the Suitcase

A movie written, directed and shot by François Sarhan  

excerpts of the script, and photos from the shooting


Scene 1
Ernst, mid forties. Unshaven, haggard look, eyes seem empty, glazed over. When he starts the engine, the radio starts as well. He starts to drive.

 VOICES OVER (radio)
radio news, interview. A radio speaker, and a lady from the shop. ironic, like a show, provocative, aggressive, laughters, loud music
– So Mrs Wolf, tell us how it happened.
– Well, this afternoon, i was in my shop
– Which shop, mrs Wolf, which shop?
– Shaum Benantes, Klosterstr.
– In Moers, Mrs Wolf, we are in Moers.
– Yes, yes...
– And so, what happened, in Moers, damn it?
– Well.. comes this man, very elegant, with a strange accent, from... Italy maybe or... i don´t know where... He asks me to try the costumes, from the last collection, you know, the spring collection
– Mrs Wolf, are you interested in purchasing the exceptional jewellery made by Pierre de la Benoare Prout, thanks to this phenomenal Angebot we offer you NOW, here, in your miserable shitty shop?
– But... well, i don´t know, yes, certainly, i must... think...
– Congrats Mrs Wolf! And then, what happened in your stupid shop?
– Then suddenly he showed me a knife, and started to threaten me. I was so scared, i think i fainted.
– Ha ha ha, you really are a complete idiot, mrs Wolf, aren´t you?
– Oh yes, yes, of course!
– Ha ha ha isn´t she lovely ? And then, finish your boring story Mrs Wolf, quickly, we have a lot of commercials to play. Did he rape you at least?
– Ah? Well when i woke up, two costumes were stolen. That´s all.
– That´s all? No murder? No rape?
– Hum no... at least not that i know.

The sound of the radio is crappy, and Ernst has to hit the autoradio to establish the radio connection. Cracks, noises, loss of text in the lines, interferences.

At the end of the interview, ERNST, irritated, turns the radio off, plays a CD. his favorite music (coming from the autoradio).
  he looks in his back mirror, and notices he is followed (from far) by the police, he drives quicker and quicker.




the policeman follows ERNST.



A man (Schmuk) runs as quick as possible in the street, looking behind him from time to time. He carries a suitcase.


2.4. INT- CAR - ERNST (= 1.52 and 1.54)

ERNST, very nervous, turns brutally on the right, hoping to lose the car behind him.
ERNST sees Schmuk crossing suddenly the street, Schmuk disappears under his wheels. ERNST brutally brakes, hears a shock in front of the car. ERNST stays a few minutes under shock, then puts his face in his hands. After a moment of silence, he hears cars, police, etc, a few shadows runs here and there around the car.
The policeman knocks at ERNST´s window.
ERNST opens his window. The policeman face gets in the open window, staring at ERNST.



ERNST sits on a bench, still under shock. He sits before a desk, where the policeman writes on an old typewriter, without mentioning ERNST. ERNST has handcuffs. A phone, documents on his desk, the camera pans on the walls, posters, lists, photos. The policeman types for a few minutes, in silent.
He takes off the paper from the typewriter.

So, mr Schmidt, we already know each other, right?
This is your testimony. Let´s summarize. You´ve never seen the victim before, Michael Schmuk, you say: the victim ran in front of your car, and you had no time to stop before hitting him. However, it happens that you were at the edge of exceeding speed.
The problem is that you drunk before driving. Not a lot, certainly, the text gives less than 0,1 g. It´s luck, because last year, you were picked up on the road with 0.4 grams of alcohol.
What do you think of that?
Before i let you go, you owe us an explanation why you carry this knife with you.

(shows a large knife on the table. a beat)

Is it forbidden?

Well my record also tells that in 2008 you´ve been suspected of murder in a shop.

I had nothing to do with that, it´s a misunderstanding.

The murderer used a knife as well. Between alcohol control, this murder suspicion, and this... accident tonight... you must be a little careful...
If you agree with the testimony, sign here, and we have no reason to keep you here.
So go home, try to relax and sleep. The doctor says that you can ask for two days of rest, do you need a certificate?

(ERNST shakes head: no)

Ok i made some mistakes, i´m a bit easy on the bottle but... i never ever molested anyone, neither have i robbed anybody. And this guy, he ran ... so quick... It´s crazy.

I carry a knife since i´m 15. I never use it, i don´t need it. It´s a habit. But i don´t use it, or to open cardboard boxes, papers. i´m not paranoid, i don´t think this knife as a´s a tool..

Mmmh, I see. 
I just need your footprint here....
And your signature, there. Good bye mr Schmidt, and i hope not too soon.

The policeman gives ERNST documents.
ERNST, devastated, nodges, and takes his head in his hands.


1.29. INT DAY-alternating with INT CAR- SCHMUK

Stolnaya is in her car. She has a little screen (ipad or other) where she spies on Schmuk.
a luxury low table, a few long drinks, champaign, a phone. She picks up the phone and dials his number.
we see schmuk from this surveillance video camera (above, noisy, distorted)

So Schmuk, you like very much to travel, don´t you?

Euh... yes, what do you mean?

you wouldn´t like to leave us too soon, Schmuk, we would miss you so much.

Oh no i wouldn´t, i don´t, no no, of course.

Even if you would have beautiful luggage, it wouldn´t be a reason to leave us.

No of course, of course. i don´t have any luggage.

oh ho oh oh, Schmuk, [laughter] do you think it´s good to lie to Mam? You think she likes when you lie that way? You have no news from your friend from, don´t you? I´m the last one to have news, Schmuky. And they are not good.

You mean, no of course, no i.. i can bring it to you, Mrs TCHORNAIA, how do you want to get it?

ok, well i certainly can give it to, to MONIKA, for instance. And she will, i mean.. as soon as...

(more and more nervous, he swallows)


Or Ladislas, if you prefer.


I, i don´t forget what i owe you, Mrs TCHORNAIA, i know you´ve been very generous with me, and i will

I wonder what your dear MONIKA is going to become, Schmuky, mmh?

SCHMUK (shocked)

10 pm.

Yes, 10 pm, yes, of course, i will.

we hear the phone hung up and the tone.

what a fucking bitch. FUCKING BITCH!

we come back to Tchornaya, who looks at Schmuk insulting her. She stops the video of Schmuk, and dials another number.

Ladislas.... you´ll have to work a little on our friend Schmuk before he leaves with the suitcase... no no no don´t thank me... just find something clean. You know i can´t stand blood.

The suitcase, by François Sarhan
with Janina Akhmetova, Ernst Surberg, Magdalene ArteltPatrick Dollas, Matthias Heße, Marissa Möller, Frank Wickermann

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