernal photoraph--the
world's greatest philosopher driven
mad by a twent year old girl with a
A BLINDING FLASH, and the screen is filled with an upside down blowup
of Bonnet's famous sepia PHOTOGRAPH of LOU SALOME kneeling in a tiny farm
CART with a TOY WHIP in one hand and the reins in the other, to which NIETZSCHE
and REE are attached on either side of the wagon tongue like dray horses.
INT. FOTO STUDIO - LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND - DAY (SPRING, 1882)
MONSIEUR BONNET, holding a smoking flash-powder gun, emerges from under the cloth of his tripod camera.
Voila! La Trinite infernal!
The sepia photograph is now reproduced in living color before a portable SCREEN with a rural scene painted on it. Much laughter and camaraderie accompanies the disassembling of the pageant, Lou handing the TOY WHIP to Neitzsche as Ree helps her down out of the cart.
This calls for a toast!
To celebrate the enshrinement
of our glorious menage a trois.
Ree hurries Lou out into the street, leaving Nietzsche behind to settle up with Bonnet. Handing the toy whip to Bonnet, Nietzsche pays for the photo session, writing down the name of the hotel to which the developed photo is to be delivered.
La cravache de jouet aussi, s'il
vous plait, monsieure?
He casually tosses down several more bills, and Bonnet responds happily, snapping the toy whip as Nietzsche departs.
Avec plaisir, mon Professor. La
cravache aussi. La cravache aussi!
EXT. LION PARK - DAY
At the sidewalk table on the fringe of the park, REE calls for champagne, and a waiter appears popping the cork and pouring a taste for REE, who sips ecstatically, standing and raising his glass as NIETZSCHE approaches.
Bravo! Dom Perignon! To Paris in
The three of us!
You and I and our gloomy old
chaperon, Herr Doktor Professor
Nietzsche is a very soft-spoken gentleman. No matter how tactless or even violent his words may become at times, they are always spoken calmly, softly, with great reserve. Ree, on the other hand, speaks too precisely, almost effeminately and is often loud and flamboyant, especially when in his cups.
Indeed. A gloomy, old, pensioned
university professor provides our
venture exactly the degree of
respectability our Lou's mater
requires to rationalize her begrudging
The perfect trois for our menage a.
Don't let his academic good maners
fool you. Behind that lamb-like
facade lurks a caged Lion--the
blond beast of the Teutons.
Rather like that old wounded
lion up there on the cliff face.
LOU gazes up at the famous LION STATUE and passing GUIDE.
...hewn out of the living sandstone,
our mortally wounded lion is 28 feet
long and 18 feet high, honoring our
brave Swiss Guard who...
Poor, tragic Lion!
Looks a bit like our Fritzy,
don't you think, suffering one
of his famous migraines? And
how is our invalid professor
this lovely afternoon?
Much better now that spring has
come to the Swiss Alps.
At last all about us life renews
itself. And my life too shall be
... no matter how determined her
mother is to drag her back to
Russia with her.
Yes, just when I'm beginning to
live. Nevertheless, I'm determined
to spend next winter in Paris with
or without her approval. The three
of us living an studying together in
a mentally passionate, non-sexual
Be careful Snaille! If I know this
old satyr, he's contemplating a
winter of secretarial use and
Paul! How crude! Please excuse
him, Professor; he's such a boor
I'll drink to that!
Placing a hand over his eyes, and tapping his cane like a bland man, he drinks.
As the blind Dom said on first
tasting his bubbly, "Join me
quickly, Brothers, I'm drinking
To the stars from which we
dropped down to each other
All for one and one for all!
We're off to Paris in the fall!
La trinite infernal!
Bonnet's Trinity PHOTOGRAPH flashes across the screen.
EXT. THE WAGNER ESTATE - LAKE LUCERNE, TRIBSCHEN - DAY
Music from Wagner's TRISTAN accompanies LOU, with opened parasol, strolling about casually--the exterior of Wagner's home atop the hill, park benches along the shore.
NIETZSCHE and REE, sit cross-legged on a park bench, looking at a pocket-sized photograph of the Trinity.
We could dispute the prize for
ugliness between us!
I find the lovely silhouette atop
the rack-wagon quite charming.
And I, the handsome stallions in
Jackasses you mean. HE HAW!
The only ass is you, Paul! God
he's such a boor. But let's not let
him ruin our outing, Professor.
Shall we stroll beside the lake?
Just the two of us?
I can take a hint. Anyway, I need
They walk off in different directions as Nietzsche comments in his usual soft-spoken manner.
One of these days, I must take
Paul aside and tell him what a
lap dog he's becoming.
I beg your pardon, sir?
No, seriously. He's all but
completely under your domination,
you know. You treat him more
like a younger brother than a. . .er--.
...a lover? Certainly you don't
think Paul and I--
I should hope not. Despite all
your masculine pretensions,
you're a woman after all. And
no matter how much you tell
yourself you prefer someone you
can dominate rather than be
dominated yourself, deep down in
the depths of your womanly soul--
And it was with these confident
delusions that you set off with
me this beautiful May morning
on our pilgrimage to Tribschen?
Perhaps I should return to the
hotel with Paul.
Caught up in his own nostalgia, Nietzsche ignores her threat and gazes around the grounds, heaving a long sigh.
How I love this place. What
wonderful memories. What
incomparably happy hours I've
spent in that house, in this garden
and by this lake. But that was a
What was she like?
Cosima? She was the ideal wife.
Devoted to Richard to the exclusion
of everyone and everything else.
How I envy him. I suppose I've
always been a bit in love with her.
Why, if she hadn't already been
married to Richard--
You would have proposed to her?
I was a very young professor of
philology at the time, and Cosima
was just the kind of wife I thought
I needed to fulfill my destiny. Brilliant,
with a masculine mind, like yours,
fearless, immune to scandal, turning
their illicit love affair into a family
She deserted a husband of many
years for Richard, who was himself
married at the time. She brought two
children with her.
Which, of course, only added to
the daring couple's glamour.
Precisely. How I adored her and
admired and envied Richard. He
was like a father to me. No cloud
ever obscured our sky. Until they
moved to Bayreuth, that is, and
became German bourgeois.
But you yourself are German.
Not really. I was born in Germany,
but my ancestry is Polish. Besides,
I gave up my citizenship when I
accepted the University chair at Basel.
How curious! I was born a Slav
of German ancestry and you, a
German of slavic ancestry.
Which gives us an outlook
transcending merely national
horizons. We're Europeans, like
theWagner's before Bayreuth.
Here, at Tribschen?
Yes! In those early days Richard
was an incarnate protest against
everything German. All things
considered, I could never have
survived my youth without him.
My entire nature has always been
so alien to German provincialism,
that, like a man who has to take
hashish to overcome unbearable
oppression, I had to take Wagner.
to counter the poison of German
Decadent Romanticist poison.
A decadent only loves what is
bad for him. And I loved Wagner;
the Wagner of TRISTAN was an
illness for which I am eternally
grateful. What a poor place the
world must be for anyone who has
never been unhealthy enough for
that voluptuousness of Hell. But
after Bayreuth and the emergence
of the Teutonic mystical ideal...
EXT. / INT. - BAYREUTH, GERMANY - DAY/NIGHT
As the MUSIC changes from TRISTAN to DIE WALKURIE, FLASH FRAMES of the OPERA HOUSE at Bayreuth depict the scenes Nietzsche describes.
(in a mock German accent)
German Music! Und German
cutlets, und sausage, und strudel!
He drops the mock-German accent and continues seriously.
Patriotic platitudes. Vanities.
Parochial jealousies. Richard
strutting like a peacock amid
crowds of fawning admirers.
Someday, for the edification of
posterity, a typical Bayreutheur
should be stuffed with sauerkraut
and preserved in beer, with the
inscription: "A specimen of the
spirit on which the German
Reich was founded."
EXT. - TRIBSCHEN - DAY
Surely you exaggerate.
You'll soon see for yourself. I
haven't been to Bayreuth in six
years, but my sister still attends,
hoping to patch things up between
me and the Wagners. You'll go with
her for the premiere of PARSIFAL.
For the premiere of PARSIFAL?
You're serious? Your sister
She'll soon be your sister too.
NIETZSCHE takes Lou abruptly into his arms.
You, my precious Lou, will fill
the place in my heart Cosima
once held--my female counterpart,
the heiress and successor of my
Lou suddenly kisses Nietzsche passionately like a lover, surprising him. He breaks away perplexed. But when he tries to embrace her again, she slips from his grasp, flustered, afraid of her emotions, falling back on her intellect as she straightens her hair and clothes.
The magic of this place, I'm
afraid, has bewitched us both,
carrying us away into emotional
excesses quite unacceptable in
the real world.
Damn the real world!
I'm afraid that was precisely
what I was preparing to do. I
admit I was immediately struck
by you on our very first meeting
--your fascinatingly strange manner,
at once gay and solemn your
magnificent lion's head, your
beautiful, defective eye which
seem to be looking at once inward
and out into the greatest distance
as if into the future. And what's
more, you attract me sensually.
And you, me! I need you, Lou.
Marry me. Become my wife.
He tries to embrace her, but she pulls away.
And play Cosima to your
Wagner? Promise to love
honor and obey you for the
rest of my life? Legally allow
you to dominate me body
and mind? Devote my life to
you and your philosophy to
the exclusion of my own?
No, Fritzy Lion; animal
passion there is between us;
that neither of us can deny.
But my and Paul's relationship--
Relationship? With his well-
advertised disgust of sex? His
philosophical stance against
propagating the species and
increasing the number of
overpopulating the planet?
Precisely! Paul is my surest
defense against the intellectual
and erotic attraction feel
toward you. His tutoria ideal
is my self-developmen at his
side--a mentally passionate
nonsexual relationship. With
Paul, I run no emotional risk.
But life is emotional risk!
Marriage is out of the question.
It's unnecessary, a relic of
bourgeois paternalism. You've
said so yourself. Now, no more
romantic silliness. You must
promise never again to court
me! If you do, I'll disappear,
and you'll never see me again.
But surely I haven't forever lost
the opportunity to make you my
own? I must know that.
Please, not another word.
At least promise to spend the
summer with me at Tautenburg.
Yes, you can come with Lisbeth.
After Bayreuth. I's a beautiful little
resort town in the forested
mountains of Thuringia, where I can--
--insist on exerting your will over
me just as you're now doing?
Why, we haven't even got your
sister's approval on Bayreuth, and
you're already imposing me on her
summer holiday. Naturally, I would
love to see Bayreuth, to meet the
It's settled then. Bayreuth and
Lou is already imagining herself in Bayreuth.
Imagine, Richard and Cosima. And
who knows? Perhaps even King
And Lisbeth Nietzsche too, my
sister. Don't forget my darling
EXT. WAHNFRIED - BAYREUTH, GERMANY - DAY (SUMMER 1882)
Overview of BAYREUTH, focusing in on WAHNFRIED, the Wagner estate.
INT - THE WAGNER MUSIC ROOM - DAY
A gathering of typical Bayreuthers are seated before a grand piano by liveried butlers. RICHARD WAGNER, in beret, swathed in his indispensable silks and satins, is seated at the piano accompanying a bosomy SOPRANO dressed as Brunhilde--helmet, shield, spear, etc.--who sings the last few bars of an aria from DIE WALKURIE.
COSIMA WAGNER is a tall (much taller than Wagner), imposing, definitely unbeautiful woman. Her octogenarian father FRANZ LISZT, in his priest's soutane and long white hair, sits be-side her with his chin on his cane, snoring quietly.
LISBETH NIETZSCHE is seated beside her future husband BERNHARD FORSTER.
As LOU enters the room on the arm of COUNT JUKOWSKY, the Russian stage designer, she gaily suppresses laughter as the COUNT laughingly mumbles something about the photo he holds in his hand and looks about for a place to sit.
LISBETH, obviously mortified and shaking her head, carries on a sotto voce conversation with FORSTER behind her fan. Others in the small gathering are similarly preoccupied with things other than music. However, no one makes a sound, as the SOPRANO finishes her aria and WAGNER emotes at the keyboard, his eyes closed looking heavenward as his playing comes to an end.
LISBETH, still preoccupied with LOU's behavior, automatically claps enthusiastically twice and stops, horrified, when no one else claps and all turn to look askance at her.
WAGNER is transfixed at the keyboard, eyes closed, looking heavenward long after the last vibrations of the soundboard die away. No one moves to clap until LISZT snores noisily, and COSIMA begins clapping daintily, followed by exuberant applause from all especially LISZT who, having been shaken awake by his daughter, is humorously preoccupied with the ample bosom of the bowing SOPRANO.
WAGNER leaves the piano and bows repeatedly to excessive applause, holding up his hand as though modestly suggesting he doesn't deserve it though he obviously enjoys it and expects no less from his disciples. COSIMA curtsies beside him.
LISZT now stands beside the curtsying SOPRANO, clapping, but obviously for her bouncing bosom, not for WAGNER. COSIMA, mortified by her father's behavior, attempts to get him to the piano as WAGNER with false modesty addresses the gathering.
Thank you, Faithful. So much. So
much. But enough Wagner for this
evening. Now we shall hear from
the grand master of the piano,
WAGNER helps COSIMA drag her reluctant father away from the SOPRANO's bosom as he throws a kiss to her.
WAGNER raises his arms, and everyone sits back down as on a puppeteer's strings, all save LISBETH who is too preoccupied with the COUNT's attentions to LOU, interrupting the enormous silence.
Nothing like repression ever
tempts that girl! Really--
Hearing her own voice, she is mortified, her hand to her mouth as all glare at her.
LOU never even looks up, the COUNT holding her hand now and gazing into her eyes as LISBETH, turning and smiling saccharinely at the WAGNERS, sheepishly seats herself.
Fellow Bayreuthers, my es teemed
father-in-law, Maestro Franz Liszt.
LISZT, stretching his neck and very pompously massaging each of his old fingers, poises for a long time with his hands raised over the keyboard and then breaks into a very rousing, madly wild rendition of his MEPHISTO POLKA.
COSIMA is horrified when LISZT pulls her down onto the piano bench beside him with a free hand for a duet, and after a few more bars, springs up and coaxes the blushing SOPRANO into a polka as all the guests make room for them, and he keeps bouncing his head in time to her bouncing bosom or lays his head in her bosom as they dance or some such other farcical business, while COSIMA, mortified, nevertheless plays on.
WAGNER too grabs a buxom young wench which is a signal for the guests to follow suit as COSIMA tries to smile weakly continuing to play.
The COUNT, having passed the photograph to another dancing couple, dances with LOU as the photo makes its way from hand to hand around the floor eliciting various exhibitions of amusement. When it arrives in LISBETH'S hands, the BONNET PHOTOGRAPH flashes across the screen, and LISBETH stops dancing in horror, glaring at LOU as she and the COUNT dance by.
While LISBETH shows the photo to the horrified FORSTER, a passing dancer snaps it out of her fingers as the COUNT and LOU break away from the dancers. And as the music fades into the background along with the revelry of the dancers, they converse together in a corner behind a potted plant.
The COUNT speaks in a lisping Russian accent as he looks at the photograph which has once again arrived back in his hand.
And you're planning to run off
with both of them to the sinful
Paris in fall? How scandalous!
How deliciously saucy!
LISBETH and FORSTER, still dancing to the background music, converse in another isolated corner of the room.
As though bragging about her
winter plans all over Bayreuth
weren't enough. Now that
disgraceful photo.Oh my poor,
How is it, mine liebchen, that
you travel with this foreigner?
But she's only half-Russian.
Surely von Salome is a Semitic
name? Your brother's reputation
is suffering from his association
with such people. Despite King
Ludwig's official toleration, these
foreigners are ruining our country.
But if these foreigners are ruining
the country as you say, why does
Richard surround himself with so
many of them?
Jukowsky and Levi are
exceptionally talented artists.
And since our mad king's newest
lover is a twenty-four year old
actor of Semitic descent... Well...
Is he really as mad as they say?
Mad as a hatter, and his
tolerance of the racially impure is
certain to bring about Germany's
ruin. Richard and I have both
warned him. But, completely
rejecting the racial message of
PARSIFAL, Ludwig has--
Racial message? PARSIFAL?
Of course! Parsifal is the aryan
How fascinating. Herr Forster,
may I be so bold as to say that
I find you the most intellectually
stimulating of all the extraordinary
guests assembled here on this
Another part of the dance floor where LOU and the COUNT converse.
How dreadful of King Ludwig not
to be here. I so looked forward
to meeting him.
He's a darling little monarch.
We're intimate friends you know.
Not nearly so intimate as he
and Richard used to be when
Ludvy was building Bayreuth for
his... a...shall we say, "soulmate."
Oh I wouldn't have missed this
for the world! What a spectacular
occasion. Why I've not only met
Richard and Cosima, but
celebrities from all over the world
--I can't believe it. This little
Bavarian town is without question
the absolute center of the musica
This may be PARSIFAL year for
the rest of the world, but for me
it's Louisa von Salome year. And
to celebrate the occasion,
Jukowsky shall create a gown
on you this very minute.
The COUNT snaps his fingers, and liveried servants sweep in bearing bolts of cloth which are unrolled with great verve as the COUNT flips yards of brightly colored fabric like banners in the air and about the body of the startled but fascinated LOU.
The dancing stops, and all excitedly gather about to watch the display as the COUNT and his dressmaker-entourage flounce about the stage in a balletic sequence, disrobing LOU down to her petticoats and creating a magnificent gown right on her body to the accompaniment of LISZT'S MEPHISTO POLKA as both COSIMA and WAGNER play a wild duet, and LISZT indulges in farcical business with the buxom SOPRANO.
(in a repressed frenzy)
I can't watch. How humiliating!
That shameful photograph and
Your brother's reputation is in
great jeopardy, I warn you! What
sort of serious thinker would
allow a girl with a whip to direct
EXT. COUNTRY INN - TAUTENBURG, THURINGIA - DAY (SUMMER 1882)
Deep, Thuringian pine forests with sun rays shining through tree branches on to the outdoor PATIO of a country inn.
A DESK CLERK, a humorous, monocled, German serotype, and a WAITRESS, a buxom young German milk-maid stereotype with generous bosoms generously exposed, indulge in playful pats on the rear and other such farcical nonsense as they cheerfully, the DESK CLERK whistling ACH DU LIEBER AUGUSTIN, set a table for two.
The age difference between the WAITER and WAITRESS is approximately that between NIETZSCHE and LOU. And when the table is set, the DESK CLERK looks about and cups his hands round the WAITRESS's bosom. An amorous struggle ensues which culminates in their furtively and comically looking about before disappearing behind some potted plants, followed by much amorous giggling and sighing and the WAITRESS's final furtive glance out from between the foliage before disappearing with a shriek of delight.
Along a path out of the forest appear LOU and NIETZSCHE in high spirits. He is dressed as usual in derby and walking stick, but carries a rucksack, while she is dressed like a country boy in trousers, brightly colored shirt and suspenders, her hair tucked into a cap rakishly tilted on her head. Barefooted, she carries her walking shoes in her hand.
But truthfully now, you don't
always bare your feet every time
you enter a forest or meadow?
Always. Like a Moslem entering a
temple, I enter as if for a short
stroll through childhood and once
inside feel bound to every living
She dances about playfully, head thrown back, frolicsome and silly as a calf.
And I thought it solely for my
Oh, I'm so pleased with this
place, Fritzy, this forest, this
lovely Inn, my charming room
back at the vicarage. What an
invigorating walk. What exciting
conversation. I'm famished.
They seat themselves as the WAITRESS, with order book and pencil, straightening her hair and bodice, appears from behind the foliage as the DESK CLERK tiptoes away, smiling.
The WAITRESS flirtatiously displays huge amounts of bosom as she preens flamboyantly, but NIETZSCHE has eyes only for LOU.
Champagne, Heidie. And some
cheese and fruit please?
(to LOU, flirtatiously)
Und for za handsome young
What'll it be, Herr Von Salome?
(impersonating a man)
Stars, my dear. Stars.
Dom Perignon, bitte.
The WAITRESS, flounces off to LOU's and NIETZSCHE'S suppressed laughter.
What a ninny. Such imbeciles give
all womanhood a bad name. And
speaking of bad names, I can't tell
you how your sister's accusations
upset me. To think that you might
actually suspect me of making fun
of you at Bayreuth, when the only
reason I passed that photo around
the dance floor was out of pride of
But that's precisely why I call
Lisbeth "llama." Peruvian llamas,
you know, squirt their spittle
and half-digested fodder at their
opponents as a means of defense.
And I thought it was a term of
So does she.
They laugh as the DESK CLERK appears with a towel over his arm carying a champagne bucket followed by the WAITRESS bearing a fruit basket and cheeses, the DESK CLERK performing the champagne ritual as obsequi- ously as possible.
A toast to our Thuringian idyll.
As the servants move off, Nietzsche and Lou both drain their glasses in one gulp, which Nietzsche refills.
Oh, I'm so glad Paul and your
sister aren't here to spoil all this
with their antique bourgeoise
I'll drink to that. Bottoms up!
They both drain their glasses, which he immediately refills.
But she doesn't really think I'm
Jewish does she?
It's her association with that
Bernhard Forster character. I
never met the man, but I
understand he's an insufferable
He certainly said some nasty
things about Paul. And when I
lost my temper, Lisbeth retracted
your summer invitation.
Never imagining that you'd come
anyway, or that I'd welcome you
after her hysterical letter.
Actually, I wasn't really planing to
come at all, but she so infuriated
me, that when Paul insisted you'd
certainly regard me as your fiance
if I did--
...your decision to come was
sealed. Good for you!
You've no regrets? I know you
love Lisbeth and would prefer
not to hurt her. And of course
I feel the same about Paul.
All that matters is we're here
together amid these pines, and
you in your bare feet.
They are now both far enough into their cups for Nietzsche to feel emboldened enough to rummage through his rucksack and withdraws, along with a beautifully leather-bound volume of CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, the TOY WHIP from the Bonnet photography scene, which he playfully cracks over his head.
When you go to women, don't
forget your whip!
I don't believe it! You saved it!
A little present to welcome you
to our forest retreat. I saved
the lilac nosegay too, pressed
between the pages of this
wonderfull novel you sent me.
Thank you darling. Reading
Dostoyevsky is like reading my
own soul. And to think that you
come from the same town in
Russia as he.
I do hope the translation is
satisfactory. I adored it in the
As I adored the inscription. "A
novel by an heroic seeker after
truth, for an heroic seeker after
truth." Oh, darling Lou, you've
come to me as my destiny. Two
heroic seekers after truth.
And it makes no difference at
all that you're a man and I'm a
woman. Two heroic seekers
after truth, forever joined in a
mentally passionate, non-sexual,
Nevertheless, for propriety's
sake, I consider myself duty
bound to ask you to become my
Now, now. That's forbidden
terraine; I thought we agreed at
I knew I should have raped you
that day in Lucerne instead of
putting this whip in your hand.
Laughing, LOU snatches the TOY WHIP from him and raises it over her own head.
One more word about marriage,
Professor, and I'm afraid I'll
have to use it on you after all.
Tipsily, Nietzsche obligingly turns and raises his coattails. However, instead of playfully whipping his rear, Lou grasps his coattails like reins.
Giddyup horsey! Giddyup!
Nietzsche obligingly whinnies like a horse, and to the delight of the DESK CLERK and WAITRESS, he and LOU gallop off into the forest, Lou holding his coattails and brandishing the whip.
Giddyup horsey! Whinny! Giddy up!
Joining in the fun, the desk clerk lifts the waitress's skirt from behind and snaps an imaginary whip.
Giddyup horsey! Giddyup!
Shrieking with delight, the Waitress begins galloping round the patio
whinnying as the sounds of a CAB HORN o.s. ends their frolic.
EXT. COUNTRY INN DRIVE - DAY -
LISBETH NIETZSCHE, in traveling clothes and large brimmed hat with
feathers and plumes, and carrying a parasol, is helped from a HORSE CAB
by the COACHMAN as the DESK CLERK and WAITRESS scurry up to carry her ridiculously
large array of travel bags.
INT. COUNTRY INN LOBBY - DAY -
Please inform my brother, that
his sister has arrived.
But I'm afraid Herr Nietzsche
At that moment LOU and NIETZSCHE cross the patio tipsily engrossed in their silly game in full view of LISBETH, of whose presence they are oblivious.
Giddyup horsey! Whinny! Giddyup!
It can't be! That infernal photograph
has come to life. Just as Bernhard
prophesied. Show me to my room!
Schnell! Schnell! Else I faint here
on the spot!
INT. LISBETH'S ROOM AT THE INN - DAY
LISBETH dressed in traveling clothes, is just finishing throwing some last minute items into a traveling bag as NIETZSCHE paces the floor.
Please, darling, forget your
quarrel with Lou. She's tried
her best to get along with you
these past few weeks despite
your refusing even to so much
as acknowledge her presence.
No use pleading. I should have
turned right around and returned
to Naumburg that very first day
I found you shamelessly playing
giddyup horsey out on the patio
together. The only reason I didn't,
was to try to save you from her
venomous clutches. But I can
see now that the damage she's
already done is irreparable.
Nonsense! Lou is the best thing
that's ever happened to me. As
a serious student of my
philosophical ideals, she--
She's no more a serious student
of your philosophy than that
insufferably flirtatious waitress.
All she's doing is amusing herself
at your expense. She's nothing
but a common adventuress,
using her association with you to
make herself famous, hoping to
marry a wealthy Jew someday,
nota pauper professor on a
That's enough, Llama! No more!
A pension you'll surely lose if it
becomes known in Basel that
their distinguished retired professor
cohabits with an immoral Jewess.
Cohabits? But Lou's staying at the
vicarage. How can you imagine--
Yes, entertaining your Llama
during the day and cohabiting half
the night in the vicarage with
your Jewish adventuress. You
ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Our pastor father must be turning
in his grave. And as for mother...
Never mind. Never mind. I'll be
leaving on the next train to
Bayreuth, and you and your
Jewess can cohabit all you like.
Well, there's certainly no way I
can go back to Naumburg, is there?
How could I possibly face Mother
at a time like this? How can I
let her witness my grief and my
How can I explain how this
Russian Jewess has poisoned your
mind against all family values,
completely disregarding all moral
decencies. All your furtive
whispering aside, I haven't been
anymore deaf than blind. "Religion
is a childish dream. Meekkness is
weakness. God? a man-made ideal
and nothing more. Love? Merely
nature's trick to reproduce itself.
If that's your new philosophy, and
this godless Jewess is the kind of
disciple it appeals to, I'll have
nothing more to do with either
My God, this can't be happening!
My own sister has become a
Bayreuther! A Jew-baiting,
Forster-loving Bayreuther, just as
Bernhard warned me. I should
never have left him to come to try
to save you from her. She's
poisoned you beyond salvation.
The two of you--mortal enemies
of Christian decency and aryan
purity that must be stamped out
like poisonous snakes.
Poisonous snakes? You can't be
serious? If anyone's mind has
been poisoned it's yours, by that
bigoted snake Bernhard. Lou's
right; the real reason you're
leaving is to hurry back to him.
I warn you, Fritzy. This is the
beginning of the end unless you
promise never to see this wicked
creature again. Promise now or
you'll never see me again. Never!
So be it! You have your Bernhard;
I have my Lou. In fact, I'm
planning to ask her to come live
with me in Leipzig this fall.
Lisbeth slams her bag shut.
That's the last straw! That
breastless she-monkey has
bewitched you body and soul.
It's war, by god!Holy war!
EXT.\INT. STREET - LEIPZIG, GERMANY - NIGHT (AUTUMN 1882)
The industrial maze of Leipzig nightlife passes by the windows of a horse cab carrying NIETZSCHE and his best friend, the musician PETER GAST.
I won't take no for an answer.
You're leaving this Leipzig rat's
nest with me on the morning train.
On the contrary. I'm going to ask
her to move in with me. She so
much as told Ree she deliberately
chose the Lessing play tonight to
be alone with me, but he insisted
on coming along anyway. Hasn't
left us alone together all week.
Sounds to me like a castration
competition. Who's ahead, you or
Wait till you meet her. Then you'll
understand why we tolerate so much.
Well, perhaps I can be of some
help--tonight at least. What if I
were to ply the gentleman with
spirits after dinner, while you
spirit the lady back to your flat.
Consider it my birthday present.
They emerge from the horse cab at a theater whose marque reads, NATHAN THE WISE, A PLAY BY G.E. LESSING, and find LOU and REE in the crowded lobby with tickets in hand.
Look whose here? A birthday
surprise all the way from Venice--
Europe's finest musician and my
best friend, Maestro Pietro Gasti,
the Lion of Venice himself!
We'll teach him to drink deep 'ere
REE, who is obviously already in his cups, embraces GAST warmly as Gast winks at Nietzsche over Ree's shoulder, but has eyes only for Lou.
Tall, blue-eyed, thin as a boy,
auburn hair with bangs--
bewitching, indeed! Just as Fritzy
Gast moves to kiss Lou's hand, but she takes his instead and shakes like a man, snatches two tickets out of Ree's hand and, offering Gast her arm, leads him off through the crowd toward their box.
Perhaps after theater, you'll
consent to play for us. Fritz
tells us Chopin is resurrected
under your touch. Tell me Maestro,
what do you think of Parsifal? Is
it really quite so impossible as
Fritzy insists.I myself am so
musically naive, all of Richard's
work sounds alike to me. I'd
appreciate your expert opinion.
Nietzsche and Ree look at each other with feigned dismay.
Well, old friend, looks like
we've both lost her.
Happy Birthday fellow jackass.
Need a drink. Meet you at the
restaurant after the show.
Handing Nietzsche the remaining ticket, Ree runs off before Nietzsche
can protest, HEE HAWING like a jackass as Nietzsche enters the crowded
LOU, GAST and NIETZSCHE enjoying the performance.
INT. THEATER BAR
EXT. STREET - NIGHT -
LOU and NIETZSCHE emerge from a horse cab in front of his flat.
I can just see his face when he
realizes we're gone.
Let's pray that isn't for some
Pray tell, what does the handsome
gentleman have in mind?
INT. NIETZSCHE'S MODEST FLAT - NIGHT -
NIETZSCHE and LOU remove their outdoor clothing.
And now for your birthday present,
But I thought the theater tickets--
Paul insisted on paying for them.
Here's my present to you. Happy
She hands him some papers from her purse.
A rough draft of my proposed
sketch of your life and works. I
intend to bring it to completion
before your next birthday.
This is the happiest birthday of
my life. Your idea of reducing
all philosophical systems to the
personal lives of philosophers is
truly an idea from a sister-brain.
Tonight you'll fill in for me all
the personal events of your
prcocious childhood we hadn't
time to explore at Tautenburg.
Oh, Lou, I've never before
endured such melancholic
moments as I have this autumn
knowing that you've taken
Well, I certainly couldn't agree
to stay here with you, could I?
Not the way we feel about each
other. Paul and I live like the
brother and sister we were in
another life. Why, the thought
of our sleeping together is
incestuous at the very least.
What say then? Shall we send
you back to him deflowered?
Come here, you madman; sit
Nietzsche seats himself beside her, and she carefully removes his wire spectacles and looks into his eyes.
Poor, poor, genius eyes.
How tired they are and raw,
reading and writing all day long
and far into the night. How I
worry about you--your health,
your migraines, your--
My potential madness?
That's Paul's diagnosis. Not mine.
He may be right, you know. My
father died mad, and sometimes
when the headaches burn through
my brain, I don't know how I can
possibly retain my sanity for
It's strange how motherly I feel
toward you tonight.This beautiful,
massive Lion head.
She caresses his head as he takes her hands and kneels before her.
Please darling, don't go back to
Ree! Stay with me tonight. And
REE bursts into the room waving an opened champagne bottle as Nietzsche leaps to his feet.
Ah ha! Thought you could outwit
old Nathan The Wise, did you? Not
a chance, we Jews...
He notices the champagne bottle in his hand.
...we need another drink.
Why do you have to drink so
swinishly every time we--
Why did you insist on that bloody
An anti-semitic Jew--how ludicrous.
We've all had too much champagne.
Enough anyway to assure you that
Lou's choice of play changes
noting in our relationship. Nothing
Slamming his fist drunkenly on the piano, he comically frightens himself.
Where was I? Ah yes... and if it
does your's, well that shows how
shallow your relationship is. You
don't want our Lou for a friend,
you want her for a love slave.
Don't be absurd, Paul.
Just so long as he understands
that you're sharing an apartment
with me, that we've been living
together on the most intimate
Surely you've told him, Lou, of
our Tautenburg idyll last summer.
How together we delved deeper
an deeper into the mysteries of
my new philosophy of the Eternal
Surely you've told him how the
very words Eternal Recurrence
makes your blood run cold. To
think that there's no relief from
life, that we're chained to it
like galley slaves, returning
again and again to the same
miseries. What morbid nonsense!
Tell him we both know he doesn't
have the courage to bear such
thoughts, carrying his phial of
poison around with him just in
case life should become
You're not really a philosopher
at all, you know that? You're a
god damned mystic and a rather
cloudy one at that. It's genuinely
amusing to listen to your oracular
pronouncements, and downright
comic to hear you pontificate
on the world-shaking impact
of your ludicrous ideas.
Now that's enough Paul! You're
going too far!
Never mind! Never mind! I find it
more and more difficult to keep a
straight face when listening to
his absurd prophecies. What may
have sounded convincing in the
twilight of the Thuringian forest
makes little sense in a gas-lit
room in Leipzig. Quite frankly, I
regard your prophesies, sir, with
undisguised scorn and have been
watching Lou's growing
disenchantment with the greatest
Nietzsche looks to Lou for reassurance, but she turns away.
I've long suspected something
was seriously wrong with you, my
invalid friend, and I'm afraid your
overweening vanity has, alas,
turned pathological, attempting
to dominate the thinking not only
of Lou and everyone else you
know but of the entire world, the
entire century for that matter.
And the less people take your
pretentious posturing seriously,
themore you try to shock.
All through Ree's harangue, Nietzsche becomes more and more painfully disturbed, rubbing his eyes, his temples and finally holding his head as Ree continues.
Your entire philosophy is based
on shock effects, a mixture of
madness and nonsense. In order to
impress, you alternately bellow
imperious commands in the name of
future generations of Nietzschean
so-called Supermen or make hushed
allusions to your preposterous
wheel of eternal recurrence and
other pretentious metaphors, which
is why no one but your most
intimate friends read you--not to
say understand you. For God's sake,
why speak of "blood and iron and
unrelenting warfare" when what
you're really talking about are
internal battles, making war on
one's own inner weaknesses? It's
pathetic madness! Tell him, Lou!
We've suspected for some time
now that he's gone round the bend.
That's enough, Paul! You're drunk.
Yes, I'm drunk and going to tell
him what we think. A milksop like
me, certainly couldn't do it sober.
And you want me to, you know it.
You too think he's crazy. You've
said so a thousand times.
Nonsense! Fritz is a genius!
Forgive him, Fritzy! He's drunk.
Well, you can have your mad,
genius. I'm finished with both of you.
This time for good. You can go to
Paris without me this winter--or
to hell for all I care!
As Ree leaves, Lou stamps her foot.
Don't be a spoiled child! Come
back here this instant!
Let him go. We don't need him.
Stay with me, here, tonight, and
tomorrow we'll pick up your things
at the hotel and--
You're both behaving like children.
Paul will be waiting in the street
for me with a cab. Men! Honestly!
I warn you, if you walk out on me
He'll run after you on his knees.
Narcissus in pursuit of his mirror!
Ree pokes his head back into the room.
Paul! Listening at keyholes? My
Back for my champagne. HEE
Nietzsche, though obviously in pain, speaks with an icy calm.
It's your decision, Lou. Paul or
me. Either you send him on his
way and stay the night with me or--
Ultimatums, is it? I don't know
which of you is the bigger ass.
Unlike Paul, I refuse to play the
jackass any longer.
Suit yourself, Professor.
Gathering up her wraps, Lou grabs Ree by his loosened tie.
Come along, you drunken ass.
As Lou leads the hee-hawing Ree out the door by his tie, Nietzsche clutches his head, spins violently about, staggers and falls to his knees pulling his hair. He is having a severe migraine attack but does not cry out, does not moan as GAST appears at the door.
My God! Another migraine! I'm
here, Fritzy. I'm here.
After several slugs of Chloral Nitrate and Veronal, the worst is over.
We'll I've done it now. Not only
have I lost Lisbeth and my mother,
but my friendship with Ree and my
last hope for a philosophic
succession and a woman's love.
Like a wounded animal, all I want
todo is crawl into a hole and lick
my wounds, to get away from it all,
especially from Leipzig where I've
been so terribly humiliated.
No more arguments then. You're
leaving this Leipzig rat hole and
going back to sunny Italy with me
on the morning train.
Yes, but not to Venice, Maestro,
and the sunshine of your
flamboyant musician's life style.
For I have a storm brewing in my
breast that only solitude and the
birth pangs of creation can dissipate.
There's a little albergo near
Portofino on the Bay of Rapallo
where I can forget Lou and court
SERIES OF SHOTS
A. NIETZSCHE and Gast train through Switzerland and northern Italy.
B. NIETZSCHE waves from the window of the moving train at GAST who stands on the Venice station platform with his bags.
C. NIETZSCHE trains through Italy, detraining at Rapallo where he hails a horse cab
D. He takes a small albergo on the Bay of Rapallo.
E. The weather is cold and exceptionally rainy, and when the sea is high, his wrting and his sleep is disturbed as he reaches for his array od medicines and anodynes always kept close at hand.
F. He takes long walks around the bay on a road which rises aloft
through a forest of pines, providing him view far out to sea.
EXT. HILLTOP - RAPALLO, ITALY - DAY (WINTER 1882)
Overlooking a stormy sea, NIETZSCHE, recites to the setting sun histrionically.
Thou great star! Must I descend
into the deep: as thou dost at
evening, when thou goest behind
the sea, and givest light also
to the netherworld. Like thee
must I go down, as men say, to
whom I shall descend. And
therefore, bless this cup that is
about to overflow, that the water
may flow golden out of it and
carry everywhere the reflection
of thy bliss! Lo! This cup is
again going to empty itself, and
Zarathustra is again going to be
a man. Thus spake Zarathustra!
Lightening flashes and thunder follows Nietzsche down a long path to his small albergo on the shore. By the time he arrives, he is soaked to the skin by cold rain, and wiping his head and hands in a towel, without even changing into dry clothes, he sits down at his desk and begins scribbling.
When Zarathustra was 30 years old,
he left his home and the lake of his home
and went into the mountains...
But as he writes, he begins to shiver uncontrollably and reaches
for his array of medicines and anodynes. Gulping from several bottles,
he returns to his writing. But shortly a migraine makes continuing impossible.
Gulping from several other bottles, he lies down to try and sleep, but
the roaring sea makes sleep impossible, and he stumbles back to his desk
and holding his head, once again takes up his pen.
EXT. THE GRAND CANAL - VENICE, ITALY - DAY (FEBRUARY 1883)
Overview of WAGNER'S funeral cortege sailing down the Grand Canal.
INT. GAST'S STUDIO OVERLOOKING THE GRAND CANAL
GAST is sitting at the piano playing Chopin's funeral march as NIETZSCHE, stands at a window beside his luggage, gazing down at the cortege of funeral gondolas sailing beneath the RIALTO BRIDGE below.
Ah, Venice! Sacred for me forever
now that Richard Wagner has died
here. Not Wagner the Bayreuther,
the composer of Parsifal. But
Wagner the citizen of the world,
poet of Tristan, and foster father to
a young philologist who will remain
forever grateful for those years at
Tribschen. I only regret not having
the courage to be down there at
Cosima's side for fear of bacillus
Promise you'll allow Cosima at
least to put aside her widow's
weeds before popping the
ultimate question, won't you?
Ah, you abuse me, my friend. If
I've learned anything in this
past year it's that marriage is
not for me.
GAST pounds out Mendelshon's wedding march on the piano.
Can you imagine what kind of
book I'd have written if Lou had
accepted my proposal back in
Leipzig? Instead of a hermit in
Rapallo, I'd havebeen a husband
in Germany. Instead of dejected,
elated. Such moods would never
have given birth to ZARATHUSTRA!
That book was mined out of bitterest
pain. Why, if I hadn't hit on the
alchemical trick of turning even the
dross of that sad affair into gold,
I should have taken my life. Instead,
I sent Zarathustra out into the world
on February 13, 1883, the very
afternoon of Richard's death here
A coincidence of the greatest
mystical significance, no doubt.
But as for taking your life--
I tell you, unrequited love nearly
Nonsense! You never loved that
poor excuse for a female. What
you loved was a figment of your
own supercharged imagination.
You're probably right;
philosophers and artists love only
ghosts. Woman is too imperfect
But suppose, just suppose one
fine day she were to appear on
the doorstep of your hermit's
albergo in Rapallo--
No, I don't suppose I'm totally
over her even now, if that's what
you're insinuating. Like two
stars traveling in the same orbit,
we were fated to clash if we met.
I understand she's writing a novel?
Which reminds me. Talk of a
novelist worthy of the attention of
the greatest among us, to make us
tremble and quake with a holy awe--
Woah? Don't tell me you're
writing novels these days.
Hardly! But if I did,
Dostoyevsky's are the kind I'd write.
Yes, from Lou's home town. In
fact he died only a year after
Lou left St Petersburg, in the
very month we met in Rome.
And you find some mystical
significance in that too no doubt.
The lady still has a tighter
harness on you than I supposed.
No. It's just that she made me
a present of one of his books,
a harrowing story of a hatchet
murderer who could very well be
my PALE CRIMINAL in
ZARATHUSTRA. There's this
one incredible passage in particular.
It's a dream. A dream about the
beating of an old horse to death.
Yes, I tell you the man is a
psychologist second to none.
Roskolniov, the hero of the book,
falls into a deep and troubled
sleep one day and dreams he's a
boy of seven again taking a walk
with his father when they pass a
tavern just as a crowd of Muzhiks
emerge and climb into a cart with
a small, lean, decrepit old mare
harnessed to it. And suddenly,
amid a din of shouting and
singing, and the strumming of
balalaikas, the poor horse who's
much too old and weak to pull the
overloaded wagon is mercilessly
beaten to death. "Papa! Papa!"
the horrified boy sobs, "Why did
they kill the poor horse?" At which
point Roskolnikov awakens
panting and sweating, thanking
God that it was only a dream and
shaking like a leaf!
And so are you, my friend,
shaking like a leaf in the telling
It's only a fiction, for God's sake.
The Russian's a powerful writer,
no doubt, but enough of this.
You're not well, you're working
yourself to death down there in
Rapallo. Anyway, it's time to
celebrate this new book of yours
with a bottle of champagne.
We'll drink to Friedreich Wilhelm
Zarathustra Nietzsche, on the
verge of fame and fortune at last!
Yes, my Zarathustra heralds the
coming of a new man, a superman,
who will sanctify the earth and
not wait in fear and trembling
for a nonexisting heaven or hell.
God is dead, and man is
something that has to be
Gast plays Chopin's "Revolutionary Etude" with gusto as Nietzsche continues.
And before long my Zarathustrian
sun will dissipate the foggy realms
of the Bayreauther's antisemitism
and Christian sentimentality.
Nevertheless, it breaks my heart
to see those beautiful funeral
gondolas down there disappearing
under the Rialto.
Gast now has his coat on and is offering to help Nietzsche into his.
We're off. Nothing but wine,
women and song for the rest of the
weekend. But before we go, my
friend, tell me something.
Why did they kill that poor old
EXT. STREET, DREAMLAND -DAY
FILMED IN BLACK AND WHITE, the dream sequence is silent except for Christmas CAROLING o.s.
The MADMAN of the opening scene of the film, harnessed like a horse to the CART from the Bonnet Studio scene, stands barefooted and minus spectacles in his Brahmin nightshirt, white lion's mane and walrus mustache.
LOU and LISBETH stand in the wagon bed. LISBETH wears a bonnet-like night cap, a long nightgown, bedroom slippers and carries a lighted lamp, wheras LOU is dressed boyishly, as she was in the Thuringian forest scene--bright shirt, suspenders, her hair up in her cap--and is carrying a coiled, mean-looking HORSEWHIP in one hand and holding the reins in the other as out of a nearby BEER HALL the BAYREUTHERS emerge carrying beer steins, miming toasting each other and singing drunkenly.
LOU, cracking her whip, beckons them all into the wagon bed behind her. And as the bosomy SOPRANO, cracking LISZT over the head with her shield as he tries to maul her breasts is hoisted into the cart with the aid of LISZT'S shoulder under her rump, and all mime laughter, LOU cracks her whip callously over the MADMAN'S head and shoulders.
The MADMAN tugs with all his might but cannot move the overburdened cart, scraping his feet, grunting and flinching under the blows showering down on him, panting and stopping and then beginning to tug again as LOU wields her whip more and more brutally and the BAYREUTHERS silently cheer her on.
When the MADMAN can pull no longer and simply submits to the whipping, LISBETH hands her lamp to FORSTER and reaches down into the wagon bed. Coming up with a long-handled AXE, she brings the blunt end down heavily on the head of the wretched MADMAN, who staggers, sinks down and then makes another effort to get up but falls to his knees as if his legs were cut from under him, shudders, draws a deep, laboring breath, and collapses as the SOPRANO sings out gloriously--one sustained high note--the only sound in the otherwise silent dream sequence.
INT. THE NIETZSCHE HOMESTEAD, NAUMBURG - NIGHT- (XMAS, 1883)
LISBETH, in the robe and nightcap of the dream scene, kneels beside the thirty-eight year old NIETZSCHE, who is lying on the floor of his bedroom barefooted in his Brahmin-like nightgown.
Placing her lamp on the floor beside him, LISBETH takes his head in her bosom and pats it like a mother with a sick child as he looks up at her frightened, still not completely out of the dream world.
Wake up, Fritzy. You've been
sleepwalking again. It's all
right, now. Your Llama's here.
Why, you're trembling like a
leaf. Come I'll help you back
to bed and read you asleep.
Tucking NIETZSCHE back in bed, she reaches for a book lying on the nightstand with his glasses folded in it.
What's this? A Russian novel?
Ach, these dreary, morbid
Russians. No wonder you
have nightmares! Why not read
something light. Remember how
I used to read you to sleep in
Basel? All those delightful
months alone together. Just
the two of us living almost like
man and wife. My genius
brother. Only twenty-five years
old and already a University
professor. I was so proud!
Oh, Fritzy darling it's so good
to have you home again.
Good to be back.
Lisbeth, reading the inscription from Lou, tosses the novel aside contemptuously.
"from a seeker of truth to a
seeker..." I thought we were rid
of that breastless she-monkey
once and for all! You promised
if I didn't mention Bernhard,
you wouldn't mention that, that--
But I haven't mentioned her. Just
because I happen to be rereading
a novel she gave me-- But look,
it's snowing again. How beautiful:
falling straight down in the lamps
of the carolers.
At this ungodly hour? Let's hope
they haven't woken mother.
It's Christmas eve, Liesel.
Only comes once a year.
Well, how benevolent coming
from an arch-atheist.
I've nothing against people
celebrating the birthday of a
greatly misunderstood man.
Jesus was not a man; he's
God. And for you to--
Peace! Peace! Let's not start, or
we'll wake mother for certain.
And she'll be at my throat again
She says you write every day.
As much as I love and respect
you both, I will not allow you to
interfere with my--
Love life? Anymore than you
interfered in mine?
Oh, Fritzy, give it up. You're
still hoping against hope that
she'll give up Ree someday to
live with you. Forget it. She's
not only living with him, there
are even rumors of marriage.
Marriage? Ridiculous! Ree's not
nearly strong enough to hold her.
Which is not to suggest that she
will ever return to me, or that
I'd want her to. You still refuse
to believe I'm over her, don't
You won't be over her till she's
back in Russia where she belongs.
I've already informed the police
of the going's on in Berlin. There
are means of getting rid of
That's going a bit far don't you
think? It's over and done with.
Exercise your famous Christian
charity. It's Christmas, after all.
I want revenge! She alienated
you from your family and treaed
you like nothing more than a
low-minded rapist. They're living
in sin together in defiance of all
civilized laws of decency.
Nonsense, they're living like
brother and sister. Precisely
the way you and I did in Basel.
You'd like to believe that, of
course. But according to
Cosima they're not only living
together out of wedlock; Lou's
running off on weekends with
all sorts of men, young and old.
And Ree not only tolerates but
Cosima? Why, she and Richard
lived together out of wedlock
Cosima may have indeed violated
traditional morality, but she did so
as a sacrificial offering to genius.
Quite unlike this Russian, who
does it in a frivolous mood of
adventure, which is contemptible.
She's a living disgrace to our sex,
and I promise you that before
I'm through with her--
Still my unforgiving Llama, eh?
I can't say that I blame you.
The pity is that I didn't listen
to you from the beginning. You
were right about her all along.
And to think I once actually took
her for the earthly apparition of
my ideal, the intended recipient
of my philosophical legacy.
Observe! I have poor eyesight.
He removes his spectacles and Lisbeth massages his forehead and around his eyes.
You don't really expect me to
believe that the life and work of
one of the great spirits of the
age and perhaps the very course of
history itself, depended on the
yes or no of a twenty year old
international trollop? I refuse to
believe you ever even proposed
marriage to such a creature and
will deny it to my dying day. I
only thank God, you've come to
your senses and are finally back
home where you belong. Oh Fritzy,
let's not allow unpleasant memories
to spoil our Christmas.
It's my fate, I suppose, to go to
the grave unloved. I've already
buried my thirty-ninth year, and
no woman, not a single one has
ever loved me.
I love you, silly! Mother loves
If there's one persistent refrain
in my writing about women, it's
that they lure men from the path
of greatness and spoil and corrupt
Nonsense! Some of us are
inspirations to our men. Loyal to
them even after their deaths. Take
Cosima for instance. Why,Richard's
star is rising higher now than when
he was alive, thanks to her.
Yes, Richard's star may indeed
be rising higher since his death
than ever. But before long my
Zarathustrian sun will dissipate
the foggy realms of the
Niebelungen once and forever.
Ridiculous. You're two of a kind,
you and Richard. The two great
German geniuses of our century.
Zarathustra is the superman we
have all been yearning for, the
fulfillment of Richard's dream of
regenerating our beloved Reich
through compassion, heroic
self-denial, Christianity and Aryan
colonization like my Bernhard's
in Paraguay. Whether you'll admit
it or not, your Zarathustra is a
reincarnation of Richard himself.
Are you mad? Wagner, Zarathustra?
I can't believe this!
Nervously, he takes a swig out of a bottle in his pocket.
What is that you're taking?
Chloral-hydrate. Veronal. I'm not
sure. Maybe both.
Oh, Fritzy, you owe it to yourself
and to all of Germany to stop
devouring these poisons.
Stop! I can't bear it. Rising
above my despair and writing my
great prose poem heralding the
coming of a new man, and you, my
sister, my soul-mate from childhood,
cast your lot with my avowed
enemies, luxuriating in hypocritical,
sentimentality in the company of
the likes of a Bernhard Forster!
But that's precisely the point,
silly. Richard and Bernhard aren't
your enemies. You all want the
same good things for Germany.
He takes another long swig on his bottle.
I can't believe this is happen ing.
I'm still dreaming; hallucinating
all this. I'm not even here in
Naumburg. Why would I come
back here? I hate Germany,
and despise Germans--
Of course you do, darling.
Exactly the point. Your and
Richard's ideals will make for a
newer, stronger Germany full of
happy dedicated supermen. A
Germany we can all love and be
proud of again. And my Bernhard
is just the man to bring your
glorious ideals to fruition!
My ideals? MY ideals! All this
talk about a pure Aryan race is
nonsense, utter nonsense! Only
racial mixture can save Germany
from Teutonic atrophy. Can't you
see you're betraying everything
I stand for, embracing these
bigots? This Bernhard, this
I won't have you speak this
way of my future husband! I--
I planned to keep it secret until
after Christmas for Mother's
You can't be serious?
As soon as he returns from
You would never marry such
a man! Please, Liesel, I couldn't
bear the shame. Liesel, please!
I gave up Lou for you, and now
you must give up Forster for me.
He's just as dangerous for you as
Lou was for me. I agree with you
about her; you were right. But I'm
also right about this monster you
propose to marry.
He drains his medicine bottle and stands holding his head rocking back and forth as Lisbeth solicitously embraces him.
My God! I can't believe this is
happening. I'm still dreaming.
It's only a dream. Only a dream!
Come with us to Paraguay,Fritzy.
Invest in our future and the future
of Germany. Bernhard admires
your Zarathustra as much as I do,
and with our colonizing venture,
we take the first steps toward the
rise of the Aryan super race.
Nietzsche breaks roughly out of her embrace.
Super race? That does it! You
have no understanding of my
philosophy whatsoever. You distort
and twist everything to conform
to your Bernhard's and Richard's
ridiculous, racial and religious
deformities. No, it's all over
between us. I should have known
there was no possibility of a
reconciliation with a bigoted bitch
Here, come to sister; you're
trembling like a leaf.
Nietzsche thrusts her away, violently, as if he is ready to kill, frightening her.
This is not you, Fritzy. You're
out of control with drugs!
My dream! My dream! I suddenly
remember my dream!
Enough of your morbid dreaming.
You'll bring on another one of
My God! I've got to get out of
here at once! Out of Naumburg.
Out of Germany forever!
Nonsense! You're in no condition
to travel. Besides, I want you
here when Bernhard returns. I
fully expect you'll see the error of
your ways when you meet my
future husband. We belong
together as a family and as good
Family? Good Germans? I hate
Germans. I'm leaving Germany
I'll never forgive you, if you do.
We're planning to marry on Wagner's
birthday, and I expect you to give
the bride away--
Wagner's birthday? That's the last
straw! To hell with your infernal
wedding. I wouldn't attend if my
life depended on it. I'm leaving.
Nietzsche begins to throw clothing into a traveling bag.
Nonsense! It's snowing out. Get
some sleep and we'll discuss it in
the morning; it's after midnight.
Christmas? Happy Christmas?
Wagner and Forster and their
Aryan Christ, and you talk of
Christmas? Fools! Assassins!
Can't you see that the vulgarization
of my ideas at the hands of bigots
like you can open a Pandora's
box of destructive drives that will
leave the world in shambles.
You have no idea, no idea
whatsoever of the dynamite I
carry in my head. Dynamite that
will blow your cozy, bourgeois,
hypocritical, bigoted, pseudo-
Christian world to smithereens!
EXT. STREET - BERLIN - NIGHT (1886)
Scenes of 19th century Berlin nightlife. Dapperly dressed GENTLEMEN
hail cabs in front of LOU'S flat.
INT. LOU'S FLAT
Two dandified GENTLEMEN, one a young man in Prussian military dress and the other much older in formal clothes, help each other on with their cloaks and capes, gathering up top hat and cane etc.
LOU's voice o.s. over a buzz of salon conversation from another room.
The intellectual air in modern
Germany is so supercharged, what
with the great post-Kantian systems
of philosophy being replaced by
positivistic and Darwinisti movements.
Religious, philosophic, social and
economic values are undergoing
profound change. Everything is in
flux.Every tradition is subjected to
rigorous scientific examination.
Listen to her. Isn't she wonderful?
Too bad she's announced her
A June bride, I understand.
Quite. And her "maid-of-honor,"
is so jealous, he could spit.
Maid of honor?
Paul Ree. Haven't you heard?
They're no longer living together.
Not since his book failed and the
University turned him down for
an academic post.
Batching it in a flat near the
University, I hear. Studying
medicine or some such rot.
But why "maid-of-honor"?
A little joke, don't you know.
Going back to when they lived
together and she allowed herself
to be wooed by all sorts of suitors.
I myself was one of the most
ardent. We went off on several
weekends together while poor old
Ree pined away for Her Excellency
back at the flat.
You call her Excellency?
We all do. In our little intellectual
circle, Lou reigns supreme. Her
sovereign contempt of all petty virtues,
her indifference to middle-class
morality, the unusual quality of her
mind and distinguished origin has
caused us all, one by one, to fall
madly in love with her.
Friend Ree has had one devil of a
time keeping track of us all. And
now, with the favorable reviews of
her novel, she's more in demand
She is magnificent isn't she. I
could listen to this brilliant and
exotic Russian all night. But I
suppose our reigning monarch
must get her beauty rest.
LOU struts into the room surrounded by gentlemen of all ages in capes and cloaks, hat's and canes in hand, as they kiss her hand Goodnight.
REE stands off to one side, sulking, smoking a long black cigar, champagne glass and bottle in hand.
Yes, I simply adore the times,
Gentlemen. Once again the
intellect gains dominance over the
heart. It is a harsh unfeminine
climate, but one in which I thrive.
Thank you all, Gentlemen. Until
next week. My Fritzy will be back
from Hamburg by then and is
looking forward to meeting you all.
To gloat over his victory over us
no doubt, eh Gentlemen? Lucky dog!
Shall we draw lots for best man,
"Maid-of-honor" here can hold the
General laughter among all but REE, including LOU, as the GENTLEMEN
leave boisterously. Silence reigns for a few seconds as LOU sips from Ree's
champagne glass and taking his cigar from his mouth smokes it herself .
INT. FARMHOUSE - SILS MARIA, GERMANY - NIGHT
NIETZSCHE is reading the letter that he is in the process of editing, pen in hand. He is dressed in a very disheveled manner, unshaven, holding his head in pain. His speech is slurred as though he were drunk, and he holds the letter extremely close to his double-thick spectacles.
"Dearest Paul, you must believe
me when I say I wish her all the
luck in the world in her coming
marriage. Please don't let my
former outbreaks of megalomania
or wounded vanity' bother you
too much. And if I should one
day happen to take my own life
in some fit of passion, there
wouldn't be anything in that to
worry about overmuch.
Stopping, he rubs his eyes under his spectacles and drops to his knees and furiously crosses something out of the letter. Reaching into his pocket, he comes up with a bottle which he swigs, getting to his feet again and pacing as he reads aloud.
Just bear clearly in mind that
I am, after all, a semi-madman
totally confused by solitude.
I came to this, as I think, re=
sonable view of the situation
after I had taken--from despair
--an enormous dose of opium.
Instead of losing my senses, I
seem at last to have come to
them. To be sure, I've been very
ill for weeks, and if I say I
have had Tribschen weather ever
since her engagement announcement
arrived . . .
REE's V.O. is heard reading these same lines as Nietzsche's voice
begins to fade.
INT. LOU'S FLAT - BERLIN - EVENING
REE is reading Nietzsche's letter to LOU.
I feel like a gambler who has
staked everything on one card
and lost. It was a completely
useless waste of love and heart.
Therefore, as a recompense for
my error in judgement, I am
removing myself faster and faster
from the living . . .
Ree, in tears, can read no further.
Oh for God's sake, get a hold of
I can't bear what we've done to
our Fritzy Lion, my one true
friend in a friendless world.
True friends don't refuse
dedications of books as he did
yours, now do they?
And it shouldn't come as a
surprise that he disapproves of
my dedicating mine to you.
Not since it's so patently a love
letter to him.
A love letter to him?
An exercise in wishful thinking
from start to finish. See for
Ree hands her the letter, turning away as she reads it silently.
"As for Lou's novel, all artistic
disguises aside, this nun's fantasy
Lou has written is obviously a
recounting of our brief affair. All
in all, it's a secret message to
me: the declaration of a love that
could never be."
Annoyed, Lou tosses the letter aside.
Nun's fantasy! Nun's fantasy!
I need another drink.
Lou, unable to resist, picks up the letter again and reads silently.
"I wrote Zarathustra as a challenge
hurled against a world that had so
cruelly disappointed me. And
Zarathustra says,`Are you visiting
women? Do not forget your whip!'"
The BONNET PHOTO flashes across the screen.
"I foolishly put the whip in her
hand in Bonnet's studio, and so
it was all over between us almost
before it started. Like two stars
traveling in the same orbit: we
were fated to clash if we met.
But then, that is as it should be.
Soon I will share the privilege
possesed solely by the dead,
the privilege of dying no more."
Lou sighs, holding the letter to her heart.
He's still in love with me, no
doubt about it, poor thing, and
crushed that I'm engaged though
he'd never admit it.
Nonsense. You only want to keep
me from marrying my Andreas.
Both of you. You know as well as
I that all this nonsense about opium
and suicide is just to get me to
come to him without his asking me
outright. He's much too proud for
suicide. Not like my "maid-of-honor"
with his phial of poison. It's you I
worry about, not our Fritzy Lion.
God in heaven, woman, have you
los all sense of compassion, throwing
that shameful epithet in my face?
Can't you see what a devastating
insult it is to my manhood, my...
Nver mind! What's more important
is that you're marrying a man as
much like our Fritzy as you could
possibly find--even to their identical
first names. Not only in age and looks,
but in their mutual interest in philology,
and Adreas's irrational admiration of
Fritz's ZARATHUSTRA, a book
that from any rational point of view
is the work of a semi-lunatic, all
morbid vanity and raving in clever
and beautiful phraseology,
Pooh! You're just jealous because
your own book was such a dismal
failure. And if you must know, it's
precisely this utilitarian mentality
of yours which strikes me as so
--that you're deserting me for an
advocate of instinct and unreason.
In short, another semi-lunatic, who
you admitted yourself forced you
to accept his mad proposal by
stabbing himself in the chest with a
Passion, darling! Passion!
Something you rationalists will
All of which on;y makes me
wonder whether you're not as mad
as they, a victim of mental and
erotic thralldom as much as Andreas
or poor Fritz. Why, you've even
taken up Fritz's pet expressions,
mouthing them to your coterie of
pseudo intellectuals as though they
were your own.
Well, I certainly approve of his
ZARATHUSTRA more than that
tedious opus to abysmal boredom
of yours, if that's what you're implying.
As I remarked to the gentleman
earlier this evening, Zarathustra
perfectly illustrates my theory
of Fritz's creating himself as a
God figure, a superman which is
really everything he, himself, isn't
Fritzy lamb, poor and suffering and
half-mad with solitude trying to
change himself into an heroic Fritzy
lion. What pathetic irony!
Oh God, you should have married
him. What a feeble substitute
My commitment to the laws of
my own nature rule out my ever
becoming any man's follower,
mentally or physically. Though I
know you think I've given other
men what I've denied you and our
Fritz, you're wrong. Andreas has
agreed that our marriage will not
only never be consummated but--.
And you believe him? My God!
-- but that I remain free to see
and travel with anyone I please.
And that, of course, includes you,
my darling Paul. Fritzy Lion
would never have agreed to such
conditions. And therein lies the
tragedy of our encounter. As he
himself so aptly put it, "Like two
stars traveling in the same orbit,
we were fated to clash if we met."
How I love that line! Why can't
you write like that? Your prose
style is so pedestrian--
Ree rushes out of the room weeping as Lou continues to read Nietzsche's letter.
After a few minutes, Ree returns with a pen in hand and, saying nothing, hands Lou a PHOTOGRAPH and, bowing, retreats backwards without taking his eyes off her.
Lou simply shakes her head disgustedly as he departs, and as she examines the BONNET TRINITY PHOTO, she reads aloud the inscription on the back.
"It is written that one should
never chase after a runaway horse.
If it is truly yours, it will return of
its own accord. Be merciful!
Do not search for me!"
Tearing up the photo, she tosses the pieces to the floor, taking up Nietzsche's letter once more.
"Two stars traveling the same orbit
...fated to clash if we met."
How I love that line.
SERIES OF SHOTS
Depicting the passage of two and one half years.
A sickly Nietzsche traveling with the changes of the seasons to various European countries where he writes his famous books in cold water flats containing rustic tables with coffee cups, egg shells, manuscripts and toilet articles thrown together in confusion on unmade beds, etc.
A. 1886 to Sils Maria where he writes BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL.
B. 1887 to Nice working on TOWARDS A GENEALOGY OF MORALS
C. 1888 back to Rapallo working on THE TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS
D. 1888 back to Sils Maria working on THE ANTICHRIST
E. 1888 finally to Turin where he completes ECCE HOMO
EXT. STREET - TURIN - DAY (JANUARY 3,1889)
The Piazza Carlo Alberto, with cab horses and a view of the snowy
INT. NIETZSCHE'S COLD-WATER FLAT OVERLOOKING THE PIAZZA - DAY
The LANDLORD, a coughing, slovenly Italian dressed in winter clothing, sweeps NIETZSCHE'S lodgings--a small table and one chair, a narrow cot, manuscripts and proofs piled about on the floor and on a dilapidated old upright piano on which sits a tray of medicine bottles, jars and potions. A heavy wooden trunk full of manuscripts, etc. lies open nearby.
Nietzsche wrapped in an overcoat and a ratty woolen scarf, under which he wears the jacket of his old field artillery uniform open down the front and military boots, blows his fingers and rubs his hands together as he writes some letters at the table, his double glasses pressed close to the paper.
I'm a feenisha cleana uppa,
Professore, eh? Is ok, eh? I no
make a da fire causa you say the
smoka burna you eyes,eh?
A long pause during which Nietzsche does not look up from his writing.
I'ma go now Professore! You
promisa now, eh? No more
pounda the piano or I calla the
Nietzsche suddenly stands stiffly at attention and salutes as the LANDLORD shakes his head and makes to leave.
Danke, mein Leutnant. Bitte?
Would you mail these letters for
me please? There's a good subaltern.
The LANDLORD takes the letters, and making the crazy sign with his finger to his head, leaves, broom in hand.
Nietzsche, rubbing his eyes, shaking his head, etc., blowing on his fingers, suddenly grabs his stomach in pain, and rushes to the medicine tray, where retching emptily several times, he quickly tosses off some pills and drinks hurriedly from several bottles, leaning against the piano and holding his head, swaying as WAGNERIAN MUSIC is heard o. s., and obviously hallucinating, he suddenly shouts toward the door.
Come in! Come in! You'll wake
the dead with all the pounding!
There is no audible pounding on the door, and as he opens it, there is no one there.
Back again Richard? You apparently
spend more time invading my dreams
than you spend in Hell.
Well, now that you're dreaming
while awake as well as asleep--
Hallucinating, you mean?
He goes over to the medicine tray and drinks out of several bottles and as he turns back toward the door, RICHARD WAGNER is standing in the doorway in his famous artist's costume.
Something to drink? Tincture of
Opium perhaps? Marvelous for
migraine, and really quite tasty.
Really, Fritz, this constant
hallucinating me back from the
dead is getting rather trying.
Nietzsche sucks on another bottle, making a face, and continues to punctuate his speech with huge gulps.
And this for stomach cramps and
spasmodic vomiting. And this,
against the slothful intestines.
When he finishes gulping, a hallucinatory COSIMA WAGNER appears on her husband's arm, as well as LISBETH NIETZSCHE on BERNARD FORSTER'S. The Forsters wear safari clothes and helmets.
My god! What a frightful arsenal
of poisons and drugs!
Fritzy, you must stop this immediately!
You owe it to yourself an to Germany
and all the world to stop this.
This constant hallucinating us
back and forth from Paraguay is
beginning to interfere with our
Yes, I hear some of our colonial
Aryans aren't entirely happy with
their new homeland. Accusations of
misappropriation of funds is it?
I do hope this isn't going to be
another long-winded harangue on
the deficiencies of our respective
characters. Certainly I'm no saint,
but surely my great musical genius
more than compensates for any
minor deficiencies in my character.
ALL but Nietzsche clap approvingly.
Thank god you were only a musician
and not a general or politician--
Only a musician? ONLY a musician?
Pay no attention darling; he's quite mad!
He really should be committed.
To think that this is the woman I
once thought the reincarnation of
Ariadne. In fact, my subaltern is
at this very moment posting a
letter containing this single line,
"Ariadne, I love you." Signed,
"Dionysus." Or was it "The Cruci-
fied"? Several other letters posted
to public figures announce that I,
The Crucified, shall be going to
Rome on Tuesday where the princess
of Europe together with the Pope
are to assemble. I also addressed
a notice to this effect to the
Secretary of State of the Vatican.
A convocation of European
potentates in Rome?
With the Pope presiding?
(aside to Cosima)
Mad as hatters. The whole blessed
Nietzsche goes to the piano and begins playing Beethoven's APPASIONATA.
Now this is real music, masculine,
healthy, not that effeminate decadent
garbage you write, Richard.
Or rather, wrote. Are there pianos
in hell, I wonder?
Mad! No doubt about it.
A raving fatality. Progressive
megalomania brought on by
longterm, excessive masturbation.
I've been trying for years to
get him to take the waters.
Too late for the waters now.
Really you should have him
committed for his own good.
Nonsense! It's true, he's been
sick for many years, but--
And specifically infecting myself
with syphilis twice hasn't helped,
I don't suppose.
Fritzy, stop this boastful
self-derogation. Everyone knows
you're celibate from the womb, silly.
Anyway, at the moment I feel
uncommonly well and in the highest
spirits. For this is my great harvest time.
Everything suddenly comes easily to me;
everything I try succeeds.
The Danes and Swedes recognize his
genius even if the Germans don't.
Even the great Strindberg is an
Yes. It's time at last to bring
out my biggest guns. Watch out!
Watch out! I may just shoot the
history of mankind into two halves.
I tell you I feel something cataclysmic
coming over me--something decisive
and fateful standing between two
You mean like Before Fritz and in
the Year of Our Madman?
Friedreich Wilhelm Nietzsche,
Madman philosopher of our age!
No, not of OUR age. The New Age!
However, people are even today
beginning to treat him as though
he were someone extremely
There's a way of opening a door
for me that I've never encountered
I can't believe the fascination
he exercise on people.
Megalomania, no doubt of it!
The whole bloody family.
Wherever I go, I'm taken for
someone very distinguished.
You'd be amazed with what pride
and dignity I strut about in my
student jacket embraing and
kissing people in the street
and climbing atop walls shouting,
"Don't worry! Everything is fine.
I'm God. This farce is my creation."
LISBETH is ecstatic, her hands folded under her chin, eyes gazing heavenward.
My brother, the preacher of the
new gospel! Founder of the new
religion of the Super Race! Here,
let me find a passage to prove it.
And if I can't find one, I'll forge
NIETZSCHE snatches the manuscript out of Lisbeth's hands.
No! NO! Religion is the busi ness
of the mob! I want no "believers.
"I've always had a terrific fear
that someday I'll be pronounced
"holy." I don't want to be a saint.
I would much rather be a clown.
Perhaps I am a clown. I don't deny
that my ideas provide powerful
intellectual weapons for bigots and
assassins. I certainly am well aware
that some day my name will be
bound up with the recollection of
something terrific--of a crisis quite
unprecedented. I know my destiny.
I'm not a man, I'm dynamite.
Nietzsche begins to play the APPASIONATA again raucously, madly,
as flash frames of the horrors of twentieth-century warfare fill the screen.
Exploding shells become the LANDLORD's pounding on the ceiling with his
INT. THE LANDLORD'S ROOM BELOW - DAY
Stoppa the noise or I calla the
INT. NIETZSCHE'S FLAT - DAY
NIETZSCHE hears the pounding as someone knocking at his door, stops playing and goes to the door, opens it and the LANDLORD'S pounding ceases.
There is no one there to whom Nietzsche bows cordially.
Come in my dear. Come in.
As he turns back to the room with a welcoming flourish, his previous hallucinations, THE WAGNERS and FORSTERS have vanished.
When he turns back to the door again, LOU enters dressed as a bride. Her face is veiled, and she carries a bridal bouquet of lilac nosegays and wears a gown similar to the one Jukowsky made on her in Bayreuth. And as Nietzsche monologuizes, LOU, like an automaton, walks stiffly about the room as though coming down the aisle at a wedding.
Welcome to my cave, my dear! I
had hoped to greet your belated
return in better surroundings,
but you see, I've been working,
and... well, these are my sole
possessions, these few books and
manuscripts and, in this graceless
wooden truck, my last two shirts
and a second worn suit.
And of course these bottles and
jars and potions. May I offer you
a drink my dear? Some of these
lovely sedatives against insomnia.
My darlings Chloral Hydrate and
Veronal. My only helpers in the
empty silence of artificially
Kissing the bottles, he gulps a few times, and wiping his mouth in his sleeve, blesses Lou with the bottles like a priest with a cross.
Bene vixit qui bebe latuit. Who
has hidden himself well has
lived well--my epitaph. You see
what posthumous thoughts occupy
my mind. But a philosophy like
mine is a tomb; it seals one off
from the living. Sit down! Here!
Here, my beauty!
Nietzsche pulls up the single chair and seats the autom-atonic Lou, placing a kiss on top of her head as she sits stiffly looking out over her wedding bouquet vacantly.
Here let me catch you up on
what you've been missing since
Leipzig. Signs and wonders!
Greetings from the Phoenix.
Damn! Handwriting's worse than
ever, and my eyes burn like the
fires of hell!
Rubbing his eyes under his thick glasses, he begins to read aloud from his manuscript pages, throwing them into the air as he looks for a particular passage.
This is my new autobiography in
which I declare my immortality.
I finished it last month and,
taking a leaf from the Bible, I
call it ECCE HOMO.
ECCE HOMO Behold the Man!"
He throws out his arms, posing like one joyously crucified, before continuing his reading, pacing wildly, tossing pages about madly.
But what would you like to hear?
WHY I AM SO WISE? WHY I
AM SO CLEVER? Chapter headings
in my book. How about WHY I
WRITE SUCH EXCELLENT BOOKS?
Or perhaps, WHY I AM A FATALITY.
Ah! Yes! WHY AM I A FATALITY?
He circles Lou's chair, pointing at her vindictively.
We all know, some of us even
from experience, what a "long
ears" is. HEE! HAW! Do you
remember? Eh? What a jackass
I made of myself over you?
Reaching into the trunk, he comes up with his old field artillery sword, which he slowly and menacingly draws out of it's scabbard.
Yes, my sweet, times have changed!
As an old field artilleryman, I'm
an expert with two weapons, saber
He holds the sword at groin level, doing one grind and bump with the sword held like an erect penis.
This interests women not a little,
eh? It seems to me they FEEL that I
now understand them better? A man
must be FIRM. He must stand surely
on his three legs. Otherwise he
cannot love at all. What does he
know of love who doesn't learn to
despise just what he loves most?
Drinking more, wiping his mouth in his sleeve and burping loudly, he continues.
Indeed, women know this only too
well, don't they, eh? They don't
care a straw for unselfish, purely
objective men like Friend Ree. As
Zarathustra says, "Men should be
trained for war, and women for the
recreation of the warrior. All else
is folly!" May I venture to suggest,
by the way, that I kno women?
Who knows? Perhaps I am the
first psychologist of the eternal
feminine. They all like me.
He paces about, taking huge cuts out of the air with the sword as the imaginary Lou cringes.
Save, of course, for the abortions
among them, the emancipated ones.
Fortunately, I'm no willing to let myself
be torn to pieces! Emancipated women
tear men to pieces when they love. I
know these amiable Maenads. What
a dangerous, creeping, subteranean
beast of prey a woman is! And so
agreeable at the same time! A woman
bent on revenge could annihilate
Destiny itself. Woman is indescribably
more wicked than man, and cleverer
too. In a woman, goodness is a sign
of degeneration. But I say no more
lest I be come medi-cynical.
He bursts out laughing and takes a swig from a medicine bottle.
Medi-cynical? Get it? Here read
He tosses Lou's wedding bouquet aside and places some manuscript pages in her hands, which she reads aloud walking about as before doing the wedding step like an automaton.
"Women wish to become independent,
so they are beginning to enlighten men
about `woman as such': that is one of
the worst steps forward in the general
uglification of Europe. I think him
a true friend of women who calls
out to them today: "women should
keep quiet about women'! When a
woman has scholarly or political
yearnings, something is usually
out of order with her sexually."
My definition of love? It is the only
definition worthy of a philosopher.
To wit: Love's method are WAR;
love's basis is the mortal hatred
between the sexes.
Have you heard my answer to the
question how a woman can be cured,
"redeemed"?--Give her a child! A
woman needs children; man is al-
ways only a means; also sprach
'The emancipation of women: this
is the instinctive hatred of degenerate
--that is, barren--women for those
who are healthy. The battle against
man is always onl a means, a pretext,
a tactical move--"
Nietzsche shouts at her, vehemently.
And there are no more certain
means to this end than UNIVERSITY
EDUCATION, TROUSERS, and the
rights of voting like CATTLE!
He grabs the imaginary Lou roughly by the arm and seats her in the chair, putting blank paper before her and placing the pen in her hand.
She peeks out from under her veil behind his back.
Oh goody! Secretarial use!
What's that? What's that?
Lou drops the veil over her face again and sits stiffly with pen poised.
Very calmly, with his hands behind his back, Nietzsche paces like a professor dictating as she takes down his words in shorthand.
No longer am I the jackass of
Bonnet's Studio in Lucerene. On
the contrary, I find myself pinning
a donkey's tail on the most
serious things. For I am now the
anti-ass par excellence; I am a
centaur, half animal, half man,
and on this account alone a
monster in the world's history--
DIONYSUS, the ANTI-CHRIST!
Lou coyly lifts her veil again.
Oh goody--sexual abuse?
I heard that! I heard that!
He removes Lou's bridal veil menacingly and tosses it aside as a hallucinatory REE appears, and squatting retrieves the veil. And as Lou's hair spills out over her shoulders, Nietzsche lifts LOU out of the chair and begins to kiss and maul her menacingly, making movements of fornication. But as he lifts her bridal gown, discovering that she is dressed like a boy under it as she was in the Tautenburg forest and dream scenes, wearing trousers and a blue shirt, he begins to strip her as Ree looks helplessly on.
Away with these pseudo-masculine
symbols. A woman is at her best
naked and unashamed!
As Lou, submits joyously to Nietzsche's mad advances, Ree is on his knees busily picking up the abandoned pieces of clothing from the floor as Nietzsche laughs out loud.
Look who 's come to join our
Ass-Festival, the Black Priest of
Stibbe, impotent, emasculated, and
down on his knees. And how is it
in accordance with thee, old Pope,
to adore an ass in such a manner
He exposes Lou's naked derriere to Ree's embarrassed gaze.
Kiss it, old pious pontiff-heart!
Kiss your god!
Ree devoutly does as he is told.
Better to adore God so, in this
form, than in no form at all, eh?
But put thy fingers to thy nose!
Ah the fumes!
Waving his hand under his nose, eyes rolled heavenward, and still fully clothed and buttoned up, Nietzsche obscenely attacks Lou from behind like a rutting satyr.
God seemeth to me most worthy
of belief in this form. HEE! HAW!
HEE! HAW! Divine donkeyism!
The holy trinity reconstituted.
Secretarial use and sexual abuse!
It's what you longed for all the
time. Oh, had I only raped your
body as well as your mind in the
Thuringian forest, you would have
been mine all mine!
Suddenly pushing the all but naked Lou away from him, he shouts joyously, pointing at Ree, who still kneels on the floor holding Lou's discarded clothing.
But then who would have written
Zarathustra? Why, I would have
become like him, impotent,
emasculated, down on my knees.
"Is it not better to fall into the hands
of a murderer than into the hands
of a woman in heat?"
Thus spake Zarathustra.
Laughing madly, he tosses Lou at Ree, who catches her, futilely trying to cover her nakedness with the torn clothing. Then bowing to Nietzsche obsequiously, Ree hurriedly forces Lou to the door as she reaches yearningly back toward Nietzsche.
Secretarial use, and sexual abuse!
Please! More! More!
But our horse cab's waiting out in
the cab rank, darling!
Go! Leave me! I have no time for
ass-festivals, no time for love,
for marriage, for children! It
is a dear price a man pays for
being immortal: he must die many
times over during his life. I
draw circles around me and holy
boundaries. In me all opposites
are resolved. I hurl Lightning
bolts toward undreamed-of futures.
Superman becomes the greatest
reality--the highest of all living
things where everything heavy
shall become light, and every
spirit a bird and every body a
dancer--verily that is my alpha
He dances, whirlingly, and falls to his knees breathless. But as music begins softly o.s., suddenly he is weeping and flinging manuscript into the air despondently, like a snow fall.
I have no time for love, for marriage,
for children. This is my marriage,
my children! LOU! LOU Oh how
I love you, love you eterally and
evermore. How I want it all back
again, all of it, all the joy and all the
woe and pain. Everything. Oh
everything. All of it entangled,
ensnared, enamored. For all joy
wants eternity. Joy wants the
eternal recurrence of all things,
wants deep, wants deep, deep
eternity. Amor Fati!
Suddenly, the whinnying of a horse in pain is heard o.s. punctuated by the operatic screams of the SOPRANO from the dream scene.
Nietzsche rushes to the window and sees down in the cab rank of the piazza Carlo Alberto a burly COACHMAN whipping his HORSE across the eyes.
The wild piano music of the APPASIONATA o.s. accompanies Nietzsche's rushing out into the hall and down the stairs as FLASH FRAMES from the DREAM SCENE are INTERCUT with the actual horse-beating scene down in the piazza.
During this scene the staircase seems to be unending as shot after
shot of Nietzsche's descent is replayed over and over intercut with dream-scene
and actual horse beatings until he finally bursts out into the piazza..
INTERCUTTING CAB RANK\DREAM SCENE
EXT. CAB RANK - PIAZZA CARLO ALBERTO - DAY (JANUARY 3, 1889)
Stop! Stop! You'll crush him;
you'll kill him!
Minda you business, Crazy man!
As the coachman continues beating his horse, Nietzsche sees not the horse but the OLD MADMAN of the dream scene, not the empty cab but the cart of the dream scene filled to overflowing with the dream characters, the painful cries of the horse, accompanied by the operatic screams of the SOPRANO, which grow louder and louder as Nietzsche runs over and throws his arms about the animal's neck, loses consciousness and collapses to the ground while the incredulous LANDLORD rushes to his side wailing.
Jesu Christi, Professore!
INT. PSYCHIATRIC CLINIC - JENA, GERMANY - (1890)
NIETZSCHE is sitting in a foetal position on the floor of his cell hugging his knees. Dressed in a long, white hospital gown, he is off in his own world--passive, silent, remote, unresponsive, an expression of infinite weariness on his face.
The o.s. voice of the DOCTOR can be heard delineating the patient's condition.
His behavior demonstrates a
complete mental breakdown.
Only one diagnosis is possible:
paralysis progressiva due to
an old infection, most probably
As the doctor, a bearded bespectacled man wearing a white physician's coat, reads from his clipboard, he and LISBETH appear on screen.
Yes, based on the clinical entry
dated the day of the patient's
admission, January 8, 1889,
"the patient claims that he has
speciically infected himself twice."
Be advised that I shall be filing
suits against all enemies of the
Reich who attempt to besmirch
the family escutcheon either by
attributing my late husband's
death to suicide or my sainted
brother's unfortunate collapse
to syphilis or any other cause
save veronal and chloride
poisoning as I have pulically
reported in the press and am
prepared to vigorously defend
in the courts. You understand
me, Herr Doktor?
The DOCTOR, intimidated, immediately crosses out and edits the report on his clipboard.
"General paralysis due to
habitual excessive use of
Chloral Nitrate and Veronal
for the relief of chronic migraine."
Good. Shall we proceed then
to the signing of the release
LISBETH goes over to Nietzsche and places her hand on his head.
Your darling Llama is taking
you home for Christmas,
NIETZSCHE suddenly begins howling as FLASH FRAMES of the chaos and destruction of twentieth century warfare silently fill the screen.
My God! What's wrong?
What horrors must he be
suffer ing? I blame myself.
Had I been here for him
when he needed me, instead
of off with my husband
colonizing the jungles of
You will have enough to do
caring for the patient without
blaming yourself in the bargain.
It will b another decade at least
before his body succumbs to
the syphi... er...poisons that
have infected his brain, and
therefore I advise that you
leave the patient here with us,
Frau Forster, rather than--
Frau Forster Nietzsche,
Herr Doktor! Please! Since
the death of my husband, I
have legally reinstated my
The DOCTOR clicks his heels and bows.
Forgive me madame. Frau
Forster Nietzsche, of course,
the inspiration of not one but
two German heroes of Das
NIETZSCHE begins howling again as APPLAUSE o.s. accompanies a SILENT
BLACK AND WHITE series of shots of the destruction of WORLD WAR I.
SERIES OF SHOTS
Kaiser Wilhelm, trench warfare, the signing of the armistice, the
chaos of the German Republic, bread lines etc.--culminating in the APPLAUSE
of the crowd gathered at the ARCHIVES in 1934.
INT. NIETZSCHE ARCHIVES - WEIMAR, GERMANY - (AUGUST 1934)
The APPLAUSE of a CROWD gathered at the Archives welcomes a very vital woman in her late eighties to a speaker's podium standing beside the famous marble BUST of Nietzsche on a pedestal under a WELCOME-TO-THE-NIETZSCHE-ARCHIVES sign..
Wearing granny glasses, a bonnet and a long, night-gown-looking dress as in the famous Archive photograph of her welcoming the new German Chancellor to the Nietzsche Archives in 1934, LISBETH, though older, looks very much as she did in the horse-beating dream sequence.
As the applause dies down, Lisbeth begins her address rather sweetly and feebly like an endearing old grandmother but, gathering strength, ends in a rant.
Fellow patriots of Das Reich,
welcome to Weimar, the home
of our internationally renowned
Nietzsche Archives on this thirty
-fourth anniversary of my sainted
brother's death. It's enough to
make one weep with joy to see
what has become of Nietzsche
and the Nietzsche Archives in the
nearly half century since I first
dedicated my life, heart and soul,
to the preservation of my sainted
brother's name and holy writings.
For which I have, as you know,
personally been considered
several times by the Swedish
Academy for a Noble Prize.
Fifty years ago, my sainted
brother's writings were virtually
unread inside as well as outside
Germany. Now ZARATHUSTRA
is the bible of our new German
youth and, thanks to our heroic
new chancellor, these archives
have become a center for the
presentation of our new German
ideology and my brother hailed
as the philosophic father of
Indeed, these last few years of
our new chancellor's rise to
power seem to me like a glorious
resurrection of my own brother's
heroic struggle up from obscurity
to his rightful place in the hearts
and minds of our nation. My
brother's great doctrine of WILL
TO POWER is reincarnated in
the advent of Germany's new
leader who has with incredible
courage has taken upon himself
the entire responsibility of his
And were my sainted brother
with us today, he would lovingly
embrace our new Siegfried as the
glorious embodiment of his own
sacred ideals. And, like the avid
Bayreuther my brother was, would
compare the advent of our heroic
new leader, to Parsifal's final act
of redemption. For like our new
chancellor, my brother adored
Richard Wagner's PARSIFAL
above all other music in this world.
MUSIC from PARSIFAL is heard over the applause.
Yes, my brother would be drunk
with enthusiasm because at the
head of our government stands
the superman my brother called
for in ZARATHUSTRA. And we
have finally achieved the ONE
Germany which for centuries our
poets depicted longingly in their
poems, and for which we have
all been waiting.
LISBETH raises her hand in the Nazi salute.
EIN Volk! EIN Reich!
DRUM ROLLS and DEUTSCHELAND UBER ALLES is played by an um-pah-pah BAND as goose-stepping Nazi BROWNSHIRTS in Austrian walking shorts, suspenders, and swastika arm bands, accompany a genialy benevolent ADOLF HITLER similarly dressed, who smoothing his forelock and smiling broadly, clicks his heels and gallantly kisses LISBETH'S hand as she curtsies coyly and relinquishes the podium.
The BROWNSHIRTS, saluting and Sieg-Heiling between drum roll after
drum roll, are joined by the crowd.
INTERCUTTING - ARCHIVES\NEWSREELS
Intercut with frames of HITLER smilingly accepting the applause as
LISBETH beams, are FLASH FRAMES of WORLD WAR II black and white newsreels
of Hitler's fist-pounding, foot-stomping ranting at Nuremburg etc., alternating
with screaming, exploding sounds of warfare--clanking of tanks, dive bombers
etc., culminating in the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, accompanied by
a cacophony of wild Wagnerian music rising to a maddening crescendo in
the SOPRANO's scream which suddenly becomes the sound of the entire film
suddenly rewinding at almost subliminal speed back to the final moments
of the first sequence of the film.
EXT. STREET, WEIMAR, GERMANY -DAY- (JANUARY 3, 1900)
SCHOOLCHILDREN, playing ring-around-the-roses around the encircled MADMAN, squat down singing.
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!
The MADMAN raises the coach lamp above his head, shouting up at the heavens.
GOD! We've murdered GOD!
And as he smashes the lamp violently to the ground at his feet, the screen goes black.
GOD IS DEAD! GOD IS DEAD!
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