Avventura, L' (The Adventure)
L'avventura (The Adventure)

script by
Michelangelo Antonioni
Elio Bartolini
Tonino Guerra

translated by
Louis Brigante

It is the afternoon of a summer's day. Anna, a twenty-five-year-old brunette, 
comes out from the entrance of a stately building and walks along a pathway 
that leads up to a dirt road. She is in a great hurry and becomes a little 
annoyed and surprised at seeing her father, a meticulously dressed and 
elderly gentleman, standing near the curb busily talking to his chauffeur in 
front of a black British car.
        So, there you are... I've been upstairs looking 
        all over for you...
There is a moment of silence during which Anna's father deliberately ignores 
her presence. She stares at him intently, trying to determine his mood and 
wondering how she is going to tell him what she has to say before she leaves. 
Finally, he turns around and faces her.
        Oh, I thought you were already on the high 
Anna is barely able to control her temper, but realizing that the discussion 
is about to take the usual sarcastic turn, she immediately checks herself.
        No, not yet, Dad.
Her father fixes her with a long ironic look. Conscious of his daughter's 
haste, he is apparently trying his best to detain her.
        Isn't it fashionable any more to put on a 
        sailor's cap with the name of the yacht? 

        No, Dad, it isn't.
There is another moment of silence. Meanwhile, a car has pulled up on the 
other side of the road. It is Claudia, a twenty-four-year-old blonde and a 
friend of Anna's. Both she and the driver get out of the car and remain 
discreetly in the background, waiting for the conversation to end. Anna's 
father resumes speaking, after a cursory nod to Claudia who, in turn, 
responds with a polite but half-hearted smile.
        And how long will you be away? 

        Four or five days.

        Oh, very well. I'll just spend the weekend 
        alone by myself and take a little rest. I 
        should be used to it by now.
Anna glares at him furiously but still manages to restrain herself.
        Used to what?

        To the fact of my retirement, not only as a 
        diplomat but also as a father.

            (protestingly and with a 
             deep sense of compassion) 
        But how could you say such a thing? 

        Because it's true. After thirty years -- not 
        having ever spoken the truth to anyone, I 
        should at least allow myself to do so with my 
        own daughter. 

        And have you any other truths to tell me? 

        You already know what they are.

        You mean Sandro, don't you?  Well, I beg of 
        you, please, spare me that. Goodbye, Dad.
She kisses him on the cheek but the father remains unmoved. It is obvious 
that he still has something else he wants to say to her. In fact, after 
gazing upon his daughter with a certain amount of pity, he finally does say 
        That type will never marry you, my child.

Anna has a difficult time restraining herself but manages somehow to keep 
calm as she answers.
        Up until now, Dad, I've been the one who hasn't 
        wanted to marry him.

        It's the same thing. Goodbye, dear.
He now returns the kiss his daughter had given him a short while ago. Then, 
without once turning around, he heads slowly towards the entrance of the 
house, as Claudia comes into the foreground.

Anna, still very tense and upset over the scene with her father, gets into 
the car. Claudia follows after her, as the driver puts her suitcase into the 
        Have you been waiting long? You'll have to 
        excuse me.
Anna doesn't answer. She merely pats Claudia's hand. The car takes off, as 
Anna's maid, standing to one side of the road, waves a warm goodbye. Claudia 
responds by waving back, but Anna doesn't even look around. Instead, she 
turns to the driver and says:
        Please hurry, Alvaro. We're late.
The car speeds ahead along the dusty road, across a verdant strip of land, 
until it reaches the archway of a stone-wall fence around which it turns and 
disappears. It is seen again emerging from behind a cement wall and continues 
racing swiftly onward over a road that runs between two high walls. There is 
no sign of traffic. Only silence. It is an ancient road, and a very elegant 
one. Claudia looks at it admiringly. Anna continues to remain wrapped up 
within herself. The car now makes another turn, heading into a small, narrow 
road flanked on each side by gardens of patrician villas. Suddenly, it 
emerges on a drab, modern street amid the kind of traffic typical of any 
modern town.

Finally the car enters the street where Sandro lives and pulls up in front of 
a small but very fashionable palazzo. Anna and Claudia get out. And as the 
driver starts to remove the suitcases from the trunk, Claudia turns to Anna 
and says:
        I'll wait for you here.
Anna starts to walk across the street and is about to enter a building. 
Surprised, Claudia calls out to her:
        But where are you going? 

        I'm thirsty.

        If I had a man waiting for me for half an hour 
        and whom I hadn't seen for a month ...
All of a sudden, Anna stops. She is pensive, almost sullen.
        You know, I could just as well go without 
        seeing him today.

        What! After giving us such a run around... 

Claudia stops, smiles, and jokingly tries to laugh it off. 

        I see... so it's farewell to the yacht...and 
        farewell to the cruise...
Anna pays no heed to Claudia's teasing comments but follows her own original 
line of thought.
        You know, it's terrible to be far away from one 
        another. Really, it's difficult to keep an 
        affair going when one is here and the other is 
        somewhere else. But, at the same time...it's 
        comforting.  Because it gives you a chance to 
        consider what you want and how you want it...
        but when he's right there before you all the 
        time... well, he's right there...
            (Then, with a sense 
             of exasperation) 
        Oh, let's go back....
Claudia notices Sandro leaning out of the window from his apartment on the 
first floor of the building. He is looking at them attentively. He is a young 
man of thirty-five. His shirt is unbuttoned and the tie around his neck is 
unknotted. Realizing that he has been spotted, he smiles and waves a cheerful 
        I'll be right down.
As if seized by a sudden powerful impulse, Anna heads straight towards the of 
the building. Claudia looks at her with astonishment, and watches her 
disappear into the doorway. Then she looks up again at the window. But Sandro 
is no longer there.

Sandro's apartment is extremely small. Although it contains many books, it 
has the atmosphere of a place that is very seldom lived in. Sandro has just 
finished knotting his tie. He closes his suitcase and heads toward the door. 
He turns back, however, to pick up a towel fallen from the bed. He takes the 
towel into the bathroom. Then he goes to the door again, opens it, and sees 
Anna. She appears a little anxious. Without giving Sandro a chance to say a 
word, she enters the apartment, closing the door behind her. Sandro puts down 
his suitcase and is about to embrace her, but Anna steps aside and begins 
staring at him with an intense look upon her face. Taking him all in with her 
eyes, she examines his suit, his hands, his legs, his shoes. Then her gaze 
moves back up to his face which she proceeds to scrutinize. Sandro is unable 
to understand her behavior, so he shrugs and jokingly exclaims:
        Would you like to see my profile?
He snaps himself into profile, then turns, slowly, in the manner of a store 
window mannequin. Anna continues to stare at him. This time she peers 
directly into his eyes. Sandro is no longer amused.
        Well, what is it?
Finally, Anna puts an end to her staring, and taking Sandro by the hand she 
leads him around the room. She stops in front of a mirror and looks at 
herself. The expression on her face becomes taut, determined. She starts 
unbuttoning her dress as she continues looking at herself in the mirror. 
Sandro comes up close to her shoulders, caresses her hair, and whispers 
softly into her ear.
        But your friend is waiting downstairs. 

        She'll wait.
Anna turns around and presses herself up against him with such a violent 
passion that Sandro is somewhat dismayed. But only for an instant. Soon they 
are feverishly kissing each other, and it is almost with a sense of sheer 
animal pleasure that Sandro abandons himself.

Meanwhile, left alone, Claudia is pacing back and forth outside in front of 
the building. She is bored and obviously tired of waiting. Then, as she is 
about to cross over to the other side of the street, she sees Sandro and Anna 
coming out of the doorway. The expression on Anna's face hasn't changed -- 
she appears sad and gloomy. But Claudia doesn't take note of it; she is too 
busy fuming over Anna's lack of consideration, eager to let them both 
understand that she is sick and tired of waiting around.
As Sandro opens the window of the car, which is pointed towards Milan, he 
says to Claudia:
        I have a feeling that you're not used to being 
            (glancing first at Sandro 
             and then at Anna)
        That seems to apply to you also...
Meanwhile, the driver has taken Anna's suitcase out of the black car and puts 
it into Sandro's. Claudia picks up her own suitcase and is about to do the 
same but Sandro intervenes and takes it from her.
        Don't be so humble.

        How should I be ... arrogant? 

        But of course... arrogant, haughty... Hasn't 
        Anna ever told you?
While this exchange was going on, Anna has already climbed into Sandro's car. 
Sandro follows and takes his place at the wheel; Claudia gets in alongside 
him. The car takes off at high speed.

Heading south along a state highway, Sandro's car is traveling at high speed 
over a straight open road. It is twilight and as the evening shadows begin to 
fall, the surrounding countryside is bathed in an aura of mystery.

Inside the car Anna, Claudia and Sandro sit in complete silence. Anna is 
deeply absorbed in her own thoughts. Claudia is looking out of the window, 
enthralled by the dark beauty of the landscape. Another car draws up 
alongside of Sandro's and is about to pass him. But Sandro steps on the 
accelerator and pulls ahead with a tremendous burst of speed. The other car 
lags behind and then turns off at a crossroad. However, Sandro makes no 
attempt to slow down. In fact, spurred on by what has now become a definitely 
hostile atmosphere, he drives even faster.

As Sandro suddenly switches on the headlights, the violent glare that 
polarizes the roadside cuts off Claudia's view. She turns to Sandro with a 
look of disappointment
        It was lovelier before.
To please her, Sandro turns the headlights off and once again the countryside 
is covered by a veil of thick but romantic shadows.
        Like this?
Now Claudia again peers out at the landscape -- but only for an instant. 
Sandro abruptly turns the headlights on again, revealing a sharp curve in the 
road up ahead, only about a hundred yards away. He quickly shifts into lower 
gear, and the car swerves slightly. The sudden shift from fourth to third 
gear causes the motor to emit a sound that resembles a cry. The car races 
swiftly towards the curve, getting closer and closer. But at such high speed 
it appears impossible the car will be able to make the turn. Further up 
ahead, where the curve fades, there is a stone wall that runs along the side 
of the road. At this point, even Anna is attentive, her eyes wide open. Both 
she and Claudia are petrified and terror-stricken as the curve and the wall 
loom closer and closer. Fifty yards, forty, ten. All of a sudden, the 
headlights illuminate a large gap in the wall about three or four yards away, 
just on the other side of a small ditch that separates the road from the wall 
itself. There seems to be no other choice. With a frightening leap -- and 
going well over fifty miles an hour -- the car barely makes it over the ditch 
and right through the opening in the wall. The car comes to a sudden halt, 
but skids along on the muddy ground of an empty lot until it finally stops 
near the door of a small farmhouse in front of an old man. He is seated on a 
bench and has been observing the entire scene without budging an inch. 

There is a brief pause -- silence. Then Sandro comes out of the car followed 
by Claudia and Anna. Claudia is visibly shaken. She leans up against the 
building for support, as though in search of something solid and dependable. 
She is also unnerved by the feeling that she is responsible for what has just 
        It's all my fault!
But instead of reproaching her, Sandro turns to the old man and excuses 
himself for having broken into his property. Imperturbably, the old man looks 
up at him and says:
             OLD MAN
        And who do you think made that hole over there?
Even before he has a chance to be surprised at the old man's remark, Sandro 
becomes aware that Anna is laughing. It is not the hysterical laugh that 
normally might be expected after such a close call. It is, instead a pure and 
simple laugh, almost a happy one, and leaves both Sandro and Claudia plainly 
        There's nothing much to laugh at. 

        And that's what I say, too. We could have all 
        been killed.
Anna looks at them as she continues to laugh.
        I'm sorry ... but I can't help laughing...

On a calm sea, amid the Aeolian Isles, just off the coast of Sicily, a motor 
yacht is moving quietly and smoothly over the water. It is heading directly 
towards a small island that appears like a huge rock jutting up from the sea, 
sharply silhouetted against the sky, about a hundred yards away. A few sea 
gulls are lazily wheeling around up above.

Aboard the yacht, a sailor is at the helm, peacefully smoking his pipe, while 
another peers out over the water as he munches on a sandwich. It is almost 
Raimondo, a deeply bronzed young man in his thirties, is lying outstretched 
in the sun on top of the cabin. Towards the prow, lying flat on her stomach 
upon a small rubber mat, is Claudia. Her arms are dangling over the side of 
the boat, catching the cool, fine spray of water splashing gently against the 
prow. Corrado comes out of the cabin. He sits down on a bench near the stern 
after placing a cushion under himself so as not to soil his suit, which is 
white and of an elegance that is slightly out of style. Corrado has a 
sensitive face, with a look that is both sharp and intelligent. In age, he is 
closer to his fifties than his forties. Following directly behind him is 
Giulia, one of those impossible women who are so terribly sweet and coy and 
yet so demanding of attention. The pose she strikes as she looks out over the 
water, and the saccharine tone of voice in which she speaks, are precisely 
characteristic of her nature.
        It's as smooth and slick as oil. 

        I detest comparisons made with oil.
Anna also appears on deck, looks around and, noticing Claudia, goes over and 
lies down beside her. Claudia rolls over on her back to embrace all that 
wonderful sun but her outstretched arm comes in contact with Anna, who smiles 
and joins her in a friendly embrace.
        Did you sleep well?

        Yes, fairly well. But I went to bed last night 
        planning to do some thinking about a number of 
        things ... instead, I fell asleep.

        I didn't know one could sleep so well on a 
        yacht. It lulls you ...
Their conversation is suddenly interrupted by Sandro's voice shouting 
"Hello." He comes up to them and gives Anna a warm hug, then nods hello to 
Claudia. He is in a jaunty mood. Stretching himself out on the deck, he opens 
a picture magazine he had brought with him and starts to read. But Anna 
places her hand over the page he is looking at and says to him:
        It would be better for you to get some sun.

Sandro closes the magazine and throws it overboard. The pages come apart in 
the water. Some of them are quickly swept under by the waves, while others 
float and slowly drift away: white specks upon which a few sea gulls converge 
emitting their guttural cries. 

As Sandro stretches himself out in the sun, Anna looks upon him with 
tenderness. She is about to embrace him but stops midway, and then finally 
changes her mind. Instead, she proceeds to stare at him with a profoundly 
troubled expression. Then, momentarily dismissing her anxiety, she cuddles up 
close to him in an effort to provoke his affection. Sandro responds, but only 
with a fleeting kiss. Seeing them together like this, Claudia gets up and 
moves away to the far side of the prow. Sandro and Anna remain as they are 
until they are suddenly enveloped by a dark shadow. Sandro opens his eyes and 
sits up. Anna does the same. The rocky island is now quite close, almost 
directly upon them. It is larger than it previously appeared and casts a 
long, dark shadow over the yacht. The water beneath the overhanging cliffs is 
extremely clear and almost motionless. Sandro rises to his feet and shouts 
out to everybody aboard.
        Shall we go for a swim? 

        Oh, no... please... not here.  It looks too 
The yacht proceeds to encircle the island. Up ahead, another island comes 
into view. It is smaller, brighter, and less foreboding. Corrado gets up and 
comes over to the prow to join Sandro, Anna and Claudia. He is immediately 
followed by Giulia, who peers intently at the landscape.
        At one time the Aeolian isles were all 

        You must know your third grade geography book 
        inside out.
Giulia looks at him resentfully and abashed. Claudia points to an island 
which they have just passed.
        What is that one over there called? 

        That must be Basiluzzo.
        Sounds like the name of a fish -- merluzzo, 
Corrado then points to an even smaller island which they are now approaching.
        Now that one is Lisca Bianca.
Anna, who had been absorbed all the while in contemplating the landscape, 
though still preoccupied with certain personal thoughts of her own, suddenly 
unfastens her thin dress. Stripping down to her bathing suit, she turns to 
the group and exclaims with a note of exasperation:
        Oh, my goodness... All that yapping just for a 
        little swim.
She then goes to the edge of the boat, which has slowed down somewhat, and 
before Sandro has a chance to call out to her, she dives into the water.
Once in the water, Anna starts swimming towards the island. The sailor at the 
helm slows the boat even more so as to keep it within Anna's range. Raimondo, 
meanwhile, has gotten his skin-diving equipment ready; around his waist he is 
tightening a belt to which a long knife is attached. The yacht continues to 
slow down. Sandro now dives into the water and starts swimming towards Anna. 
Claudia and Giulia are removing their clothes and they too get ready to go 
into the water. But Claudia is afraid to dive in while the boat is still in 
motion, so she turns to the sailor and shouts:
        Stop ... stop the boat!
The motor is turned off and the yacht soon comes to a halt. A sailor places a 
ladder over the side of the boat. Claudia goes down the ladder, easing 
herself into the water. She moves away from the side of the yacht by swimming 
backwards. Giulia follows her down the ladder but stops on the last rung.
        How's the water?
Sandro looks up and, pointing to the rocks at the highest part of the island, 
answers her.
        Let's see you dive from the top of those rocks, 
        Giulia. That would be really sensational.  Come 
        on, Giulia ... your life is much too 

        What has everybody got against me this morning?
From inside the cabin, a feminine voice is heard shouting:
Solicitously, Raimondo goes over to the door of the cabin, from which 
Patrizia emerges wrapped in a filmy nightgown. She is a woman of great 
elegance, somewhere in her thirties.
        Why have we stopped?

            (kissing her hand) 
        Lady Patrizia!
Then, holding her by the hand, Raimondo leads her towards the prow, where 
Corrado greets her and likewise kisses her hand.
        Aren't you going in for a swim, Patrizia? 

        What makes you think I would even dream of such 
        a thing? Raimondo, why don't you go in for a 
She turns around to look at Raimondo and becomes somewhat startled to see him 
all rigged out in his diving equipment, complete with mask, spear-gun, etc.
        Raimondo... Do you enjoy fishing underwater?
        I detest it. But, after all, what can you do...
        It's the latest...and I try my best to adapt 
He dives in. As soon as he hits the water, he starts shivering and exclaims:
        Who ever said that man was originally a 
        creature of the sea!
Then, lowering the mask over his face, he begins to submerge. On deck, 
Patrizia peers out over the sea and covering her eyes to shade them from the 
sun, remarks:
        I have never understood the islands. With all 
        that water around them, poor things ...

Out on the water, Sandro and Anna are almost at a standstill, keeping  
themselves afloat with only the slightest movement of their arms. Sandro is 
laughing and joking as though all this purely physical enjoyment of sun and 
water has freed him of all other cares. Anna tries to emulate him but is not
entirely successful. Every now and then, her face becomes clouded with that 
same worried expression.
        When do you have to go back?

        I don't know... It depends on Ettore... He's 
        now in the process of negotiating for a 
        contract here in Sicily...

        Then how come you're not with him? 

        What a question... Because I want to be with 
        you, naturally. I hope he doesn't close the 
        deal so he'll leave me alone at least for a few 
        days... Isn't this water wonderful!
He is lying on his back in the water, with his eyes closed, his face to the 
sun, cradled in the gentle movement of the waves. Anna looks at him, then 
after a moment of silence, she says:
        I'd like to find a place where I can get some
        peace and rest, maybe around here somewhere. 
        I'd like to try...

        What could be more restful than this?...
            (He opens his eyes and 
             is upright in the water) 
        Excuse me, what is it that you want to try?
Instead of answering him, Anna starts swimming rapidly out to sea. Sandro 
tries to hold her back but because she swims much faster, he gives up and 
finds himself alongside of Giulia.
             (referring to Anna) 
        Where is she going? 

        Ask her.
Giulia is not much of a swimmer; she bobs up and down in the water, doing a 
crawl, and it seems she is always on the verge of going under. Still, she 
manages to stay afloat, enjoying herself like a little child. Slightly off to 
one side, Raimondo is exploring the depths, with his spear-gun in hand, ready 
to shoot. He seems to be chasing a fish that is apparently trying to elude 
him. But the water is so clear that it would be difficult even for a fish to 
hide. In fact, only a moment later, Raimondo takes aim with his spear-gun, 
pulls the trigger and the little harpoon shoots out. Then, with a great 
splash, he swims off in hasty pursuit of the fish. A rubber raft, piloted by 
one of the crew and bearing Corrado ashore, comes passing through the 
swimming area. The sailor is carrying on a conversation with Corrado.
        I've always worked on pleasure boats... even 
        though it's more tiring. 


        Because the owners never seem to have any fixed 
        hours. For example, last night we kept right on 
        sailing... We didn't even have a chance to get 
        some sleep. Still, I like it better.
The raft passes alongside of Sandro, and Corrado calls out to him:
        I'm going ashore to take a look around the 
        island. There are some ruins up there... 

        There too...
        Well, we're still in Italy, you know!
The raft continues on its way towards shore. A little distance away, Claudia 
is floating on her back, basking in the sun, with her eyes closed -- almost 
motionless. Her arms are outstretched and only the very slightest movement of 
her fingers in the water is sufficient to keep her afloat. Suddenly, her hand 
comes in contact with something viscous... which seems to be a fish that has 
shot up to the surface of the water. At first, Claudia merely withdraws her 
hand without bothering to see what it is, but since it persists in following 
her, she opens her eyes and notices something moving right next to her. 
Frightened, she lets out a tiny yelp. At that very moment, directly behind 
the fish, Raimondo's rubber fins appear above the water, and she realizes 
that it is Raimondo himself. He removes his mask and breaks out into a hearty 
laugh as Claudia playfully splashes some water into his face.

Observing them from a few yards away is Anna. Having returned from her swim 
out in the open sea, she was about to join Claudia. But Claudia, involved now 
in chasing after Raimondo, doesn't notice her. 

Meanwhile, Raimondo, outdistancing Claudia, finds himself alongside of 
        What kind of a fish is that? 

        It's a cernia. 

        My God, it's enormous.
Claudia, having given up trying to catch Raimondo, swims up alongside of 
Giulia, who is busy observing Corrado disembark on a little strip of beach 
that stands out distinctly white against the dark rocks. Claudia is in a 
playful mood. She dives underwater, grabs hold of Giulia's leg, comes up, and 
then dives under once again. Giulia, caught up in the spirit of all this 
playfulness, drops her concern with Corrado and joins in with the fun and 

Suddenly there is a loud shriek, then Anna's voice is heard screaming:
        A shark!... A shark!
They all turn around to look at her. Anna is swimming furiously towards the 
boat. Then, immediately, the booming voice of the sailor aboard the yacht 
sounds out:
        Don't move,  lady... Stay where you are... 
        Stop! Everybody keep still.
But Sandro ignores the warning and starts swimming out towards Anna like a 
demon. Raimondo, who was about to climb aboard the yacht, grasps his 
spear-gun firmly in his hand, hurls himself back into the water, and also 
starts to swim in Anna's direction. Claudia is stricken with fear, and holds 
on tight to Giulia. Anna has stopped swimming and is cautiously looking 
around to see if anything comes up out of the water. Then, she looks up and 
seeing Sandro and Raimondo approaching, she shouts:
        Stay away!
They both stop. Then, Raimondo hurriedly dons his mask and disappears under 
water while Sandro again starts swimming out towards Anna. Sandro comes up 
alongside her.
But Anna doesn't say a word. Instead, they both swim silently back to the 
yacht, where Claudia and Giulia are already climbing aboard. Patrizia comes 
out of the cabin to see what is happening.

They all lean over the side of the boat, looking down into the water, 
expecting the shark at any moment to come into view. But the water remains 
unruffled, the seaweed below is clearly visible, waving like so many fans. 
Even the rocks at the bottom can be seen with all sorts of small-gilled fish 
darting about. A mysterious, fascinating world and yet, because of what 
happened, one that arouses fear. Everyone aboard is silent. Until Anna and 
Sandro, followed by Raimondo, finally arrive and climb aboard. Sandro 
immediately takes Anna to her cabin, and the others follow, making various 
            (to Anna)
        But how did you become aware of it? Did it 
        touch you?
Anna doesn't answer but continues on ahead amid the overlapping remarks.
        I would have died.
        ... and how ugly they are ... with all those teeth...

            (shouting from the shore) 
        What happened? 

            (shouting from the prow) 
        There's a shark in the area. Don't move from 
        where you are! 

        Who's moving?

Inside the cabin, which is partitioned into separate rooms, the general 
layout is neat and orderly, with a number of prints decorating the walls. 
Sandro and Anna, followed by Claudia, enter from the outside deck and cross 
over into Anna's room. It is extremely small, with two cots on one side and a 
long curtain that partially conceals a bureau from which several dresses are 
seen hanging.

Anna is soaking wet in her bathing suit and her hair is all knotted into  
clusters that hang down over her face. Without bothering to dry herself, she 
crouches down on the cot and, assisted by Claudia, wraps a blanket around her 
body. Sandro and Claudia look at her with great concern. A member of the crew 
enters carrying a tray on which there is a half-filled glass of liquor, which 
Sandro takes and offers to Anna.
        Here, drink some cognac.
Anna positively refuses it, and the sailor leaves as Sandro sets the glass 
down on a shelf. Looking up at both Sandro and Claudia, Anna appears pleased 
with their solicitude.
        It's nothing... really. Let's go back... It's 
        all over now. 

A pause and then an instant later, she begins shivering under the blanket. 

        Only, I'd like to change. I'm a little cold.
Leaving Anna and Claudia alone on their own, Sandro turns and goes outside 
the cabin where the others are still congregated, busy chattering. Among the 
remarks exchanged, one that is distinctly heard is Patrizia's.
        But where did the shark go to?
As soon as Sandro closes the door to the cabin, Anna is suddenly and 
completely changed. She gets up from the cot, goes over to the curtain and 
draws it aside, revealing an array of feminine attire. Wondering which dress 
to choose, she finally selects two and tosses them on the cot.
        Which one shall I wear?

            (picking up one of the two dresses)
        This one is gorgeous.

        Then why don't you try it on?
As Anna begins to dry herself with a large bath towel, Claudia slips on the 
dress and looks at herself in the mirror with a coquettish expression on her 
        It looks better on you than it does on me... 
        You keep it.
Anna is removing her bathing suit as she continues talking to Claudia with a 
tone and manner that reveal a sense of excitement mixed with one of amusement.
        You know, that thing about the shark was all a 
Claudia looks at her as though dumbfounded, as though she had never known her 
before. She is obviously piqued and angry, but more with herself than with 
        There's the difference between you and me: you 
        know how to put over certain things, and I 
        don't. Sometimes I envy you.
Anna is all dressed and ready. She opens the door and steps outside, as 
Claudia follows behind. 

Out on the deck, Sandro, Patrizia, Raimondo and Giulia are looking over the 
side of the boat, watching the sailor as he approaches the yacht with a 
rubberized raft.  Giulia, with her usual air of affectation, looks down at 
the water splashing up against the raft and asks the sailor:
        But aren't you afraid?

        Ma'am, sharks never attack anybody. Anyway, the
        raft is dark, and they wouldn't be able to see 

        So, it is true that they're blind...
Anna appears at the door of the cabin and Sandro rushes over to meet her, a 
little surprised to find her looking so cheerful, as though the incident that 
had just taken place were completely forgotten.
        How are you?

        Fine. Can't you see so yourself?
Anna goes over to the edge of the boat and stands at the head of the little 
stairway leading down to the water.
        I have an urge to put my feet on some land. 
        Aren't you coming?
As she starts to go down the steps, Sandro quickly comes over to her.
        Anna... Maybe it would be better to wait a 

        Wait for what?

        Well, with a shark running loose around the 
        place, I for one won't get aboard that raft! 
        They'll have to catch it first. I want to see 
        it right here before my feet, dead or alive. 

        Better dead.
But Anna has already stepped aboard the raft, and Sandro follows her. Giulia 
has her eyes fixed on the beach where Corrado in his white suit is waiting 
for them. Her desire to join him is greater than her fear of the shark, so 
she looks down at the sailor and asks:
        Will the three of us fit?

        Sure, sure. There's plenty of room.
Patrizia, instead, turns around and heads back to the cabin. And Raimondo 
follows her shortly after. Giulia descends into the raft and, as it moves 
away from the boat with a slight pitch, she lets out a few hysterical shrieks. 
Anna laughs and then shouts out to Claudia:
        Claudia, aren't you coming?

        I'm certainly not going to swim across. 
        We'll send the raft back to you.

        And bring some cushions when you come, and a 
Claudia nods assent, and remains there looking over the side and watching the 
water splash against the boat. Suddenly, she looks up at the sky and realizes 
that the sun has disappeared. Actually, it is hidden behind a cloud, and over 
on the horizon a group of other clouds have accumulated.

The sailor left aboard the yacht is now signaling the other sailor on the 
raft who, having deposited Sandro, Anna and Giulia on the beach, is returning 
to pick up Claudia. He sounds the depths with his oar and then shouts up:
        Okay. Come ahead, come ahead.
The sailor aboard the yacht goes over to Claudia and says:
        I'm taking the boat right up to the shore, and
        we'll let you get off from the gangplank as 
        soon as we get there.
Then he disappears inside and soon the yacht starts moving towards the shore. 
Claudia peers out over the landscape; the islands are sharply silhouetted 
against the sea and sky, the volcano on Stromboli smokes feebly, and in the 
distance a ship passes by. Claudia is plainly enchanted by the view. Then she 
collects her thoughts and slowly heads towards the cabin.

Patrizia, seated at a small table inside the cabin, is busy working on a 
complicated jigsaw puzzle, which, once completed, is supposed to represent a 
typically classical scene. One by one, she selects the various pieces of 
cardboard and inserts them in their rightful places. Simultaneously, she is 
munching on some crackers spread with jam, and a piece of cold fruit. Beside 
her is Raimondo.  He is staring at Patrizia with such an intense expression 
that she becomes thoroughly annoyed and says to him, as she continues working 
at her puzzle:
        What do you want, Raimondo? Do you want me? A 
        few years ago, maybe... but now... And, then, 
        at this hour of the day!
Coming down the steps that lead into the cabin, Claudia overhears the end of 
the conversation, and decides to withdraw. But Patrizia sees her and calls 
her back.
        Come, Claudia, do come in... There's no 
        romance going on here.
Claudia enters. Raimondo continues to stare at Patrizia, particularly at her 
legs. Patrizia becomes aware that Raimondo is staring at her, and with a 
condescending gesture, she lifts her skirt a little higher to make him see 
        There, have you seen enough now? Are you 
Raimondo nods yes. Claudia is amused by their behavior but also a little 

Patrizia calmly resumes her game and Raimondo again begins to stare at her. 
This time, at her breasts. And again Patrizia becomes conscious of the fact 
that he is staring at her. She assumes a bored attitude and looks up at the 
ceiling in a gesture of quiet forbearance. Raimondo reaches out with his hand 
and gently caresses Patrizia's breast. Claudia looks on in amazement. 
Raimondo withdraws his hand.
        Now, tell the truth, aren't you a bit 
        disappointed?... But I already told you... 

        If women's breasts were colored, yours would be 
Patrizia laughs at Raimondo's remark and looks at him sympathetically. Then 
she turns to Claudia.
        Tell me, Claudia, what do you think of Raimondo?
        I would say he's pretty depraved. 

        Oh no; quite the contrary. He's really just a 

        Patrizia, don't start in again... I would 
        rather be called depraved. Unless you happen to 
        love children.

        You know, I don't love anybody. 

        I know, dammit, I know! 
            (turning to Claudia) 
        And just think -- if there ever was a woman so 
        right, so perfectly cut out for all kinds of 
        dissipations, degradations, infidelities... 
        of.. . of... of debaucheries, it's her. Well, 
        anyway, she's faithful. Faithful out of 
        laziness... of unwillingness.
Raimondo has such a disgruntled look on his face that Patrizia laughs.
        He amuses me. I don't know of anything more 
        amusing. Outside of this jigsaw puzzle. Don't 
        you find it so, Claudia?

        One would have to be in love with somebody to 
        know that.

        Have you ever been in love?

        Not really... It's suffocating in here... Shall 
        we go out?
Claudia leaves the cabin and goes up to the deck. Patrizia returns to her 
game, and Raimondo continues to stare at her.

Along a narrow strip of beach on the island of Lisca Bianca, Sandro, Anna, 
Corrado and Giulia are waiting for Claudia to come ashore. There are some 
patches of vegetation growing here and there, but by and large the island is 
one huge rock with rugged cliffs which descend perpendicularly to the water. 
Jutting promontories give the place a sense of raw, primitive beauty. Seeing 
Anna and Sandro climbing a short distance up along the rocks to find a 
comfortable place where they can lie down and stretch themselves, Corrado 
        If any of you get into your bathing suits 
        again, you can be sure we won't be seeing one 
        another for the rest of the year. I just can't 
        stand seeing anybody in the city after having 
        seen them naked on the beach.
The yacht finally has arrived and the gangplank is laid out between the boat 
and the shore. Claudia descends and as she wades ashore she stops, bends over 
to dip her hand in the water, and with a tone of voice resembling that of a 
mother speaking to its newborn child, she pretends she is speaking with 
someone or something in the water.
        Oh, how sweet... What a dear little darling!
They all turn around to look at her, wondering to whom or what she is 
        Who are you talking to? 

        To the shark.
They all break out into a laugh, and Claudia continues her comic bit as she 
playfully pretends to lose her balance on the slippery pebbles along the 
shore. Corrado looks at her somewhat surprised, as though up until now he had 
never seen her comport herself with such a lively sense of humor and wit.
        Say, Claudia, wouldn't you like to climb up 
        with me and take a look over there? 

        At what?

        At the ruins. They're very ancient, you know.
Out of the entire group, Claudia is perhaps the only one who really has the 
desire to explore, to see, and to generally take advantage of whatever the 
cruise has to offer.
        That sounds like a good idea. But why don't we 
        all go together?
Though Claudia's suggestion is heard by all, none of them make a move. 
Relaxing so comfortably in the sun as they are, it seems the last thing they 
would want to do is to climb up the rocky slopes. So Claudia starts to go up 
on her own, following Corrado who is already under way. But Giulia 
immediately comes up to him and, squeezing his arm to emphasize her plea, 
whispers to him:
        Please, I beg of you, stay here.
Giulia's plea is expressed with such a pitiful sense of humility that Claudia 
is immediately taken aback, although she does not fully understand its 
            (noticing Claudia's hesitancy)

        Well, what?

        Have you decided?

        All I said was that it sounds like a good idea.
Disappointed and rather irritated, Corrado turns back, while Claudia looks 
around for a place on the rocks where she can comfortably set herself down. 
Giulia, in turn, approaches Corrado.
        Why didn't you ask me to go with you? 

        Do you know why? Because if you saw those ruins 
        I'm sure you would have said they were very, 
        very beautiful. You always say "how beautiful" 
        to everything -- whether it's the sea, or a 
        baby, or a cat! You have such a sensitive 
        little heart that it throbs for anything.
        But Corrado...  If something is beautiful why 
        shouldn't one say so?

            (referring to Corrado)
        He never misses a chance to humiliate me, to
        let me know that he doesn't care about me any 

        Giulia, that remark is not worthy of our twelve 
        years of honest concubinage. I repeat, once and 
        for all, and publicly, that I admire you. Does 
        that please you?
            (under her breath to 
             Anna and Sandro)
        Twelve years ... But why haven't they married?
            (with a faint smile)
        And why haven't they left each other?

        I'm beginning to have my doubts. It couldn't be 
        that they're in love?

        Could be. They're the kind of people who are 
        capable of anything.
Sandro suddenly grabs Anna around the waist and pulls her to him. His action 
is so unexpected that even Anna is astonished. But Giulia's voice is heard 
            (to Corrado)
        The trouble with you is that nobody can speak 
        to you, that's all.

        Giulia, don't you understand that the more 
        involved you become with people, the more 
        difficult it is to speak with them? 

        You men are all so dreadful!

        I know we are. But as the years go by, we 
        become even worse. Isn't that so, Corrado? 

        I hope so.
Breaking the nervous tension that has spread itself throughout the group, a 
seaman appears with a small basket of frozen peaches brought from the yacht. 
Claudia runs to the basket, picks up a peach and quickly bites into it.
        How wonderful!

        That's Patrizia's way of letting us know she's 
        with us.
Claudia takes another peach from the basket and gives it to Corrado.
        I think you're very sweet, Corrado. 

        More so than the shark? 

        There's no comparison.

        Then why don't we go up and see the ruins?

Anna and Sandro have left the group and are ensconced further up among the 
rocks, on a grassy slope overlooking the beach.
        Sandro... A month is too long a time. I have 
        become used to being without you.

        You'll get over it soon. It's the usual anxiety. 

        A little more so this time.

        So, it will just take you a little longer to 
        get over it.

        But I think we should talk about it. Or are you 
        fully convinced that we too won't understand 
        each other?

        There will be plenty of time to talk about it
        later.  We'll  get married  soon.  That way 
        we'll have more time...

        In this case, getting married means nothing. 
        Aren't we already the same as being married? 
        And Corrado and Giulia -- aren't they already 
        the same as being married?

        But why rattle your brains by arguing and 
        talking... Believe me, Anna, words never help 
        at all. They only serve to confuse. I love you, 
        Anna. Isn't I that enough?

        No. It's not enough... I told you before that I 
        would like to get away for a while and be alone. 

        But you just said that a month was too...
        I mean, to stay away longer -- two months... a 
        year... three years... Yes, I know, it sounds 
        absurd. And I feel awful. The very idea of 
        losing you makes me want to die... And yet... 
        I... I just don't have the same feeling for you 
        any more. 

        And what about yesterday... at my house... 
        didn't you have any feeling for me, even then? 

        There you go... Must you always spoil 
She turns and walks away in a rage. Sandro breathes a deep sigh, as though 
the scene had exhausted him, then stretches himself on the ground, his face 
turned skyward, his eyes shut tight.

The sky over the island of Lisca Bianca is completely filled with clouds. It 
is early afternoon, the atmosphere has darkened, and occasional sounds of 
thunder are heard in the distance.

Sandro is asleep with his arms folded under his head. Further below, Claudia, 
Corrado and Giulia are also taking a nap. Gradually, however, with the sound 
of thunder, they become aroused.
        Looks like the weather is changing. 

        Please, Giulia; must you always emphasize the 
        obvious? I can see for myself that the weather 
        is changing.
Corrado rises and looks around lazily, listening to what appears to be the 
sound of a motor boat and which seems to be coming from the other side of the 
island. Claudia, spotting a sailor approaching, also rises.
        We'll have to get going.
Claudia turns around, looks up, and sees Sandro asleep by himself.
        And where's Anna? 
            (then, turning to the sailor)
        Isn't she on the yacht?
        I don't know... you see... we were taking a 
        little nap...

Out on the yacht, Patrizia is completing her puzzle. Only a few pieces are 
missing but the area to be filled in is a very difficult one. Raimondo, who 
has grown impatient over Patrizia's long and tedious concentration, exclaims:
        You've made some mistake there with the 
        bushes... that's why you can't finish it.

        Take it easy, Raimondo. Why are you getting so 
Claudia's voice is heard, calling out from the shore.
        Patrizia! ...
Patrizia raises her eyes and gives a quick, casual glance at the porthole. 
Raimondo immediately takes the hint that she would like him to get up and see 
what Claudia wants. So he goes out to the deck where he sees Claudia calling 
from the shore.
        Is Anna there? 

        I don't think so.
He goes over to the cabin, and looking through the portholes, calls out 
Anna's name. But there is no answer, so he returns to the side of the boat 
and shouts back.
        She's not here.

Meanwhile, on the beach, Sandro is also looking for Anna, disturbed and 
amazed that she is not in sight.
            (angrily, to himself)
        This is the kind of behavior that drives me 

Down at the shore, Giulia is getting ready to step on the gangplank and go 
aboard the yacht but, anxious about Anna's whereabouts, she changes her mind 
and turns back. Claudia, also deeply concerned, decides to remain and look 
around for herself. She turns and starts climbing up towards the rock in an 
opposite direction than that taken by Sandro, who has now reached the top.
The search is fruitless; there seems to be no trace of Anna. But Sandro 
continues to explore the area, stopping every now and then to call out Anna's 
name. Then, looking down over the slope, he notices Claudia, Giulia and 
Corrado coming towards him.
        Did you find her?
None of them answer but it is clear from the worried expressions on their 
faces that they too have found no trace of Anna. Still they continue the 
search, each going off in different directions. Claudia, walking over land 
covered with large white rocks and clumps of dry brush, spots something 
moving behind one of the bushes. Anxiously, she starts to walk up closer. 
Suddenly the branches begin to move and a stray lamb emerges. Surprised, but 
also somewhat relaxed, she turns around and calls out to Corrado, who is 
following her only a short distance away.
        It's a lamb!
Corrado looks at her without answering, then stops and notices further up 
ahead a jumbled pile of rocks which he feels might very well be the ruins he 
had previously intended to explore. He is about to head towards them but 
suddenly realizes that Giulia is following directly behind him. He quickly 
changes his direction in an effort to avoid her.

Sandro comes upon a small stone hut that leans up against a high section of 
rock. As he starts to approach it, another stray lamb appears, as if from 
nowhere, and runs off, frightened by Sandro's approach. He tries to open the 
door to the hut but finds it locked. As he looks around the area, uncertain 
as to his next move, he sees Claudia and Corrado coming towards him.
        Find anything? 


        Perhaps she's taking a swim somewhere...
Though no less concerned over Anna's disappearance than any of the others, 
Corrado attempts to lighten the tension by feigning a calm and sensible 
attitude. Taking note of the stone hut before him, he observes it carefully 
and remarks:

        It's really a fact -- there's nothing new under 
        the sun. Now, look here. Look at this 
        structure... a kind of natural shelter. Sandro, 
        that's how you should design your houses.

        Me?... I no longer have any interest in 
        building... And, then, where can you find 
        boulders of rock like this in Milan?
Claudia comes up close to the hut and tries to peer through the tiny window 
but inside it is so dark that nothing can be seen. Suddenly, she finds a 
small piece of bread on the ledge of the window. She picks it up and starts 
examining it. Then, realizing the bread is still fairly fresh, exclaims:
        Somebody must live here!

            (after examining the bread himself)
        But Anna wouldn't be staying with the kind of 
        people who live here.
The discussion is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of one of the sailors 
who has come up from the shore.
        We had better get started. The storm may 
        break any minute now.

        What do you mean! What about Anna?

            (to the seaman)
        Tell Lady Patrizia that we can't leave now. In 
        fact, we'll have to make a tour around the 

        Wouldn't it be better if you told that to the 
        Lady yourself. I can't assume the 
        responsibility for keeping the boat here. 
        There's no place to tie it up... And then, 
        you know, it's got a flat bottom, and if the 
        sea gets a little too rough...

        That doesn't make any difference! If we have to 
        stay, we'll stay!

Aboard the yacht, which is circling the island, Sandro, Patrizia, Raimondo 
and one of the sailors are peering out over the side, scrutinizing the banks 
and rocky slopes in hope of finding some trace of Anna. The jagged cliffs 
appear enormously tall and ominous, harboring tiny grottoes in which someone 
could easily hide.
        Perhaps she wasn't feeling well... Maybe a 
        cramp or something...

        Anna is an excellent swimmer. Even with a 
        cramp, she would have managed to reach shore 

        But you have to  consider all possibilities, 
Incensed by her remark, which he considers to be absurd, Sandro moves away 
from Patrizia and goes towards the stern of the boat where he notices Corrado 
signaling to them from a remote section of the beach.
            (calling out)
        There are some footprints around here...
But he stops in the middle of the statement, and throws up his arms to 
indicate that the discovery is really of little significance. So he proceeds 
to climb back up along the pathway from which he descended, and the yacht 
continues on its way.
            (calling from the stern, excitedly)
Both Patrizia and Raimondo come rushing over to the stern and look towards 
where Sandro is pointing at something dark and obscure afloat on the water up 
            (to the sailor)
        Mario...Steer the boat that way.
The yacht heads in the direction of the black object in the water, but as 
they come up close, they realize it is nothing more than some wooden piece of 
furniture. The turn has taken the boat slightly away from Lisca Bianca and 
they now find themselves closer to the little island of Basiluzzo.
        Shall I turn back?

        No. Now that we're here, let's have a look 
        around Basiluzzo. 
            (then turning to Patrizia) 
        When we were swimming, she swam out in that 

        It won't be easy to find a place to go ashore.

The first shadows of evening begin to fall over the island of Lisca Bianca. 
The sky is now even gloomier, streaked with flashes of lightning. Rumbling 
sounds of thunder are heard in the distance. The entire group is once again 
reunited on the beach, and the impending storm has heightened their fears and 
anxiety. They are cold, restless, and exhausted, but profoundly moved and 
shaken by the reality of Anna's strange disappearance.
        Let's try to be practical about this. The best 
        thing to do is for all of you to go to the 
        closest island that has a police station, or 
        something, and report the disappearance. I'll 
        remain here... because... well, I don't know, 
        but it seems to me that something may turn up. 
        Anyway, I just don't feel like leaving. 

        Then let's get started... It's senseless to 
        waste any more time.

            (to the sailor)
        How long will it take to go there and come 

        If there's a police station at Panarea, it 
        should take us a couple of hours. But if we 
        have to go to Lipari, it will take much longer. 
        Then it also depends on how rough the sea is.
Giulia is about to get on her way but she stops and turns around to look for 
Corrado, who notices her looking at him.
        I'll stay here also.
        But why?... What if it starts to rain? 

        If it rains, I'll buy myself an umbrella.
Claudia, who has remained to one side, wrapped up in her own thoughts, 
doesn't make a move to leave. Sandro and Corrado look at her in surprise.

            (to Claudia, understandingly)
        Claudia, I know how you feel, but there are 
        already two of us staying... 

        I'll go even further and say that her presence 
        here -- I don't want to sound offensive -- could 
        be a great hindrance.
Ignoring Sandro's remark, Claudia turns and determinedly heads towards the 
interior of the island. Meanwhile, Patrizia and Giulia have gone aboard the 
            (calling to Corrado 
             from the boat)
        Do you want some blankets? ... and something 
        to eat?
Corrado makes an irritated gesture signifying no, then together with Sandro 
starts climbing up the rocky slope towards the stone hut. As they meet up 
with Claudia midway, the first drops of rain start to fall and it is clear 
that the storm is on the verge of breaking. The three of them reach the door 
of the hut and Corrado tries to pull it open, but the lock resists. Then 
Sandro comes to his aid, and placing their shoulders up against the wooden 
door, they finally manage to force it open.

Inside the hut it is pitch black. Sandro strikes a match and finds a kerosene 
lamp on a nearby table. He lights it and the room is suddenly illuminated, 
revealing a miserable interior with a few broken chairs, several empty boxes, 
a shovel and a few other utensils. Over to one side is a small pile of straw 
suggesting a makeshift bed.
        As far as I'm concerned, I think she's alive... 
        Why, even this morning... that business about 
        the shark... it wasn't at all true.

        And why do you tell us this only now?
        I... I don't know... I didn't think it was 
        worthwhile... She was laughing over it... 

        Really! Still, it remains to be seen why she 
        invented a shark. What was her purpose in that? 

            (indicating Sandro)
        Maybe you'd better ask him.

            (to Sandro)
        What were you and Anna arguing about?... 
        Excuse me for being so indiscreet, but this is 

        Nothing but the usual argument... The only 
        thing was -- if I remember correctly -- that 
        she said she had a need to be alone.

        And how do you explain that?
Ignoring the question, Sandro begins pacing back and forth across the room. 
The silence is broken only by the sound of the rain outside which is now 
coming down harder and harder. Suddenly, footsteps are heard approaching the 
hut. Sandro, Claudia and Corrado quickly turn around and face the door, their 
faces clearly revealing the expectation that it might be Anna. Finally the 
door begins to open and an old man appears, carrying a sack in his hand.
        Are you the owner of this place? 

             OLD MAN 
        No. The owners are in Australia. 

        But where did you come from? 

             OLD MAN 
        From Panarea. Why?

        Ah, then it was you... I heard a boat leaving 
        here at two o'clock today...

             OLD MAN 
            (scratching his head)
        It must have been around four or five... 

        In the afternoon?
             OLD MAN 
        No... in the morning. Why? What's happened?

        Nothing... nothing at all!

        But why don't you tell him? 
            (then turning to the old man) 
        A girl who was with us has disappeared. 

             OLD MAN 
        What do you mean... disappeared?  Was she 

        No, she didn't drown... She just disappeared, 
        and nobody knows where.
        And I suppose it's my fault... Why don't you 
        tell him that too. That's what you believe, 
        isn't it? 

        Rather than being so occupied with my thoughts, 
        you would have been better off trying to 
        understand what Anna was thinking.

             OLD MAN 
        Have you searched in back of the house to see 
        if she might have fallen off that cliff? Last 
        month that's what happened to one of my 
        sheep... I looked all over for it all day long 
        and it wasn't until late at night that I heard 
        it bleating... It had been there the whole 
        day... and was almost dead.
Claudia suddenly jumps up and runs out of the hut and into the dark, calling 
out desperately.
        Anna! . . . Anna!
But her cries are lost in the sound of the storm. Drenched by the rain, her 
shoes full of mud, her dress soaked, she stops, as Corrado, who had followed 
after her, grabs hold of her arm and leads her back to the hut.
        Come, Claudia...come back inside.

It is early morning inside the hut, and the flame of the kerosene lamp has 
dwindled down to a tiny, flickering light. Claudia awakens with a bewildered 
look upon her face, wondering where she is and how she comes to be there. She 
notices Corrado dozing on an empty box in a corner of the room, then 
realizing that Sandro and the old man are no longer there, she gets up and 
goes out the door.

Outside, everything is covered by a thick haze, which is gradually beginning 
to lift. Sandro, who is standing a short distance away from the hut, hears 
Claudia approaching and turns around to greet her.
        Are you feeling better?

            (nodding yes)
        I'm sorry about last night. Please forgive me.

        You're very fond of Anna, aren't you?
        Yes, very much so.

        Has she ever spoken to you about me? 
        Occasionally, but always with affection. 

        And yet, she seemed to feel that our love for 
        her -- mine, yours, even her father's, in a 
        certain sense -- weren't enough for her, or 
        didn't mean much to her. 

        I know. I keep asking myself what I could have 
        done to prevent all this from happening.
There is a pause, then suddenly they both hear the sound of a motor growing 
louder and louder. They look out over the shore but the haze is so heavy that 
it is impossible for them to determine the source. Then, seeing the old man 
coming up the path, Sandro impulsively runs towards him and seizes him by the 
        Whose boat is that? 

             OLD MAN
        What boat?

        Just a moment ago... didn't you hear the sound 
        of a motor?

             OLD MAN 
        At this time of the year there are so many 

        And how come you're up so early? 

             OLD MAN 
        Early? Is four in the morning early for you?
Sandro is visibly deflated by the old man's casualness, and he decides to 
abandon his questioning. He turns away from him and looks up to see Claudia 
walking slowly towards the top of the cliffs, directly behind the hut where 
the night before the old man had said Anna might have fallen. She looks down 
over the side and quickly withdraws, almost in fear of being sucked down into 
the swirling waters below. She turns away and starts walking towards the 
interior part of the island. In the rocky hollows around her, she notices 
small accumulations of yesterday's rain and, scooping up some of the water 
from one of these rocks, she rinses her face. As she gets up again, Sandro is 
there, standing directly before her. Claudia is almost startled. They 
continue to gaze at one another in silence. Then Claudia abruptly turns away 
and heads towards a higher point of land. A moment later, Sandro joins her 
again and once more they find themselves staring into each other's eyes, 
almost embarrassed by their own behavior, yet unable to control it.

The wailing siren of a police boat resounds through the air like a shrill 
lament. Only then do Sandro and Claudia detach themselves from their trance-
like state, from the sudden compulsion of being drawn towards each other. 
Through the haze, they notice a landing taking place down at the shore. 
Realizing it is their friends returning with the police, they both start 
descending the slope to greet them.

Stepping ashore are Patrizia, Giulia and Raimondo, followed by a Marshal of 
the carabinieri and two police agents. As Sandro and Claudia come rushing 
down over the rocks, Claudia suddenly stops and lags behind so as not to 
arrive on the beach simultaneously with Sandro.

Meanwhile, Corrado has already gone down to the shore and as he goes out to 
meet them, Patrizia, Giulia and Raimondo anxiously look to him as though 
expecting some good news. But Corrado remains silent, then throws out his 
arms in a gesture of despair.
        How did you spend the night?... In that hut?...
        And what did you have to eat? 

        What do you think?

        We, too, you know. It was disastrous. First at 
        Panarea, where there weren't any boats... then 
        at Lipari, where everybody was asleep... And 
        the phone call to Rome...

        We had to notify her father. 

        Yes, that was a very good idea.

        He'll be here sometime today. 
            (then turning to Sandro who 
             has just arrived on the scene) 
        I also phoned my house in Milan... but Ettore 
        had already left.

            (to Sandro) 
        Anything new develop? 

        Unfortunately, no.

        Very well. First of all, I'll have them search 
        the waters around the island. I brought two 
        frogmen with me... Meanwhile, we'll take a look 
        up around here.

        Look, Marshal, with those deep crevasses, 
        you'll need some rope and ladders... 

        Don't worry, we've got everything. 

        Another thing; there's an old man who lives 
        here on the island...

        I know, I know. One thing at a time.
The Marshal starts climbing up towards the interior of the island, with 
Sandro following behind. As Claudia sees them coming in her direction, she 
moves away to a lower section of the island to avoid coming in contact with 
Sandro. Peering over a precipice, she sees the frogmen below, and watches 
them slide into the clear water like two enormous fish.

Sandro and the Marshal have arrived on the edge of the same precipice, where 
two men are lowering a rope ladder into the depths. Moving up further to 
watch the operations, Sandro becomes aware of Claudia standing alone just a 
short distance away. He heads towards her but she tries to avoid looking at 
him. Sandro, however, is unable to take his eyes from her and continues 
walking in her direction. But seeing Patrizia and Raimondo approaching, he 
suddenly stops. A small stone, accidentally loosened from the ground, rolls 
along the path and comes to a halt directly in front of Claudia, almost like 
a message. She picks it up, looks at it, then throws it away. Sandro moves 
away and heads back to the edge of the precipice.

Patrizia and Raimondo join Claudia. Raimondo, who is carrying a box of 
crackers in his hand, offers them to both Claudia and Patrizia.
        No, who wants crackers... Why don't you go and 
        have some coffee made instead?

Meanwhile, Sandro has arrived at the edge of the precipice where he finds 
Giulia and Corrado. They are looking down at one of the carabinieri who is 
dangling from a long rope over the side of the rock, exploring the crevasses 
where a body might have fallen from the precipice above. The Marshal leans 
over to see if anything has been discovered.
            (calling up to the Marshal)
        Nothing here!
The Marshal turns around in disgust and looks at Corrado who is frankly sick 
and tired of the whole operation.
        Don't look at me like that, Marshal...  I had 
        nothing to do with it.

            (referring to the frogmen below)
        Let's hope they don't find her... If they do, 
        they would find her dead.
All of a sudden, Claudia breaks out into tears. Patrizia doesn't say a word. 
She just lets Claudia cry, knowing it will do her good. Sandro comes over and 
as soon as Claudia sees him there, she stops crying, and avoids looking up at 
        Listen, Patrizia... The Marshal says there's a 
        current that passes by here and ends up at 
        another island... I don't know which... He 
        wants to send one of his men over to have a 
        look... One never knows... Do you mind if I ask 
        Raimondo to go with him? 

        I don't see why I should mind.

            (to Sandro)
        I think that you might go and have a look 

        Yes, maybe that is better.
He turns and starts heading down towards the beach.
            (to Claudia)
        What amazes me, is Sandro. He seems so calm.

        Calm?... He doesn't seem so to me... He was 
        awake all night.
One of the frogmen emerges with an ancient vase in his hand, evidently found 
in the depths below. Raimondo, who has just arrived with a thermos of hot 
coffee, puts it down and goes over to the frogman to fetch the vase.
            (to the frogman)
        What is it?

        An ancient vase. There's a buried city under 
        here. It's full of this stuff.
Raimondo takes the vase and shows it to Patrizia and Claudia. It is an 
extremely beautiful amphora, in terra cotta, with a figured design around it. 
Patrizia and Claudia momentarily drop their thoughts to examine it. Then 
Corrado, who had observed the scene, comes over, followed immediately by 
        Come on, Corrado, tell us what century it 
        belongs to.
Corrado smiles, then comes closer to examine it. Claudia also kneels down to 
look at it. A moment later she feels a presence at her side, and even without 
turning around she knows it is Sandro. Taking advantage of the discovery that 
was made, he purposely has returned to join the group in order to be near 
Claudia. They both now feel between them the warmth of that contact, and for 
a brief moment, succumb once again to that sudden sense of wonderment which 
they already had experienced at dawn.
        Corrado, why don't you ask them to give it to 
        us as a gift?

        Really! So that you can stuff it with your 

            (to Sandro)
        But aren't you supposed to be on your way?
Claudia, stricken with dismay, immediately detaches herself from Sandro, who 
replies with a certain sense of embarrassment.
        Yes... I'm going... I'm going now.

A patrol boat is anchored off the cliff of a small island where the current 
running through the surrounding waters comes to an end. Sandro is leaning 
against the wall of a dilapidated building, which is constructed right on 
that part of the rock where the sea close by discharges all kinds of refuse. 
Four or five islanders are busy scouring through the accumulated rubbish. 
They are taciturn, poorly dressed people who every now and then come to blows 
over the possession of some article washed ashore by the waves. Sandro is 
watching them, feeling distraught and melancholy. One of the carabinieri who 
had accompanied him is walking up and down beside an elderly gentleman who is 
obviously one of the local gentry.
            (to the carabiniere)
        It's already two hours... What are we going to 

        It takes about twenty to twenty-two hours for 
        the current to reach here from Lisca Bianca. 

        And sometimes even twenty-four... depending on 
        the wind...

        If the girl disappeared yesterday afternoon, 
        we'll have to wait at least until three or four 
Sandro looks at them without commenting, then turns and walks away towards 
the center of the village. The houses and shops around the square are very 
plain and shabby. Sandro spots a barber shop and, fingering his day-old 
beard, enters for a shave.

Shortly thereafter, a clamor of voices is heard outside and Sandro comes 
dashing out of the shop. Seeing the islanders fighting and arguing about 
something drawn up from the sea, he runs over to find out what it is.  As he
arrives on the scene, two policemen step out of the confusion dragging a 
large crate, which they carry over to the door of a nearby shack, amid the 
protests of the islanders who are still arguing and shouting among 
        It belongs to me... We found it... 

        Back... Stand back!
The two policemen set the crate down and lift the lid. It is full of 
            (to the islanders)
        You see? It contains cigarettes. We'll have to 
        confiscate it.
The islanders react violently, shouting out all sorts of epithets. But the 
policemen manage to restrain them and soon the commotion is quieted down.
            (to Sandro)
        These people are contemptible. They have no 
        sense of dignity at all.
            (referring to the crate)
        And you say that came from Lisca Bianca?

        It couldn't have come from anywhere else. At 
        least, somewhere from that vicinity... But I 
        really can't understand it. Contraband 
        cigarettes on that island! It's the first time 
        that ever happened.

        Look... I'd like to get back to Lisca Bianca. 

        But how could we...at a time like this when we 
        just... well, let's at least first have a look
        around the other islands. Could be that 
        something might turn up there.

        But even here we were supposed to find who 
        knows what... And all we bring back with us is 
        a crate of cigarettes.

            (shrugging his shoulders)
        As you wish.

At Lisca Bianca, a helicopter is hovering above the island and preparing to 
land. Waiting for it to descend are Claudia, the old man, the Marshal and 
Anna's father, just arrived from the mainland.

             (to the old man)
        ... Is it also true that you saw no boat around
        here at Lisca between yesterday and this 

             OLD MAN
        How many times do I have to tell you, Marshal, 
        that I was at Panarea.

        I believe you, I believe you... But I'm also 
        certain that you're hiding something from me. I 
        can see it written all over your face... And 
        you know that I have never liked your face. And 
        if you want to know something, that gentleman 
        over there...
            (indicating Anna's father)
        ...who's a very important person... doesn't 
        like it either. So, just keep that in mind. 
        I'll talk to you later.
The Marshal moves away from the old man and goes over towards Anna's father 
who is watching the helicopter come down.
             ANNA'S FATHER  
        I presume by this method that you'll be able to 
        uncover some new clue, either a handkerchief or 
        an article of clothing... In other words, 
        something which your men have not been able to 
        find as yet. 

        Without any doubt, sir. If anything belonging 
        to the girl who has run away is still here on 
        this island...

             ANNA'S FATHER  
        Allow me to inform you that my daughter is not 
        a fugitive.

        I'm sorry, sir. I didn't mean to put it that 
        way. But, you must understand, sir, that I...

             ANNA'S FATHER  
        I understand very well. Only I don't want any 
        rash assumptions to be made.
One of the carabinieri appears with Anna's valise which he sets down on the 
        Here's her valise, sir.
The helicopter is now a few feet above the ground, and everyone steps aside 
to allow it room to land. The rush of wind from the propeller sends up a 
cloud of dust, and finally the helicopter touches down. The propeller stops, 
the door opens, and out comes two large bloodhounds accompanied by a police 
attendant. He immediately says something to the dogs in German which suddenly 
creates an atmosphere of resentment among the group assembled there.

Anna's father goes to his daughter's valise, bends down, but doesn't dare to 
touch it.
        Do you want me to open it? 

             ANNA'S FATHER  
        Yes, please.
Claudia opens the valise and starts pulling out several dresses, a few 
intimate garments, and several other items of clothing. As she continues 
rummaging, she suddenly comes upon two books, Fitzgerald's Tender Is The 
Night and a copy of the Bible, which she hands to Anna's father who, in turn, 
examines them with great care and deliberation.
             ANNA'S FATHER  
        This looks to me like a good sign. Don't you 
        think so? As far as I'm concerned, anyone who 
        reads the Bible could not have committed an act 
        of impropriety. Why... as a matter of fact, I 
        remember when I was in China, many years ago, I 
        happened to be involved in a similar situation, 
        concerning an English woman, the wife of 
        Ambassador Shafford, a good friend of mine. 
        There, too, we found a Bible... And I said at 
        the time that whatever had happened, that clue 
        alone had definitely ruled out the possibility 
        of... suicide. Why, it was logical, I said, 
        that whoever reads the Bible believes in God 
        and therefore...
            (then, turning to Claudia in an 
             almost supplicating tone of voice) 
        No? You don't believe it? Well, as a matter of 
        fact, I was right... The woman was found two 
        days later. It was a case of amnesia.

        Sir, if you have no objections, may we start 
        the search?
Anna's father turns around to look at the bloodhounds who are already 
sniffing the air for a scent and anxious to get on with the hunt. Then he 
throws a quick glance at his daughter's valise once more, and with an air of 
disgust and irritation, walks off in a huff, followed by Claudia.

            (to the Marshal)
        Get everybody out of the way...

        Okay. I'll send them down to that part of the 
        beach over there...
After they all have left the area, the attendant leads the two bloodhounds 
over to Anna's valise, instructs them to pick up the scent, then takes them 
up to the very top of the island, where he subsequently unties them from his 
leash and sets them off.

Claudia and Anna's father arrive on the beach where Patrizia, Giulia, 
Corrado, Raimondo and one of the sailors are seated on a pile of rocks.

As the dogs begin running in different directions over the island, trying to 
track down the scent from Anna's valise, the entire group remains silent, 
awaiting the outcome of the search. Suddenly, the bloodhounds come racing 
down the slope, heading directly towards the beach where they are gathered, 
apparently hot on the trail of some familiar scent. To everybody's amazement, 
the dogs stop in front of Claudia, jumping excitedly and barking at her as 
though they had found their prey. Claudia is nonplussed and almost petrified 
with fear. She turns around and sees the others all staring at her. But she 
cannot understand why they are looking at her that way nor why the dogs have 
stopped right in front of her. Then, as if struck by a sudden flash of 
memory, she touches her dress and cries out:
        It's because of this... The dress... It's 
        because of this dress. Anna gave it to me 
        yesterday, right after the swim.
Completely relieved, Claudia smiles and bends over to pet the dogs, as the 
attendant comes up to them and ties the leash back on to their necks. Then he 
leads them away and heads once again upthe slope towards the top of the 
island. Anna's father seems almost disillusioned by the negative results of 
the search. Corrado also feels dissatisfied, and addressing himself to the 
Marshal, says:
        And what are we going to do now? 

        We'll try again.

        But is it really necessary? Those two 
        beasts... How absurd!
Meanwhile, the patrol boat has returned and is pulling ashore. Giulia is the 
first one to notice its arrival and she calls out to the others that Sandro 
is back. Then she goes over to where Anna's father is standing.
        Sandro's here.

             ANNA'S FATHER 
        I don't know him. 

        It seems to me that at a moment like this... 

             ANNA'S FATHER  
        I don't want to know him.
By this time, Sandro has come ashore, followed by the carabiniere, and 
immediately goes up to Claudia.
        Claudia, listen ... Claudia.
But Claudia hardly looks at him, and seeing Corrado approaching, she moves 
away from Sandro. 

            (to Sandro)
        I didn't think you'd be back so early.

        We didn't check the other islands, so...

        And why didn't you go there?

            (referring to Sandro)
        He wanted to come back.
The sailors have unloaded the crate of cigarettes from the patrol boat and 
the Marshal is getting all the details from the carabiniere.
        Up until now those smugglers were operating 
        only around the Palermo area. This will be a 
        nice surprise for the Lieutenant in Milazzo... 
        Call up headquarters. Bring them up to date and 
        have them give you instructions on what to do 
        with this crate.

        So... the boat we saw yesterday afternoon might 
        have also been that of these smugglers. Could it 
        be possible, then, that Anna...?

            (evading Corrado's question 
             and pursuing his own thoughts)
        I wonder where they could have unloaded the 
        stuff ... Maybe right here at Lisca. 

        I was saying... it might even be possible that 
        Anna had left with them.

        But for what reason would she have wanted to go 

        Listen, Marshal... As for there being reasons 
        for going away, anyone of us might have three 
        thousand of them. So you can assume that she 
        had them. What I want to know, is it possible 
        that the smugglers might have taken her aboard? 

        I think it's possible.

             A SAILOR 
            (calling from the patrol boat)
        Marshal!... Headquarters is calling. They have 
        an important message.
        What is it about?

        They've stopped a suspicious-looking boat a 
        few miles from here... yesterday afternoon. The 
        crew has been taken to Milazzo for questioning.
The Marshal takes off for the patrol boat, and Corrado goes over to Anna's 
        Did you hear that? What do you plan on doing?

             ANNA'S FATHER 
        We are in the hands of God. 

        That's true...But in the meantime, as far as 
        I'm concerned, it's absolutely necessary to go 
        to Milazzo. 
            (directly to Anna's father)
        I know that you have no desire to meet me, and 
        I shall take pains not to impose myself upon 
        you. But, besides you, I am the closest person 
        to your daughter...

             ANNA'S FATHER  
        However that may be, at this moment my daughter 
        has more need of her father than of you. 

        Pardon me for being so frank, but there are 
        certain things that a father -- especially a 
        father like you --cannot understand. So don't 
        be stubborn. I'm coming with you.
As soon as he finishes saying this, Sandro turns around and looks at Claudia, 
as though he had just now realized that she was there listening to him. 
Claudia goes to the gangplank and boards the yacht, disappearing into the 
cabin. Having followed her with his gaze, Sandro then turns to Patrizia.
        Patrizia, what are you going to do? 

        What do you want us to do? I don't know 
        myself... But we'll do something. 

        I'll go and get my valise.
Sandro goes aboard the yacht and enters the cabin. On the way to his room he 
meets Claudia who has just changed clothes and is about to return ashore. 
They stare at each other for a moment without saying anything. But the 
intensity in Claudia's look, mixed with fear and desire, is so overpowering 
that Sandro takes her in his arms and kisses her. Claudia immediately 
releases herself from his embrace, but for the moment it lasted, the kiss was 
full and  passionate.  Then she turns and goes out on deck. Sandro remains 
there, momentarily stunned, then picks up his valise and returns ashore.

As Claudia, followed by Sandro, steps back on the beach, she is met by 
        We've decided to go to Montaldo's place. In 
        fact, Ettore should already be there.

        Good. Then I'll meet you there.
He says this primarily for Claudia's sake, hoping to catch her eye. But she 
keeps her head bowed low, and doesn't look up. After a moment of hesitation, 
Sandro turns away and heads towards the small motorboat in which Anna's 
father arrived from the mainland. And without saying another word, he climbs 
aboard. Patrizia places her arm around Claudia's waist and together they 
start walking towards the yacht. But upon reaching the foot of the gangplank, 
Claudia stops.
        I'm going with the patrol boat to make a tour 
        around the islands. 

        To do what?

        I just can't leave without first searching 
        those islands, one by one.

        But aren't you tired? I can just about manage 
        to stand on my feet! 
            (then turning around to look 
             for Raimondo, she calls out) 

        Here I am, Patrizia. I'm always here. 

        Claudia isn't coming with us. Will you please 
        take care of her luggage? Thanks.
Raimondo goes aboard the yacht and returns with Claudia's valise. He consigns 
it to one of the carabinieri who, in turn, takes it aboard the patrol boat. 
Claudia follows him aboard. The Marshal comes out of the radio room, steps 
ashore, then joins Sandro and Anna's father on the motorboat, while Patrizia, 
Giulia, Corrado and Raimondo go aboard the yacht.

In the seaport town of Milazzo, on the Sicilian mainland, Sandro and Anna's 
father are seated in an office at police headquarters.  The sailors picked up 
on a charge of carrying contraband are being questioned by the police 
        No, sir, Lieutenant, we weren't even able to 
        drop anchor once ... the sea was too rough.
The Lieutenant motions for the sailor to come up to the desk, then points to 
a sheet of paper in front of him.
        Okay. Just sign here. 
            (turning to a guard 
             standing at the door) 
        Have the next one come in. He's the last, 
        isn't he?
Another sailor enters and timidly approaches the Lieutenant's desk. He is 
rather young, and his face is completely bronzed by the sun.
        They tell me you have a lot of trouble at home. 
        Is that right?
             YOUNG SAILOR 
        Yes, sir. My sister is sick... and my 
        father, too.

        So that's why you've turned to smuggling, eh? 
        You need the money. Now, I can help you. I can 
        see that you get some assistance from the 
        government. But first there's a little 
        formality we've got to take care of. Just a 
        few questions and then we can all go to 
        lunch... Your friend tells me you dropped 
        anchor three times...
The sailor starts, as though taken by surprise, then quickly answers.
             YOUNG SAILOR 
        Yes, sir. Three times.

            (to Sandro and Anna's father)
        Now, we're getting somewhere! They're beginning 
        to contradict each other. 
            (then, facing the sailor again) 
        Now look here, your friend just swore to me 
        that you weren't able to do any fishing at all 
        because the sea was too rough... And what about 
        the other boat? 

             YOUNG SAILOR 
        What other boat?

        Now look, my men saw it and they also saw you 
        men throwing those crates overboard. What have 
        you got to say about that?

             YOUNG SAILOR 
        I ... I ... wasn't feeling well ... I.. I was 
        sleeping... I don't know anything ... I ... 
        I'm all mixed up and ...
Sandro is unable to control himself any longer. He gets up, walks over to the 
sailor and yells in his face.
        But what are you saying?... What are you 
The Lieutenant motions to Sandro to be quiet, then calmly rises from his desk 
and continues.
        Now look here, I'm ready to forget the whole 
        thing: the cigarettes, the contraband --
        everything. If you would only tell me... you or 
        your friends... whether the girl was aboard 
        your boat and how far she went.
They all remain silent. The Lieutenant motions to the guard who then leads 
the sailors out of the office.
            (to Anna's father)
        Just as I thought. Even if you caught them in 
        the act, they'd deny it. They always deny 
        everything. And then, in this case, if they 
        were to admit having had the girl aboard, it 
        would mean they'd be admitting to the charge 
        of carrying contraband. Oh, it's easy to say: 
        talk! But if they did talk, the following 
        morning you'd find them cold dead in front of 
        their doorstep.

             ANNA'S FATHER  
        I think it would be worth my while to take a 
        run over to Palermo. The Chief of Police there 
        is a very good friend of mine and I'm sure 
        he'll do whatever he can. I feel we're wasting 
        our time here... Excuse me, Lieutenant. I hope 
        we see each other again under better 
        circumstances. And thanks for everything.
Bidding goodbye to the Lieutenant, Anna's father leaves, without looking at 
Sandro. A moment later, Sandro folds the newspaper he was reading, tucks it 
under his arm, and starts heading towards the door.
        At any rate, we'll continue investigating. I 
        know that headquarters has sent out an alarm to 
        all areas...

            (showing the newspaper 
             to the Lieutenant)
        Tell me, Lieutenant, do you happen to know this 
        F.Z. who wrote this article here?
The Lieutenant takes a look at the paper which carries a two-column story 
        That's Francesco Zuria. He's the news 

        Where can we locate him? Don't you think that 
        by offering a reward to anyone who can give us 
        some information...

        Zuria is in Messina. You might try him. Shall 
        we phone him?
From the opposite end of the corridor through which Sandro and the Lieutenant 
are walking, appears the Sergeant who was in charge of the patrol boat on 
which Claudia toured the islands in search of Anna. After saluting his 
superior, the Sergeant says:
        Have you any instructions for me, Lieutenant? 
        May I return to Lipari?

        Yes. With whom did you leave the crate of 

        I left it at the warehouse.
The Sergeant again salutes his superior, then continues on his way along the 
corridor. Sandro abruptly turns around and follows after him.
        Pardon me, Sergeant, but when did you get back?

        About two hours ago.

        And the young lady who was with you? 

        I don't know... She said she had to catch a 
Sandro remains a while, absorbed in his thoughts, then hurriedly leaves the 
building, and heads towards the station.

On her way to the waiting room of the station, Claudia purchases a newspaper, 
then goes over to an empty bench and sits down. Turning to the local news 
section, she suddenly comes upon the article announcing Anna's disappearance.

A moment later, Sandro appears at the door. Claudia looks up at him but 
doesn't say a word. He walks over and sits down beside her.
        Where are you going?... To Montaldo's? 


        Then I'll go with you.
There is a moment of silence, then Claudia shows him the newspaper article.
        Have you read it?... They're asking for anyone 
        with information to get in touch with them. 

        Yes. I had also thought of going there to talk 
        with them...

        Yes, you should go. 

        But then when will we see each other?
Claudia looks at him imploringly, intent on making him understand, without 
having to tell him outright, that it is not a question of their seeing each 
other. Sandro, of course, does realize and suddenly springs to his feet and 
nervously begins pacing back and forth across the waiting room. Claudia, in 
turn, also rises and goes over to him.
        I know it's difficult. But if you go on like 
        this it will become even more difficult.
The bell announcing the train's arrival is sounded. Sandro turns around and 
faces Claudia, almost with a sense of helpless despair.
        Please, don't look so solemn... And don't wait 
        for the train to come in.
But Sandro doesn't move. And again Claudia insists, imploring him not to 
stay, although she realizes full well that this may mean a final goodbye.
        Please, please leave. I don't want to look out 
        of the window and wave to you with a 
Sandro still doesn't move, and is about to say something, but Claudia looks 
at him so pleadingly and with such a determined expression, that he finally 
succumbs and starts walking towards the exit behind the train tracks.

The train has just pulled into the station. The platform is completely empty 
and Claudia is the only one to board the train. She climbs up the steps and 
the door is closed behind her. A second later, she appears at the window, 
looks out briefly, then disappears into her compartment. The station master 
raises the signal for the engine to start, a short whistle is heard, and soon 
the train gets under way.

Sandro dashes out across the tracks, swings open one of the doors, and boards 
the train as it picks up speed and pulls away from the station.

Claudia is seated in a corner near the window, looking out. She appears 
completely relaxed and totally drained of energy, fatigued after so much 
tension. After a few seconds, she turns around and is abruptly startled to 
see Sandro standing nearby in the corridor. He comes over to her compartment 
and takes a seat directly opposite to hers. Claudia is absolutely furious.
        Go ahead, now say something! I want to know 
        just what it is we have to say to each other.
Sandro remains silent, waiting for Claudia to settle down and calm herself. 
But she continues to reproach him.
        Sandro, I don't want you to come with me, I 
        don't want to see you... How can I make it 
        clear to you?...Why did you come?

        I don't know why. I just couldn't help it.
        But sooner or later we've got to end this 
        relationship. And it's better to do it right 

        I have no desire to sacrifice myself... It's 
        idiotic to sacrifice oneself... Why?... For 
        whom? If Anna were here I might understand your 
        scruples. But she's not...

            (deeply wounded)
        Oh, Sandro... 

        I'm sorry. I didn't want to sound cynical. But 
        isn't it better to look things squarely in the 

        For me they are exactly as they were when we 
        met three days ago -- just three days ago...
        don't you realize? And you and Anna... No, I 
        guess they aren't like that any more. My God, 
        is it possible to forget in such a short time, 
        for things to change so quickly? 

        It takes even less.

        But it's so sad. So terribly sad. I'm not used 
        to it, I'm not ready for it... You know... I 
        have never been so upset in my life. Sandro, 
        why don't you help me? 

        I think the only way to help ourselves, Claudia, 
        is for us to be together.

        No, I'm sure it won't. Move over there. Let's 
        make believe nothing happened. And when we get 
        to the next station, get off. 

        And what about you?

        Me... I... I... Please leave me alone.
Suddenly, she stands up and goes into the corridor. The car is of an old type 
-- one half is first class, the other second. Claudia stops in front of a 
second-class compartment from which the sound of two voices is heard. One is 
that of a woman -- sweet, very delicate and very feminine; the other is that 
of a man with a Sicilian accent. Sandro joins Claudia. Standing there 
together they hear the conversation.
             WOMAN'S VOICE  
        I work there but I'm really a stranger. 

             MAN'S VOICE  
        I tell you this acquaintance of mine knows you 
        and she has often spoken to me about you.

             WOMAN'S VOICE  
        And who is she? Does she work in Catania?
             MAN'S VOICE  
        Yes, she takes care of the garden. 

             WOMAN'S VOICE  
        Then it's impossible for her to know me. In the 
        villa where I'm at, we have a male gardener. 

             MAN'S VOICE  
        So? That's logical. You see, both being 
        gardeners, they spoke about you to one another. 

             WOMAN'S VOICE  
        And what did they say about me? 

             MAN'S VOICE  
        They told me that you were a very nice girl, 
        that you always mind your business... In other 
        words, things of that sort.
There is a moment of silence. Then, the sound of music is heard coming from 
the compartment. Claudia and Sandro look at one another with a smile on their 
faces. Then Claudia leans over to peek into the compartment. The woman is 
young; she has thick, wavy brown hair.  He is one of those typical seducers 
from the provinces, with black hair. There is a tiny radio between them. 
Sandro also takes a peek into the compartment. Then they withdraw as the two 
resume their conversation.
             WOMAN'S VOICE  
        We have a radio like this, too. 

             MAN'S VOICE  
        No, not like this one.

             WOMAN'S VOICE  
        And why wouldn't we have one like this?

             MAN'S VOICE  
        Because this is a Chinese radio.
Another pause. Sandro takes hold of Claudia's hand and presses it. She 
doesn't resist, but allows him to do it.
             WOMAN'S VOICE  
        Certainly a radio this small is very practical. 
        It's especially useful for... I don't know... 
        for traveling.

             MAN'S VOICE  
        But for you, what comes first: music or love?
Claudia presses up close to Sandro, amused and, at the same time, obviously 
             WOMAN'S VOICE  
        Music, of course. To get a sweetheart, one has 
        to look around, but to get a radio, all you 
        have to do is buy one.

             MAN'S VOICE  
        Ah, no... For me, love comes first. I'm a man, 
        and I know what's what: first love, and then 
Claudia laughs but she is still very upset. All of a sudden, she starts and 
looks out the little window. The train is coming into a station and is 
beginning to slow down. Claudia grabs Sandro by the sleeve and pulls him 
through the corridor. Sandro tries to resist.
        Claudia, listen to me...

        No, Sandro, please... I ask you as a favor...
She continues to drag him through the corridor, until they finally reach the 
platform. Then she opens the door. They are both highly emotional. Claudia is 
almost hysterical.
        Promise that you won't try to look for me... 
        you shouldn't try to look for me any more... 

        But why, Claudia?... Why?
Sandro tries to grab her in his arms, but Claudia pushes him away, almost 
with a sense of violence, as though she were afraid she might change her mind 
once in his arms. In the meantime, the train has come to a stop in the 
station. Sandro pauses to look at Claudia once more.
        Even if you chase me away, I... Claudia, let's 
        not wait any longer... After, it will be too 
        late ... Come with me.
Claudia is visibly battling with herself. Then, in one last moment of 
decision, she pushes Sandro towards the door and goes back into the car.
Once on the ground, Sandro walks back and forth along the platform to see if 
he can find Claudia, hoping she might look out the window to wave goodbye. 
But she doesn't appear. The train starts to move, as Sandro desperately tries 
to catch a glimpse of Claudia. But she is not to be seen. Sandro starts 
running along the platform, but the train is now going too fast. He stops -- 
angry, disappointed and upset.

At the entrance-way of a luxurious villa, Claudia, who has just arrived, is 
greeted by the Princess. She is an elderly woman, rather ordinary in 
appearance but very aristocratic in taste and manner.
        Did you have a good trip? It is such a 
        magnificent day! I am very happy that Sicily is 
        able to give you so warm a welcome. And you do 
        deserve it. You're such a lovely blonde. Come, 
        my dear.
Claudia smiles, and follows the Princess into the garden.
        And where are you from? 

        From Rome.

        Oh, how nice! So, you're from Rome... And would 
        you happen to know of some intelligent 
        clergyman in Rome who might be willing to come 
        here and stay with us? We have our own private 
        little chapel... It is a masterpiece, with 
        seventeenth-century frescoes... and the 
        remains of all our dead ancestors, a wonderful 
        collection... He would find it very convenient 
        there, and could say his own masses. Then he 
        would have to spend a little time with my 
        husband, who never sees anyone, to keep him 

        An intelligent clergyman, Princess? But I 
        think the intelligent clergymen of today have 
        so many other things to do.

        Well, perhaps one with a little physical 
        handicap. One who is slightly lame, for 
In the meantime, they have arrived at a shady alcove where, seated in various 
wicker lounge chairs, are Patrizia, Giulia and a young man dressed in simple, 
casual clothes. The first one to notice Claudia and to greet her with warm 
cordiality, is Giulia.
        Well, finally! We were beginning to get worried 
        about you, too.
Claudia plunks herself down in one of the lounge chairs next to Patrizia. The 
young man rises and bows slightly.
        But where did you finally end up? 

        It was futile. We went all over.
There is a moment of silence; the thought of Anna returns to weigh on the 
group. Claudia pours herself an orange drink from a pitcher on the table 
beside her.
            (referring to Anna) 
        But why does she do these things? 
            (she takes a sip from 
             her glass, then rises) 
        I can't stand it any more.
She takes a few steps, looks around at the villa, and at the other end of the 
alcove sees Corrado and Ettore saying goodbye to a pair of elderly gentlemen.
            (to Corrado and Ettore)
        But how can you carry on a discussion in this 

        When one approaches fifty, my dear, he is 
        affected only by the cold.

            (noticing Claudia)
        And who is this? 

        This is Claudia, Anna's friend...
            (to Claudia) 
        You've never met my husband, have you?
Ettore immediately recalls Claudia's name from a previous conversation that 
was apparently held before she arrived.
        By the way, have you phoned him?
        You mean Sandro? I told you already. He's not 
        in. At least he's not at the hotel.

        Now look what has to go and happen... At a time 
        when I'll be needing him. How can we discuss 
        things when we lack dates and figures?... 

        But didn't he say he was coming here...
Now, with all this talk about Sandro, the sense of relaxation Claudia had 
felt upon her arrival, has changed into a feeling of anxiety that becomes 
more and more noticeable.

        Well, what are you all waiting for? Send a car 
        out to get him. He can't be more than a couple 
        of hundred miles away...

        To me, the fact that hasn't shown up is a good 
        sign. Do you want to bet that he's found Anna? 

        Maybe. But do you know that forty thousand 
        persons a year disappear in Italy without 
        leaving a single trace behind them. Forty 
        thousand! Almost as much as the entire 
        population of San Siro... Raimondo, will you go 
        and see if you can locate Sandro? 

A gong announcing lunch resounds throughout the garden.
        First let the poor thing have something to eat. 

        It wouldn't really do you any harm to skip a 

        I've never met this Sandro. What kind of a 
        person is he?... He couldn't have done her in 
        himself, by any chance?

            (breaking out into a loud laugh)
        Sandro?... Oh, sure... I can see Sandro calling
        Anna over to him and saying: Listen, Anna, I 
        intend to get rid of you, but since it's so 
        painful and complicated... and besides, I 
        don't happen to have a gun on me... why don't 
        you do me a favor and get rid of yourself on 
        your own...
There is a moment of complete, dead silence, during which the same disturbing 
thought flashes across the minds of all those who are present like a sudden 
        My God, how could we joke over something like 
        that! We should be ashamed of ourselves. 

        Come on, let's go.
They all get up except Claudia. She is left so completely shaken by the 
conversation, by the thought, that it seems she no longer has the strength to 
move. Giulia, after giving Corrado a defiant look, turns and smiles at the 
young man who had stopped to wait for her.
            (to Claudia, referring 
             to the young man)
        Goffredo is the Princess' nephew. He's 
        eighteen years old, the lucky boy. And, what do 
        you know -- he paints. 

        Anybody can hold a brush in his hand. All you 
        need is to buy some oils and start painting. 
        Even Rembrandt did the same.
Giulia laughs with a strange sense of excitement, then takes Goffredo by the 
arm and leaves. Claudia remains alone. She watches the group heading towards 
the house,  Giulia holding tight to  Goffredo, Ettore  to Patrizia. Their 
voices are heard, somewhat unclear.
        But... where is the Prince?... Is he well? 

        The last time I saw him, the day before 
        yesterday, it seemed he was well.

        Princess, why don't you sell this villa? I 
        would turn it into a lovely psychiatric clinic. 

        It's a little like that already.

Finally, even Claudia starts moving, slowly, behind the others; but she is 
still very much upset.

A crowd of people that keeps growing and growing from one moment to the next, 
is gathered in one of the main streets of Messina, in front of a men's store 
with its shutters half-shut. The local police are unable to control the flow 
of traffic, which has been blocked as a result of the crowd. The cars are 
packed close to one another, raising a great din with their horns. The throng 
is composed chiefly of young men pushing and climbing over each other to get 
near the shop to see inside. Sandro tries to make his way through the crowd 
in an attempt to get up close himself, but the confusion is so great that he 
finds the going very difficult. Remarks and comments are heard above the 
             FIRST YOUNG MAN
        Who is it, Sophia Loren? 

             SECOND YOUNG MAN
        Oh, no! It's some model from Turin with a 
        low-cut dress.

             OTHER VOICES
        It's Queen Saroya... I saw her... So, who 
        could it be?

             THIRD YOUNG MAN
        They've torn her dress... She's almost nude... 
        She ran into the shop to hide herself...
A police siren is heard from afar, then before long it fills the air and 
dominates every other sound.  An Alfa Romeo pulls up, followed by a police 
wagon full of policemen. Both vehicles maneuver their way through the crowd 
like snakes through a jungle, and stop right in front of the shop. Sandro 
takes advantage of the opening created by the two cars and thus finds himself 
a few steps away from the door. Bending over in order to see through the 
small space left open by the half-drawn shutters, he notices several 
newspapermen and photographers.
            (to one of the newspapermen) 
        Which one of you is Zuria?

        He's inside.
Meanwhile, the policemen have come out of the wagon and arrive at the door of 
the shop, with the Chief of Police leading the way. One of them raises the 
shutter, and the crowd, which has backed away slightly at the insistence of 
the police, begins pressing forward threateningly. Soon pandemonium breaks 
loose. In the confusion, Sandro manages to get inside the store along with 
the policemen and two photographers. The shutter is again lowered, just a few 
inches behind him.
Standing in the middle of the shop is a most charming and provocative young 
brunette with tight-fitting pants and a blouse that is open almost from the 
neck to the waist. She is wearing nothing under her blouse, so that with 
every movement of her body, one cannot help catching a glimpse of her naked 
breasts. As the policemen come forward, she receives them with a smile. 
Sandro asks one of the journalists standing nearby if he can tell him which 
one of them is Zuria.  The journalist points to a man who is only a few steps 
away -- a man not very old but who has a ravaged face, and whose hair is 
almost completely white.

        Yes. Until proven otherwise. 

        I would like to ask you something. 

        Wait a moment. Can't you see I'm busy?
Everybody is gathered around the Chief of Police and the girl. The store 
clerks are looking at her admiringly. The manager, most upset, is explaining 
the situation to the Chief of Police.
        I phoned you, Chief, because, in view of the 
        situation... I thought it best...
The girl interrupts him. She has a very self-satisfied look on her face.
        I came down here to buy a foulard... Suddenly 
        I realized that little by little, directly 
        behind me, I was being followed by so many 
        men, and more and more of them kept coming.
             CHIEF OF POLICE
        Well, I should think so... Dressed like that.

        But I have always gone around like this, 
        everywhere in the world. Nothing like this has 
        ever happened to me before.
Zuria turns to Sandro and clears his throat. Outside, the crowd becomes very 
            (to the girl) 
        How old are you?

        Nineteen. My name is Gloria Perkins. I'm 
        married and a writer by profession. I write in 
        a trance, almost always in contact with people 
        who are dead. Tolstoi, for example, or 
        Shakespeare. But the movies also interest me.
Zuria nods to Sandro as if to say: now watch this.
        How do you find the men of Messina? Are you 
        shocked by their warm display of friendliness? 

        No, why should I be shocked? We're in Italy, 
        not Finland.

        And how were you received in Palermo?
The girl turns around and looks down at Zuria with contempt, but she manages 
to remain calm.
        In Palermo I was with my husband. Now I'm 
        going to Capri to write an article for the 
        Tourist Office.
Zuria clears his throat again and whispers to Sandro.
        She did exactly the same thing in Palermo. 

             CHIEF OF POLICE
            (to the girl) 
        If you want to go back to your hotel... we're 
        ready to escort you.                   

        Oh, yes, thank you... 
Photographer snaps a flash photo. The girl immediately strikes a pose. Other 
flashes follow. The clerks ask for her autograph. One of the policemen raises 
the shutter; the girl comes forward smiling, and is greeted with a certain 
kind of roar from the crowd. The group leaves the shop. Sandro and Zuria also 
come out. The girl, ushered out by the policemen, climbs into the Alfa Romeo. 
The guard holds the crowd back. There are more camera flashes. More smiles 
from the pretty stranger. Finally the car pulls out, followed by the police 
wagon. Sandro and Zuria watch the car disappear through the crowd, which 
starts to disperse. The din, however, is still enormous, due to the 
unsnarling of the traffic jam.
        Do you like her?
Sandro shrugs his shoulders, somewhat surprised by the journalist's question.
        She costs a hundred thousand lire. 

        You're kidding!

        No, I'm not. Why do you think she does all 
        this? It's one of the many ways she can put 
        herself on display. When you bait the trap, the 
        mouse will snap. To tell you the truth,  if it 
        wasn't for the fact that one hundred thousand 
        lire represents my whole month's salary, well...
        But you had something you wanted to ask me?
Sandro is still looking at the journalist with a sense of incredulity, almost 
as if he felt Zuria's conversation was something out of this world. But he is 
brought back to reality by Zuria's last remark, which is made as the 
journalist starts walking at a very hurried pace.
        I read one of your articles regarding the 
        disappearance of a girl. I'm that girl's fianc‚.

        Oh... I'm sorry I have to rush but I've got to 
        write a story about this thing that just 
        happened... Tell me exactly how it all turned 

        Now listen, if I had any information, I 
        wouldn't have come here to ask you. But I see 
        that you, too, lack any information ...
The journalist casts a sidewards glance at Sandro. He is a bitter and 
sarcastic man, one who is completely absorbed with his own little problems 
and his own daily routine. But for this very reason he is quite capable of 
taking any kind of insult, either big or small.
        As a matter of fact, I've already had several 
        phone calls on that article. One said they had 
        seen the missing girl in an automobile 
        somewhere in Rome. Another one said they saw 
        her on the pier talking with some strange 
        sailors... Could be she secretly left the 
        island by boat...
        Is that possible?

        Who knows?... Another one has it that she 
        entered a store in Troina. This information 
        comes from the storekeeper himself who stated 
        that such and such a girl had bought I don't 
        know what in his store... at Troina.

        Is that far from here?

        About fifty miles or so. If you want, I'll give 
        you the name of the storekeeper.
        Yes... of course... But you should also print 
        that in your paper... But right away, tomorrow 
        morning... It's the local Palermo paper, isn't 
        it?... I mean, it's widely read...

        Yes, but why do you think our readers would be
        interested in such news now? Even if I sent it, 
        the editors wouldn't print it.

        You really must do me this one favor. 

        Pardon me, but why must I do you a favor? 
        Then let's call it a business proposition. 
        Something to round out your salary.
The journalist clears his throat without answering. Then he grabs Sandro by 
the arm and takes him back to the other side of the street where a few 
people, left over from the crowd, are still discussing the incident that just 
took place as they gradually drift away from the scene. The traffic is now 
back to normal.

At the Princess' villa, Claudia is in her room, applying some fresh make-up 
in front of a small dressing table. Although she appears thoroughly engrossed 
in all the minute details of her make-up, nevertheless, she seems 
considerably  interested in any sound that comes through her window.

The rumble of a motor is heard. Claudia runs to the window and looks out into 
the garden. A dark car pulls up in front of the service entrance. A uniformed 
chauffeur gets out of the car and enters the house carrying a package under 
his arm. There is an obvious look of disappointment on Claudia's face. She is 
about to return to the dressing table when she notices, there in the garden, 
Giulia heading towards the house accompanied by the young Prince, Goffredo. 
Claudia is profoundly shocked by Giulia's behavior as she laughs, jokes, 
bends over to pick up some flowers, and skips along unashamedly.

In the meantime, Patrizia has entered the room with two wigs, one of which 
she is wearing and the other in her hand. She also has on a cocktail dress, 
but one that is more elaborate than Claudia's. Patrizia immediately goes up 
to the mirror of the dressing table and, while she finishes arranging the wig 
on her head, says to her friend:
        Are you ready? I'm not. That's all we needed -- 
        a cocktail party... The vitality some people 
        have irritates me! 
            (indicating the wig on her head)
        How does it look?
Claudia, who has meanwhile tried on the other wig and is looking at herself 
in the mirror, turns around to Patrizia.
        It's divine! 

        You say that just to flatter me. 

        Do you consider that a compliment? 

The two of them burst out laughing and together they leave the room. Then 
after a few steps through the corridor, they separate with a friendly gesture 
towards each other. Patrizia goes into her room while Claudia prepares to 
descend the wide stairway. Coming up the same stairway are Giulia and the 
young Prince, Goffredo.  There is something of an embarrassing moment between 
them. Then Giulia, aware of Claudia's presence, detaches herself from 
Goffredo and, as they reach the top of the stairs, she comes over to Claudia 
and takes her by the wrist in order to confide with her more intimately.
        He wants to show me his paintings. He won't 
        let go  of me  anymore.  Poor thing, he must 
        have a crush on me...
She laughs with an obvious sense of amusement, but she is also tickled by her 
own vanity. Claudia looks at her without knowing what to say to her.
            (even more excited)
        Please, you come too... 

        But for what reason should I come there? 

        Please, do come... Don't leave me alone with 
        him. He's capable of... I don't know... Have 
        you noticed his eyes?
Claudia resigns herself to escorting Giulia to the floor up above. The very 
top of the stairway leads to an attic, where Goffredo is leaning over the 
railing, looking down.

        Here I am.
Seeing the two of them arriving together, the young Prince feels 
disappointed. But he knows he has to cover his intentions with a show of good 
manners. When the two women reach the top of the stairs, he bows to Claudia 
in a most respectful fashion. Then he leads them down a low and narrow 
corridor to a door they pass through.
The attic is bright and spacious, with slanted roof, and two huge windows. It 
is filled with paintings, easels, canvases, brushes and oils. As soon as 
Giulia enters the studio, she moves away from Claudia and attaches herself to 
the young Prince who is setting up one of his paintings on an easel beside 
one of the windows. Claudia looks around the room with a sense of 
indifference. Going over to the window, she looks out and sees a vast 
panorama of the countryside. 

Giulia looks at the painting with a certain amount of surprise. It is a 
picture of a nude woman; a shapely figure, slightly plump, in the manner of 
        Claudia, come and see. It's a nude.
Claudia is looking through the paintings that lean up against the wall face 
backwards. She turns one around: a nude woman. A second: another nude woman. 
A third: the same.
        They're all nudes, if I'm not mistaken. 

            (to Goffredo)
        But why all nudes?

        Because there is no landscape as beautiful as a 

        And where do you find the models? 

        Oh, there are as many as one wants. 

            (turning to Claudia)
        I thought the model was something obsolete 
        nowadays. Didn't you, Claudia?
Claudia goes back to look out the window: a group of flying birds swoops down 
to land directly under the roof. The birds settle themselves in a little nest 
directly in front of the window. Claudia bends over to get a better look and 
is actually able to see the little nest, as she hears behind her the exchange 
of remarks between Giulia and the young Prince.
        It's strange how anxious women are to display 
        themselves. It's almost a natural inclination. 

        But how could they pose like that? I couldn't. 

            (with a grave, youthful sensuality)
        Why don't you try?

        Me... Goffredo, you're mad! 
            (turning to Claudia) 
        He's mad.

        Not really.
Claudia moves away from the window, and continues to look at Giulia and 
Goffredo with a deep sense of amazement. Giulia is euphoric, kittenish and 
trembling with excitement. Goffredo is firm, resolute and serious.
        Don't you ever paint men?

        Answer me, why don't you try posing? I'll paint 
        you a beautiful portrait.

        But why me?... Ask Claudia, she's much more 
        beautiful than me.

        But I want to paint you. You appeal to me more.

        I appeal to you more?
Giulia glances over at Claudia, who is still preoccupied looking out of the 
window, then screws up her courage and boldly advances towards Goffredo, 
making her intentions clearly understood. Goffredo immediately responds to 
her invitation and draws himself close up against her. There is a moment of 
hesitation, then a kiss -- awkward but passionately violent. Giulia, on her 
part, is completely shameless. Claudia turns around exactly at that moment 
when the two of them are caught up in a feverish embrace. She looks at them, 
completely dumbfounded, then takes a few steps forward as though she doesn't 
believe her own eyes.
            (almost unconsciously) 
Giulia quickly turns around, her face is flushed with excitement but also 
with an expression that seems somewhat triumphant. Before anybody has a 
chance to say anything, she heads towards the door, swings it open and stands 
firmly on the threshold,  obviously intent on telling Claudia to leave. In 
fact, Claudia doesn't wait to be told but immediately walks out into the 
        And tell Corrado, too, that I'm here... if he 
        wants me. You can also tell him that my tiny 
        little heart is beating like mad, and that at 
        this moment, it's the only thing that interests 
        me. Is that clear? 

        It couldn't be any clearer.
Giulia takes a few steps backward into the room, and seeing Claudia still 
there looking at her strangely, exclaims:
        Now what do I have to do to be left in peace? 

        I think all you have to do, Giulia, is to close 
        the door.
And with a violent bang that leaves Claudia startled, Giulia slams the door 
shut. Claudia remains standing there for a moment, still very much amazed. 
But she is aroused from her stupor by the sound of a car pulling into the 
courtyard. Then she rapidly starts descending the stairs.
Claudia has reached the hallway leading out to the garden and is anxiously 
waiting there, looking at the car that has just arrived. But she is not able 
to distinguish exactly who it is, and her view is also blocked by Ettore and 
Corrado who have just come out of the house and are now standing in front of 
the car. So she walks out to the garden and joins the group. A certain look 
of disappointment spreads over her face as she sees only Raimondo come out of 
the car. Evidently, Sandro has not been located.
        He's not at the hotel... and he probably wasn't 
        even in Milazzo. The room clerk said he rented 
        a car...
Claudia moves away from the group, as though she has heard enough. She goes 
over to lean against an enormous vase standing there on the side. Her hands 
are trembling. In back of her she hears the sounds of the others' voices but 
cannot distinguish what they are saying. Then Patrizia arrives and calls out 
Claudia's name. But she has to repeat it a second time before Claudia 
realizes she is being called.
        Claudia... Let's go.
Claudia turns around but doesn't move. Another car pulls up, driven by the 
same chauffeur who had evidently picked her up the other day, and in which 
the Princess is already seated.
        I'm not coming.

        But then why did you bother changing?
Patrizia remains puzzled for a moment as though searching for a motive behind 
Claudia's sudden decision, then discreetly turns away without insisting and 
goes over to the car. In the meantime, Giulia and Goffredo have come out 
through the hallway and head towards one of the two cars. Corrado looks at 
them with a cold and critical stare, then with a deliberate intent to prick 
Giulia's feelings, he says:
        Giulia is like Oscar Wilde; give her the 
        superfluous and she will do without the 
Ettore breaks out into a laugh as he helps Patrizia into the car.
        That's him; he'd die if he didn't have somebody 
        to quote. He comes up with quotations like that 
        even at a board of directors meeting...
Claudia watches them getting into the car. She is beside herself, completely 
wrapped up in her own thoughts.

In the rear of a general store, on the outskirts of a small Sicilian town, a 
woman is seated at the window. She is very young, thin and irascible. Up 
front, her husband is speaking with Sandro, and as she listens attentively to 
what he is saying, a sarcastic smile spreads over her face.
        Be patient, I can't remember everything. 

            (indicating the newspaper article)
        But it even says what she bought: a bar of soap! 
        So there's no point in making believe you can't 
After waiting a few seconds to give her husband a chance to explain himself, 
the wife jumps up from where she is sitting, comes over to Sandro and yanks 
the paper from his hands. Then she starts reading the article in a jerky 
manner typical of one who is not too literate.
        "A young female stranger, whose description 
        corresponds with that of the missing girl, came 
        into my store..."
She suddenly stops reading and turns toward Sandro.
        She came and then she left. With him. But this 
        one won't admit it. 
            (turning upon her husband furiously)
        You think I wasn't aware of it...
The husband, a young man, tries to keep calm and carry on the conversation in 
a logical, persuasive manner.
        But if I was carrying on with the girl, why 
        would I want to give any of this information to 
        the newspaper?

        That's what I'd like to know myself.

        Fine, that makes two of us who want to know. In 
        fact, three, with him. 

He indicates Sandro.  Then, seeing a fat, luscious female customer enter the 
store, he turns to her and continues:

        Ah, Lady Amalia, would you be interested in 
        knowing why I told the newspapers about a 
        certain girl who came here the other day and 
        then disappeared?
The woman, anxious to learn about any new bit of gossip, becomes immediately 
             LADY AMALIA
        Disappeared? Who is she? ... Where? When?

        And that makes four. Anybody else?...
Sandro, a little sick and tired of the whole matter, and wanting to put an 
end to what has by now become farcical, intervenes.
        You have to be precise. Did this girl enter 
        your store or didn't she? 


            (ignoring her)
        Was she blonde or brunette? 


            (contradicting him)

        How was she dressed?

        I don't quite remember. Seems to me she wore a 
        black dress.

            (intervening sarcastically)
        He doesn't look at dresses, he looks at what's 
        under them.
The husband turns around and looks at his wife menacingly.
        Pardon me, but has anyone else been here asking 
        about this girl?

        No ... I don't think so. 


Sandro leaves the store. He walks a few steps along the pavement, then sits 
down at a small outside table of a nearby caf‚. He looks out over the square: 
a small Sicilian town, quiet and still in the hot afternoon sun. Every now 
and then, he glances up at the country road that winds around the town, as 
though he were waiting for someone.

A few moments later, in fact, a car comes into view and slows down as it 
reaches the square. The driver looks out for a place in which to park. Sandro 
rises to his feet. The car comes to a stop a few steps away from him. The 
driver rushes out of the car to open the door for the person inside: it is 
Claudia. Sandro immediately goes over to meet her, looking at her somewhat 
amazed. Not only does he see her more elegantly dressed than he has ever seen 
her before, wearing a smartly tailored polka-dot suit, but also as an 
entirely new person, as someone whose beauty he has discovered for the first 
time. For a moment they continue staring at each other, without even 
bothering to say hello.
        Any news?

        Yes... but it's all so conflicting... However, 
        there is some slight indication...
Claudia drops her gaze, relieved by even that slight note of hope. Then she 
looks up at him again, as though inspired by another sudden thought: 
something which must have lingered in her mind from one of the Princess' 
humorous quips. Then, the owner of the general store appears on the scene. 
After having dealt his nagging wife a crushing verbal blow, he turns to 
Sandro, but not without first glancing at Claudia, for whom it soon becomes 
evident he has really come out on the street.
        Listen... In the paper they forgot to say that 
        as soon as the girl left here she took the bus 
        to Noto. The bus leaves from the square, over 
        there. I saw her clearly... I came to the door 
        to see her off... She was a beautiful girl. 
        Lovely pair of legs!
While speaking, he continues to keep an eye on Claudia with the look of one 
who thinks his gaze is loaded with irresistible masculinity. All of a sudden, 
he pulls out a package of Nazionali cigarettes from his pocket and offers one 
to Claudia. She looks at him dumbfounded, then automatically declines with a 
shake of her head. In turn, he lights up a cigarette, inhaling the smoke 
voluptuously. Meanwhile, his wife has come upon the scene and looks at him 
suspiciously. Then, with a sad, wistful voice, she turns to Claudia.
        You're from Rome, aren't you? I knew right away 
        because I'm from Viterbo... He was a soldier 
        there and so...
            (indicating her husband, and
             then quickly continuing) 
        I don't like it very much, here.
        Then why don't you go back?
His wife turns and looks at him hatefully, exactly in the same manner he had 
looked at her.
        How long have you been married? 

        Three months.

Claudia and Sandro look at each other. There is a moment of embarrassment, 
then Sandro breaks the silence.

        Well... Thanks for the information.
They exchange goodbyes, then Claudia and Sandro move away from the store and 
head towards Claudia's car. Suddenly, Sandro takes Claudia by the hand.
        It's better if we present a happy picture, no?
Claudia is about to withdraw her hand but she is taken aback by Sandro's 
phrase, which also fills her with a warm and tender feeling after the squalid 
situation with the young storekeeper and his wife. Now Sandro opens the door 
of the car, looks at Claudia as if to ask her consent for what he is about to 
do, and since Claudia says nothing but just stands there trying to figure out
which one of the feelings struggling within her will win, he removes 
Claudia's valise and closes the door.
            (to the driver)
        Tell the Signora Patrizia that we are 
        continuing the search...and that the Signorina 
        Claudia will manage to survive somehow...
The driver bows slightly, then he climbs into the car and departs. Sandro and 
Claudia remain there, watching the car disappear out of view. Now Sandro 
turns to look at Claudia, and smiles at her. Claudia is visibly upset. She 
doesn't smile back but merely turns away and heads towards Sandro's car.

Claudia is intent on looking at Sandro who is doing the driving. The car is 
traveling on a country road but Claudia shows no interest in the landscape. 
She continues to stare at Sandro as if she wants to know his most secret 
thoughts. Suddenly, feeling himself being stared at, Sandro turns towards 
Claudia. She quickly drops her gaze. Then Sandro turns his eyes back to the 
road, and Claudia looks up at him again.

From a bend in the road up ahead, preceded by the loud and penetrating blast 
of a horn, the bus mentioned earlier by the storekeeper appears. Sandro 
barely manages to stop the car in time off to one side of the road. He gets 
out and places himself in the middle of the road where he starts signaling 
for the bus to stop. With a loud screech of its brakes, the bus comes to a 
stop almost directly in front of him. The bus driver opens the window and 
leans out.
        Did your car break down? 

        No. I only want some information.
Meanwhile, the driver's assistant gets down from the bus and the passengers 
lean out of the windows.  Claudia has also gotten out of the car and appears 
on the scene.
        We're searching for a girl of about 
        twenty-five... Seems she boarded this bus two   
        days ago, in the afternoon... You should 
        remember her because she was a stranger around 
The driver gets down from the bus and comes over to Sandro, scratching his 
        She was a little nervous... dark-haired ... with 
        a kerchief around her head?
He turns to his assistant for verification, who, in turn, searches his memory 
and then adds:
        Two days ago... wasn't there that midwife on 
        the bus, too? Sure, that's right, and she was 
        talking to some young woman ...

        Can you tell me where she got off? 

        All I can tell you is that the midwife is from 

        Okay, thanks.
Sandro turns and goes back to his car while the others climb back on the bus 
which begins to leave. Claudia and Sandro remain standing near the car, 
watching the bus disappear. Then Claudia turns and looks out over the fields. 
She sees a dry riverbed filled with stones that sparkle in the sun, beside it 
a high rocky bank. Sandro stands next to her and she becomes vividly aware of 
his presence. As she glances at him, he turns around, then she quickly starts 
up a conversation as though she were anxious not to have any romantic mood 
develop between them.
        My God ... Let's hope it was her.
Then, still feeling Sandro's eyes fixed upon her, she turns and starts  
heading towards the car.  Sandro catches up with her and takes her hand. 
Before they climb into the car they look at each other intensely. A moment 
later, the car takes off at full speed.

In a courtyard of the midwife's house, Sandro and Claudia are questioning a 
middle-aged woman.
        I only exchanged a few casual words with her, 
        as one would ordinarily do on a public bus... 

        And do you remember where she got off? 

        Well...probably at the last stop, which is Noto.

        After that, you didn't see her anymore?
The woman pauses for a few seconds and looks at Claudia as though she had 
detected some hidden motive behind the question. And when she resumes 
speaking, what she has to say is in sharp contrast to the way she says it. 
They are words of protest but spoken condescendingly, almost sweetly, yet 
leaving no doubt as to their meaning.
        What are you trying to insinuate, young lady?
        Why should I have seen her again? I don't do 
        anything that's illegitimate.

        Oh, no... What are you saying? I'm not 
        insinuating anything...

        And furthermore, my dear young lady... because 
        you really are a dear, you know ...if the story 
        of that girl is merely a pretext, let us say, 
        to get in touch with her, then I feel it is my 
        duty to warn her. These things are very, very 
        dangerous, especially in a neighborhood like 
        this where people occupy themselves more with 
        other people's affairs than their own.
Seeing Claudia being put into an uncomfortable position, Sandro, who had been 
following the midwife's discussion with a cagey attitude, intervenes.
        Then you should also be able to tell me where a 
        young girl might stay in Noto; are there any 
        hotels or rooming houses?

        There's the Trinacria Hotel... or the Regina, 
        near the municipal building. As for rooming 
        houses, I don't know...

        Thank you.

        Don't mention it... Pleased to be of service 
        any time.
Claudia starts moving hurriedly out of the courtyard, followed by Sandro.

Sandro's car is speeding across a harsh, sun-baked landscape, bypassing long 
lines of peasants returning from the fields: the women seated on donkeys, the 
men on foot. The more fortunate among them have horse drawn carts.
Claudia is looking at the surrounding countryside and spies an iron bridge 
that is all rusty and obviously no longer in use.
        Look at that bridge! Who knows why they even 
        bothered to make it...
The car continues onward, passing an abandoned factory, then a railroad 
station, also abandoned, its tracks covered by weeds, the ticket office 
haphazardly boarded up with old wooden planks.
        Look at that: a factory... a station... and 
        look at those tracks, all full of weeds... But 
Sandro shrugs his shoulders and continues driving without saying a word. Up 
ahead a small town comes into view, with monotonous rows of newly constructed 
homes lined up along the side of the road. The car enters the town and stops. 
Sandro gets out and goes over to a fountain nearby, but the fountain is dry. 
Somewhat surprised, he begins to look around. And only then do Sandro and 
Claudia become aware that the silence around them is an unnatural one, that 
the doors and the windows of all the houses in the town are tightly shut. 
There is no sign of life anywhere, except for the weeds growing between the 
cracks in the walls, invading and suffocating everything in sight. 

Claudia gets out of the car, joins Sandro, and together they start walking 
along the streets. The sun beats furiously down upon the crumbling houses, 
upon the church, upon the useless monument in the square on which a 
dedication is inscribed: "To The Agricultural Worker." 

Sandro looks around in absolute silence. Claudia is also  silent, somewhat  
dismayed. Instinctively, she presses up close to Sandro who leads her to a 
shady spot where the ground is overgrown with weeds. 

Sandro and Claudia are lying next to each other on the grass. Sandro appears 
calm but is actually looking at Claudia as though he were about to embrace 
her with his eyes. Then he takes her hand. Claudia offers no resistance; in 
fact, she entwines her fingers around his, almost with a sense of 
desperation. Sandro tries to kiss her. She makes a feeble attempt to resist, 
looks around, and sees the deserted town, the barren fields, the crumbling, 
sun-baked walls. She turns and looks at Sandro again, and now it is she who 
kisses him. When they break apart, they stretch themselves out upon the grass. 
Sandro kisses her violently, again and again and again...

The early twilight shadows are beginning to fall. The sky is still clear but 
the sun is fading. There is a deep silence and the air is absolutely still. 
In a certain sense, Sandro's car, standing there in the middle of the 
deserted street, is the only thing alive in that desolate town.

Huddled close to each other, Claudia and Sandro are asleep on the grass. 
Lazily, Claudia awakens, and then Sandro also opens his eyes. They are both 
somewhat disheveled.
            (faintly audible)
        It's late... We should be going.
Little by little, she leaves behind the drowsiness of her deep and peaceful 
sleep, purring languorously in a typically feminine fashion. Sandro smiles 
and gently embraces her. A moment later, Claudia releases herself from 
Sandro's arms, sits up and realizes that the countryside and the town itself 
are as black and motionless as death. A cold shiver runs down her back and 
she quickly comes to her feet.
        Let's get out of here, fast... This is not a 
        town, it's a cemetery.

        Who knows why they all left...
Claudia starts to move but her legs are still numb from her sound sleep and 
she hobbles along comically, laughing at the same time. Sandro also gets up 
and finds that his legs are cramped. Hobbling and laughing himself, he 
follows Claudia towards the car. But the car, baked by the sun, is like an 
oven. They both make boisterous and playful exclamations, then another 
embrace, another kiss. Finally, they climb into the car and drive off with a 
loud roar that echoes up and down the abandoned town.

Sandro and Claudia arrive in the town of Noto and pull up on the opposite 
side of the street from the Trinacria Hotel. As they climb out of the car, 
Claudia turns to Sandro:
        Sandro ... maybe it's best that you go in alone. 

        Are you joking?

        Don't think that I want to save myself from any 
        embarrassment, from the awkwardness of meeting 
        Anna... It's not that; it's that you can say 
        certain things easier if you're alone. Please, 
        Sandro, do try to understand me... It would 
        look like I was trying to influence you, to 
        force you, to control you... and that makes me 
        feel uncomfortable...
Sandro agrees by a nod of his head and indicates that he understands very 
well. Nevertheless, he doesn't move. Several agonizing moments go by in which 
they both remain silent and still, looking at the hotel across the way. Then, 
tossing away his cigarette, Sandro finally walks off and goes into the hotel.

Left alone, Claudia strolls along for a few steps. She sees a letter box up 
against a building and deposits a postcard she had been carrying with her. 
She remains there for a moment, watching a parade of ants crawling along the 
wall, ending up who knows where. They come and go, scurrying up and down in 
vast numbers, incredibly busy. Then Claudia turns away and starts pacing back 
and forth, stopping from time to time behind townspeople who mill about in 
the streets; she pays them no heed. Several young men pass by and turn around 
to look at her. They are obviously the town's dandies. Circling around her, 
they exchange suggestive comments to one another. Even among the women 
Claudia arouses a certain curiosity. But she remains totally unaware of it; 
such is the intensity with which she concentrates her gaze upon the hotel 
entrance. Suddenly the sound of a shutter being lowered directly behind her 
causes her to start and turn around. It is a shop being closed. Other shops, 
further down the street, are also closing for the day. The people in the 
streets begin thinning out and it is not long before Claudia is left entirely 
by herself. In that total solitude, the doorway of the hotel emerges like the 
mouth of some dark and fearful cavern, so much so that Claudia is unable to 
keep her eyes fixed upon that spot. She turns her head away, but her 
attention is immediately drawn back again. From the darkness of the hotel's 
hallway, she spies Sandro coming out. Claudia doesn't wait to see if he is 
alone or not, for she has only one thought in mind: not to let herself be 
seen. But she doesn't know what to do since there is practically no one else 
in the streets and all the shops are closed. Then she notices a tobacco shop 
still open and she quickly dashes into it. She goes up to the counter as she 
opens her purse and starts looking for some change.
        Some cigarettes, please... Do you have any?...
        Nazionali with filters ...
Her hands tremble as she searches for the money. Finally, she pays the  
storekeeper and immediately lights up a cigarette. Suddenly, she wheels 
about, having heard Sandro enter. He is alone. Throwing away his cigarette, 
he comes up to her, all nervous and excited, and they both step out into the 
As soon as she is outside, Claudia leans up against the wall as if she has no 
strength left. She lets her cigarette fall to the ground and shuts her eyes.
        What is it, Claudia?

        Oh, Sandro... I'm so ashamed of myself, so 
        ashamed...I tried to hide myself...I feel so 
        small... I hate myself ...

        Does it please you to say such things? 

        Oh no... It doesn't please me at all... 

        Then why do you say them?
        Because what I'm doing is so ugly ... Because 
        if you told me right now: "Claudia, I love 
        you," I would believe you...
   Sandro is about to say the phrase, somewhat jokingly in the hope that it 
might calm her, but also with a certain amount of seriousness. But as soon as 
he opens his mouth to say "Claudia," she places her hand over his lips.
        No... Because then I'd force you to swear it, 
        I'd force you to tell me an infinite amount of 
        things... and that wouldn't be right, it 
        couldn't be right... It would be absurd.

Sandro tries to calm her with an embrace.
        Good. It's better if it were absurd. That would 
        mean nothing much can be done about it.

        But just think -- the very same things you had
        said to her who knows how many times... maybe 
        even just before we left, while I was waiting 
        outside your place...

        So, even if I did say them, I was sincere with 
        her, as I am now with you.

Moved by Sandro's remark, Claudia lifts her head and looks deeply into his 
eyes. The statement reveals him as being someone quite different from the 
person she had imagined him to be, and at the same time, it opens up for her 
a new way of looking at things. Shaking his head, and with much tenderness, 
he says:
        I have never seen a woman like you, who needs 
        to see everything so clearly.
At the sound of a man's voice coming from behind him, Sandro turns and sees a 
gentleman with two large packages under his arms, pointing to a bell-cord 
dangling on the side of a door nearby.
        Excuse me, but would you mind pulling that cord 
        for me?
Sandro pulls the bell-cord and the sound of a bell is heard inside.
        Thank you.
The door opens and the gentleman quickly steps inside. Sandro looks up at the 
        At one time, all these houses were convents.
He takes Claudia by the arm and pulls her away towards the square, then looks 
attentively around the area. Bathed in the soft twilight, the buildings and 
the churches bordering the square reveal themselves in all their beauty. 
Sandro and Claudia climb up the steps of a church building and from there 
gaze at the scene. Gradually he allows himself to be overcome with 

        Look! What a fantastic scene! What movement, 
        what disorder! They were very much concerned 
        with scenographic effects... an extraordinary 
        sense of liberty...
There is a moment of silence during which he continues to look at the scene 
before him. Then, giving voice to a sincere thought, he exclaims:
        Really, I've got to stop this business with 
        Ettore... I would like to go back and start 
        working on my own projects again. You know, I 
        had many ideas... 

        And why did you drop them?

        Once they gave me a job to draw up an estimate 
        for the construction of a school. It took me 
        only a day and a half to finish it, and I got 
        paid six million lire. Ever since then I've 
        been doing estimates for other people's 
Claudia looks at him as if she were about to render judgment, and Sandro 
becomes aware of it.
        Why are you looking at me like that? 

        I'm sure you'd be able to design some very 
        lovely things.

        I don't know about that. And then, who's 
        interested in beautiful things nowadays?
The last words are spoken with a deep sense of sadness, Sandro avoiding 
Claudia's glance. He laughs to himself and for a while remains silent. He 
takes another look up at the dark outlines of the buildings, then turns to 
        Claudia, let's get married? 

        What! Get married?

        Yes. We'll get married. You and I. What do you 

        What do I say? What can I say? No. At least, 
        not yet. I don't know... I can't even think of 
        it... at a time like this... Oh, but why did 
        you have to ask me? 

        You look at me as though I had said something 

        And are you sure you want to marry me? Are you 
        really sure...that you want to marry... me? 

        That's why I asked you...

        So... Oh, how I wish that everything were so 
        much simpler... that people could just come 
        together by the color of their hair or the size 
        of their shoes. What size shoe do you wear? 
        Size 9. That's a very lovely size. But I'm 
        sorry, I wear size 8.
Sandro smiles and playfully ruffles Claudia's hair. She also smiles, then 
slowly they both head towards the hotel.

It is morning inside the Hotel Trinacria.  Claudia has just had breakfast in 
her room and is almost finished dressing. It is a rather large room, set out 
with old pieces of furniture. The place is in a state of disarray, and the 
door leading into Sandro's room is wide open. Because of the general 
disorder, Claudia is unable to find her stockings. But instead of being 
angered by this, she appears quite jovial and laughs gaily. As she continues 
to look for her stockings, Sandro appears in the doorway.
        Are you ready?
Claudia comes up to Sandro and gazes upon him with a look of adoration.
        But why am I so infatuated with you?

        Hurry up now, or it'll begin to get hot 

        Yes, yes, yes, yes... Right away...
She starts looking hurriedly around the room again but is still unable to 
locate her stockings. Suddenly, up from the street comes the sound of music. 
It is a popular tune, wild and rhythmic, emanating from a publicity truck as 
part of some local advertising stunt. Claudia is overtaken by the music and 
cannot resist the temptation to do a little dance for Sandro. Little by 
little, she starts swaying back and forth to the music. Then, kicking off her 
shoes, she begins to dance around the room in her bare feet. Sandro looks at 
her, amused but also somewhat impatient.
        Okay. I understand. See you later.
Claudia rushes up to the door, and feigning an exaggerated attitude of 
despair, says:
        And you leave me here all alone... in this 
        hotel room... 

        As soon as you're ready, you can come down and 
        catch up with me. I'll be waiting for you right 
        outside on the square.
Claudia is in a playful mood and she is anxious to demonstrate her 
        Very well. But you must first tell me that when 
        you go out without me it's like going out 
        without one of your legs. Go ahead, have a look 
        around the town all by yourself, but you'll 
        have to hobble along on only one leg. And you 
        must also tell me that you are filled with a 
        great desire to embrace my shadow on the 
        walls... Then you must tell me...
            (suddenly her tone of voice 
             changes and she becomes 
             quite serious) 
        You must tell me that you love me.
Sandro replies with the same good-natured tolerance with which he had been 
watching Claudia as she danced her coquettish dance.
        But you know it already. Why must I tell you? 

        So, you wonder why?
Without waiting for him to answer, she goes back towards the center of the 
room and once again starts looking around for her stockings. Sandro begins to 
        Then I'll see you later. 

        Okay. In a few minutes.
Sandro goes out the door. Claudia finally locates her stockings and proceeds 
to finish dressing.

Sandro comes out of the hotel and crosses over to the sunny square. He starts 
strolling down along a street which leads to a baroque church that opens up 
to a wide flight of stone steps. Beyond these steps is a small dead-end 
street that runs up against the fa‡ade of a large and magnificent old 
building. A few feet away from the fa‡ade, seated on a bench in the shade, is 
an old coachman whose horse is standing beside him with its head deep in a 
sack of hay.

Sandro goes down the flight of steps and approaches the door of the old 
building which is closed. He rings the bell but there is no answer. Then he 
notices a time schedule posted on the door indicating visiting hours. After 
glancing at it, he walks over to the seated coachman.
        It's closed. Isn't there any custodian or 
        caretaker inside?
        Nobody there.

        But it says it's open from 9:30 to 10:30., and 
        it's ten o'clock now...  That's a fine way to 
        greet tourists.

        Tourists? Last year a few Frenchmen came here 
        and they all walked around in their bathing
        suits. So they were made to understand that it 
        was better if they didn't come at all.
Sandro shakes his head and is about to say something but he sees the door 
opening and a man appears.  Sandro goes over to him.
        Are you the custodian?

        Yes, come right in.
Sandro enters and finds himself inside a large courtyard of noteworthy 
architectural design, though somewhat in a state of decay. The custodian goes 
on his way and Sandro walks further into the courtyard where two young men 
are studying the architecture. On hearing Sandro's footsteps, they turn 
around for a moment, then resume their observation. They are, in fact, young 
architectural students busily engaged in taking notes and copying certain 
architectural details. They do this with an extraordinary interest, almost 
with a sense of religious zeal. Sandro continues to stroll through the 
courtyard. His footsteps are the only sounds to be heard disturbing the 
otherwise absolute silence. The two young students exchange words between 
each other but they speak in faint whispers, almost as though they were 
inside a church. 

Sandro gazes up at the arcades, the columns, the windows. He is obviously 
filled with a painful sense of regret, resentful and bitter. He turns to look 
at the two young students who are deep in their studies and ignore his 
presence. But he is unable to ignore them; they plainly annoy him. In a 
certain sense, they humiliate him. He turns away and heads towards the exit, 
walking on the tip of his toes so as not to make any noise. Then he goes out, 
quietly closing the door behind him.

In the hotel lobby, a maid is cleaning and dusting, and at the same time, 
singing little snatches from a popular romantic tune. The hotel manager, who 
is busy writing something in the register behind the desk, looks up and says:
             HOTEL MANAGER
        Go ahead, keep right on singing...
Disappointed, the maid immediately stops singing, and the manager resumes 
writing. But she quickly looks up again as she hears footsteps coming down 
the stairs. It is Claudia.
             HOTEL MANAGER
            (to Claudia)
        Excuse me for interfering, but I've heard about 
        that girl... Here in this place one gets to 
        know about everything... That girl you're 
        looking for... Why don't you try asking at the 
        youth hostel in Pergusa? Almost all the young 
        girls traveling through here end up there.
Claudia is immediately interested to hear this bit of news and is about to 
ask for additional information. But she is suddenly distracted by Sandro who 
enters the lobby at that very moment.
        I was just coming out to meet you. How come 
        you're back so soon?
Sandro doesn't answer but merely shrugs his shoulders. Then he takes Claudia 
by the arm and gently leads her towards the stairway. He has a worried 
expression on his face and remains absolutely silent as he starts climbing 
the stairs. As they walk through the corridor, Claudia looks at him 
anxiously, wondering what is wrong.
        Sandro ...What's the matter? 

He opens the door to his room and ushers Claudia in. As soon as he enters, he 
takes off his jacket and throws it on a chair. Then he walks over to the 
window and closes the shutters. Then, without saying a word, he turns to 
Claudia, grabs her in his arms and squeezes her. Claudia smiles, and 
playfully yells "Ouch!" Then he goes to kiss her but Claudia tries to resist 
but doesn't succeed. This little struggle stimulates Sandro and is enough to 
make him forget all reserve. He drags Claudia on to the bed and forces her to 
lie down.

        No, Sandro... Please... 


        No reason why...
But Sandro hugs her and kisses her again. This time, Claudia lets herself be 
        What's the matter with you?
Sandro only responds by kissing her again. Then Claudia yields. Sandro is 
angry and excited, as though he wanted to take his resentment out on Claudia.
        Sandro, wait a moment, just one moment... You 
        seem like an entirely different person ...
        And aren't you pleased?... That way you'll have 
        a new kind of adventure.
Wounded, Claudia pushes him away with all her might, and exclaims:
        What are you saying?

        I was only joking, really... Can't I make a 
        joke? And now you've got to tell me why you 
        don't want to.

        Oh, Sandro... I want everything you do. But...
She stops short, then turns aside and reaches out to touch his jacket on the 
chair, looking into the pockets, not with curiosity but with a sense of love. 
Sandro grabs her by the shoulders and forces her to turn around.
        But what?
Claudia remains silent, then gets up from the bed, and in a subdued tone of 
voice, says:
        Did the hotel manager speak to you about that 
        place nearby?

        Yes, she started to but I didn't feel like 
        staying to listen to what she had to say. If we 
        had to listen to everybody...

        No, Sandro... We should go. Besides, we 
        haven't been in touch with anybody. Not even 
        with Anna's father. We should have at least 
        sent a wire or telephoned... let's be fair, he 
        must be feeling awfully lonely.

        I don't doubt it. But at a time like this we're 
        the least suitable persons to be with him. And 
        as far as telephoning him... Who knows where he 
There is a moment of silence, then Claudia starts heading towards the door.
        Come, let's go. Pack your things, and I'll get 
        mine ready too.

It is evening. Sandro's car is pulling into the town of Taormina on its way 
to the San Domenico. It comes to a small square and passes by a group of men 
and women seated on the steps of an ancient ruin. They are dressed in evening 
clothes and are laughing and giggling. The car turns into the street of the  
San Domenico and stops in front of the hotel. A porter immediately comes out 
and opens the door. Claudia and Sandro get out and head towards the small 
courtyard that leads into the foyer.

The lobby is full of activity and alive with people dressed in formal attire. 
Claudia is clearly intrigued by everything she sees: the surroundings, the 
people, etc. Sandro approaches the reception desk as Claudia walks slightly 
ahead, anxious to see what is going on. The sound of music is heard coming 
from one of the halls at the other end of the lobby. There is obviously a 
party underway: further on, through a glass partition, couples are seen 
dancing. Suddenly, Claudia stops. Directly up ahead, she notices Patrizia. As 
soon as she see Claudia, Patrizia comes to greet her, smiling.
        Well, I'm looking for somebody else and who do 
        I find but you.
Claudia smiles and they both kiss each other on the cheek.
        How are you?
Instead of answering, Patrizia takes Claudia by the hand and leads her over 
to a bench along the side of the wall and sits down. Claudia remains 
standing, somewhat annoyed by the crowd of people around her.
        Shouldn't we try to find a quieter place? 

        Quieter? Oh, yes, of course.
Patrizia rises and leads Claudia out to a terrace that overlooks the entire 
bay which is dotted with lights. Claudia takes in the view but her attention 
is still focused on Patrizia. She waits from one moment to the next to have 
questions thrown at her, but Patrizia remains silent. So Claudia turns around 
and looks at her as though to say: Come on, say what you have to say and 
let's get it over with. But Patrizia smiles at her sweetly and only murmurs:
        You look so wonderfully tanned.
Claudia feels relieved and presses Patrizia's hand, almost with a sense of 
renewed friendship. Sandro appears from behind the glass partition and comes 
out on the terrace to greet Patrizia.
        And here's Sandro. 
            (he kisses her hand)
        Why don't you two go upstairs and change? 

        Yes, we will.
They leave the terrace and go through one of the halls towards the corridor 
that leads to the rooms. Claudia walks ahead, with Patrizia and Sandro 
following slightly behind. The hall is still packed with people.
        Did you manage to find good rooms?
        They didn't seem too good.

        You should have told Ettore. He always manages 
        to get what he wants.

        Ettore must be fed up with me by now. 

        Oh, no, not at all. And then you know very well 
        that he'll forgive you anything; just as long 
        as you admit to him that you're a worse driver 
        than he is...
Claudia looks at Sandro, assured by Patrizia's reply. She remains thoughtful 
for a moment, then asks Patrizia:
        How do you manage to put up with all this 
        confusion? You always said people bore you. 

        You shouldn't always take me seriously. 
        Actually, I'm used to it by now. First my 
        mother and now my husband; both of them are 
        like dynamos. 

        Your mother?

        Yes, even I had a mother. She was part 
        Austrian, but she was still my mother. My 
        childhood was like a tennis match; they 
        bounced me back and forth, here and there...

        My childhood, instead, was a very sensible one.

        What do you mean by sensible? 

        It means being without money.
Patrizia and Sandro burst out laughing, and Sandro reaches out and ruffles 
Claudia's hair. They have arrived in front of a room that is situated on the 
ground floor, and are greeted by a hotel clerk who is waiting for them with 
keys in hand. The door is already open and Claudia is about to enter.
        See you soon, then.
Sandro nods yes and Claudia waves so long, as Patrizia takes her leave. 
Claudia enters the room behind the clerk, and Sandro follows. Claudia stops 
in the middle of the room, as the clerk goes through his various duties with 
professional exactitude: he turns on the lights, draws the window curtains, 
checks to see if there are enough hangers in the wardrobe, then finally opens
the door to the adjoining room, into which he disappears. All his movements 
seem completely automatic.
            (commenting under his breath)
        You see? Just like a robot.
Then Sandro enters the adjoining room, where the clerk has in the meantime 
turned on all the lamps and performed all the other little duties. Sandro 
starts to undo his tie. Claudia remains standing in the middle of the room, 
listening to all of Sandro's movements in the other room. A knock is heard at 
the door of Sandro's room and Sandro is heard saying:
        Come in.
A few seconds later, the porter also enters Claudia's room with her baggage. 
She opens the valise and starts taking out her nightgown and other 
necessities. Her gestures are slow and imprecise because fatigue has overcome 
her. Several moments pass, and Sandro appears at the door in his pajamas.
        Sandro, listen... Try not to get yourself too 
        involved tomorrow.

        Aren't you going to change?

        You said you wanted to quit working for Ettore.
Sandro shrugs his shoulders without, apparently, giving much thought to 
Claudia's statement. He goes into the bathroom saying:
        Sure, that's what I said...
The sound of the shower running is heard.
        Wow, it's ice cold...
Claudia goes up to the door adjoining the two rooms and stops at the doorway 
of the bathroom that is situated between the two rooms.
        Sandro, I'm not coming down. 


        I'm too sleepy.

        Sleep is something one must learn to overcome. 
        I learned how to do it when I was a child. I 
        never slept. And I had friends who even slept 
        less than I did. The one who went to bed first, 
        paid a penalty. And we really didn't do 
        anything. After seeing a movie, we'd go to a 
        cafe and discuss things for a while... then 
        we'd sit down on a bench somewhere... listen to 
        some drunkard... watch them putting up posters 
        or manifestoes...or look at the sheep passing 
        by... or go for a stroll around the market 
        place... Or else we'd go and wake up some girl 
        in the neighborhood by standing in front of her 
        window and calling out her name...
Claudia has been listening to Sandro with her head leaning against the door 
jamb, her eyes closed. As soon as Sandro stops, she goes back to her bed and 
starts undressing. Sandro comes out of the bathroom, wearing a bathrobe, and 
going over to Claudia, says in an affectionate tone:
        You're that sleepy, eh? What time do expect to 
        get up tomorrow? 

        Late, very late.
Claudia disappears into her bathroom, and Sandro returns to his room. After a 
while, his voice is heard.
        Did you know that when I was a boy I wanted to 
        be a diplomat? Can you imagine that! Me, a 
        diplomat? It's strange but I never thought I'd 
        be rich. I saw myself living in a rooming house, 
        full of geniuses...
Claudia has slipped into her nightgown and returned to her room. Sandro is 
heard clearing his throat, and then continuing.
        Instead, I have two apartments, one in Rome and 
        one in Milan. As far as genius goes, it's a 
        habit I've never formed. What do you think of 
Sandro reappears at the doorway, already half dressed. Claudia slides into 
bed and stretches herself out under the covers.
        I look at things differently... But maybe it's 
        best we talk about it some other time. Do you 
        mind turning off that light over there?
Sandro turns out the lamp on the table while Claudia closes the main switch. 
The room is enveloped in darkness. Sandro approaches the bed and bends over 
Claudia to kiss her.
        Good night, my love.

        Good night. Tell me that you love me. 

        I love you.

        Tell me once more. 

        I don't love you. 

        I deserve it.
Sandro goes towards the door, then turns and smiles.
        That's not true. I love you.
He returns to his room, closing the door behind him. He seems somewhat 
meditative, as though the little discourse he has just delivered has in some 
way touched him deeply. He also seems a little sad. Then he puts on his tie 
and jacket, lights up a cigarette, and goes to the door.

Sandro comes out of his room and walks along through the corridors, heading 
towards the reception halls down at the other end. Other persons are walking 
up and down the corridor in both directions.
Sandro's attention is attracted by the figure of a woman who is coming his 
way at a rather quick pace. She is wrapped in a tight-fitting evening dress 
that emphasizes the various harmonious parts of her body. Sandro looks at 
her. He seems to recognize her but isn't quite sure who it is. The girl 
passes alongside of him and apparently she too has the same impression, for 
she gives him a look that lasts much longer than it normally would between 
two complete  strangers. She stops in front of a door but before entering, 
she casts another glance at Sandro, who suddenly recalls that she is the same 
woman who had almost provoked a riot in the streets of Messina and who was 
forced to take refuge in a men's shop. There is a moment of hesitation, then 
the girl opens the door and disappears into the room. Sandro continues on 
ahead until he reaches the bar, which is still very crowded. 

Evening clothes of all kinds. Shiny silks. Jewels dangling from wrists, necks 
and ears that are either white or bronzed by the sun. Shoes of silver or 
lustrous black. Headdresses of many women -- high, cropped or short and 
bobbed. Men with hair well groomed but also frequently mussed. A vast, 
tumultuous wave of people, all wealthy and respectable, talking, laughing and 
carrying on as though the whole wide world was right there and everybody in 
it was like them. 

Snatches of witticisms. Faces of passing people. Hands reaching out for 
glasses. The expressions on the face of the barman, smiling and indifferent. 
The sad, sullen face of the cloakroom attendant. The dumbfounded look on the 
face of a thirteen-year-old elevator boy.

Sandro feels very much at home in this milieu. One thinks so little, forgets 
so easily. And things are so conveniently ignored, beginning with one's own 
self. Sandro moves through the crowd, here and there. Standing next to the 
orchestra is a girl in black pants, singing strange songs in a soft, 
suggestive voice. 

Sandro encounters Ettore. As soon as he sees Sandro, Ettore comes over and 
places an arm around his shoulder, almost in the form of an embrace.
        Well, finally... Come, I'll introduce you to my 

        I want to take a look around first... I'll join 
        you later.

        Say, I hope it's understood that starting 
        tomorrow morning, I'll need to have you around. 
        If you don't give me some figures to work with, 
        how can I proceed?
Sandro agrees with a nod of his head. But he is thoughtful and somewhat 
saddened. As Ettore returns to his friends with whom he had been speaking and 
laughing, Sandro looks at him almost with a sense of rage.

Then he goes back to the bar and orders something to drink. He is not aware 
that the girl from Messina is just a few yards away and is watching him. She 
is extremely tanned, extremely voluptuous, and extremely beautiful.

Sandro moves away from the bar with the glass in his hand. He passes in front 
of a semi-dark room and takes a peek inside: a television set is turned on 
but nobody is watching it. Sandro is restless. He comes to a terrace and 
stops to look down at the illuminated docks below. The headlights of cars 
passing by fan out across the road that runs along the shore of the sea. With 
an angry gesture, Sandro finishes his drink, gulping the whiskey down in one 
fast swallow. He squeezes the empty glass in his hand as though he had wanted 
to crush it.

The early rays of dawn are faintly seen coming through a window at the far 
end of the corridor. Claudia comes rushing out of her room and runs over to 
Patrizia's door. She knocks, then without waiting for a response, she enters.
        Patrizia... Patrizia ... Where's Ettore? 

        I imagine he must be inside sleeping. 

        Would you please see if Sandro is with him? 
        He's not in his room. I'm sorry to disturb you.
Patrizia gets up out of bed and goes into the adjoining room.

        What is it?

        Nothing, nothing  at all. I was just looking 
        for Sandro.

        And you expect to find him in here? Go and ask 
        Yes, yes, of course. 

She returns to her room. 

        Patrizia, I'm afraid.

        More or less, we are all afraid. Especially at 

        I'm afraid that Anna has come back. I feel 
        she's back, and that they're together.

        But what's gotten into you?... We would have 
        known. Sandro must be out in the garden 
        somewhere, taking a breath of fresh air, or 
        watching the break of dawn. It would be a lovely 
        surprise indeed if he turned out to be the 
        sentimental type.
Claudia sinks down into a chair, weak and exhausted.
        Now, listen. For God's sake, try not to let 
        yourself become obsessed with that idea. Go to 
        your room and get back into bed.

        Just several days ago, the thought of Anna 
        being dead would have made me sick. And now, I 
        don't even cry, I'm afraid she might be alive. 
        Everything is becoming so damned simple and 
        easy, even to deprive one's self of pain and 
        You should never wish to get melodramatic over 

        Yes, you're right. I'm sick and tired of being 
        like that.
Claudia gets up and leaves the room. She continues walking down along the 
corridor, checking here and there. But the hotel is deserted. There are still 
a few lights  on in  the reception hall but not enough to illuminate the 
place adequately. Finally, she reaches the main hall and stops. The only 
signs of last night's party is a certain disorder in the placement of the 
armchairs and ashtrays filled with cigarette butts. Even the main hall seems 
completely deserted. But all of a sudden, Claudia becomes aware of something 
moving on a sofa at the far end of the room. She takes a few steps, walking 
silently over the thick carpet, so as to get a better look. There seems to be 
a slight movement among what appears to be a jumbled pile of male and female 
clothes, partly hidden from view by the back of the sofa. Claudia goes up 
still closer because she is not able to see clearly what or who it is. Only 
that she has the impression of having seen that suit before... A man's suit. 
She is now able to distinguish what it is: a couple embracing and kissing.

Claudia approaches still closer. She is now just a few steps away. Little by 
little, as she advances, her face takes on such a painful look of 
astonishment that she appears almost petrified. She hesitates and bumps up 
against a little table that makes a small noise. The couple on the sofa come 
out of their embrace and look up. The man is Sandro; the woman is the girl 
from Messina. Sandro looks at Claudia as though he were filled with terror. 
The girl, instead, seems quite amused. Claudia remains for a moment, staring 
at them as if she can't believe her own eyes, and is incapable of making any 
move. Then, she abruptly turns away and starts running. She runs through the 
main hall, the reception room, the courtyard, and out into the street.
There is not a soul to be seen. No sound. The day is breaking clear and 

Claudia comes over to a bench with its paint all peeling off, but she doesn't 
sit down. Transfixed, and with her eyes almost wide open, she stares out at 
the sea, and at the waves which are also a mystery unto themselves.
Footsteps are heard approaching from behind, but Claudia doesn't even bother 
to turn. It seems that nothing could distract her from that painful state of 
shock which is written all over her face. A young laborer in overalls, 
carrying a small bundle under his arm, passes by, glancing at her with a look 
of curiosity. He walks a few paces ahead, then turns around to look at her 
again as though she were some kind of strange creature.

The sound of footsteps dies down in the distance, and everything is silent 
once more. There is only the gentle lapping of the waves as they roll up 
against the shore. Claudia is completely oblivious to the scene. Several 
birds swoop down emitting their small cries. A sudden but almost 
imperceptible sea breeze ripples Claudia's hair.

Other footsteps are heard approaching: slow, heavy. Claudia is still not 
stirred from her thoughtful, trance-like state. The footsteps come to a halt 
directly behind her. It is Sandro. He appears thoroughly crestfallen. He 
doesn't even have enough courage to look at Claudia. His face is worn and 
disfigured, like that of a tired old man. And he lets himself fall limp onto 
the bench. They both remain completely motionless, without looking at each 
other. And detached: Claudia standing, Sandro seated. Behind them, the 
skeleton of cement. Further off, the sea.

Gradually, Claudia turns her head towards Sandro. Her eyes are filled with 
tears. She looks down upon him as though he were something that greatly 
pained her. She moves up closer to the bench. Sandro doesn't budge an inch. 
Claudia reaches out to him with her hand, then slowly, gently, and with an 
overwhelming sense of desperation, she caresses his hair.