- First Time -
A scene from an original teleplay
by Tobias Meinecke
Based on Death and a Maiden
a book of historical nonfiction
by William David Myers
A TITLE CARD READS ‘15 MONTHS EARLIER’
The camera is in extreme close-up on Grethe, who appears visibly much younger, almost adolescent, as opposed to the fully-developed young woman we saw in the first scenes.
Her face is a little flushed. Her eyes dart around nervously, but she also seems tired. And confused.
A MALE VOICE speaks, but sounds eerily muffled and far away.
A nondescript environment of light and shadows; only in brief and truncated glimpses is the scene revealed as a sun- flooded bedroom.
Occasionally, a MALE FORM brushes the frame.
Grethe does not know where to look. She bites her lips. The camera tracks in on her.
The Male comes into the shot. He is ANDREAS MÖLLER, about 40 y.o., a slightly overweight man, a few remaining strains of hair, semi-agreeable looking. He’s adjusting his shirt.
The scene widens to give us a better view of...
INT. HAFFERLAND HOUSEHOLD. BEDROOM - AFTERNOON
Grethe on a disheveled bed, half-undressed and uneasily covering herself with sheets. Her eyes look for her clothes, praying that MÖLLER will leave so she can get dressed.
Instead, he sits down on the edge of the bed.
Grethe nods ever so slightly.
EXT. BRUNSWICK. BANKS OF THE OKER RIVER - DAY
Grethe walks along the river, carrying the bundled-up sheets in one hand and some tools in the other. Her eyes scan the river banks.
She comes to a bend, where bushes hide the river from the footpath. She pushes through the bushes down to the water and puts the bundle down.
She steps into the shallows, lifts her dress and stares down.
She tries to catch a reflection of her privates in the water, but sees nothing.
She touches herself and recoils from the pain.
She squats down, and with considerable pain, washes her privates.
Grethe has stacked tinder into a pile. She rubs a saltpeter mix with sticks and creates a spark.
With the ignited twigs she start a small fire. She rips the bed sheet into stripes and places one on the fire. Just when the cloth begins to burn she hears...
THE SOUND OF HORSES APPROACHING.
Grethe stomps out the fire, drops down and presses herself to the ground.
TWO SOLDIERS pass at medium speed, without paying attention at all.
Once they have passed she quickly tries to resurrect the fire. But it’s too late. And no more saltpeter.
Frustrated, she ties the sheets with two knots to make a pouch, places two heavy stones inside, ties a third knot and throws the whole bundle into the river.
She climbs back up the river dam. Just as she is about to reach the top, she pulls back startled.
A VERY OLD WOMAN, covered in several layers of clothing, stands staring at Grethe. The woman has watched her all along. We will get to know her as The Fränkische Woman, or just Fränkische.
Grethe does not look at the Fränkische.
Grethe shakes her head.
She hands Grethe a straw doll.
Grethe pushes past the Old Woman and heads back towards Breite Strasse.
Grethe nods and quickly walks away.
EXT. HAFFERLAND HOUSEHOLD - DAY
As Grethe approaches the Hafferland House she hears LOUD VOICES. Möller and WITWE HAFFERLAND, Möller’s stepmother, arguing fiercely.
A SLAMMING DOOR and HEAVY FOOTSTEPS suggest that Möller has left.
Grethe does not know if she should enter now or wait. Before she can decide, the servant’s entrance door flies open.
Hafferland stands, still shaking and eyes red, but trying to project a strong facade.
Hafferland looks at Grethe with displeasure.