INT. MASTER BEDROOM - PERLMAN VILLA - 1 HOUR LATER                  (p.4)                             

OLIVER quietly enters the room.

PERLMAN lies peaceful and quiet, his glasses and a book on the bedside table.

The only light is from the glowing embers in the fireplace.

PROFESSOR PERLMAN has died.

OLIVER

Professor? It's been an hour.

OLIVER reaches the bedside and gently nudges PERLMAN.

Slowly, OLIVER realizes the truth.

He grasps the PROFESSOR'S hand, his tears already flowing.

OLIVER (CONT'D)

(whispering)

Oh Pro. I'm going to miss you so much...

You're the father I wish I had.

ANNELLA and the others have returned and can be heard chatting from O.S.

ANNELLA enters the bedroom carrying packages as OLIVER wipes away his tears.

ANNELLA

Caro, I bought you those nasty cigars you...

Seeing OLIVER'S face she drops the boxes, and runs to the bed, hugging PERLMAN.

She is hysterical. Her world has been torn apart. She is wailing.

TILDA, MAFALDA and the others come rushing in.

ANNELLA (CONT'D)

(to Oliver)

Take the car! Find Elio!

 

OLIVER nods and runs from the room.

EXT. MONET'S BERM - DAY

ELIO and MARZIA lay on a blanket making out.

Although it is chilly, ELIO is shirtless and MARZIA wears only a black bra and panties.

OLIVER runs up the hill, surprising them.

ELIO

Hey, what are you doing...??

ELIO sees OLIVER'S face.  His eyes red-rimmed, his expression crestfallen.

OLIVER

Elio, come home with me...I'm so sorry...

ELIO

No...no, no, no...

ELIO rushes to OLIVER and they embrace.

Both are now crying...but ELIO is inconsolable.

MARZIA, now upset as well, is clearly on the sidelines.

INT. LIVING ROOM - PERLMAN VILLA - DAY

The house which was so festive for New Year's is now solemnly decorated for mourning. The mirrors are all covered. On a central table is an ancient Egyptian vase,

made of clay from the Nile, holding PERLMAN'S ashes.

A seven day Shiva candle burns next to the vase.

The family members wear torn ribbons in the tradition of Keriah.

Everyone is in black.

OLIVER stands.

OLIVER

Mrs. P, if you don't mind, I can say Kaddish,

since we have no rabbi yet.

ANNELLA

(nodding)

Thank you, yes, he would have liked that.

OLIVER

Yitgaddal veyitqaddash shmeh rabba.

(May His great name be exalted and sanctified.)

Be'alma di vra khir'uteh.

(In the world which He created according to His will.)

The sorrowful MUSIC of a single violin plays the JEWISH LAMENT over OLIVER'S recitation of Kaddish.

MONTAGE: Friends, neighbors, colleagues of the PROFESSOR, cousins, scholars and others have come to pay their respects.

ANNELLA and ELIO shakes hands with each of them.

INT. LIVING ROOM - PERLMAN VILLA - NIGHT

It is late and only the family remains sitting vigil.

Elio lightly plays the piano but his thoughts are miles away.

TILDA

It isn't very Jewish to be cremated, is it?

ELIO

(looking up)

It's what he wanted. He was very specific.

TILDA

It just seems odd to me.

OLIVER

It isn't a sin...

ANNELLA

And we have always been Jews of discretion.

 

ELIO and OLIVER exchange glances, rolling their eyes.

TILDA

And that urn is Egyptian, is it not?

ANNELLA

Yes, he's had that since his college days.

TILDA

But the Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians...

OLIVER

I think the Professor's sense of humor may be at play here...

VIMINI

Now you will have to finish writing his book all by yourself.

OLIVER

I don't know if I'm even capable of that...

ANNELLA

Don't be ridiculous. You must finish it.

He would be furious if you abandoned his work.

OLIVER

Well, I'll do my best.

ANNELLA

And I also need you to help with his library.

Most of it he wanted donated to three universities,

including Columbia...and his personal papers and

journals he wanted to save for Elio.

I'm afraid it's quite a job, but no one knows his

study as well as you do, Oliver.

One last bit of archaeology for you to conquer.

OLIVER nods and smiles weakly...thinking about the tasks ahead of him.

INT. KITCHEN - PERLMAN VILLA - DAY

The days of Shiva move slowly. The house is always full of people.

Crying.  Plates of food brought from friends sit on all the counters.

ANNELLA enters with a stack of cards. She reads each one stoically.

TILDA

More sympathy cards?

ANNELLA

He touched so many lives.

Look Elio, cards from Maynard and Pavel,

both send their love.

OLIVER

Who are they?

ELIO

Two of your predecessors.

TILDA

How is the work in the study going?

OLIVER

Slowly.   But I'll be ready to go as planned

when we are done sitting Shiva.

The phone rings.

ANNELLA

Mon Dieu...when will it stop?

MAFALDA hurries to the hall to answer it. The boys continue to pick at the plates of food. OLIVER sneaks small bites to TINO, the dog.

MAFALDA (O.S.)

Elio, vieni qui. Il telefono e per te.

(come here, the phone is for you)

ELIO rushes into the hall.

 

INT. HALLWAY - PERLMAN VILLA - DAY

 

ELIO passes MAFALDA, who ruffles his hair.

ELIO

(to Mafalda)

Chi e?

MAFALDA

(shrugging)

Paulina? Paulleta?

ELIO smiles and picks up the phone.

 

ELIO

Pronto?

SPLIT SCREEN: ELIO'S FLAT IN LONDON AND THE PERLMAN VILLA

PAULINE

Elio, is that you?

ELIO

Yes! I'm so glad you called.

I've been trying to reach Julien all week.

Are you in Vienna?

PAULINE

No. Actually I'm in your flat, I hope you don't mind.

ELIO

In London?

I don't mind, but what are you doing there?

PAULINE

I'm afraid they've cancelled the rest of the tour...

ELIO

What?  Why?  Is it because of me?

PAULINE and TROYE are both huddled near the phone. It's raining in London.

PAULINE

We don't know. It's all very mysterious.

Julien is nowhere to be found,

we thought you would know something.

ELIO

I haven't heard a word.

I was trying to get ahold of him to rejoin the tour...

but my father died on New Year's day...

PAULINE

(shocked)

Oh Elio, I'm so sorry!  We had no idea.

I shouldn't be bothering you at a time like this.

ELIO

It's fine, I'm glad you called.

So what does the brass at LPO say?

PAULINE

They told us all to go home and they would contact

us next week. Which is a problem because Troye

and I sublet our flat for another month.

ELIO

Ah, so you wondered if you could stay in mine.

PAULINE

Do you mind terribly? We're homeless musicians.

ELIO

No, of course you must stay.

I'll have to figure out what I'm going to do now...

PAULINE

Are you still seeing that gorgeous man?

ELIO

(blushing)

Yes, but it's complicated. I'll call you guys soon.

PAULINE

We miss you.

Let us know if there's anything we can do for you from here.

ELIO

I will.   I love you both.

INT. STUDY - PERLMAN VILLA - DAY

OLIVER has boxes out and he is sorting books into them.

He has straightened all the papers, and the usually cluttered study is taking on a more sparse and formal look.

ANNELLA is helping him.

ELIO enters grinning.

ELIO (CONT'D)

Still want me to tag along on the trip?

OLIVER

(surprised)

Of course! But what about the Philharmonic?

ELIO

The tour is canceled...rather mysteriously.

ANNELLA

How so?   How can that be?

ELIO

Julien has gone missing.

OLIVER

Strange.

ELIO

Everyone is back in London.

ANNELLA

So you will return to England as well, Caro.

ELIO

Yes, but first I'll help Oliver with the book.

Will you be okay, Mama, if I'm gone for a few weeks?

ANNELLA

Yes, of course.

I'll have a house full of people to keep me company.

OLIVER

(to Elio)

Are you sure?

ELIO

Yes! What better way to honor my father

than to help with his last book?

EXT. UFFIZI GALLERY - FLORENCE - DAY

OLIVER is now CLEAN-SHAVEN.

ELIO and OLIVER are dressed as academics in jackets and ties.

OLIVER carries a leather briefcase and ELIO holds a 35mm camera.

ELIO (CONT'D)

This brings back a lot of memories.

 

OLIVER

Of your father?

ELIO

(nodding)

He loved museums, small or large.

But the Galleria dell'Accademia was a favorite.

We came here a lot when I was a boy.

OLIVER consults his notebook.

OLIVER

Do you know...a Signore Lorenzo Giovaccini?

He's the curator we are to meet.

ELIO

Doesn't ring a bell.

INT. GALLERIA DELL'ACCADEMIA - FLORENCE - DAY

The DAVID stands upon a high pedestal at the intersection of two long halls in a large domed room. High above him natural light pours in through a circular skylight.

The gallery has been cleared of all tourists for this visit.

LORENZO, the curator, is a man in his late sixties, with a balding head and a graying beard.

OLIVER

(awed)

Pictures do not do this justice.

He seems to glow.

LORENZO

Mmm.  Perhaps the greatest masterpiece

in a city filled with astonishing art.

ELIO

Michelangelo was only 26 years old

when he began to sculpt this...

LORENZO

True...but did you know that Michelangelo

was actually the third artist to work on this sculpture?

OLIVER

Really?

ELIO

Agostino began the project in 1464,

but only began to shape the legs...

then ten years later Rossellino was

commissioned to take up where Agostino left off.

LORENZO smiles at ELIO.

LORENZO

So like his father.

OLIVER

He knows everything.

Then what happened, Elio?

ELIO

Rossellino was fired, and the marble block

sat outside for more than 25 years.

Then in 1501 Michelangelo won the commission.

By 1504 he had accomplished this.

LORENZO

But it weighs more than six tons...

too heavy to go on the roofline of the cathedral.

ELIO begins snapping photos of the sculpture.

OLIVER

The professor and I discussed the religious

and political implications of the statue...

but something we didn't mention...

LORENZO

Si?

OLIVER

Well, looking at him now, I can't help but

wonder why a Jewish King is uncircumcised.

All of them laugh.

 

LORENZO

Elio, can you guess why?

ELIO

Well, Michelangelo was a Catholic,

as were his models, presumably.

But beyond all that, this statue represents

Florentine strength and beauty.

OLIVER

So?

ELIO

So, Michelangelo would have considered

circumcision barbaric and a mutilation

of the perfect human form.

LORENZO

Bravo.

OLIVER 

(considering himself)

He may have had a point. (pause)

Anyway, he doesn't look very Jewish.

ELIO

(teasing)

Neither do you.

LORENZO

Are you going to see the Donatello Davids?

OLIVER

Yes, yes.

The Museo Nazionale del Bargello is next on our list.

LORENZO

Ah, the bronze is a favorite of mine.

MONTAGE: ORIGINAL MUSIC (Troye Sivan or Sufjan Stevens)

ELIO and OLIVER in museums, looking at paintings and statues.

Looking at slides they have taken.

OLIVER pouring over his manuscript while ELIO listens to music on a Sony CD player.

They are on a train traveling across Europe.

They see the Davids of Rome and Florence.

They see the avant-garde sculpture by Pablo Gargallo in Barcelona.

The trip is romantic, joyful. They take pictures.

They go to Madrid to see El Escorial and the statues of the Kings of Judah.

EXT. PETIT PALACE POSADA DEL PEINE - MADRID - DAY

OLIVER and ELIO walking through the narrow streets near their hotel arm in arm.

Their affection is noticed by a group of young Spaniards loitering nearby.

INT. HOTEL SUITE - PETIT PALACE - DAY

OLIVER and ELIO laughing. ELIO jumps on to the bed exhausted.

OLIVER reaches into his backpack and brings out a small wrapped package.

OLIVER

I have something for you.

ELIO

Really?   What's this for?

ELIO begins to feverishly unwrap the gift.

OLIVER

For all your help.

I realize now that I couldn't have done this without you.

ELIO takes out a delicate gold bracelet.

He immediately puts it on his wrist which is already cluttered with other jewelry.

ELIO

It's fantastic! Thank you.

They embrace and kiss.

ELIO (CONT'D)

Now you must have one from me as well.

He takes off a very masculine, leather twined bracelet from his wrist.

OLIVER considers it, and puts it on, next to his watch.

He seems quite moved by the gesture.

OLIVER

I have something else for you too.

OLIVER grins and takes ELIO'S hand, leading him toward the bathroom.

ELIO

Will I like it?

OLIVER

Yes, I believe you will.

INT. BATHROOM - PETIT PALACE SUITE - DAY

Steam rises from the huge shower.

ELIO and OLIVER quickly undress.

In moments they are under the water together, laughing, kissing.

OLIVER (CONT'D)

Do my back while we're in here,  will you?

ELIO

I'll do more than that!

Soap, steam, water.

Hands and bodies pressed against the glass as they make love.

They are completely uninhibited.

EXT. PETIT PALACE POSADA DEL PEINE - MADRID - NIGHT

OLIVER is bundled up and walking through the streets alone.

As he crosses into an alley two young men laugh at him, muttering the word, "Maricón."

OLIVER hears them and knows he is being mocked. He's suddenly livid.

OLIVER

What did you bastards say?

The men immediately start cursing at him in Spanish.

OLIVER punches the closest man squarely in the face, and the fight is on.

It's two against one, but OLIVER is much bigger than the Spaniards.

It's an old fashioned street brawl.

OLIVER ends up with a bloodied nose and a blackened eye by the time

a police whistle blows.

When the cop arrives the two young men have vanished into the crowd,

leaving only OLIVER with blood on his ripped shirt...

INT. HOTEL SUITE - PETIT PALACE - NIGHT

OLIVER enters, ice wrapped in a bloody towel held to his face.

is standing on the balcony when he sees him enter.

ELIO

My God, what happened?  Were you mugged?

OLIVER avoids ELIO, going to the bar to pour himself a drink.

OLIVER

It's nothing...I just needed to teach a couple of

the local boys some manners.

ELIO watches OLIVER carefully.

ELIO

I've never known you to be violent...

OLIVER

There's a lot about me you've never known...

they put me in a very foul mood.

ELIO

I used to think I could tell your moods by

what color bathing suit you were wearing.

OLIVER

That's absurd.

INT. HOTEL SUITE - PETIT PALACE - NIGHT

OLIVER and ELIO are in bed together, but they are not touching.

OLIVER is snoring.

Moonlight streams in through the French doors.

They are both startled by the phone ringing.

ELIO fumbles to answer it.

 

ELIO

Hello?

TROYE (O.S.)

Elio, is it you?

ELIO

Troye? How did you get this number?

TROYE (O.S.)

Your mother told me where you were staying.

I'm sorry to call so late.

ELIO

What's wrong?

TROYE (O.S.)

You need to come back to London, Mate.

It's about Julien.

ELIO

What about him?  Where has he been?

TROYE (O.S.)

The orchestra isn't saying, but the word is that he's ill...

seriously ill.

ELIO

What's the matter with him? Is he in hospital?

TROYE (O.S.)

I don't know where he is, but I've heard that he has it.

Elio, Julien has AIDS.

ELIO is silent for a very long time.  He holds the phone to his chest.

He looks at OLIVER, now sleeping.  ELIO begins to cry.

ELIO

I'm going to catch the first flight out to London...

TROYE (O.S.)

Listen, just because he's sick that doesn't mean

you'll get it too...

ELIO

But it doesn't mean I won't.

ELIO hangs up the phone, gets out of bed and starts packing his suitcase.

He turns on a light.

OLIVER

(still half asleep)

What the hell are you doing?

 ELIO fumbles for his clothes, throwing things into his bags.

ELIO

I've got to go...I'm going to London.

OLIVER

Who was that on the phone? 

Can't it wait til morning?

OLIVER sees that ELIO is truly upset.  He turns on another light.  He reaches for ELIO.

OLIVER (CONT'D)

What is it? What's the matter?

ELIO

(crying)

I don't want to die...not now.

OLIVER

What are you talking about?

You're not going to die.

ELIO is becoming hysterical, realizing the full implications of what the future might bring. OLIVER hugs him tight.

OLIVER (CONT'D)

Tell me what's happening.

ELIO wrenches himself away from OLIVER.

ELIO

(yelling)

It's Julien, he's got AIDS!

And if he's got it, then probably so do I.

We certainly fucked enough!

OLIVER

Elio, calm down.

ELIO

Don't you see? I might have murdered you too...

we just don't know it yet.

Christ, it's probably what I deserve, but not you.

OLIVER

You're talking nonsense.

ELIO

You don't know the real me either, my friend.

I fucked everything that moved in London...seriously.

I should be dead already.

ELIO uncontrollably sobs and falls into OLIVER'S arms.

ELIO (CONT'D)

You have to forget you ever met me.

Go back to your wife and son.

Live a safe, normal life.

Please, Oliver, please. You have to go back...

OLIVER gently rocks him, and pulls him back into bed.

OLIVER

(whispering)

Yeah, yeah.

We'll sort it all out in the morning, okay?

ELIO

(quietly)

We'll never see each other again.

You'll forget all about me, please...please...

OLIVER

Okay, okay.  Sleep now.

INT. TERMINAL - MADRID BARAJAS AIRPORT - DAY

OLIVER still looks rough around the edges from his fight, and ELIO looks tired and pale. They walk to the point where they must go in separate directions.

ELIO

You'll finish the book?

OLIVER

Yes, of course.

And you will call me and let me know how you're doing, right?

ELIO

You know I can't.

OLIVER

You're sure this is what you want?

ELIO

It's what has to be. It's over.

I want you to survive ...

You deserve a house full of kids and

a life without rumors and innuendo.

Go home and love them.

We need to forget everything.

OLIVER

That's bullshit and you know it.

ELIO

We were never meant to be together...

that's why you got married in the first place, isn't it?

You knew there was no future for us.

OLIVER

Stop it!  Years ago I was afraid.

Afraid of my feelings, afraid of who I was when

I was near you. You were the strong one. (pause)

I'm sorry, sorry that I hurt you...

and for what it's worth, I never stopped loving you.

Now come here and hug me goodbye.

ELIO shakes his head, NO.  OLIVER starts to get upset.  ELIO will not look at him.

OLIVER (CONT'D)

Fine, Elio, if this is what you want...then, Later.

OLIVER turns on his heels and strides quickly away, never once glancing back.

Tears run down ELIO'S face as he looks up and watches OLIVER get farther and farther away.

ANGLE ON OLIVER'S face as he leaves, wet with tears.

NEXT

©2020 Marko Realmonte, storyteller

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