Cannaregio 1943

From Episodia
Jump to: navigation, search

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 from the greek island of Kastelorizo to Venice 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 has collapsed and the German Army is about to occupy the northern half of the country.

<< PREVIOUS EPISODE - NEXT EPISODE >>

Loading map...


ATTIC OF AN ABANDONED HOUSE, CANNAREGIO DISTRICT, VENICE

Cannaregio

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

Anastasio
Which one?

Isabella
The one you're 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 scattered sun rays penetrate through an 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 sculpt 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, CANNAREGIO DISTRICT

The office is located on the ground floor of a commercial building at at the dead end of a narrow street. Isabella's uncle, a man in his sixties, speaks in Hebrew with another man wearing a Kippah who is around the same age age. The atmosphere is tense.

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

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

Uncle
What about the armistice?

Other Man
It won't hold. The Germans will be here any day...

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

Other Man
Palestine. The route is still 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 greets the other man.

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

Uncle
(in Italian)
No, my sweetheart. The Allies 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. And what about the King, and the new government?

Other Man
The Germans don't listen to the Pope and the King is gone...

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

Isabella
(concerned)
And Torino?

PORTO MARGHERA, COMMUNE OF VENICE

Tanos Xanthis, 55, owner 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. Then 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

A caravan of German civilian and military vehicles approaches, escorted by Carabinieri 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 hitting each other with clubs while us Greeks were studying Plato.

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

Tanos
(looking at his son)
Anastasio, the Triton is scheduled to sail back to Istanbul next week. I've been thinking about taking it all the way to Australia... Once we'd pass Suez, it's all clear until the Indian Ocean... (nodding his head) I don't know son... I don't know...

Anastasio is pensive, as a Carabinieri signals Tanos to move on, then suddenly orders him to stop the car again.

Carabinieri
(to Anastasio)
ID!

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

Italian MPO
(to Tanos)
ID!
(to Anastasio)
How old are you?

Anastasio
17

Tanos hands his ID in which he slips a 500 lira bill.

Carabinieri
(looking at Tanos' documents while pocketing the money)
Did you get your marching orders?

Tanos
No, I have been...

Carabinieri
(cutting him short)
No not you.
(looking towards Anastasio)
You.

Anastasio
(hesitant, nervous)
Yes, for October.

Carabinieri
(to Anastasio)
Bring you're ID and Marching Order to the Tronchetto's station tomorrow before noon.
(to Tanos, waiving his ID)
I'll keep those until then.

ATTIC OF ABANDONED HOUSE, CANNAREGIO DISTRICT

Anastasio helps Isabella to lower the "Greek God" on wooden beams next to an opening facing a canal.

Isabella
(looking at the gate then at the sculpture)
You think it'll go through?

Anastasio peaks outside the gate and looks up.

Anasatasio
(hanging out the gate)
It's not the size that concerns me, it's the pulley...

Isabella
Come back in now, before you fall!

Anastasio
(pretending to jump)
Don't worry... I'm an angel.

Anastasio gets back in and cuddles Isabella. She squeezes him tight.

Isabella
I'm going to Torino. I'm worried for my family.

Anastasio
You can't travel 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 your parents.

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

Anastasio
The Germans are already here. They're waiting in Mestre. Anyways what's the difference... The Germans or the Fascists.

Isabella
Anastasio... I'm Jewish.

Anastasio
And next month I'll be a soldier... 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.

ATTIC OF ABANDONED HOUSE (LATER)

Isabella wakes up in a panic.

Anastasio
(standing up from under a thick cotton cloth on top of the table where he was previously posing)
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 stares at his sculpted twin as he hears her locking the lock.

MAIN STUDIO, ART SCHOOL, CASTELLO DISTRICT

Isabella arrives late for the first class of her last year in art school as students unveil their summer projects in front of a group of professors. Isabella settles in and has nothing to show. Professor Vittorio Bertolucci, 62, the newly appointed head 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. Are you the one who restored 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
(a little embarrassed) "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.

OUTSIDE THE ART SCHOOL, LATER

Isabella walks out with two other young female students.

Student #1
(intrigued)
So who is it?

Student #2
(teasing her)
That's why we didn't see you all summer.

Isabella
(reacting)
Did you see how he changed!

Student #2
Who, we don't even know who he is...

Isabella
No, Bertolucci. Last year he was always going on about my work... Isabella this... Isabella that... And now he acts like a jerk. What happen to Pier Paolo?

Student #1
Nobody knows... All we know is that Bertolucci is now the school's director.

Isabella
Great...

XANTHIS FAMILY HOUSE, RIELLO SANTA SOFIA

Tanos' wife Caliope, a sophisticated 39 year old woman, is stitching bundles of British Pounds into the lining of a fashionable winter coat. The room is decorated with art deco furniture.

Caliope
(in Greek as she retreads the Singer sewing machine)
I will not wear a winter coat in September across the Suez Canal.

Tanos
(firm)
Don't you leave this coat for 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 use your son as an excuse to fuck her in my house.

Tanos
(kicking the bed's black lacquered wooden frame with his leg)
You're fucking crazy. I don't know why I trust you with my money.
(loud through the door)
Anastasio... Come up here.

Anasatasio walks into his parents' bedroom.

Tasso
(showing the displaced 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 Flag.

Anastasio
And who else will be on board?

Tasso
No one, just the crew.

Silence.

Tasso
(frustrated and angry at his wife)
We'll go over the details tomorrow... Go now...

Anastasio looks pensive as he leaves the room.

Caliope
(as soon as the door shuts)
Valletta, is this the name of your whore.

NIGHT, FRONT OF ABANDONED HOUSE, CANNAREGIO DISTRICT

Anastasio is throwing rocks trying to reach the side shutters of the attic. He continues by calling but no response is heard.

NIGHT, STREETS OF CANNAREGIO

Anastasio meanders though the streets of Cannaregio, looking at door numbers and street names. Two Orthodox Jewish men walk by him and quickly disappear into the night. He finally stops in front of number 15.

NIGHT, OUTSIDE ISABELLA'S UNCLE'S HOUSE

Anastasio pulls back and notices that one of the rooms on the second floor seems dimly lit.

Anasatasio
(whispering in crescendo)
Isabella... Isabella... Isabella...

After less than a minute, Isabella discreetly opens the door.

Isabella
(dressed in a nightgown)
Are you crazy... What are you doing here... You're going to wake up the whole neighborhood... What's going on?

Anastasio
Come... We have to talk.

Isabella
(looking back inside as a light goes on behind her)
Now?

Uncle
(from behind her)
Isabella... Who is it?

Isabella
(looking at Anastasio)
It's all good Uncle... Just a friend from school.

Uncle
(fading)
Don't keep the door open. It's dangerous.

Isabella
(to her uncle)
It's OK Uncle...I'll just be a minute.
(to Anastasio)
They've all gone crazy... Wait for me at the corner.

XANTHIS FAMILY HOUSE, RIELLO SANTA SOFIA

Caliope lies sideways on her bed, half naked under her sewed up winter coat, as Tanos sitting next to her, inspects the stitches.

Caliope
(going through her jewelry)
Let's go to New York then...

Tanos
Too dangerous. Even if we'd make it through Gibraltar, they'd sink us when we'd cross. And we have family in Australia... It'll be easier.

Caliope
(arguing)
You have family in Australia... You want to send me to some people you haven't even seen in 30 years... Farmers...

Tanos
Fishermen.

Caliope
(sarcastic)
Great.

Tanos stands up and looks out the window.

Tanos
You know what it took me to rebuild from scratch here... Ten years of drifting the Mediterranean on a rusted trawler. Then another twenty getting getting bum fucked by Italian bureaucrats... Only now is the fleet the size it was when we left Kastelorizio. I don't want to lose it again. It broke my father, it broke my family. It's not going to break me.

Caliope
You make no sense. That's just what you're doing... Breaking up your family.

Tanos
Only for a few months, then you'll all be back... A year at most... Anyways we can't sail if I don't have my passport. I told you.

Caliope
Then we'll wait.

Tanos
If we go to the station they'll keep him... If we don't go, they'll show up here the next days...

Caliope glances around her elegant bedroom.

Caliope
(in disbelief)
Australia...

NIGHT, STREETS OF VENICE

Isabella gets to Anastasio who's smoking a cigarette on stairs leading to a canal.

Isabella
(rushed)
Let's go... I'd don't want the neighbors to see us...

They walk along the narrow canal. The city is sleeping.

Anastasio
My father wants to send me with my mother and sisters to Australia next week. He saids if I don't go they'll send me to Germany to fight for Hitler.

Isabella
Australia?

Anastasio
We have family there... (formal)
I wan't you to come with us.

Isabella
(surprised, gently grabbing his neck)
Anastasio my love, this is not going to work... I love you and we had a great time... But your still a kid. I have to go back to Torino...

Anastasio
I'm like 2 years younger than you...

Isabella
(correcting him)
Three!

BY THE DOCKS, CANNAREGIO

Anastasio and Isabella's sit on the edge of a dock as they look at the mainland across.

Isabella
I haven't seen my family in over two years. I heard the Allies have bombarded Torino and now they're saying that the Germans will get there any-day. I'm worried for my family. They're all I have... I can't leave them.

Anastasio
You'll see them again... Soon the war will be over, and then we can come back. We'll have to come back anyways for my father.

Isabella
You're father is staying.

Anastasio
Yes, they took his passport yesterday at a check point and he saids the Customs Guards will find it suspicious if he's on the ship with us. But I think that he doesn't want to abandon the business... And my mother thinks it's because of his mistress...

Isabella
And me? They would't let me leave either.

Anastasio
We'll hide you... (smiling) From my mother...

They continue staring across the bay for a moment in silence until a distant sound of trucks and marching boots reaches them. They look over to see a caravan of headlights heading to Venice on the Ponte Littorio.

GRAND CANAL, VENICE, SEPTEMBER 10, 1943

A small Italian Navy patrol boat sails through the Grand Canal with an Italian and several 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. All Italian citizens are to 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...

RADIO LONDON BULLETIN

This is London Calling... As British and Canadian forces are getting closer to Rome the Italian Army, Navy and Air Force have not only surrendered but will now join the fight against Fascism and Nazi Germany. Scores of Italian Navy ships have fled ports all over Italy amids heavy bombing from the Luftwaffe as they tried to reach Allied controlled Northern Africa ports. It has also been reported that the former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was snatched from his captors in the Italian Alps by a German commando this past Sunday at dawn...


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
(proudly introducing Isabella) Yes, and this is Isabella my fiancé.

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.

The "new" Flag of Malta bearing the George Cross (1943)

Adair
Maniatika... 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 as foam drips from his mustache) So I picked up a new flag in Malta as requested in the message I got from your father. Good thing you didn't just sew one up, they just changed it! King George awarded them a "George" (mimicking quotation marks with his fingers) Cross for swallowing the Luftwaffe's jelly beans. I also have the registration from the "Valetta IV" which was sunk 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 when 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
(looking at Isabella) And where 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. They're turning away boatloads of refugees from the Balkans.

Isabella
I'll hide... I managed to hide from his mother, so I can sure hide from some soldiers. (assertive) I can disguise as a man... As one of your crew.

Adair
Wait till you see my crew... (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 bearded cheek)
Adair, Grazie Grazie Grazie... Mille Grazie.

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

Isabella
(confident)
I'll find my way... it is our Promised Land after all.

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

NIGHT, HOTEL ROOM, LARNACA

Anastasio and Isabella make love. She cries as she reaches an orgasm.

Anastasio
(still in an embrace, moving hair away from her face) I'll be back baby. I'll be back.

Isabella
(controlling her tears)
I really love you Anastasio... Really... I never felt that for anyone before.

Anastasio
(gently grabbing her face)
You promise you'll write me as soon as you settle somewhere?

Isabella
(nodding)
Yes, I promise.

Slightly moving away from the embrace.

Isabella (continuing)
(smiling as her last tears drop)
But you'll forget about me as soon as you meet one of these kangaroo girls...

Anastasio
(smelling her tight)
I'll masturbate to the memory of this incense until I scent it again...

He then kisses and caresses her belly as she grabs his head and stares at the ceiling.

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.

<< PREVIOUS EPISODE - NEXT EPISODE >>