Cannaregio 1943

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OUTLINE

Isabella Altaras, 19, moved to Venice from Torino when she was 15 to study sculpture and painting at a prominent art school. She lives with her uncle's family, who are Venetian traders of Jewish descent. She is secretly dating Anastasio Xanthis, 17, the son of a Merchant Marine family which moved its operations to Venice from the greek Island of Kastelorizo in the early 20's. Anastasio is the first family member to be born in Venice. Isabella calls him her Greek God as she spends endless days painting and sculpting his naked body in various erotic poses. It is the end of the summer in 1943. Mussolini's regime is collapsing and the German Army is about to occupy the country.

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ATTIC OF AN ABANDONED HOUSE, CANNAREGIO DISTRICT, VENICE

Isabella
(In Italian)
Lower your arm a little more.

Anastasio
Which one?

Isabella
The one your leaning on, the left one.

Anastasio
That's the right one my love.

Isabella smiles as Anastasio lies on a thick wooden table in a dark attic where sun rays penetrate through opening in the roof.

Isabella
Now can you get your thingy to be a little more... like bigger.

Anastasio
Give it a rest my love, it needs time to revive itself.

Isabella
Well, help it. It was not like that before.

Anastasio
You want me to touch myself?

Isabella
If you have to.

Isabella carves the abs of a full size clay representation of Anastasio as he tries to get his penis to grow.

Isabella
This is my favorite part.

Anasatsio
I prefer when you do it!

Isabella
No, not this idiot. Your belly.

Anastasio
Why don't you come and touch the real one instead.

Isabella
Cause I can't let it dry...
(Admiring her work)
My Greek God.

Anastasio
Just five minutes. I need to stretch a little.

Isabella
We "stretched" like 15 minutes ago.

Anastasio
Yes but now you got me excited again.

Isabella
You're getting yourself excited.

Anastasio
You asked me to touch myself.

Isabella I asked you to take the same pause, and your thingy was all wrinkled, what can I say.

ALTARAS TRADING OFFICE, RIALTO DISTRICT, VENICE

Isabella's uncle speak in Hebrew with another man. The atmosphere is tense.

Uncle
I can't abandon the business, they are not going to bother with Venice. They need us anyways.

Other Man
The Italian's need us, the German won't.

Uncle
They have enough worries in the South, and with the Russians. Venice is safe. It's always been. Anyways, we're would we go.

Other Man
Palestine. The route is open.

Uncle
I know the route is open. We're the ones keeping it open. And that's why they need us. Besides, what would we do in Palestine, work in a Kibbutz?

Other Man
Better then being deported to the North.

Isabella walks into her uncle's office and kisses him on both cheeks. She greats the other man.

Isabella
(In Italian)
Hi Uncle. Did you get news from Torino?

Uncle
(In Italian)
No, my sweetheart. The Allied have bombarded telephone and telegraph lines throughout Italy.

Isabella
(Worried)
And the city?

Other Man
(In Italian)
Some plants have been hit. Where is your house?

Uncle
In the south part of the city, they're OK.

The other man looks at the uncle with skepticism.

Isabella
(To both men)
And who is being deported to the North?

Other Man
Us, young lady, us.

Isabella
But not in Italy. The Pope said he would not allow for Jews to be deported.

Other Man
The Germans don't listen to the Pope.

Uncle
They won't come to Venice. I know it.

Isabella
(Concerned)
And Torino?

PORTO MARGHERA, VENICE

Tanos Xanthis, 55, Head of Xanthis Mediterranean Lines, is aboard one of his docked ship with his son Anastasio. Also aboard are the Captain, the First Officer and two Italian Custom's Agents. All crew members are Greeks.

Custom Agent #1
(In Italian)
What's in it for us?

Tanos
(In Italian with a thick Greek accent, showing a full pallet of Middle Eastern fruit crates.)
What more can you carry? How many kids do you have to feed anyways.
(Looking at the younger Custom Agent #2.)
And you, how old are you? You're Mamma doesn't feed you well?

Custom's Agent #2
(To Anastasio in Venetian dialect)
Tell him to stop busting my balls.

Anastasio
(To CA#2 in Venetian dialect)
Let it go Francesco.
(Pointing in the direction of his father and CA#1)
Let them figure it out.

Tanos
(To CA#1)
I tell you what. Next week, we have a ship coming back from Istanbul, the Triton, filled with silk rolls. Come with you're wife and let her choose what she wants. Come a second time with your girlfriend. That will get you some milage. At our ages, sometimes we need a little help to satisfy them.

Custom's Agent #1
Who knows who will inspect your shipment next week.

DRIVING BACK TO VENICE ON PONTE LITTORIO

As a caravan of German civilian and military vehicles approaches, escorted by Italian Military Police vehicles.

Tanos
(In Italian)
One face one race my son.
(In Greek)
If the Germans occupy Venice, things will be different. They think they can do it all by themselves. What they don't understand, is that not so long ago, they were still fighting each other with clubs while us Greeks were studying Plato.

Tanos' car is pulled to the side by Italian Military Police, to clear the way for the German contingent.

Tanos
(As the German convoy passes by them)
The Triton is scheduled to sail back to Istanbul in two weeks. I want you to take you're mother and sisters to Australia. Once you pass Suez, it's all clear until the Indian Ocean. The English will let you through, but you'll have to switch pavilion and re-christian the ship in Cyprus.

Anastasio is pensive, as an Italian Military Police Officer signal Tanos to move on, then suddenly orders him to stop the car again.

Italian MPO
(To Anastasio)
ID!

Anastasio
(Surprised)
I didn't bring them. I was just accompanying my father to the port for work.


Italian MPO
(To Tasso)
ID!
(To Anastasio)
How old are you?

Anastasio
18

Italian MPO (Looking at Tasso's documents) Did you get your marching orders?

Tasso
No, I have been...

Italian MPO
(Cutting him short)
No not you.
(Looking towards Anastasio)
You.

Anastasio
(Hesitant, Nervous)
Yes, for October.

Italian MPO
(To Anastasio)
Bring you're ID and Marching Order to the Tronchetto's Military Police Station tomorrow before noon.
(To Tasso, waiving his ID)
I'll keep those until then.

ATTIC OF ABANDONED HOUSE, CANNAREGIO DISTRICT, VENICE, 1943

Anastasio and Isabella make love on the table where he was posing earlier. The "Greek God" is resting on wooden beams, ready for transportation.

Isabella
(Crying after love.)
I have to go back to Torino. I'm worried for my family.

Anastasio
You can't travel there alone. Trains are being bombarded. Lets wait here, together. I heard that the Americans are moving fast. In a few months Italy will be free and you'll see you're parents.

Isabella
They say that the Germans will invade Italy any-day now.

Anastasio
The Germans are already here. Plus what's the difference. The Germans or the Fascists.

Isabella
Anastasio... I'm Jewish.

Anastasio
And next month I'll be a soldier but still, I love you Isabella. I won't let you go.

Isabella
I'm scared Anastasio. I'm scared.

Anastasio grabs her entire body around his arms as she cuddles in. They kiss and continue to make love.

ATTIC OF ABANDONED HOUSE, CANNAREGIO DISTRICT, VENICE (LATER)

Isabella wakes up in a panic.

Anastasio
(Standing up from under a thick cotton cloth on top of the table)
What's going on? Someone's coming?

Isabella
(Looking for her clothes, in a hurry)
No, I'm late for school. Shit! It's the first day presentation. Why did you let me sleep!!!

She kisses him as she storms down the stairs.

Isabella
(off screen)
I'll lock from the outside. Jump out the window!

Anastasio
(to himself, staring at his sculpted twin.) Jump out the window...

MAIN STUDIO, ART SCHOOL, VENICE, EARLY SEPTEMBER

Isabella arrives late for the first class of her last year in the Art School as students unveil their summer project in front of a group of professors. Isabella settles in and has nothing to show. Professor Vittorio Bertolucci, 62, chairman of the school looks towards her empty table.

Professor
Ms Altaras... Did you spend a pleasant summer.

Isabella
(A little embarrassed as she arranges her messed up hair)
Yes sir. Thank you.

Professor
Great. Very glad to see that our students are coming back reinvigorated.

Laughs are heard amongst the students.

Professor (Continuing)
But did you forget to to work on your summer project?

Isabella
No sir, I actually did work almost everyday. But the size of my achievement prevented me from bringing it in today.

Professor
(Sarcastic)
Oh. Did you decide to restore the facade of The Schola Spagnola ?

Isabella
No, Sir. I sculpted a full size human body.

General laugh

Professor
(Still sarcastic, looking at the rest of the group)
A full size human body. And where do you keep this body?

Isabella
In an attic, in Cannaregio.

Professor
In Cannaregio. In an attic.

Isabella
Yes sir.

Professor
And did you name your piece.

Isabella
"My Greek God"

General laughs

Professor
Well, as we wouldn't want to intrude into the intimacy of your creative process, would you mind bringing your "Greek God" to school next week.
(Pause)
The still one that is... the still one.

General Laughs as Isabella smiles shyly.

XANTHIS FAMILY HOUSE, RIELLO SANTA SOFIA, VENICE

Tanos' wife Caliope, 39, is stitching bundles of British Pounds into the lining of a fashionable winter coat.

Caliope
(In Greek as she stitches on a Singer Machine) I will not wear a winter coat in September across the Suez Canal.

Tanos
(Firm)
Don't you leave this coat one second! I want you to sleep with it.

Caliope
Let me figure out what I'll wear at night. Why don't you tell your whore to wear one when she'll come over!

Tanos
(Angry)
I told you a thousand times that if you and the kids don't leave by next week, they'll take Anastasio away.

Caliope
Convenient, to uses your son as an excuse to fuck her in my house.

Tanos
You're fucking crazy. I don't know why I fucking trust you with my money.
(Loud through the door)
Anastasio... Come up here.

Anasatasio walks in his parent's bedroom.

Tasso
(Showing the bed to Anastasio)
Sit!

Caliope looks at Tasso with frustration.

Tasso
(To Anastasio)
So this is not to be discussed with anyone. Not at the office, not with your friends and especially not with your sisters. No-one will know what the plan is. Not even the the Captain. (Pause). You'll stop in Paros where you will get a route change to detour through Larnaca. Although it doesn't make much sense (looking at Caliope), make sure that the Captain follows the instructions. As owner, your ranking when ashore. Once in Larnaca, the Captain and the crew will be requested to come back to Venice on another ship and a new crew from Kastelorizo will replace it. As soon as you sail out of Larnaca, rename the ship "Valletta IV" and switch to a Maltese New Civil Flag .

Anastasio
And who else will be on board?

Tasso
No one, just the crew.

No, we'll log you in as civilian passengers to Greece.

Caliope
Valetta, is this the name of your whore.

Tasso

GRAND CANAL, VENICE, SEPTEMBER 10, 1943

A small Italian Navy patrol boat sails through the Grand Canal with an Italian and four German Officers on board as Wehrmacht Soldiers line up in front of the Ferrovia train station.

Italian Officer
(Through a megaphone installed on the roof of the patrol boat.)
Attention, Attention.
This is a message from the Military High Command in Rome: "Today, on this 10th day of September 1943, we have requested the assistance of the German Government to help us in our fight against our enemies both outside and inside our country. We asked that all Italian Citizen comply with the authority that we have extended to the German Army, Navy and Air Force."

Attention, Attention.
This is a message from the Military High Command in Rome...

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

INTERIOR, PUB, LARNACA

Anastasio and Isabella are sitting in an Irish pub with a bearded man in his 60s, Adair.

Adair
So Tasso had a son!

Anastasio
Yes, and this is Isabella my fiancée.

Adair
(smiling)
Well now I recognize your father's good taste. I haven't seen him in over 20 years.. and who is your mother? (looking at isabella) Venetian?

Anastasio
No, she's also Greek. From Areopoli.

Adair
Maniatica, I once had a fling in Piraeus with a woman from Mani. Crazy girl... Had to leave port when her brothers found out... Crazy! (emptying his mug and looking at the barman) Three more! (lower to Anastasio) So I picked up a new Pavilion in Malta as requested in the message I got from your father. Good thing you didn't just sowed one up, they just changed it! I also have the registration from the "Valetta IV" which was sank by the Italians in June. We found it floating in a sealed case not too far from bodies we were picking up.

Anastasio
That's great Mr Connelly. My family is and will forever be grateful.

Adair
Your father and I go back to the Great War. That's when we learned our trade. (smiling) Well, some aspects of it.

Anastasio
There is one more thing... Can I call you Adair?

Adair
Of course son.

Anastasio
(looking at Isabella)
Well, my family does not know about Isabella.. She's been secretly sailing with us since Venice and we can't just continue like this through Suez and all the way through Australia.

Adair
Beware exiting the Red Sea then crossing the Straight of Malacca. No Germans but plenty of pirates...Worse! Better to keep her away from their sight also.

Anastasio
Well, we've been discussing and since we know you're sailing to Jaffa... Would you mind taking her along?

Adair pulls back on his chair, pensive.

Adair
(looking at Isabella)
Are you Jewish?

Isabella
Yes

Anastasio
There is no way, I can convince my family to take her along... And yet I have to get them to Perth.

Adair
And were is your family?

Isabella
Turin...

Adair
Well you can't go back now... But there is no way the Brits will let you into Palestine. Their turning away boatloads of refugees from the Balkans.

Isabella
I'll hide... I've been doing it from his mother, so I can for sure hide from the soldiers. I can disguise as a man... As one of your crew.

Adair
Wait that you see my crew... You'll definitely stand out... (looking at Anastasio) Son, you two are crazy, but this is a crazy world. We'll find a way.

Isabella
(joyful, kissing Adair on his beady cheek)
Adair, Grazie Grazie Grazie... Mille Grazie.

Adair
(turning red)
And who will pick you up there.

Isabella
(confident)
I'll find my way... this is our land as I've bee thought all my life.

Alternative: Cyprus Internment Camp

As a Jew, Isabella would be expected to spend a couple of years in a Cyprus Camp prior to be allowed into Palestine....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyprus_internment_camps

ANTONIO AND ISABELLA'S LAST NIGHT

Isabella cries as they make love
He hands her a small stack of British Pounds.

LARNAKA, CYPRUS, DECEMBER 1943

A cargo ship is leaving port en route to Palestine. Isabella stands at the stern, looking at the disappearing shore, holding her belly.

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